So now that I’m in my third trimester I thought I might take a few minutes to talk about some of the things I’ve discovered about pregnancy that I was expecting at all. You imagine having a baby your whole life, complete with expectations about how all this is going to go down, but there are so many things that no one explained to me, or at least not in a way that I comprehended. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, but here are some things I’ve experienced myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely loving pregnancy, and am so very blessed to be welcoming this sweet little baby into the world. I don’t want to come off as a big complainer, but there are just some things that I think TTC moms need to know. Let’s get it all out in the open.
The dynamics of the pregnant belly are not at all what I was expecting. For starters, you don’t really have a bona fide preggo belly for the first half of the pregnancy, even longer for some women. In the beginning you just have what looks like a flabby gut, or like you ate a giant burrito for lunch. It isn’t firm, and round and cute for awhile. It is squishy, sometimes lop-sided, sometimes pointy or weirdly shaped, and even produces extra rolls. The cute basketball-under-my-shirt sort of belly didn’t show up until about 5 months. While its rounder and firmer and cuter now, it still has its moments. It is often squishier on one side than the other, and is definitely lop-sided still. I imagined my belly being this separate pregnant entity, but its still my same old belly, except way bigger, and sometimes it just looks like a big ol’ beer gut. I also had no idea that my abdominal muscles would move to the front of everything. For some reason I was imagining that the baby and uterus would grow on top of my abs, but no, abs are front in center. This means that as things start stretching and growing you will feel like you involuntarily did 100 crunches while you were sleeping.
2) People’s Opinions
When people hear that you’re pregnant, they somehow instantly assume that you want their advice and opinion on everything. From what sort of birth you should have, to what color to paint your nursery, if you should circumcise or vaccinate, or even how you should discipline. People start crawling out of the woodworks spewing their viewpoint on you. I’m not even talking about close friends and family, whose input I actually value… I’m talking about total strangers. Or better yet, Facebook stalkers who don’t ask me to lunch or have any involvement in my life except to offer their two cents on one of the most intensely personal and private experiences of my life. When you face this, just be patient, smile and say (or type) thank you. Then, go on your merry way, do your research, and raise that baby the way that you know is right for you.
Its not even just women. Nooo, no, no. Men will give you their opinions too. On your vagina. Men somehow think that watching their wives go through pregnancy and childbirth is the same as actually doing it themselves. Here’s the rule fellas- unless you are an OB/Gyn, a Mid-husband (do those exist?), or Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior, you don’t get a dog in this fight.
I had no idea what to expect from baby kicks. I began feeling little butterflies around 11 weeks, and felt the first intelligible movement at exactly 16 weeks, but the first time I felt an actual kick at 21 weeks was about the craziest feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was laying on the bed reading and he kicked so hard I almost fell out of bed. It was both frightening and hilarious at the same time. Feeling this baby move is magical and it really becomes real once you feel them, but its pretty uncomfortable sometimes. Particularly when you get kicked in the cervix. Yes girls, they kick you down there. And it feels like they’re trying to kick their way out. They also tickle. Getting kicked in the ribs, for me, is the same as getting poked in the ribs and I’m super ticklish. Wasn’t expecting that at all. Sometimes it feels like a firm poke, and other times it feels like gas. Sometimes he feels like laundry in a dryer, just flipping over.
5) How Quickly Its Passing!
I wanted to be pregnant for such a long time. Each time I got pregnant I never truly expected that I would stay pregnant (read my story here). So, in order to help me keep my sanity I made the choice early on to take things one week at a time. At first I just wanted to get to 10 weeks, which was the longest I’d ever gotten in a pregnancy. After that I just wanted to get to 13 weeks, safely into my second trimester. Then I just wanted to get to 16 weeks so I could find out the gender of the baby. Then I just wanted to get to the point where I could feel the baby kicking. And now here I am in my third trimester! It’s all happening so fast. I feel like I just took a pregnancy test yesterday, and now my belly is large and in charge. How did this happen? I’m trying to relax and enjoy the process and not be too anxious for it to be over. Especially with this being our first child I’m savoring the time alone with my husband, the ease of things like grocery shopping or going to movies, and getting a full night’s sleep… well sort of. That brings me to my next point.
6) How Hard It Is To Sleep!
I thought the nights of sleeplessness wouldn’t start until after baby boy is born. Well let me tell you that trying to get into a comfortable position while pregnant has proven to be quite a challenge. Not only does it take no less than 23 maneuvers to roll over, or to get out of bed, but you only stay comfortable for about 20 minutes before you have to reposition again. Plus, I have never been the kind of person to wake up in the middle of the night to tinkle, but this started for me early on, around 12 weeks. I get up 2-3 times a night, and each time I get up the whole readjusting process starts over again! On top of this I’m a back sleeper, and my midwife says that I shouldn’t sleep on my back in the third trimester, so I have to use a wall of pillows on both sides of my body to keep me from rolling over. Needless to say this has seriously dampened our snuggle schedule. Not fun.
I have done quite a lot of research and have made the decision to have a natural birth at a birthing center. This is very important to me and I am 100% confident in the care that my baby and I will receive. I don’t judge anyone who chooses to have their baby in a hospital, but this is just what was right for me. But apparently people think I’m bananas. I did not expect this at all. I figured people would respect me like I respect them, but I guess in today’s world being natural has become… unnatural. Lol, how ironic. Its not just people thinking I’m weird, but people thinking that I’m negligent, uneducated, or just plain foolish. Many people seem to have the attitude of “let’s just let doctors handle this.” I really never thought I was all that progressive, since people have been having natural births since Cain and Abel, but I guess I am. Very unexpected response.
So there you have it. What unexpected things have you noticed during pregnancy?