Thursday, January 27, 2011

You Can't Fight Gravidity

In July I could walk out my front door and run five miles without stopping. Today I walked two miles and think I might have overdone it a little.

You can't really complain about being pregnant. Heck, I practically apologize for it when I'm talking to a friend who's struggled with infertility or miscarriage. There are so many women who'd love to be where I am now, either because they can't get pregnant, have lost a pregnancy, or miss the days when they were pregnant. I absolutely get all that.

But pregnancy's not all wine and roses, either. (Actually, it's not wine and roses at all. Because people look at you with loud disapproval if you drink wine while visibly pregnant. And roses smell pretty strong. I can't handle scents like that in my current state.) Let's take a moment to contemplate the use of senses in that parenthetical and consider how I could have gracefully included "touch" to hit all five.

I've mentioned that I knew I was pregnant almost immediately due to nausea, exhaustion, intolerance for altitude (and onion rings) and intense craving for protein every couple of hours.

From there I moved on into worse nausea and exhaustion and protein cravings plus some fun bleeding issues. I gave up all types of exercise for napping and snacking . . . and still managed to lose nine pounds in just a couple of months.

I've since gained them back with interest and am fully enjoying my elastic waistband pants. But there are new joys for the third trimester.

Skin. Holy cow. Didn't I get large enough the first two times I did this? Heck, my belly's so striped I already look like a zebra (a really, really sexy zebra, obviously). But some days I feel the baby pressing off my spine and push-push-pushing against my abdomen. The skin stretches and burns and there's nothing I can do to soothe it.

"Round ligaments." I don't even know what that really means. I thought ligaments generally connected bones to bones. But I know what I feel and let me try to explain that. It's the middle of the night and I'm fast asleep. Then maybe my husband shifts on the bed or I take a deep breath or the baby rolls over or who knows what but my uterus gently begins to pull to one side. I wake up and I know what's coming. OH MY GOD SOMEONE'S STABBING ME IN THE SIDE WITH A STEAK KNIFE PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP. Nothing makes it stop until I find a neutral position - which varies, incidentally - and sit/stand/lie there shaking and whimpering for a several minutes as the pain gradually subsides to manageable levels. I also experience "round ligament pain" if I shift direction too quickly or do something unwise during the day like sneezing without getting into the proper position. These are modifications I've quickly made to my motor plans. But I can't figure out how to stop my uterus from shifting around inside me while I sleep. (No, the maternity pillow prop doesn't help.)

Heartburn. But only when I eat or drink anything I enjoy.

Extra body hair and skin pigmentation. But how much do you really want to know about me, anyway? Surely not nearly this much. So I'll leave out everything to do with the lower end of the digestive track and won't go anywhere near the "h" word for now.

Congestion. At the moment I'm recovering from a nasty cold. But I've felt stuffy since August. I wake up in the morning, eager to relieve the pressure in my clogged sinuses, but nothing comes out when I blow my nose. This is because of edema in so many of my tender tissues and is unrelated to bacteria, viruses, or allergies. It's all hormones, baby. My husband would say that I snore when I'm pregnant, too, but we don't believe him.

Edited to add: Relaxin. (Not to be confused with "relaxing.") My most pressing complaint at the moment has to do with the fact that my pelvis is spreading to allow the baby more room to escape. Have you ever slipped and fallen into the splits, straining your groin? I've felt that same sort of pain with every step I've taken for the past week or so. It's increasingly difficult to walk normally without devolving into a splayed-legs waddling but I will persevere!

Blah blah blah contractions, blah blah blah nothing fits anymore, blah blah blah I need to pee whenever I stand up or cough or have a funny thought, blah blah blah what's happening to my dainty little ankles, blah blah blah did my eyesight really just get worse blah blah blah is that my cervix attempting to communicate with me, blah blah blah those are tender, dadgummit, blah blah blah and so forth.

I enjoy being pregnant, I really do. And I am so fortunate to have experienced three healthy pregnancies. But I can't say I'm really sad (yet) that this is my last time.


Carmie said...

I totally agree about not being able to complain...but really wanting to complain! I was always pissed that I couldn't sleep on my back or stomach. :)

And it was just weird that everyone knew I was pregnant just by looking at me. It's no secret after awhile, for sure, but I just really didn't like sharing my secret with everyone who could see me!

Sarahlynn said...

Agreed about sleeping on my back!!!

Also about the public/secret thing. It was especially hard for me the first time, when I knew my daughter had some difficult diagnoses and yet everyone I met seemed to have some comment and I had to struggle not to cry all the time. ("Do you know if you're having a boy or a girl? Well, it doesn't matter as long as it's healthy, right?")

There's also the weirdness about your belly being a big signal right out in front of you that you've had sex.