*Disclaimer: I realize that pregnancy is a *beautiful* time and there are many women who struggle with infertility, so I should be grateful to be pregnant. I AM grateful. However, I do believe in the right to complain…*
What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Yes. I read that book cover to cover during my first pregnancy. It did answer quite a few of my questions and offer some sage advice on what it normal and not normal in pregnancy. However, it seems to neglect mentioning all the atrocities of pregnancy that no one ever tells you about – even those of us who have been pregnant before neglect to mention these little, but annoying pregnancy perils.
There is no worse culprit than the first trimester: You don’t look pregnant, you don’t feel your baby moving, you feel like shit, and no one but you knows you’re pregnant. So here they are, the perils of the first trimester:
Hair growth – Those luscious pregnancy locks that everyone brags about? Sure, they might show up eventually… but you know what shows up first? Thick hair where you least expect it – inner thighs, anyone? Didn’t I just shave 3 hours ago? What about that little “treasure trail?” And the worst… Down There… ont he back side. Since when does my back end look and feel like my husband’s back side? In pregnancy… That’s when! (Sorry to start out with TMI…)
Constipation – Another downside of all that hair? The cleanliness factor. Which I guess isn’t such an issue when you are only pooping every 4 days! When I was younger I wondered why “old people” were so obsessed with their bowel habits. Now I know why: Because when I’, used to going every day and now I’m lucky if I go once a week. Wow. Does it ever suck. And where is all that poop going? I’ll tell you later… For now, I am just feeling a need to celebrate whenever I have an urge to visit the bathroom (for this deed, though… not the other).
Softness – Swelling… water retention… relaxation… call it whatever you want. Hormones make you soft, spongy, and ready to hold on to every ounce of water that you drink. It’s amazing how much water you’re really able to hold on to when you’re peeing so often and hardly drinking for fear that it will come right back up again. But, the pregnant female is resourceful and will scavenge that fluid from anywhere (including the bowels, where all that waste is just sitting… forever. The websites will tell you that all this “softening” is your body preparing for the stretching and relaxation to make room for the baby. Whatever. All I know is that it makes me feel like a blimp with a soft pudgy ring of dough that could make people think I am already 6 months pregnant – except that it is completely compressible and only the result of swollen subcutaneous tissue, swollen, sluggish bowels, and incompetent (and yes, swollen) abdominal muscles.
Narcolepsy – The last time I ever felt that I could fall asleep anywhere, without warning, was probably way back on the verge of my memory – when I was a child and had the luxury of being able to do so. Now I just walk around like The Walking Dead, hoping that I make it to the next opportunity to sit down before I let my eyes close for even 5 seconds. This is not conducive to a functional lifestyle. Not as a doctor… or as a mother… or even as a general human being.
Hunger-nausea Continuum – Am I hungry? Or wait? Am I going to puke? Or maybe it’s just that I have to pee… Every sensation felt by my body right now is, quite literally, a feeling of nausea. I spend a significant portion of my day wondering if I should try to eat *something* and wondering if that is going to make me feel better or worse. The worst is when the hunger nausea continuum has reached so far that you are fooled into thinking you are hungry only to be half-way done swallowing that first bite of food only to realize that it will be a miracle if you are able to finish that swallow. Yes. There is no guarantees while attempting to navigate the hunger-nausea continuum.
Nippie Nips – Remember those lady bots in the Austin Powers movie? The ones who had retractible guns as nipples? How about having those little erect guns as nipples, All. The. Time. And, if it’s not bad enough that the are up and hard and standing at attention every waking (and non-waking) minute, the always feel like they have just finished firing. In other words… don’t touch! They are sore and sensitive to even the smallest touch – such as the material from your pyjamas at night, and the excited and curious husband who mistakenly believes that these erect nipples are an invitation for him. No. Hands off. It is already time for the around-the-clock bra, and I’m not even nursing yet.
I’m sure there are more perils that I have forgot to mention, as my brain is already succumbing to the drain affectionately known as “pregnancy brain.” I will resist the urge to add a second “1st Trimester Edition” to the Perils of Pregnancy series, as I might be accused of hating this beautiful process. Let me just say that nothing is “All Beautiful.” Nothing.
What was your least favorite part of early pregnancy? Or were you one of those people who had a perfect-from-the start pregnancy? (I won’t hate you, I promise…)