The Truth About Pregnancy...Well, My Pregnancy
I'm 14 weeks into this whole pregnancy thing and people keep making really well-meaning remarks about how fun it would be to read my pregnancy journal. Except I haven't really kept a pregnancy journal.
So I decided that perhaps it was time to write the story of this little lemon...which is where the baby books say we are size-wise in his/her development. I'm still not sure how I feel about all the fruit references, but in the grand scheme of things I figure I have a few bigger things to worry about. You know, like the actual lemon-sized thing that I'll be caring for in six short months!
I found out about the little sesame seed on Friday, November 4. I had been feeling kind of dizzy that week and really just took the pregnancy test to rule out being knocked up so that I could drink guilt-free all weekend.
Obviously that didn’t happen.
I wasn’t even supposed to start my period until Sunday or Monday, so imagine my surprise. One faint little plus sign from a 3 year old test. Three tests later, I had one “pregnant”, one slightly darker plus, and a definitive yep-you’re-pregnant-so-stop-wasting-money-on-expensive-pregnancy-tests from yet another Error Proof Test. Cleverly annoying name when you’re standing there holding a positive test thinking, “I wonder if this could be some kind of error.”
That weekend I think I was more emotionally distraught than physically sick. Brian and I went to a restaurant that evening to meet some old friends of his who were visiting from his hometown only to realize we were a week early. Who does that? Lo and behold we ended up running into a different set of friends and joined them for drinks while they waited for their table. I gingerly sipped a soda water while everyone else gabbed over cocktails and beers.
It was the strangest feeling…knowing you have a secret that you can’t tell, that is. It’s almost impossible to really engage in any other conversation. I remember our friend was telling the most outlandish stories about his recent trip to Egypt, and all I could think was “oh shit, I’m pregnant; oh shit, I’m pregnant; oh shit, am I really pregnant?” Every now and then I would tune back into the story just in time to hear about the limo driver with the machine gun or the 6am private tour of the pyramids and think, “I’ve really got to focus!”
The next morning was the UT/Tech football game, and standing around a tailgate was the absolute LAST thing I felt like doing. So I dropped Brian off bright and early and headed off to buy prenatal vitamins and baby books. Which still sounds odd even typing it. Prenatal vitamins and baby books? Was this really happening?
I think I sat glazed in the baby section of Half Price books for over an hour. I had called a friend prior to going…the only friend I had told thus far…and gotten recommendations of what to buy. I found each and every book she had mentioned and cautiously thumbed through the pages as I slurped down my tropical coconut fruit smoothie despite the frigid temperatures outside. I kept thinking that this didn’t feel real and wondering if this little speck of life was going to decide to stick around.
It’s the oddest thing when you find out about an unexpected pregnancy. On one hand you’re completely pissed that this thing that you weren’t even sure you wanted at this time in your life is “happening” to you…and on the other hand you’re stone-cold terrified that something bad will happen and its little life will slip from your grips. I was so afraid of miscarriage, especially considering my endometriosis and surgery a year earlier, and I already found myself bargaining with God. Even if just because I couldn’t handle the emotional roller coaster of 'is it' or 'isn’t it.'
We were staying with friends that week because of a hiccup with our tiny rented efficiency condo, and I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the time alone in their spacious home. I passed my day lounging on the couch, flipping through books, and resting. I was suddenly dog tired, and I remember talking to my sufficiently sauced husband over the phone after the football game and asking for a couple more hours to sleep before retrieving him. When I finally peeled myself from the couch to make the trek downtown, it was 5 o’clock and I was starved...a feeling I would soon get to know all too well.
I felt so alone that day, and I remember wondering if this is what motherhood was going to feel like. Brian’s life had continued on as normal; well maybe with a little more booze on that particular day than normal. And yet nothing about my existence felt remotely similar to a day prior. But at the same time, not much had changed on the surface. And yet normally I would be right there by his side having a grand ol' time.
I ended up getting horribly ill that following Monday night into Tuesday. I was up all night throwing up a ravioli soup that I myself had made (and will undoubtedly never eat again), and I ran a fever all day Tuesday. Since we don’t have health insurance, I finally ended up taking myself to urgent care at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I sobbed to the doctor about being 4 weeks pregnant and asked between sniffles if I had already baked my baby to smithereens with my fever.
He was of course the sweetest man the Universe could possibly conjure and assured me that my baby was healthy and well and that my body would turn on itself before it let anything happen to that baby.
That should have been my first clue that maybe pregnancy wasn’t going to be roses and sunshine. Anytime anyone says anything about your own body de-prioritizing your own physical health and comfort in the name of the foreign thing growing inside you, that’s a pretty good indication there’s more physical woe to come.
I somehow survived my 24-hour bug without meds or further incident and lived to see that 5th week of pregnancy. I had called the birthing center first thing Monday morning after finding out I was pregnant and scheduled a tour for the following week. So at the beginning of week 5, I took my secretly pregnant self to the birthing center and walked into yet another surreal moment.
If buying prenatal vitamins and baby books felt odd, this was downright foreign…dream-like…unbelievable. Was I seriously touring a birthing center? Like where people have babies?
I think it’s fair to point out that the stage of denial was alive and well in the Floyd household.
I went through the motions of course. I took the notes. I listened intently to the midwife. I answered all the questions. And then I signed up.
That was that. I was crossing this baby shit off left and right. Who said this was hard? I dutifully went over all the ins and outs that night with Brian and quietly wondered if this little zygote would hang on long enough for the first scheduled appointment 4 weeks later.
I don’t remember the exact date, but I think it was probably about then that The Sickness began. Let’s not misunderstand. There was no puking. Just the violent, aching, throbbing, pulsing NEED to puke. And we’re not talking morning sickness; we’re talking ALL-DAY sickness. It felt like those hangovers that go to your stomach, except when you wake up the next morning you realize you weren’t drunk, you’re just pregnant.
And that pretty much describes November. Drunken fog without the drunk.
Oh, and did I mention that all the while you’re trying to act like you don’t feel like hurling so people don’t know you’re pregnant?
Yep, that was next on the list. Who do we tell? And when? Brian wanted to wait until 12 weeks because he thought that’s “what you do,” but I of course was dying to tell somebody…everybody! And not even because I was super elated, which I was at times. But more because I just needed people to know. I needed to be authentically me. And the authentic me didn’t keep secrets like this.
More so I needed someone to vent to about all these conflicting emotions of joy and fear and anger and sadness. Brian and I always knew we wanted to have kids "one day" but now that "one day" was here, I felt so unprepared...so blindsided.
Prior to getting pregnant I had never felt so sure of myself, so optimistic, so alive. And now I felt so unsure, so scared, so…queasy. To say that my life changed completely is a gross understatement. I went from walking 15 miles a week to struggling to walk the 15 steps to the bathroom. From coaching others on living their best lives to questioning the Universe as to how It could possibly think this was in my best interest. From being a vegan to devouring cheese like a pig rooting out truffles.
Yep, that was a biggie. I had been a vegetarian for nearly two years and had become a vegan about a month before getting pregnant. And to say that I craved cheese during The Sickness is putting it mildly. I didn’t crave it. I needed it. I longed for it. I pined for it like a vampire thirsts for blood. Goodbye veganism. Hello cheese monger. This kid was already changing my life. And I wasn’t sure I liked it.
It’s an uncomfortable thing for everyone, I’ve realized, when a pregnant woman admits that she isn’t bounding out of bed every morning and dropping to her knees in gratitude for this little miracle. Of course I’m thankful for this baby. The one thing I have absolutely believed all my life is that everything happens for a reason. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t go through trials in life that made me question and then eventually reaffirm that belief.
So the first trimester has been the questioning. And while I sit in the nausea and exhaustion and achy boobs, I trust that the reaffirming will come when I have that beautiful baby in my arms. I’m not pressuring myself to be somewhere I’m not, even though I know it would make everyone else a lot more comfortable. Because God forbid a woman tell the truth about all the surging emotions she has while a host of hormones are charging through her veins.
The last few weeks have been tough. No one tells you that you don’t really feel pregnant right away. My body isn’t really growing. Well, aside from my boobs that is. Those have grown enough for three women. And I have of course surpassed non-vulgar containment in any normal bra I own and have been resigned to wearing my hot pink full-support sports bra EVERY DAY for the last 8 weeks. Yep, I’m a picture of sexiness.
I guess I thought the little baby bump just pops right out from the beginning and you just beam with the glow of creating life. After all, this kid is bigger than a peach by now…my uterus a small melon (can you believe that?). And I’m not complaining that I haven’t gained weight…trust me! But it’s hard to feel all gushy and pregnant when the only real indicator that anything is different is feeling like complete dog shit all the time and not being able to enjoy the glass of wine that seemed to help you exhale.
So here I am. Thankful that the lauded second trimester has finally come. Cautiously optimistic about the next six months. Looking forward to our first ultrasound in a month and confirming or debunking my suspicions about the sex of this little person growing inside me.
As I honestly told a friend the other day when sharing the pregnancy news, I think I can safely say that Brian and I have finally moved from the "oh shit" phase into the "oh yay" phase. And I'm starting to realize that maybe the whole waiting-to-tell-people-until-after-the-first-trimester is less about risk of miscarriage and more about giving the parents a chance to get used to the idea before facing the barrage of questions from everyone else.
Oh God, and speaking of questions. I know this is getting long, but I have to say it.
If I never hear "Are you SO excited?" again, it will be too soon. Please think twice before you ask a pregnant woman that question. Or at least ask yourself if you really want to hear the answer. Because YES we're excited to some extent. But we're also confused, hormonally-imbalanced, nauseous, exhausted, scared...need I go on?
And that's exactly the message I guess I'm trying to convey. The truth about pregnancy is that it is the perfect mix of imperfection. The rough patches teach us something so beautiful...at least they have taught me....
To be where I'm at.
And to respect, honor and love that. No matter how uncomfortable it makes someone else.
I trust that the pure unadulterated excitement will come when I feel that first kick. I know I will be forever transformed when I peer into that little face so perfectly splashed with Brian's charm and my tenderness. I am allowing the Universe to imprint this experience on my heart in exactly the way it likes.
And for me that's okay. It's enough. Because it's my truth. My pregnancy. My journey.