Monday, September 24, 2012

Pregnancy… Glow Schmow

This sort of thing is what makes
pregnancy tolerable. Teeny tiny socks
for teeny tiny feets.

My mother once told me that there is a biological mechanism that enables women to almost forget the time leading up to a birth because if women really and vividly remembered what they felt before their baby was born, they would have no more children.  I took what she said in stride, instead thinking it was just that she never really wanted us to begin with that motivated her to tell me that.  Instead, I listened to the women who I now wish to punch in the face; every one of them, personally… The women who said this sort of stuff to me:

“Oh, pregnancy was such a blessed time for me, it was such an amazing experience.”
“I never felt better in my life than I did when I was pregnant.”
“I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I started showing.”

Now seeing how long I’ve been trying to get pregnant, which has been more than eight years, you’d think I’d be more grateful and shut my yap… but if you know anything about me, you know that isn’t the case. I’m going to bitch incessantly about this until I’ve instilled at least one iota of humbling reality in women who are also seeking to ‘glow in the experience of pregnancy’.

For one or two women, pregnancy might indeed be a nine-month reprieve from the inconvenience of the menstrual cycle, with some mild binging on forbidden foods and a period of great hair and skin.  But for many women, pregnancy is an arduous, difficult thing, and there is NOTHING WRONG with resenting how the experience makes you feel. It is HARD. And it is something I wish men could experience, because if they did, they would respect women a LOT more… hell, we’d rule the world because they would be bowing to us in awe. 

My pregnancy has been one awful set of symptoms transitioning into another awful set of symptoms for the seven months I’ve been enjoying this state. The only thing that keeps me going and positive and laughing it all off is the knowledge that the squirmy little bugger inside me is the end result. Otherwise, I’d have probably killed at least four people by now. I’m serious. Starting with my mother, in spite of her foreshadowing wisdom I’d chalked up to her Borderline Personality Disorder.  I’ll talk more about her later—everyone probably wants a Satan update.

Anyhow, I’m sure if you’ve been reading this blog since the unexpected and downright miraculous discovery of my being pregnant after having been cut off my fertility meds in December.  When I took my pregnancy test, I just missed a couple of days’ work for being sick. At the time I thought it was something viral. I was vomiting, and I had the worst headaches. But when at work one morning after entertaining my coworkers with the sound of my violent retching, I realized there were other discomforts I hadn’t noticed. The daily morning mild migraines were constant. But I noticed my breasts were really super sore. Now my breasts, being large and annoying, are often sore even when not pregnant, it’s just the side-effect of having DDDs, I guess. But this was a special kind of sore. A ‘don’t brush my boobs on the edge of my desk’ sore. A ‘if you even look at them, hubby, I will hit you’ sore. 

Out of habit from my clomid days, I was still counting days on my calendar, tracking my cycles. Thank goodness I’d written down the last date of my cycle. It wasn’t SO late that it was alarming to me, at the time I think I was about nine days late, which wasn’t unusual when not on Clomid. I’ve always been irregular.  I resolved to watch for the next few days… usually what would happen in the past was I’d be late, I’d get my hopes up, I’d rush out and get a pregnancy test, and then the day after the negative result, my cycle would begin. I didn’t want to endure that again. I decided to wait until at least 12 days.

Meanwhile, my symptoms were increasingly telling.  I guess after years of being keenly aware of my body, looking for signs, I was really honed in on the severity of these symptoms.  I did wait three more days, got sick at work each of those days. I texted my hubby to warn him there was the possibility I would come home crestfallen and crying again, and he discouraged me from getting a pregnancy test because he didn’t want me to be disappointed.  Regardless, I was resolved. I went to Walgreens and then an errand to the bank. I couldn’t wait, so I actually took the test at the bank.

It took two of the 99% accurate tests to convince me it was POSSIBLE. It took another test at a resource center for me to text husband and to confirm that yes, I have positive pregnancy tests. It took seeing the little heartbeat of the bean for me to accept that this was indeed a real pregnancy and it was happening.  I would spend the next two months in a state of worry, knowing how high-risk this pregnancy was and how tenuous those first three months are.

The first three months were HELL.  My hormone levels were SKY HIGH. I was sick every morning. I missed so much work, I ended up having to take leave. My headaches each morning got worse and worse. And even as the nausea began to abate, the migraines got worse. Constipation, hemorrhoids, dry retching, acne, fatigue of the likes I’ve never experienced… fall asleep sitting up kind of fatigue, something I’ve never been able to do.  But this new symptom is probably the worst of all.  Now those of you who are squeamish might wish to stop reading (probably should have stopped when I talked about sore boobs).

We saw this a couple of weekends ago on our way to Pine State Biscuits.
It was that day I had my first Braxton-Hicks contraction. That was fun.
I'm sad I missed this event. Maybe I can enter when Baby-J is crowning.
The newest symptom is frickin’ AGONY. It started sometime in August and has been getting progressively worse since. I now understand why pregnant women walk the way they do. I thought it was because of the ungainly belly.  I have learned otherwise.  You see, for some women, I’m not sure how many; the pressure of having a baby’s head pressing on the pelvis creates a sharp pain that feels external… almost like the pain of a fresh burn that occurs, well, to put it delicately, in the ‘saddle’ area. In less delicate terms, I grumble about my Vajayjay a lot.  It started off as a pain that sharply appeared the moment I tried to stand from a sitting or laying down position, and would abate after a minute or two, if I didn’t lift my legs. Lifting my legs… ::shudder:::  As the weeks have worn on, the pain is pretty much constant when I’m on my feet.

Now mind you, the women who are disposed to effuse smug and unsolicited advice say things like “Walk… it’ll make you feel better.” That is 100% bull crap. Walking exacerbates the pain. Although while walking, the pain may dull down, after I sit down and get up again, the soreness is amplified by TEN. If I do a lot of walking one day, the next day is like I’m being tortured by the Spanish inquisition.  I want to slap every woman that tells me to walk.  I want to slap any woman who mentions Kegel exercises to me. Seriously? This is pain created by pressure and spreading of the PELVIS bone, it has nothing to do with your Vajayjay muscles. And honestly, the fact that the baby is sitting smack on your bladder, the kegel is getting PLENTY of straining exercise since I’m CONSTANTLY holding back the three drops of urine that feels like a deluge pressing against a dam. Shut up, you damned women! SHUT THE HELL UP! ::gargh:: 

Baby J is an active, seemingly healthy baby so far. He’s happily doing his impression of Michael Flatly and Bruce Lee inside me, and every squirm is a consolation. He’s okay. He made it through the first three months; his heartbeat is regular and steady. That is what keeps me from becoming a homicidal maniac, killing advice-giving moms.  This is what I’m going to hold onto, and I am hoping, just like that cheesy moment in ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ when the long-suffering character, after nearly dying during a C-section, sighs out in relief when holding her baby and says that the past nine months were beautiful… I’m hoping that will happen.  The idea of two more months of this blinding pain in my crotch is almost unbearable.  I keep thinking Baby-J, Baby-J, Baby-J… The fatigue, I can handle, the occasional retch fest, I can handle, the softened migraine, I can live with… but this whole pain down there is absolutely dreadful. Sixty more days!

It’s a dangerous time, but not for me. It’s dangerous for women who come to me with happy faces, boasting about easy pregnancies, or giving annoying trite advice I already read on the web… It’s dangerous for them. I’m a ticking time-bomb. I may have to break my foot off in someone’s ass if they keep babbling their crap at me. ::grump::

So please, women who are actively trying to get pregnant… it may not be the blissful, golden-lit time of flowy hair and glowing skin. It may be nine months of abject humiliation, pain, discomfort, fatigue and increasing annoyance as other women feel it necessary to patronize you to death with their unwanted advice. It might be more than two months of walking like John Wayne in chaps because your crotch-area feels like someone just jammed a red-hot cattle brand onto it. It is months of going pee about nine times a night, having to get up and fight the crotch pain to shuffle to the bathroom in agony.  It is trying to be pleasant to people when you really just want to kick their face in for not having to endure this pain.

Oh, incidentally… I wanted to find somewhere where we could take pre-natal classes; newborn care and breastfeeding and such.  I found a number in Gresham and called it, it turned out it was a couple of Doulas who gave these classes. So I dialed up the number in the car with hubby listening. We were completely floored by the conversation, and laughed about it all the way home.

“Hi, I’m interested in finding some classes on newborn care and breastfeeding. Possibly pre-natal classes if need be…”

“Oh, then you’ve phoned the right person! We work with all kinds of women, preparing them for childbirth and teaching them to care for the child afterwards.”

“Cool. “

“It’s a nine week course. We work mainly with women who are hoping to have natural childbirth, but we have all sorts in the class, we don’t judge.”

“I am unapologetic about the fact that I will have an epidural if I can,” I laughingly reply. The woman hesitates and then says:

“Well, we don’t judge, but we do like to work with women who want to at least TRY to have natural childbirth…” ::eyeroll:: Way to go on not judging there, Sparky.  Good god. $35 an hour to pay for a sanctimonious granola to tell me what to do while sneering down on my epidural-using ass? No thanks.


Rozy Lass said...

Stumbled onto your blog--really enjoyed this post about pregnancy. I threw up or felt nauseous every day for about six weeks with each pregnancy (five) and always felt like I wanted to DIE! Then things would be calm for a while until the end when the discomfort would be crazy. Everything I've ever learned about enduring to the end and "I can do hard things" I learned by being pregnant. All the best to you and your baby. And it is kinda magical how you forget all the bad once you get that little bundle in your arms. Then you begin on all the discomforts and pains of raising children. That's a whole 'nother adventure. But all that fades too and you remember mostly the best things, the sweetest or funniest things. All in all I wouldn't trade the experience for any other. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Reading your entry brought back ALL the memories of my second and final pregnancy to a large and very healthy, if not "on time" baby. I feel your pain, and did then. I was older, in fact my ultrasound was billed to my insurance as a "geriatric" ultrasound because I was 39! LOL! My mantra for that time, "and this too shall pass...". And I swore a lot. It passed, along with the huge varicose vein in my thigh, but I later developed back problems, ultimately resulting in surgery. I had natural birth, almost in the car, but natural. If you can get that epidural, do it. The baby won't care, and you'll not hurt as much. The best unsolicited advice, rest. To heck with walking and Kegals, just rest every minute you can. Sleep is magical, especially if it is in short supply because you have to pee so much.

After all that, he is wonderful and I wouldn't trade him. I'm very protective of him, because I tell him he was such a difficulty to get, I am NOT trying again.

Good luck to you, rest, and look forward to your little bundle.

lonly pregnant said...

I was older, in fact my ultrasound was billed to my insurance as a "geriatric" ultrasound because I was 39! LOL! My mantra for that time, "and this too shall pass


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