"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Petty Woes of a Pregnant First-timer

I announced my pregnancy a couple of posts back, but obviously a ton of people missed it and there have been several surprised friends on facebook since then. So in case anyone reading this right now is someone who didn't hear it word-of-mouth, missed my official announcement, or hasn't heard from facebook yet, I am having a baby!

Obviously, it's a great wonderful happy joyous miraculous thing! Me and my Trevor are going to be parents, and we are now finally starting to grow our little family :) The gift of life is an incredible thing!

I know several people who have had a few kids (or a lot) and say they love being pregnant. It's so fun, they love having this cute belly for people to rub and poke, they love feeling their baby move inside of them, they love how protective their husband gets, maternity clothes are super comfy, they love constantly thinking about the new little life growing inside of them and having the privilege and blessing to be a part of that process, etc. It sounds like super cute happy fun thing to be pregnant!

Maybe you're one of those people, but it is not so for me. Not one bit.

** I want to point something out before I go on though. I also have several friends who are struggling with repeated miscarriages, infertility, and the death or potentially approaching death of an infant. These wonderful women and their husbands are fighting through heartache and desperately desire this opportunity that has been handed to me so simply and easily without any thought on my part. Despite any of my complaints, I know I am blessed, and I do not mean to mock the pain of anyone in any of these situations, or any similar situation. I admire you all for your faith and perseverance, and I am referring to my complaints as "petty woes" because I know they pale dramatically in comparison to the major emotional, financial, physical, and other challenges that you are your husbands are facing. **

So...there's a teeny tiny little human inside of me. And for most of the time that it's been in me, it has been smaller than a bean or a raspberry. I actually didn't even have any clue that it was in there for a looong time! And then I woke up one day with a 7-week-old baby inside of me! A bit of a shocker? Well, that would be the understatement of the year! Once we found out though, wow, my body sure hasn't let me forget it for one minute!

Despite what those other ladies said about how great being pregnant is, what has this pregnancy been like for me? Ooooh boy. Let me tell you.

The #1 most unpleasant part is that I just never feel good. Like, ever. If I do it's a short-term thing (maaaybe a 3-hour stretch maximum like once a week if I'm really really lucky. I do usually get maybe 30-60 good minutes a day though...) For the past 3 years I have been having daily recurring nausea with no true cause know as of yet. Now I get to deal with my previous health issues that were already impacting my life and well-being quite unpleasantly, and I get to toss a thick extra dose of nausea on top of it! Wahoo!! My previous nausea issues were that I basically get sick every time I eat (and any time I'm stressed, or excited, or emotional, or somewhere loud and chaotic, etc). Now with morning sickness I get sick when I don't eat, and I get hungry every 3 hours or so. That means I get to spend my day waiting. I wake up, get sick because I'm hungry, eat, feel sick because I ate, wait until I'm hungry again to feel better, but then I feel sick because I'm hungry, so I eat and feel sick, so I wait until I'm hungry again to feel better...you get the drift. I just can't win this fight. Ever. I do have great anti-nausea meds though, but I still feel yucky nearly all the time, even when I'm on them. **They have successfully prevented me from throwing up so far for the entire pregnancy! So despite always feeling sick and gross, at least I have been spared that!!**

Another big thing is bloating! It's soooo uncomfortable! My stomach nearly always (it's usually best in the morning and worst at night) feels swollen and just huge. Like someone hooked me up to a bicycle pump and is pumping up my belly and it's stretching from the inside out way further that it's supposed to. Ouch. It also makes it hard to tell when I'm hungry and when I'm full since I frequently feel like there is just waaaay too much of...something (food? air? pressure? who knows what?) in my abdominal cavity. There's also this tight painful pulling feeling if I twist or bend. It's kind of hard to explain. Kind of like how if you totally killed your abs at the gym (like REALLY bad) and then a few days later they feel a bit tight and restricted. Like, not sore, just tight like they're healing? That's the best explanation I've got. But it's also very uncomfortable.

Speaking of which, having a huge swollen bloated belly means my clothes don't fit. Specifically the waistband of my jeans. So I literally wear pj's all day every day, unless I'm wearing my yoga shorts or my ballet cut-off sweats. It's pretty convenient since I spend nearly all of my days laying in bed or laying on the couch feeling miserable, with frequent trips to the kitchen for snacks. Fashion...not my thing these days.

Neither is hygiene for that matter. I haven't experienced too many taste or scent aversions so far, but the ones I have are pretty bad, and they're pretty inconvenient!! The biggest is mint. That means no minty gum to get through the nausea (gum has been my first line of defense for the past many many years, and is a major coping thing. now it just makes me sicker :( it's like having your favorite teddy bear ripped to shreds right when you need it most ), no peppermint oil to help calm my stomach, no TUMS to help with the reflux (I can't stand the fruity ones either), no breath mints to help get rid of food aftertastes that make me especially sick right now, and the big one...no toothpaste. My previously flawless cavity-free (ok, I've had 1 cavity) teeth will be rotted to stumps by the time this baby is born. I can't even stand it if Trevor breathes on me after brushing his teeth. Mint. Hate it hate it hate it!!! My aversion is so strong that even thinking about smelling mint makes my stomach turn. Even writing this is making me sicker. And the scent frequently plays itself through my mind very vividly like that scene from the horror movie that keeps haunting you for weeks after watching it. I have found that brushing my teeth with water is occasionally acceptable, although even having a toothbrush in my mouth kind of makes me gag sometimes now. I also found a small bottle of mouthwash that isn't minty that I use sometime, but the aftertaste makes me sick, so I have to suck on Jolly Rancher Crunch 'n Chews (my go-to aftertaste solution since the baby doesn't like gum) immediately after rinsing and I would imagine that kind of defeats a lot of the good the mouthwash just did.

Also showering makes me sicker for some reason. I think it's partly because it requires me to stand up for a long time, and partly because now I feel like I can't breathe as well with all the steam in the shower. There may be some sort of blood pressure or temperature thing coming into play somehow too? Who knows. But showering is definitely not happening as often either.

The smell of our detergent makes me sick too. There's no way to get away from that! You just have to wear the stink and make yourself sick the whole day.  I usually end up wearing the same outfit for like 3 days before changing it to cut down on the amount of extra nausea that clean clothes bring. That means, if I have to go somewhere (church?) and I decide to shower because I haven't done that in days, and I decide to brush my teeth so I don't send people running for the hills from my halitosis, and I put on something clean because I've been sleeping in what I'm currently wearing for the past 3 days, I am going to be one sick girl wherever I go!! NOT FUN! :(

Another thing I've having a hard time with is acid reflux and knowing how much to eat. The reflux was reaaaally bad the first few weeks after finding out I was pregnant (which we only found out because I was feeling so ridiculously sick), but fortunately has gotten quite a bit better lately. It is still a problem though. Luckily, the wintergreen TUMS are so sugared up and the mint is fairly mild so my body can handle them sometimes, but I have to follow it with some food or those Jolly Rancher Crunch 'N Chews (they have seriously helped me so much) to get any lingering wintergreen flavor out of my teeth and out of my mouth ASAP or I'll feel way sick. Knowing how much to eat is hard because when hunger hits, it hits hard!! Quite often I go from minding my own business to feeling like I've starving in just minutes. Then since I'm so starving I assume that I need a whole meal, but really my body just needs enough to keep it quiet for about three hours until it suddenly tells me I'm starving again. It's weird. And I'm bad at judging when I'm full. Especially when I'm always so bloated. Ugh. Being starving and feeling bloated beyond belief is such a strange and contradictory feeling!! And uncomfortable. And very unpleasant.

Also of note, my sacroiliac joint is hurting BAD these days on my right side. For anyone who is unfamiliar with it, it's the spot where your sacrum connects to your pelvis. You know those little indentations or dimples everyone has on either side of their back below their hip bones and above their butt? It's right around there. And it hurts. Pretty much all the time. Around Christmas I started having pain there, and my chiropractor helped me and I got a new computer chair and stopped doing a couple of things in ballet and it was better for awhile. I think I really aggravated it on the 5-day road trip here though, and laying in bed all day propped up on pillows is really not making it feel good at all.

A couple of other little things that make me less myself include:
- chocolate tastes funny :( It's still good...but it doesn't taste the same anymore
- my body hair has decided to start growing long and luscious these days
- I sleep a lot. Like 8-10 good solid deep hours a night, in addition to laying in bed nearly all day
- grocery shopping is a lot less productive. I start craving some certain kind of food and I forget about my original shopping list. One time it was beans, red sauce, burritos, and taco seasonings. Another time I went produce crazy. This last time I bought like 7 boxes of crackers and bags of chips, and 10 rice-a-roni/hamburger helper/pasta sides type things even though I'm lactose intolerant and most of them have a lot of cream and butter and stuff. I almost bought ice cream too, but in the end I didn't.
- I'm a bit more moody and emotional these days. For example, I was watching a movie and I totally started crying at like 5 different parts. I'm really not much of a cryer, and it wasn't even a sad movie,  it was a kids movie!
- I can't stand water that isn't ice cold. Before this pregnancy I always drank room temperature water. I actually strongly preferred it to colder water. Now I keep 2 water bottles in the fridge and 2 in the freezer and I rotate them throughout the day so I always have cold cold water.
- I don't really like people very much. Probably mostly because I look gross and feel sick all the time. I'm actually quite starved for some company, but I sure don't like it whenever I have it!
- Basically any motivation to do anything is gone, gone, gone. Although spending all day on Pinterest or watching Netflix while lying in bed in my pj's is getting pretty boring and unfulfilling after all these weeks, I really just can't think of anything else I want to do. I hate feeling sick and blah all the time.  
- I especially like salty and vinegery things. Mustard, ketchup, onions, olives, pickles, chips and salsa, chex mix, popcorn, italian dressing, you get the picture. Love it.

I'm sure there are several other odd things that have started happening since this baby came into existence, but I think that's definitely enough complaining for one day! And now that I've gotten that all out there, I am sooooo close to being out of my first trimester! I hear the first pregnancy is the worst, and getting through the first trimester is usually the hardest, assuming I'm not one of those unfortunate women who have to suffer through morning sickness for the entire 9 months! So I'm hoping and praying that in the next week or so I will start to see some notable improvements and will start to be bit more of normal happy self instead of this useless, swollen, sick, stinky, miserable blob of gross that Trevor has been so good about dealing happily and kindly with! And I really really really hope that my next pregnancy will not be as bad because I do NOT want to have to do this again!


  1. I love it! I love reading your blog! I'm sorry you are having a horrible pregnancy. I would come over and hang out but it would take me a while to get there and I don't think Parker would love the trip. I hope with you that you get better soon.

  2. Oh Karin. I totally feel you. Especially on the mint thing. We switched to cinnamon toothpaste, which became bearable. . . but with my first pregnancy, I threw up every time I brushed my teeth. And I had to switch out ALL of our soaps.
    Try taking warm showers (instead of hot) if you can. That may help. (That's what I have to do, especially early in pregnancy.) But really, something about showers is exhausting. And nauseating. I've been there, too.
    Anyway, I do hope things improve for you (and soon!!). And maybe talk to your doctor about taking a combination of anti-nausea meds. With this little guy, I was taking zofran, phenergan, and something else for a while, along with unisom and b6. But now things are much better, and I'm only taking the unisom and b6 combo at night.
    Hang in there! I'm sorry you're having such a rough pregnancy. Just remember, you're growing a human being, and that makes you amazing. (Even if you don't feel amazing all the time.)

  3. Ugh, I totally know how you feel. Pregnancy was probably one of the worst experiences of my life, but the reward was definitely worth it. Sounds like your pregnancy is very similar to mine, but for your sake, I hope your sickness doesn't last as long as mine did! And the aversions...oh man, Forrest smelled SO bad all the time to me, even after I would make him take long showers and be squeaky clean. But, it is worth it, and knowing that you are carrying such a precious little baby makes it a little better -- especially when the baby starts kicking :)

    As for the acid reflux, I sometimes thought that was worse than throwing up! My doctor told me to take maalox, and it was the only thing that helped. :)

  4. I hope you feel better!!! For the pants not fitting thing, you can always try using a hair tie - loop in into the button hole of your jeans, and then wrap it around the button, and it's nice and stretchy. Of course, it stretches out the hair tie, so keep that in mind. There are also these maternity bands that you can wear on top of your jeans and not have to button them up. Think of the panel on maternity jeans, but the panel by itself. I found mine at target by the socks and pantyhose for about $16. Hope one of those ideas helps! I know what a bummer it is to feel like you look like crap all the time. Hang in there!

  5. Thanks for the empathy and advice and support ladies! I don't have a doctor out here yet, but I'm getting one soon and hopefully he/she will have some good ideas too :)

  6. Ashley, that hair tie idea is BRILLIANT!! I'm definitely giving that a try! And I'll be on the lookout for one of those bands. I can't believe I haven't heard of them!