I am 39 weeks today, and my due date is just nine days away. I’ve already had a serious conversation with the baby — making sure he knows that he’s supposed to come out in nine days — not before, not after. Nine days.
Considering he speaks no language and understands nothing, I’m not sure how effective our conversation was…
My doctor told me that — if the baby didn’t show up in nine days — we would discuss eviction notices. He’s not allowed to stay in there for too much longer than 41 weeks. Too long and the risk to the fetus outside of the womb increases.
So I continue to let him know that he has nine more days of cushy womb life before he has to come out and join the rest of us.
When he does come out, I’ve been told I am going to forget about all the awful symptoms I suffered during his time in gestation — so I’m going to tell you about it now. (I need a written record of how much I don’t like being pregnant so as not to suffer it again.)
“Sick and tired” is an accurate description for the first trimester of pregnancy. The most unfortunate feeling I’ve experienced is being nauseous without the ability to cure myself of said nausea — meaning vomiting didn’t make it go away.
Holding my breath, cursing the baby, TUMS… Nothing made it go away. Just coooonstant nausea and dizziness. Occasional vertigo.
I was nauseous for months, and then, suddenly, it went away. I was one of the lucky ones. Some women suffer from nausea and vomiting of pregnancy for the entire pregnancy.
I don’t wish that on my enemies.
I only had reprieve from the epic nausea when I was asleep… and, y’all, I could sleep.
Baby building is hard work, especially in the first trimester. You’d think because you’re still small that you still have tons of energy to… you know… exercise, do the things you’re supposed to do to keep yourself and your fetus healthy, move, breathe, exist.
Any and all energy diverts to building baby parts, and you don’t have much energy to spare because you can’t eat anything — it’s all gross — or you just throw it up.
Speaking of eating… there’s a long list of stuff you’re no longer allowed to consume, and that list is not limited to coffee and alcohol. Oh, no.
Not-all-the-way cooked meat, such as cow or venison steaks.
I’ve never wanted red meat or a cold sandwich more in my life than when I was told I couldn’t have them.
Add to the list you’re not allowed to eat the foods you simply no longer can eat. For me, that list included: leafy greens, especially spinach — hork; salmon, and all fish for a little while; chicken on the bone; eggs; mushy food, such as yogurt; and any food with a strong smell.
Guess what I could eat…
ALL the sugar.
I wanted ice cream, cookies, donuts (more than I usually did), chocolate, candy… the list of sweets I suddenly wanted goes on and on and on.
I had no idea cravings and aversions would be so intense.
The first trimester of pregnancy, in my opinion, ranks as the worst trimester in whole. (However, the final weeks of pregnancy rank as the worst time ever. Again, my opinion.)
Many of my first trimester symptoms disappeared in the second trimester. I was no longer (always) nauseous; my food aversions lessened — though I still can’t eat salmon; and I got some energy back.
Instead, a brand new fleet of symptoms attacked — the worst of which was whatever the hell my hormones were doing.
Other than wreaking havoc on your body, pregnancy also does a great deal of damage to your mental and emotional well-being.
I do not know how to explain the brand new feelings I got, but, oh boy! Were they a trip.
Sadness about nothing, epic pregnancy rage, hyperactive happiness — and that was just my morning.
Add to that fun-filled emotional roller coaster the fact that my brain broke. I couldn’t remember anything, especially if you just told it me. I didn’t get jokes anymore. I couldn’t tell the difference between “just kidding” and “take this as fact.”
I got dumb.
Mental and emotional recovery, I hear, happens after the baby is born. Long after the baby is born.
Lucky for me, my brain function returned — for the most part — and my mood swings have swung out a bit. (No promises for that to continue into what they call the “fourth trimester.”)
Physically, the second trimester was less mean to me than the first trimester, but something new and awful did strike.
I love spicy food. My love of spicy food did not change when I got pregnant. I still really love spicy food. The more burn-y the better!
But spicy food did not love me in the second trimester. (It still doesn’t love me.)
I did not know heartburn before pregnancy. I also did not know there was a limit to how many TUMS you could take in day… I’d never reached it before. The feeling is indescribable. “Burn” isn’t the right word because it’s not a strong enough word. “Raging inferno from hell” is a more accurate description — just centrally located and radiating out from the chest into my throat, lungs, stomach and all the other organs my sweet child forced into my rib cage.
Have you seen what a growing fetus does to the internal organs of its host? You should. (The baby also causes a great deal of nerve pain in some women. Some women including me.)
The heartburn was so bad it would keep me up at night and wake me up in the middle of the night, but that wasn’t the only thing interrupting my sleep.
Pregnancy insomnia struck aggressively in the second trimester and has not let up since its onset — life’s cruel way of preparing women to function on very little sleep, I suppose.
Shockingly, while I still don’t function super great without sleep (and without nearly as much coffee as I used to get — two cups compared to… like… eight), this symptom hasn’t affected me nearly as horribly as all the other ones.
It’s one thing that I’ll actually need when my son is born — the ability to exist without sleep.
If you were curious, that’s an actual super power.
The first weeks of the third trimester are largely the same as the second trimester. It doesn’t get truly awful until about the last month and a half — and it is truly awful.
Everything does hurt, and I feel like I’m dying.
First trimester symptoms have returned — food aversions, nausea and cravings along with the constant need to pee. Back pain has intensified to levels that cannot be corrected by physical therapy exercises — mostly because I can’t get up and down from the floor anymore. Sleep deprivation is at its highest level with my waking up every two hours — on. the. dot. — to pee or drink water or to adjust my body because it feels like its in a vice grip. Oh, and the swelling.
I have giant hippo foot.
Foot. Not feet. Just one of them looks absolutely ridiculous, but I’ve begun to puff up in my face and upper body, too, so yay.
Snoring is new this trimester, which doesn’t so much affect me as it does my poor husband. I can snore through extra strength nasal strips designed to hold the entire nasal cavity open. (These things are the size of my nose and do nothing.)
My abdominal wall is useless. I have to roll and heave and pull myself out of bed, cars, chairs, etc. I’m sure it’s just my enlarged uterus holding the rest of my organs in my body at this point because abs… no. My cousin said she sat down one day and couldn’t get back up.
That’s how it feels to lose the ability to use your core muscles.
Oh, and I’m constantly out of breath from movements as simple as shifting.
No wonder women inhale spicy food, walk as much as they can (despite the size of their bellies and water-retaining ankles) and drink special teas in attempt to induce labor naturally… early.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but even though I feel like I’ve been pregnant for three years, I’m not ready for him to come out.
Taking care of a fetus is way easier than taking care of a newborn — forced sobriety and all. Baby kicks are a comforting reminder that he’s healthy, and I get to carry him around with me all day feeling his baby kicks, rolls and wiggles. I know when he’s sleeping, when he’s awake, when he has the hiccups… When he’s born, I’ll get to see him, but I have to watch him to know when he’s sleeping, when he’s awake, when he has the hiccups. I won’t be able to feel him anymore — and I think that’s going to be so much weirder than when I first felt him move.
All that being said… pregnancy is still pretty awful on the body and the mind, and I’d still like it to be over soon.
Nine days, to be exact.