This has been a growing question of mine over the last few months as I am about to wrap up the first half of my first pregnancy. Now, I know the old saying, every pregnancy is different… but, can we be really honest and just examine the fact that almost everyone has the same symptoms, just varying degrees, some may have another symptom more often, or someone may skip one altogether, but when it comes down to it, there is a finite amount of symptoms that come along with pregnancy.
My first ten weeks were absolute hell. I will never try to hide that, I will never be one of those women who talk about how amazing pregnancy is. Yes, pregnancy is a gift, it is a miracle. There are thousands of women who struggle to have children naturally and I understand that and am very grateful for my baby. But, holy shit, no one told me how terrible those first ten weeks would be. I knew about morning sickness. I also knew that it was not limited to just the morning, but really, did it have to last 24/7 for ten weeks?? I really wish I was also exaggerating there also… it was dizzy spells, I would be looking at my computer at work and all of a sudden the screens would shift, or the words would start to do a wave pattern and I would find myself in the bathroom, trying to cool down and stop sweating. Best part? Never actually threw up. Just sat there, bent over a toilet wishing I would just get it over with, that I would just vomit and be done with the nausea for at least a few minutes hopefully, but that relief never came.
Non-stop nausea also led to a complete lack of eating. I just stopped eating. The smell of food cooking was terrible to me. If I did eat, it was cereal or raw vegetables that did have any smell to them. I actually lost ten pounds in the first ten weeks because I couldn’t force myself to eat anything. One night my fiance wanted to make me one of my favorite meals he does, simple sausage and peppers. As he started to cook, all I could smell was cinnamon french toast. Needless to say I did not eat that night. I haven’t had chicken breast since I got pregnantThere were nightly breakdowns, where my fiance would listen to me cry about how I couldn’t handle it and how I was a terrible person because all I wanted to do was cry and sleep all the time.
Next was the constipation. I’ve never experienced this before, pain that just radiated through my pelvis. I tried every over the counter remedy I could find that would hopefully help and absolutely nothing helped. Stomach pain, back pain, cramps… all wonderful side effects of constipation. The back pain was the worst, I would curl up in a warm bath (which in May, in Las Vegas is NOT so pleasant…thank you 100+ degree temperatures) and just do my best to not cry as my muscles as pulled and contracted and loosened in the most painful rhythm I have ever felt in my life. I was also so bloated that I couldn’t even fit into my normal clothes, even though I had lost weight, I was so bloated that the button on my pants actually broke at work and I had to go home during lunch to change. So. Much. Fun.
Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, like I was going to break and never find a way to fix it, I woke up one morning and didn’t feel like throwing up. Bliss spread through me as it became easier to walk and function like a real person again. Then terror flooded through me as I started to wonder if something happened, there was just nothing as I came to twelve weeks. Impatiently I waited for my 12 week doctor’s appointment and the ultrasound that would confirm that my fear was nothing but that, fear. Thankfully it was just fear, I had just hit what so many call the “honeymoon” phase of the pregnancy.
“Honeymoon” was definitely an exaggeration though. Yes, the nausea was gone, but the back pain doubled as I started to gain a bit of weight back. Whereas in my first few weeks I wanted nothing but more sleep, I find that most nights I need a Tylenol PM (cleared by my doctor of course) to get myself to sleep comfortably, and even then I found myself tossing and turning. I am attempting to use these body pillows, but find that I need to change sides too often and just get tangled and stuck and find myself more frustrated and irritated.
The “honeymoon” has also included terrible heartburn, headaches, runny nose, swollen feet and ankles, slightly blurry vision and shortness of breath. Oh, did I mention I cry over stupid things? I cried the other day because we went to a late dinner ( I worked late that night) and cried on the drive home because I was tired. Even though we were heading home for the night, just started crying because I wanted to go home and go to bed. Yeah, that’s normal (insert giant eye roll please).
What I just wrote was a giant list of terrible things about pregnancy. On my 12 week ultrasound I saw it’s heart fluttering away. Four weeks ago, at my 16 week appointment, I heard my baby’s heart beat for the first time. My fiance couldn’t be there for the 16 week appointment, so I ordered a doppler to use at home, surprising him with the sound of our baby’s heart. It brought him to tears. It still brings me to tears when I hear it. It really has to be my favorite sound in the entire world right now.
As I am writing this, I felt the little jerk kick me so hard it actually made my stomach move, the first time there has been strong enough movement for it to be possible to feel it from the outside. Which made me laugh so hard and I just wished my fiance was home to see/feel it.
Friday I go for my anatomy scan, which will measure all the organs, make sure the little one is developing correctly, make sure the placenta is in the correct position, and what I am sure will be my favorite moment, we will finally find out if it is a boy or girl. So many people I know went for elective ultrasounds around 14 weeks and I have been the one to stay strong (and want to save money) and wait it out for the scan at 20 weeks. With all my heart I feel that it is a girl, even my fiance wants a little girl. I think we both will die of laughter if it turns out to be a boy (there will be no disappointment either way!).