This is the first of a series of posts on pregnancy, labor, birth, and being a new parent. See intro and full list.
My pregnancy was sort of easy, but also sort of hard.
Sort of easy:
- Minimal nausea for morning sickness in the first few months. No throwing up, ever. After that passed, I felt great.
- Able to stay relatively active for most of my pregnancy, even biking around [our relatively flat] town up to a week or two before the baby came (although I needed Steve to help push me up and over the overpasses).
- No complications that would have seriously endangered the life of the baby, no bedrest needed.
- Since I work at home, I could take lots of naps.
Sort of hard:
- I had impaired glucose tolerance (one step below gestational diabetes) and had to test my blood sugar four times a day and modify my diet… no sweets, low carbs, specific proportions of carbs, protein, and fat, etc. Because they tested me early for this (family history – my sister had GD), I had to endure this for seven long months. I felt like I was constantly having to think about food – to watch the clock and make sure that there wasn’t too much time between my meals/snacks and to remember to test my blood, to try to come up with meals that would work with my diet but that Steve would also want to eat (Steve does not like whole wheat pasta, for example, but I wasn’t supposed to have normal pasta), to write down my meals and try to balance out my protein/carb/fat intake in proper proportions. And while I’m normally a “salty” fanatic and don’t have much of a sweet tooth, I definitely got to the point where all I wanted was a big slice of moist, fudgy chocolate cake. For every meal.
Other than IGT, I had what seem to be fairly normal “difficulties” of pregnancy:
- Hard time sleeping, particularly in the last three months. I would wake up and not be able to fall asleep again, which sort of prepared me for night-time feedings but also had me in a state of sleep-deprivation even before the baby came.
- Swollen feet and ankles in the last two weeks, thanks to a day-long death march through Ikea as we tried to find furniture for our new home, after which my ankles never recovered.
- Two outfits that were actually comfortable and presentable, but that would start to smell after wearing them for consecutive days at a time.
- Feeling tired all the time, even before my sleep got messed up.
- Having to constantly sleep on the side – I’m normally a back-sleeper.
- Having to pee all the time in the last few months.
Things that I found helpful during my pregnancy:
- I read a lot of books. Books on being pregnant. Books on labor. Books on baby-sleep. Books on soothing. Books on breastfeeding. Overall, I found it helpful to get a variety of perspectives and suggestions. When you read Author A saying one thing and Author B saying the opposite thing and Author C agreeing with Author A and Author D playing the middle line between Author A and Author B, you start to realize that maybe there is more than one way of doing things. (That realization comes, however, after a dark night of being frustrated that none of the “experts” agree.)
- I slept with a pillow between my legs once I got to the point of having to constantly sleep on the side. This is what The Books suggest, anyway. I didn’t spring for a fancy Snoogle or a Snoozer or even “wedges,” just a normal extra pillow between my legs. (My friend Amanda lent me a body pillow, but I ironically didn’t really use it much during pregnancy, although I found it invaluable after the baby came. More on that in a later post.) Some women have told me, though, that wedging pillows to support their belly helps, too.
- I took lots of naps. I had the luxury of doing this since I worked at home.
- I did a few pregnancy mind-exercises. Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracey Gaudet was a great guide for reflective exercises to try during pregnancy and I had one of my most significant introspective moments* that way. Birthing From Within by Pam England has a lot of “birth art” exercises. Steve and I did some together a few weeks before the baby came. It was very rewarding – and fun – to be creative together and use the activity to discuss some of our feelings about having a baby.
Questions for moms or currently pregnant people: What did you find hard or helpful about pregnancy?
* Will draft a post about this later…