As you may have read in my previous post, getting to pregnancy — and a pregnancy that “stuck” — was a long and winding road for J and I. That said, pregnancy itself? I’m reluctant to tell you!
One of the lessons I learned during pregnancy was that when people ask you a question about how it is going, often (though certainly not always!) the reason behind their questioning is loaded. Perhaps they will use your answer as a benchmark against which to compare, at length and with unasked-for advice, their own pregnancy or their partner’s. This looks like: “Well, when I was pregnant it was hell in XYZ ways; let me enumerate in great detail how I suffered.” “You’re tired now, just wait until the kid gets here.” “Better do ABC now because you’ll NEVER BE ALONE AGAIN.”
I really had a hard time with these conversations. And so, I stopped having them, mostly. The best advice I received during my pregnancy, and this lovely advisor told me to throw it out the window if I wanted!, was to Lie Positively. How are you feeling? Great! How are you sleeping? Great! [When the baby comes along:] How are they sleeping, eating, pooping, blinking…? GREAT!
The aim here is to stem the flow of unasked-for advice and the tide of misfortune that childbearers want, for reasons that completely elude me, to dump on you.
And why stem that flow? Why try to distance myself from that muck?
Because my pregnancy really was great. I loved it! (See, I told you you’d hate me for it!) At about 6 weeks pregnant, I awoke from a deep sleep because I was laughing. I personally believe/think/imagine that this was little Hannah telling me a joke or being delightful in the way she is and does. I think it was her telling me she’d come, and that she’d be a dose of sunshine.
I was mildly green around the gills for a few weeks, but I drank ginger lemon tea by the gallon, all day every day, and my nausea would abate. I didn’t retch once. And by week 10, the nausea passed.
I was ravenous. My coworker who’d been experimenting with baking bread (as many did during the pandemic!) brought me a large, circular loaf of crusty, whole-grain. I ate half of it before lunch time. Repeatedly, I took photos of the enormous hoagie sandwiches I bought at the corner store, after I’d already eaten my own lunch. I would text J that I was only going to eat half — this was my “accountability” text. Not because I was or would get fat, but because of the many times I’d already eaten it all and felt so sick afterward! And, inevitably, I would have to send the close-to-upchuck text that I ate the whole thing anyway! But, this time passed, too.
At about 17 weeks, even though I’d been waiting for the 20-week ultrasound to truly commit to “being pregnant/expecting a child,” I had to get new pants. After several fruitless internet searches, and deciding that, No, thank you, Gap, H&M, etc., I will not be wearing stripes throughout the rest of my pregnancy!, I bit the bullet and went to the “nice” maternity wear store and bought some wonderful jeans and a top that fit well and would serve me beyond pregnancy. I came home elated to show J: “I look like ME!” Not a circus tent, not a pastel-shrouded matron. Dark blue jeans, a black top, and bronze loafers: I looked like me. Just with a bump.
I’d always thought that I would be able to make due without the ridiculous accoutrements of pregnancy, like the pregnancy body pillow. However, on that tack, I was wrong. By the latter months, sleeping on my side wore on my hips, and luckily I was on summer break by now and could scour the second-hand online marketplaces, and found this C-shaped one that took me through the end comfortably.
My back didn’t hurt. My feet didn’t hurt. I didn’t get headaches or sweats or pox! I was just carrying.
The only wrinkle for me was my left knee. I’ve always had trouble with that one, whether when running or working out or skiing, and as my pregnancy progressed, so did swelling and pain. This meant I couldn’t even walk a block without limping and began to see a chiro and acupuncturist. I saw an orthopedist, and did eventually make the decision for a cortisone shot, which helped immensely, though temporarily. However, it also meant that I needed to find an alternative mode of exercise, and I started swimming at a local pool. It was glorious! I loved it. Outdoors, watching the trees pass by overhead, engaging in conversation with the retirees who frequented the pool and hearing about the gossip of which upstart was causing trouble in the fast lane (HA!). I’d never swum for exercise before, and it was quite lovely. Not the same as running, sure, but really nice and easy on my knee.
As the time drew nigh, and J and I moved into new place with more stairs than Coit Tower (ouch!), I hurriedly drove hither and yon to acquire second-hand clothes and other items. As it drew even closer, I finally turned to the internet to just send me this crap.
And, by month 8 and 9, we were ready — or as ready as we’d ever be. (And sure, I’m glossing over the fear and terror that occasionally gripped me solid. But that’s another blog.) 😉
(Forgive typos/grammar; published after one draft; baby calls.)