In honor of October being pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, I have chosen to share this. I found out through an ultrasound a short time after I originally wrote this that I had lost my child. But my pregnancy was real and exciting, and watching my belly grow was such a blessing. I celebrate that experience now, though I still cry. As I type this, I cry. I don’t have any predictions or promises for those of your experiencing pregnancy lost, but I can tell you- as a sister in this pain- that the days become normal again. Don’t ever feel guilt for grieving for your child, and know that others grieve with you. Nobody should have to feel this grief. But know that you’re not alone.
Below is the original post, in its entirety. I am still so grateful to have experienced this.
I never thought I would find myself pregnant. It was a complete surprise and was met with a thousand and one thoughts within the first 10 seconds of seeing that big fat plus sign on the stick! Soon, excitement and elation followed and my doctor confirmed my pregnancy the following day. I was 5 weeks along. I found out quicker than most women do and I had a lot of time on my own before my first prenatal visit. I was left with the direction of “Take your prenatal vitamins and we’ll see you around week 12.” I had seven weeks to figure this out on my own, and being my first pregnancy those 7 weeks felt like 9 months! To the internet! I began to research all I could about my little budding baby inside and what to expect for myself. All the research, though, can’t prepare you for how your body will personally respond to pregnancy and I learned quite a bit along the first-trimester journey! Here are the things that surprised me the most!
- You are exhausted! I didn’t think the tired created by baby would kick in asap! I was falling asleep by 7 every night and sleeping until 7. Fortunately, I had enough energy to get through my day of teaching Pre-K, but I was only good to eat dinner when I got home and fall asleep 30 minutes later. My husband trooped through it all, cleaning up after dinner when I couldn’t and not minding that I wasn’t up for staying out too late on weekends. It’s hard work to make a life, so I guess hibernation mode kicks into overdrive! Good news is it gets better by the end of the first. I can now make it to 9:30!
- You are hungry! Scratch that, STARVING, and right away! OMG! I did not expect to feel like I had gone days without eating a meal every 2 hours! It was like clockwork. 5 am, 7 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm, 9 pm, 1 am. I had to have something. Sometimes a big glass of chocolate milk would suffice, but it had to be something. Hangry became an understatement as my stomach would feel like it was already eating itself if I didn’t have something in it at all times. For a while, I was beginning to question whether or not I was pregnant, or just turning into a bear! Thank goodness that feeling too died down as the first was drawing to the close.
- Speaking of food… Cravings and aversions. They too hit within the first few weeks. This is what surprised me the most. I was craving foods I never usually keep in the house on a regular basis and I was hating foods I once loved. I was keeping a jar of peanut butter in the car just because and suddenly I had to have tomatoes on every sandwich! Pork, however, had me gagging and the sight and smell of bacon sent me running I won’t lie, I almost cried when it was bacon that my body was rejecting. Let’s just say life wasn’t the same for a while. My life revolved around potatoes, peanut butter, and chocolate milk. Soon to follow, anything sweet. This baby has a sweet tooth apparently as I typically don’t, and candy or ice cream in sight was a huge weakness. Cravings for cereal soon replaced the peanut butter, and I could eat at any restaurant as long as it served fried chicken of some sort! It didn’t help that one of my best friends was also pregnant (which was fantastic to share some of our pregnancy together) and our time together now focused on where we could get giant plates of nachos or how many cookies we could bake (and eat) in one night! Food was everything in the beginning and I’m ready for that to get back to normal!
- Your skin decides it’s 14 again! Another OMG for me! I know it’s all the hormones, but seriously?! Pimples in my 30’s! And not just a spot here or there. I’m talking about my running my hand across my forehead and it feeling like those papers with the candy dots stuck all over them! I was getting breakouts on my neck near my hairline, under my chin, in the corner of my nose…all those places that freaking hurt! I can’t forget to mention all of the sweating! I would wake up drenched and heaven forbid I could actually wear a sweater when it turned cold out! Oh, I was freezing all of the time, but I was also profusely sweating. It’s like I’m stuck somewhere between being a teenager and going through menopause. Makes me thankful I’m past the one stage and already dreading the next. At least for right now it’s just pregnancy!
- SEX…There are no longer any worries. Whether you were trying to get pregnant (well now you are) or if your pregnancy was a surprise (like mine) you no longer have to concentrate on getting/not getting pregnant. Sex can be without worry and so much fun! Bonus: your hormones and all that blood flow are sure to have you oohing and ahhing all over the place! If you’re up for it, enjoy it as much as you want! There is nothing like early pregnancy sex. I’m going to just leave it at that and let you have your own fun!
- Since we’re talking down there….Be prepared to live in the bathroom. All of that extra blood flow that makes the sex extra fantastic also means that your bladder is working triple time. You may as well plan your life around being within feet of a bathroom at all times. Even on the days when I couldn’t drink as much as I should have, I was going around the clock. I’m also wondering if I’ll ever be able to laugh, cough, or sneeze again without crossing my legs? I’m going to guess nope!
- Pregnancy Brain: This one may have thrown me for the biggest loop! It is such a REAL thing! You used to laugh at Dory and her lack of short term memory…well now you are Dory! I’m forgetting everything. Where I put my keys, what I was doing as I’m still doing it, and who I’m talking to. I’m literally mind blanking on what I’m supposed to pick up at the grocery store as I’m staring at the list! It’s ridiculous! Oh, you have a million thoughts in your head at once but you’ll….where was I going with this again? Oh yeah, you’ll not remember anything for a while! All you can do is get used to it!
- Morning sickness: The thing that surprised me most about morning sickness is that not all women get it! I haven’t had one ounce of sickness so far! Sure the food aversions send me running from the smell or sight, but no nausea. My sense of smell kicked into overdrive (I swear I can now smell colors) but nothing made me feel queasy. While I feared that perhaps something could be off as I read it’s a sign of a healthy pregnancy to be sick, I learned that friends and even my mother never had any sickness with their very healthy pregnancies!
Pregnancy is just one big surprise! Your body is going to do what it needs to do to support the new little life you happen to be housing. I’ve been surprised by most of it so far; how easy it has been for me and how quickly my body began to change with new life. I’m sure I’ll continue to be surprised along the way! Right now I’m enjoying the journey and I hope I continue to do so. It’s definitely a moment in my life I’m sure not to forget…mostly because I’ve just written it all down!