It’s been a while since I’ve been pregnant, 20 months in fact, but the uncertainties of pregnancy still run through my mind often. While some women seem to breeze through pregnancy without so much as a single Braxton Hicks contraction, others, like me, are not so lucky. I’ve been trying to think of some pithy way to express my confusion about the wonders of pregnancy but decided that the best way to do it is just to make two lists… one with the things that just plain stink about pregnancy and one with all the wonderment and joys of it. As a preface, let me just say that I am one of those people who absolutely loves being pregnant and wishes it could be a perpetual state, but even I have my limits!
The Woes I Did Not Know:
- Morning Sickness can be such a misnomer! Our first successful pregnancy proved to be very challenging as I dealt with “morning, mid-morning, noon, afternoon, evening, night sickness”. I had developed a condition many women do not know about called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is a very severe form of morning sickness in which those affected vomit constantly, find no relief and lose 5% or more of their body weight. I lost 20 pounds in my first trimester and had to be hospitalized. I suffered with this condition my entire pregnancy. Talk about rough!
- Joint pain is real in pregnancy! With Andrew, I didn’t experience this at all, but early in my second trimester with Catherine, my hips burned with arthritis type pain. It would be so severe some nights that I would toss and turn and never be able to find a comfortable position. I also did not know that this condition can hang around for many months after pregnancy as well.
- Constipation is 10 times worse when you are pregnant! Because your body produces extra progesterone during pregnancy, it also increases the effects of the hormone in your system. Progesterone slows down digestion, thus making constipation more likely. Constipation is also more difficult to treat during pregnancy. The only things I could do to relieve mine was drink decaf coffee, eat a ton of grapes and drink plenty of water. And when it got really bad, I had to use glycerin suppositories. Not exactly a glamorous moment!
- Induction is not all it’s cracked up to be! I was induced with Andrew because I was making absolutely no progress on my own. Even my doctor thought Andrew would be happy just to stay in my belly permanently. The first few hours of my induction weren’t too bad, but after the fifth hour, the pain was completely intolerable and by the ninth hour, Andrew could not handle the stress from the drugs and I was rushed into emergency surgery for a c-section. What I thought was to be a great experience turned into a scary day when my baby’s heartbeat could not be found and a vaginal delivery was no longer an option.
The Little Things I Enjoyed:
- The feeling of my children moving in my belly was the coolest thing ever! I would lay on my couch, watching American Idol, just feeling Andrew groove to the music in my belly. I loved that feeling and missed it once I gave birth.
- Being pregnant made me feel more beautiful than I ever felt in my life! To this day, I miss my baby bump. I always felt that pregnancy was one of God’s most beautiful creations and seeing pregnant bellies, especially mine, confirms that in my heart! I never felt fat, just that I looked more feminine and beautiful than ever before.
- Shopping for baby stuff was more fun than shopping for anything I ever wanted for myself! I didn’t feel like paying $180 for a crib bedding set was ridiculous, when if it was something I wanted, I never would have even considered it.
- Getting to hold my children in my arms after they were born was one of the most fulfilling and awesome moments of my life! Seeing their cute little noses, long eyelashes and full heads of hair was such an amazing experience.
Of course, there were many other things that I loved about being pregnant… well, I actually even loved throwing up because it meant I was still pregnant, but all that said, pregnancy can be easy or difficult, but it’s ALWAYS worth it!!!
What were some of the things you wish you had known about pregnancy? Were there more unexpected “woes” or “joys” for you?
Photo Courtesy of otzberg