Because pregnancy is a ten year test of endurance and one’s willingness to suffer, I had to break up my pregnancy story into three separate blog postings. In case you hadn’t caught on to the source of the three part series, it’s based upon my pregnancy trimesters. This one is dedicated to my second trimester.
By the time my second trimester began, I was hopeful that all the crappy ailments of first trimester would lead to the rumored “easy” trimester. Some of the rumors were true- my energy mostly returned, I looked pregnant but not like a house boat, and I honestly wanted to try to enjoy pregnancy. It was difficult to do so. I felt too fat to go to the pool, it was hotter than usual carrying around the extra pounds, and clothes were increasingly unflattering. The upsides? I felt Fletcher kick at twelve weeks, Captain Laser Pants felt him at fourteen weeks. We knew our little guy was strong and feisty- just like his parents. As an aside, EVERYONE comments on how strong he is now, and I am quite proud of my little Chuck Norris.
I had been too sick through the end of my first trimester to continue to work out, which was good, because every time I was at the gym, the movie Knocked Up was on. I resorted to walking with CLP and the dogs and doing prenatal yoga (which I totally attribute to having an easy delivery and staying physically flexible). I tried to eat healthily. I saw my counselor twice a month. I made efforts to move in the “right” direction for pregnancy, you know, the Pampers and Dreft and whatever else commercials tell us pregnancy is wonderful and beautiful. I wasn’t expecting to have any worse side effects of being pregnant other than the pregnancy itself, which I considered bad enough. Until I developed kidney stones. For the record, I’m allergic to any kind of “fun” drug, including but not limited to: codeine, vicodin, lortab, hydrocodone, etcetera etcetera. I took a few low dose codeine with Tylenol pills when the pain was intense, got hives, and tripped like I was touring with a rock band. I threw the rest of the pills away- kidney stone pain was tolerable in comparison. By my next doctor’s visit, my blood pressure had risen substantially. The OB office found protein in my urine. I was seriously worried about preeclampsia, which was ruled out, even though my blood pressure stayed high throughout the rest of my pregnancy.
My engagement ring had to come off because of weight gain and swelling. My hair was growing around an inch a month. I had dreams about having alien babies. I had dreams about CLP leaving me. Not only was my body unfamiliar, but my mind was too. I felt… vulnerable. This was a feeling I had stonewalled myself against wholly. I worked to be emotionally impenetrable, and here pregnancy was, making me feel like a crazy hormonal woman. I had never before been “that girl” who cries at commercials, or movies, and now Battlestar Galactica was making me emotional. I felt like I was a stranger to myself.
What added insult to injury- most of my friends and some of my family forgot that I had any other personality trait aside from “being pregnant”. I think this happens to a lot of women, actually. People think that the only thing that makes a pregnant woman herself is that she’s pregnant. Later, these people assume the only thing about a mom is that she’s a mom. Many women believe this about themselves, from what I have seen. They forget their comedic timing, or their sense of fashion, or that they had hobbies/ interests/ passions and invest completely in the idea that all they can be is a mom. That’s not to say that a woman shouldn’t invest completely in her child. I know that in the future I am looking forward to silly samurai costumes with Fletch as we battle with foam swords on a random Wednesday afternoon while CLP is at work. I can’t wait to help him put up glow in the dark star constellations on his bedroom ceiling. I think one of the best things you can give your child, and your husband for that matter, is all the best things that make you “you”. My weird humor, my love of comic books and sci-fi, my geeky interests in genealogy and astronomy, and ten million other things that make me freaking awesome are going to be seriously fun learning tools and gifts to my son. It began to seriously make me mad when people that originally liked me for all these reasons just forgot them and began only asking about pregnancy. I didn’t want my thirty seven weeks of pregnancy to define who I was to anyone, especially my husband and child.
When we officially found out we were having a boy, we were both relieved and thrilled. CLP said he would need a shot gun collection for having a daughter, and I didn’t want to have hair bow/ barbie doll/ mini-skirt/ hoodlum boyfriend battles with a daughter.
I dropped my work from full time to part time, started reading pregnancy books, and wished for the whole process to speed up. By the end of my second trimester, I had read enough books to terrify myself into believing my body would never be the same; the scales echoed that fear. I had put on nearly forty pounds. I was blessed in one way to weather all this- no stretch marks. That didn’t keep me from slathering on obscene amounts of Vaseline’s cocoa butter oil gel all over every inch of me between my armpits and knees. The experts say stretch marks are mostly genetic, but I say that healthy moisturizing certainly assists in keeping those scars off your skin. Once I went through the third bottle of the stuff, I gave up on reading pregnancy books and switched to books about after the kid is home with you. After all, the doctors and nurses will make sure the baby comes out of you a-ok, and they make sure he stays alive at the hospital, but once you leave and take the mini- you home, that’s all on you. So I started reading books on basic baby care, breast feeding, reviews on baby products (and subsequently making my baby shower registry), and postpartum self care. I had no intentions of beginning motherhood with a sagging belly, big butt and a sack of weepy emotions. When my third trimester began, I had already laid plans for how I wanted to come out of the gate, or in this case, the hospital doors.
Have I mentioned my plans usually don’t go accordingly?
Coming Soon: Why Pregnancy is Temporary Purgatory: Part Three