Pregnancy, unfiltered.

I’ll be 37 weeks tomorrow – AKA FULL-TERM!! So close and yet so far from holding my dear son in my arms. So before the munchkin arrives I wanted to share a little about my own pregnancy journey in a no-nonsense, no instagram filters, kind-of-way. This is probably the longest post I’ve written. Read at your own leisure/risk etc.

Your intestines – Jumping right in, let’s talk about bowels. During the first trimester I swore my body forgot how to poop. All my intestines basically stopped what they had been doing for the past 26 years to just stare at this new little lima bean growing in my womb while my digested meals were like, “Uhh. Guys? Are we just supposed to wait here?” Two words for you ladies: Stool. Softener. This became my first (of many) unglamorous companions of pregnancy. It was the friend I didn’t want other people to know I was friends with but secretly we had the best of times. Thank you docusate sodium, you were/are a game-changer.

Also? Heartburn. It happens. Especially in the third trimester. TUM TA TUM TUM TUUUMMS! But wait! There’s more! Gas. You thought it was bad when you ate that questionable Tex-Mex? Giiiirl. Just wait til you have a BIG BIG appetite and a SQUISHED SQUISHED intestinal tract. Every meal you ever eat will somehow manage to leave it’s mark on the environment around you. If human beings farted confetti, let’s just say pregnant women would be leading the parade. Just let your man know now — it’s gonna be death con 5 in the third trimester. And from what I’m told, it may never get better. So… who’s ready to snuggle?!

Your brain – Say goodbye to complete sentences and embrace the awkward pauses that will now plague almost every conversation you have (including those you have with yourself). To-do lists are a cute idea but if you’re like me, they just get lost with everything else, and the ones on my phone are no exception. One day I checked my phone and I literally clicked accidentally on a to-do list. And then as I read this list I felt increasingly useless and inadequate and incompetent as a mother-to-be and cried into my chocolate milk. Which leads me to the next thing.

Your hormones – Every woman experiences these suckers in a different way. I’d like to think I was pretty, you know, “low key” when it came to crazy emotional outbursts. But then John snarfed on the water he was drinking when I mentioned that perspective and I now realize I may have been a little more.. ahem..  unpredictable than I had imagined. *Note: The only time it’s OK to talk a pregnant woman out of a hormonal situation is when she’s convincing herself of what a terrible mom she’s gonna be/what a disaster this is etc. That’s no bueno. But if she just wants to rant for 5 minutes about how stupid bees are or needs to show you half a dozen hallmark commercials while sniffling into your shoulder.. just let it be.

#sexyandiknowit #cankles

#sexyandiknowit #cankles

Your extremities – This last trimester, I’ve convinced myself that my body is allergic to walking, thinking, breathing, existing anywhere that is not air-conditioned. When I walk for any amount of time in the heat, it’s like my hands and feet are all like, “Oh. So THIS is how you’re gonna be huh? THIS is how it’s goin’ down? Yeah. Ok. You can kiss your size 10 shoes GOODBYE. And I hope you weren’t planning on handling anything like a pen or your car keys because all of your fingers gonna be the size of a roll of quarters mmmk?”  So, hello cankles. Apparently you’re a real thing.

You can't see it very well but this is me sporting my new bedtime companion! We tried a variety of brands and sizes. I still snore.

You can’t see it very well but this is me sporting my new bedtime companion! We tried a variety of brands and sizes. I still snore.

Your sinuses – Ugh. This one was a real blow for me, ladies. Before becoming pregnant I had already woken up my husband more times than I could count with my snoring. And he um… he already wore earplugs to bed before we got married. (God is sovereign). Things got bad in the second trimester in terms of just how often I was waking him up in the middle of the night. I joked that I was preparing him for life with a newborn! He wasn’t buying it. And so enters, unglamorous pregnancy companion #2 – Breathe right strips. I had tried these in the past but not with much success. Still, I was desperate and I wanted to make it look like I was at least trying to silence the grizzly bear within. They helped a little bit. I still wear them to bed but I think they may only be operating as a placebo effect. John sees it on the bridge of my nose before falling asleep and thinks, “Well. Something is better than nothing.”

Your wardrobe – Let’s just say the number of maternity undergarments that inspire you to “be the best, sexiest you” based on their flirtatious patterns and designs are just… nowhere. Am I grateful for those who have thought about the comfort of the mama-to-be by creating underwear the size of circus tents? Yes. Very grateful. But I’d have to say that maternity underwear is my unglamorous companion #3. Do the words “granny panties” mean anything to you? They mean EVERYTHING to me right now.

DSC02471Your body image – Being pregnant has legitimately challenged my self-esteem when I look in the mirror. The truth is, you gain weight when you’re pregnant! It’s healthy and normal and good for the baby. But maybe when people say you look great, you acknowledge it with a smile but then run away from iPhone cameras and selfies and embrace taking pictures of anything else. Ladies — I feel you on this.  I weigh the most right now that I have ever weighed in my entire life. And even though it’s “normal” and “good” it’s also been hard and embarrassing. And it’s revealed to me how much it matters to me what I look like. Vanity is sneaky that way.

 

I’m still a work-in-progress on this one. I have resolved to step in front of the camera, to celebrate this season, and to drown out lies about unrealistic body image with the truth and wonder of being a vessel for new life. It helps when you have a husband who is so excited about your growing belly, too. And it always helps to laugh when you find yourself squatting to reach for something (unsuccessfully) or grunting like an old curmudgeon every time you get into and out of a chair. C’est la pregnancy! I bet my baby won’t give one thought to what I look like. He’s just gonna want to be taken care of and loved on like every child in this world. And I can confidently tell you, as I look into the mirror and smile at my reflection, that I am the BEST woman for that job.

So, as a recap – pregnancy upsets and shakes up and messes with you and your body. And pregnancy is a miracle. A big, granny-panty-wearing, stool-softening, cankle-forming, snoring, farting wonder. I raise my bottle of water fast-food cup of Coke to you, fellow mamas-to-be out there. In solidarity we shall waddle to the finish line and celebrate the tiny little munchkins that will set us on yet another journey: To motherhood! To stool softener! To YOU.

To the man who puts up with all of it. I love you!

To the man who has put up with this whole journey and reminds me of how much he loves me and is excited about our son – I LOVE YOU. Thanks for loving me in every season.

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The Unexpected Plan A

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First time in my life that my feet have the appearance of being dainty. Is what I’m telling myself. #positivethinking

I’m 33 weeks pregnant. While I always wanted to start a family and have kids etc, the idea that I have a tiny human being growing inside of me still manages to take my breath away (literally and figuratively).

Before I got pregnant, I would always joke with friends and family about how quickly I would run to the anesthesiologist during labor and ask for an epidural before my cervix even had a chance to dilate. I know myself and I know that pain is not something I like to endure. I don’t have a military mentality about gritting my teeth and getting through it. “Hoo RAH!” Not so much.

I have very close friends, including sisters, who have given birth taking every imaginable course. Whether an emergency C-section, scheduled C-section, home birth, natural birth in a hospital, hospital birth with medication assistance – I’ve been around the mommy block when it comes to labor stories and opinions. I knew from the moment I looked at the two separate pregnancy tests both displaying two pink lines smiling up at me, that I was in for a wild ride.

In many ways I have had a stereotypical pregnancy and in some ways I haven’t. Spoiler alert: this is true of every pregnant woman and every pregnancy ever to have occurred in the history of mankind. Every woman’s body is different and so is every baby. I didn’t get morning sickness except for a little queasiness here and there. I know that means I have just placed myself firmly in the “Enemy camp” of many of my readers who spent 12 weeks hugging the toilet. I have no words for you apart from, “I’m so sorry. Can I bring you some ginger ale?”

I’ve had the occasional craving (FETTUCCINE ALFREDO AND CALZONES, PEOPLE). I’m convinced our son will come out saying, “’Ey Ma-MA! Wheresa mah fetttuccine?!” There’s not a drop of Italian blood in my body so I’m not quite sure what to make of this.

The one thing that has proven to be quite the opposite of what I had envisioned for myself is my birth plan. The once snarky, “HIT ME UP WITH THE MEDS, DOC!” girl has been replaced with the wobbly but determined resolution of, “I want to try to have my baby naturally. Plan A is no epidural, but I’m not dismissing Plan B entirely.” This decision has befuddled me to no end. My dear husband has been supportive (although the bill for my Doula/Labor coach about made him choke, bless him) and my family and friends have been all kinds of happy and excited for me.

I know that as long as my son makes it out safely, I’m gonna be so overwhelmed/exhausted/weepy/hungry it really won’t matter how he got there yet it will totally matter that he was given to me and John and we will do our darndest to love him to pieces the widdle wumblyrumpkin bubbabottom! I am SO excited about the nicknames too, you guys. I LOVE RIDICULOUS NICKNAMES. John and our dear cat Clara have been the main recipients but to have a little being who will be too little to understand and too tiny to run away from all of my gushy shenanigans is going to be a dream come true on so many levels.

In conclusion, as an outsider looking into the world of being pregnant, I was SO sure of one thing – getting an epidural. It was like the no-brainer of all no-brainers. The fact that as I have asked and discussed and prayed about what to do when my turn came to pay the pregnancy piper (oh man. weird visual. But I’m just gonna leave it there anyway) and I found myself leaning towards at least giving the natural route a shot… it’s flabbergasting.

I’m strangely at peace about it and, as with all of life, I’m holding it with open hands. Babies get to decide when and how they arrive so I may end up cradling my precious son after a C-section or after being induced or who knows what else. I thank God that I’m not the first person to ever do this. As I wait in the wings of my last few weeks of pregnancy, full of anxiety and expectation and terror and joy… I hold my unexpected plan A in one hand, and the hand of my sovereign God in the other.

7 weeks to go, y’all.

Wanna go get some Italian food? Perfect. ME TOO.