Pregnancy: Part One
The Way Before
I spent a lot of time in my 20s reading mommy blogs. It terrified the guys I dated during that period. I told them all I was reading them because I was curious about what my body was capable of (e.g. child bearing). Let’s get real, though. You don’t watch hours of “Momversation” unless you want children. I was curious about the physical aspects of pregnancy, but I also wanted to be a mother. I wanted all of the other stuff they had, too: long-term romantic partners, houses, etc... They informed my ideas about adulthood more than I could know. They also taught me about the scarier bits of giving birth, adding words like “episiotomy” to my vocabulary.
To give you an idea of how long ago all this was, the babies from those blogs are young teens now. That’s wild to think about. Blogging then was more about sharing your life and less about satisfying sponsors (“Thanks, International Delight Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer!” etc…). It was a much different landscape. But that is another rant for another time.
The Just Before
I got married to a lovely man in 2015. So it was that last year I found myself not only with a long-term partner, but also financially stable (amazing!). It was feasible to start planning for a kid.
Because this is America, the financial side is important. Here, healthcare costs come at you weeks later at mystery rates. We’d both heard stories about L&Ds that wound up costing upwards of $10k, immediately throwing new parents into debilitating debt. That’s not how we wanted to welcome our little one into the world, if we could help it. We agreed to spend a year creating a decent emergency fund before we started trying to conceive.
The year felt long. I hated the waiting. But I’m so glad we did—not because we wound up needing that extra money (thankfully!), but because I got pregnant more quickly than I thought. For, you see, a 35-year-old woman is considered “geriatric” in the fertility world. At 34, I was on the cusp of being elderly. I figured it’d take ages to get pregnant. Fortunately, I did not have that struggle.
After a couple of months of trying, my boobs felt funny. That’s the only way I can describe it. I had a feeling I knew what it meant. My boss was having a going away party at an axe-throwing bar* that week. I figured that if this was really going to be “it” that I’d go out one last time before I knew for sure. I went, threw some axes with careful vigor, and had one beer. It would be my last drink for quite a while.
I left on the early side, excited and anxious. At home, I quietly took a pregnancy test in our master bathroom. Two lines. I’d secretly bought and hidden away a little green onesie for just this occasion. I brought the test and the onesie out of the bedroom to display to my husband, who was on his laptop in the living room. After a long time wanting, and a year plus waiting, this was it.
* Yes, this is, apparently, a thing.
The First Trimester
There is no nice way to say this: the first trimester was hellish. I’m a lifelong pessimist with an overactive imagination, yet it managed to be even worse than I’d pictured.
There was little throwing up and it sure wasn’t “morning sickness.” I had intense nausea that appeared one day and lasted for months. It was there 24/7 and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had zero appetite. Saltines, apple sauce, and Annie’s mac and cheese were about all that I could eat. Of all the home remedies, fresh lemon in my water was one of the only things that helped. I bought loads and loads of lemons. I progressed from slicing them daintily into my drink to shoving big pieces into my mouth, keeping them there while I grimaced. After a frustratingly long runaround with my insurance, I got the OK for a prescription for my nausea. By that point I’d already lost a bunch of weight.
I work in an office and managed to go in some days, though I can’t remember much of what I did there, honestly. I remembering stuffing plastic grocery bags into my coat pockets before I left the house to make sure I had a place to barf on the train on the way in. I remember covering my face with my sleeve because coffee smells disgusted me—an inescapable scent in an open plan office. I remember having a conversation with my boss during which I told him I just couldn’t operate at 100% for a little bit.
I’d never felt so devoid of energy in my life. At the end of the day, I’d come home and immediately collapse on the couch, not moving a muscle for hours.
That was the first trimester.