One of my biggest sources of encouragement throughout pregnancy was reading other mama blogs. It’s so, so helpful to hear ‘real experiences’ in addition to taking classes. So I thought I’d share my own experience with pregnancy (now that I’m nearing the end) in hopes that’ll it’ll help, inspire or encourage any of you mamas-to-be out there going through the journey! Generally, I’ve been one of those women who has loved being pregnant, but there were definitely challenging moments that I remember not loving so much.
LOVED: The day we took our first pregnancy test and found out we were expecting. It was July 8th, just one week after our 1 year wedding anniversary and I remember not really believing the test because it was several days before my missed period and the pink line was SO faint. But deep down we both knew it was the real thing. We went out that weekend to celebrate. It was a warm summer weekend and we were both glowing with happiness.
DIDN’T LOVE: The first trimester waiting games. There were definitely times I googled ‘when do miscarriage risks drop’ for example. Having so many friends experience miscarriages in the past made me want to hold back telling family and friends right away, but I definitely wouldn’t do that next time around. Even if something unexpected had happened in those early weeks, I would have still wanted to share that with my closest family and friends. So why hold off sharing the news? That’s just my personal feelings on it, but I can totally get why some want to wait longer. I also remember it feeling like forever to wait for the ultrasounds! Speaking of…
LOVED: We had three ultrasounds and the second one was my favorite. It was when our little babe started to resemble a human and I think more than anything I loved see Shawn’s reaction to that. He had no idea what to expect, thinking our baby would still look like a lima bean, but he was so mesmerized to see little arms, legs and that beating heart.
DIDN’T LOVE: The morning sickness. Or rather, all day sickness. It hit me around week 6 and it hit hard. I wasn’t necessarily throwing up every day (that only happened for one week – week 8) but it was a constant feeling of nausea and also hunger. It really is such a terrible feeling wanting to throw up but being starving at the same time. I think my blood sugar issues made the hunger part worse. I couldn’t eat full meals, only things like apple slices, cheese, crackers and even those things were hard to force down. I would wake up several times at night just STARVING. And it’s no fun to eat at 3am. I think I lived on peanut butter english muffins for a month straight. Weeks 7 and 8 were the worst but I’d say that week 12 is when started to feel semi-human again. Just know in most cases, it WILL end and you WILL feel better. But it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you feel like you’ve got the worst hangover/flu/exhaustion, I feel you mamas.
LOVED: That first little baby bump! I had bloating from the very start of pregnancy that made it noticeably (to me) harder to get on my regular jeans. But once I started to feel that bump while lying down flat in bed, that was the BEST feeling. For me, that was around 13 weeks. This was around the time I picked up maternity jeans and some maternity tops too.
DIDN’T LOVE: Friends only talking about baby stuff. I definitely enjoyed talking baby stuff and getting excited about our new life with our little man! But there are just times you want to go to dinner with friends or have a phone conversation and NOT answer baby questions—to not be talked to just as the pregnant version of yourself. I found it so helpful to simply change the subject and turn the convo on those people and what was happening in their lives. Shawn and I made it a priority to not always talk about the baby when we’d go out on dates—and we plan to do the same after he’s here. I think it’s so important to set aside time for you, while you’re pregnant and when you do become a parent. And that doesn’t mean date nights or girl’s nights are all about baby talk.
LOVED: Finding out the gender. Everyone told me that once you find out the gender (if you are finding out), the weeks start to fly by. They were SO right! Once we found out our little babe was a boy and my energy levels were back to normal, the fun began. We started to pick out little outfits, design the nursery, felt his first kicks (week 16), started planning baby shower details with my Mom, checked baby to do’s off the list, started daydreaming of holding him for the first time, made more plans with friends again… the second trimester was all such a nice change and I think that’s why it sped by so quickly. I also loved that I got to experience my second trimester leading up to and surrounding the holidays. All of those festive feels were that much more special this year with a little one on the way.
DIDN’T LOVE: Changing the way I slept. I’m used to this now, but this was really tough when baby started growing. I’ve always been a side/stomach sleeper, usually with my knee up. I got away with this for quite a while, but eventually it just isn’t comfortable (or safe) to sleep that way. Thankfully I had been going to the chiropractor before I even got pregnant, so the shift was easier to handle aches and pains, but it’s definitely tough to change the way you sleep. Shawn also got me a Snoogle, which I didn’t love as much as I’d hoped I would. Instead, I found that a simple pillow between the knees was the best thing for me.
LOVED: Pedicures. I loved to treat myself to pedicures way before pregnancy, but they are just extra enjoyable when your preggo feet are a little extra tender. Also, perfect for the rough day when you can’t indulge in a glass of wine or your favorite off-limits pregnancy food.
DIDN’T LOVE: Prenatal massage. The massage itself was amazing! My salon/spa is incredible and they do everything with such care. For prenatal massage they have a nifty bed with a hole for your belly and it can be adjusted with sections that velcro together if you need more or less space around the sides for support. At first, I thought it was great! But by the end I found that my stomach muscles and round ligaments felt sore from gravity and my belly sort of hanging there for 30 minutes. This was probably just a personal thing, so definitely try one if you think you will enjoy. But for me—thank goodness for pedicures—I’ll stick to those!
LOVED: Designing our little guy’s nursery. I know he won’t really be sleeping in there for a few months, but we’ll definitely spend some time in there with him in the rocking chair and on the changing table when upstairs. It just felt really good to have his space done early on so we won’t have to worry about that after he’s here. More time for snuggles!
DIDN’T LOVE: Breaking up with oysters and tuna tartare for nine months. This was definitely the toughest food no-no! I cannot wait to get a couple dozen oysters this summer at our favorite local joint.
LOVED: You know how your house is always extra clean before guests arrive for a visit? Well having a baby has been like that x 100 for us. There’s nothing like a new little human on the way to kick your butt into gear and simplify. Of course, the true nesting is right before you have baby, but I think Shawn and I both started some form of nesting early on.
DIDN’T LOVE: This was probably my biggest didn’t love… When people asked “Are you going to get the epidural?”. I found that the only people who really ask this are those who had the epidural or were induced. And when I respond with “I’m going to try and do it without” I get raised eyebrows and horror stories of how much pain so and so went through without it, or the classic “good luck!” and eye roll. I absolutely do not have anything against induction or pain medications if needed, but it’s such a personal decision based on your own experience. Especially if you are induced, a body reacts to labor much differently. I like to think of it like this… you wouldn’t go for a run without stretching and just start sprinting would you? You work your way up to it.
I found it really frustrating and discouraging that those mamas focused on the negative aspects of a drug-free birth rather than supporting my birth wishes in a positive way. And I think it’s one of those big no-no questions to even ask—how is a first time mama-to-be supposed to know if they are getting an epidural yet when they don’t even know what their own personal labor and delivery experience will be like? I won’t make that decision until I’m experiencing it and whatever happens, will be the best one for my and my baby’s safety.
LOVED: The smiles. People really are so nice to you when you’re expecting. After you start noticeably showing, of course! I feel like this belly brings happiness wherever it goes and I know that will continue after he’s born.
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