The nausea, the gas, running to the bathroom every two minutes. No, you aren’t dying of some strange disease, you’re pregnant! By now, you’ve devoured all the pregnancy info you can get. But have you heard the “real” story? Have you heard the pregnancy facts beyond the list of symptoms and what your baby looks like week-to-week? Well then read on, my friend, because after having 2 children of my own, and talking to many of my fellow Fertile Myrtles, there is much more to this pregnancy thing than you may realize. Here, I’ve given you the cold-hard facts. Be prepared, because most of it ain’t pretty, and much of it is just downright gross. (Sorry, but it’s true. You’re a mom now, you might as well get used to gross stuff.)
The First Trimester
Pregnancy Fact: Morning Sickness can hit at any time of the day, and may not subside, even after the 12 week mark.
The term “Morning” Sickness, is quite possibly the world’s greatest misnomer, and an insult to miserable pregnant women everywhere. A more appropriate term would be, “All-day yuckiness.” If you’re one of the fortunate souls who doesn’t experience it, consider yourself blessed. If you are like most preggos, though, you will be nagged by that gotta-puke-but-don’t-wanna-even-though-it-might-make-me-feel-better feeling for at least the first trimester. Unfortunately, it’s true that it may not completely go away after that magic 12 week mark passes. Take heart, my friend, this does not happen to most women.
If you are one of the many moms-to-be worshiping the porcelain goddess, how do you cure these yucky feelings? Alas, there is no sure fire cure, but there are things you can do to help. Keep crackers or dry cereal nearby, and make sure you have something in your tummy at all times. Some people find that drinking Gatorade or cold iced tea helps, and at least if you still yack, it won’t taste so bad coming back up. (I told you I was going to be gross!) I also found that sucking on hard candies helped a little bit too. According to morningsicknesshelp.com, taking Vitamin B6 and ginger daily can also reduce or eliminate morning sickness. If your morning sickness is extreme, and you can’t keep anything down, it is important to see your doctor. In severe cases, they will prescribe medication so you can become at least partly human again. The types of medications that may be offered to you, and important information about these drugs are listed at: hyperemesis.org.
Pregnancy Fact: You’re gonna have to pee. A LOT.
If you aren’t running to the bathroom to toss your cookies, you’ll be running to pee. All the time. You should be drinking more water now that you’re pregnant, so this may play a factor. According to babycenter.com, another reason for these many pee trips is a result of amount of blood in your body increasing. This means more fluid for your kidneys to process, and more fluid coming out as a result. Be sure to listen to your body and go to the bathroom every time you feel the urge.
Pregnancy Fact: You’re going to wonder what the heck you’ve gotten into, be super excited, and want to cry. All at the same time.
It won’t matter if your pregnancy was expected, or came as a surprise, you will likely experience a wild range of emotions. You may waver from excitement (I’m going to be a mom!), to shock (Holy crap, I’m going to be a mom.), to absolute terror (I don’t know how to be a mom!). These feelings are absolutely normal and will pop up many times during the next 9 months, so you may as well become friends with them. And, don’t feel guilty if you find that you aren’t excited about being pregnant. It’s a big step and it will take a while to get used to the idea. I believe these emotions are your mind’s way of working through and preparing for what has already begun to change your life forever.
The Second Trimester
Pregnancy Fact: You’re going to start hating clothes.
This is my least favorite part of pregnancy. You’re belly is growing and you’re too big for your normal clothes, but not big enough for maternity. You don’t look pregnant at all to strangers. My suggestion: Buy a shirt that says “I’m not fat I’m pregnant.” Might as well have a good sense of humor about motherhood now, ‘cuz you’re going to need it later!
Pregnancy Fact: Even if you want to find out if your baby’s sex, he/she may not cooperate.
At around 20 weeks, you will be given an ultrasound. At this appointment, you will often get to peek at baby’s goods and see if they’re sporting a hamburger or hot dog. Much to the disappointment of parents-to-be, many babies don’t cooperate and decide to keep their legs crossed. If this happens to you, try not to be too disappointed. After all, this ultrasound isn’t for you to find out the sex, although that is often the perk. The purpose of the appointment is to check your baby’s development and make sure they’re measuring where they should be. Just be thankful to have a healthy baby!
If your modest tike doesn’t let you peek at their goods, it isn’t such a bad thing. We found out the sex with our son, and didn’t with our daughter. To tell you the truth, not finding out the sex the second time around made the rest of the pregnancy go by a lot faster. There was a huge surprise to look forward to at the end! There is the argument that you want to be prepared for your baby, but they aren’t going to need much when you bring them home, nor are they going to automatically hate you because their room isn’t painted just the right shade of pink or blue.
Pregnancy Fact: Those baby kicks are going to feel amazing.
Mid-way through this trimester, you’re going to start feeling all of those somersaults your little gymnast has been performing. Love and cherish this feeling, and try to remember it always. I’ve heard the kicks described as gas bubbles, butterflies, and flutters. Truthfully, there is nothing that can effectively describe that wonderful feeling, and the idea that someone would associate my baby with gas made me want to cry. (Crying is allowed. You’re pregnant, you can cry over whatever the heck you want.) Those kicks are going to get more annoying towards the end of your pregnancy, especially when they’re aimed strategically at your cervix or bladder, but you will miss them when your baby is out. (Personal side note: After my son was born, and I watched him kicking and squirming in the bassinette, I remember thinking, “I know exactly how those kicks feel from the inside!” It was pretty cool.)
Since we’re speaking of kicks, the end of this trimester is a good time to start counting them. A good rule of thumb is to count 10 movements per hour. This is a great site for information on kick counts: http://www.babykick.com/Resources_KickCountFAQs.html
The Third Trimester
Pregnancy Fact: You really are beautiful.
You may feel like a beached whale, you may even sorta look like one (although no one had better tell you that, or you have my permission to punch them), but you are absolutely beautiful. So what if you gained more than the recommended 25-35 lbs? It won’t take much to lose that weight after the baby is born. You are a beautiful mother, you are growing a child, a brand new life, inside of you. You are caring for, loving, and nurturing your child, even before you see their chubby little face. I think everyone would agree, there’s nothing more beautiful than that.
Pregnancy Fact: You really don’t need to register for a bunch of crap.
Your baby only needs love, food, and clean diapers. The rest is pretty much just fluff. Instead of spending money on unnecessary baby items, treat yourself to a nice manicure, pedicure, and massage. You’ve worked hard these past 9 months, you totally deserve it. If you want more information about what not to register for, check out this article on Baby Items You (Probably) Won’t Need.
Pregnancy Fact: It is very likely that you’ll have your baby after that 40 week mark.
Your due date has been marked on your calendar since you saw the doctor all those weeks ago. It wasn’t just marked, but circled, highlighted, decorated with hearts, stars, baby bottles, and smiley faces. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is likely that you will go past your due date. Remember, that date is an estimation, give or take two weeks. I know how heartbreaking it is to see your due date come and go. I also know how devastating it feels to go in for an induction and have it fail and be sent home. But believe me, your baby will come out! I am living proof of this, otherwise I would still have a 2 year old growing inside me right now. (In which case I would definitely resemble the aforementioned beached whale.)
Pregnancy Fact: You may poop when you’re pushing.
You’re using your poopin’ muscles to get that 8 lb ball of beautifulness out of you, so it’s likely that you’re going to drop a duke or two on the delivery table. You may be mortified at this thought right now, but once you’re in the throws of delivery, you aren’t going to care. I’ve heard OB nurses say that they actually like it when their patient poops, because it means they’re using the right muscles. They’ve seen everything in their line of work, and will probably have it cleaned up before you realize it happened, so don’t fret. Which leads me to my final fact…
Pregnancy Fact: Your delivery will NOT go as you planned, so be prepared for everything.
If pregnancy didn’t already convince you, this may be your first true lesson in motherhood: You don’t have control over everything anymore. You should definitely write up a birth plan and have a hope for how you want your delivery to go. You should make your wishes clear with your nurses, coach, spouse, and doctor, and ask that they be supportive of you. But you should be prepared for everything, because you aren’t in control. I find women who can have their babies drug free absolutely amazing, and I admire their strength and perseverance. I find women who have babies vaginally awesome too. But I have done neither of those things.
I went into labor on my own 2 days after my failed induction. I had hoped to go without drugs, but didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was going to be (as if I thought labor was supposed to feel awesome), and went for the epidural. I labored for 24 hours and pushed for nearly 3 of that. I ended up having a c-section because my water had been broken too long, and my son wasn’t coming out. Turns out, his head was turned awkwardly in my narrow pelvis. Not a good combination. Ya know what? I wasn’t disappointed one bit. The most important thing was that I had my baby and we were both healthy. And believe me, after 24 hours of hell, I was ready to have that child out of me, no matter the means by which he arrived. My intention is not to scare you. C-Sections aren’t the scary business that they have been made out to be, although womanly delivery is definitely the preferred option, in my opinion. Just know that regardless of how your child enters this world, the important thing is that they are here, healthy, and in your arms.