When I was pregnant with Sara, my first child, I read all the requisite pregnancy books. There were a few things that I found helpful; how to date a pregnancy...I never understood that whole extra 2 weeks thing, how the baby was developing week by week, a few basic things that were happening to my body but that was about it. There was so much more weird stuff happening not addressed in any book I read. It was if my body was going through a new science experiment everyday. I wasn't sure if it were normal or not and I didn't feel like I could ask anyone...What if they thought I was crazy? This being my third pregnancy I now know that it IS normal...so if I were to write a pregnancy book these are some chapters I might include. Keep in mind these are just a synopsis of the chapters but I think you will get the idea.
If you have not yet been pregnant but intend to be someday STOP READING HERE!!! Pregnancy is AMAZING!!! It is all fairy dust and rainbows just like FIT Pregnancy, TLC and Gerber ads lead you to believe.
If you choose to continue reading keep in mind this probably contains way too much information and you will learn things about me you never wanted or needed to know. If you do read on please keep a few things in mind...1.) You can never unread this and 2.) You are forbidden from ever using this information against me. Continue at your own risk...you have been fairly warned...
Chapter 1-- Do You Smell What I Smell?
Chuck has always said that my sense of smell is my super power...he jokes that I can smell a skunk all the way in New Hampshire. He is right, my baseline sense of smell is beyond that of a normal person. When I am pregnant it is something for the record books...I can smell things that a blood hound would pass by. I can smell food cooking in the neighbor's house, I can smell Anna's poop 2 hours before she goes, I swear to God I can smell the fish's pee in our fish tank. Yes, I am that sensitive. Now most super powers would be looked upon as a gift, mine is more of a curse. Nothing smells good to me these days. I saw a beautiful bouquet of flowers recently and it was so potent I was gagging and all I could think of was taking that beautiful bouquet and stomping the sh*t out of and destroying the scent. My house is the worst. We have 2 cats and a guinea pig...normally you can not smell these creatures when you come in our house. I make sure of that. Now I swear our house smells like a barn, but it is more the 2 legged creatures in our house that is causing me the most distress...Between Anna with her pooping herself and Sara with her GI issues I am constantly making a home made gas mask by pulling my shirt up over my nose. But that is not the worst of it my friends, oh no, it gets bad, really bad...you see Chuck is lactose intolerant and one night he KNOWINGLY ate Parmesan cheese!!! Was he looking to start a fight?... That is his kryptonite...we have a small house and he spread the "love" all through it. Not only could I not breathe from the overwhelming stench but I was seething that he would have a total disregard for my situation and actually eat dinner....he should suffer with me in solidarity and eat a bland diet for the next 9 months. We would be divorced right now (oh yeah, I was that mad) save for the fact that we have the worst cable/internet service in the world and when I went to print off divorce papers from Legal-zoom.com the internet was not working. He lucked out this time but he is on notice and he knows he is one yogurt away from being single.
Chapter 2--Morning, Noon and Night Sickness
I would be thrilled if I had morning sickness. It would be manageable. I have around the clock sickness. I do have a small window from about 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. that I can actually eat and keep it down. This pregnancy is different from the other 2...boy perhaps?! I constantly feel like I am on a waterbed. I am battling nausea all day long. If it were just the nausea it wouldn't be so bad. I am vomiting too...who we kidding? I am puking my guts out. The girls are sick of it. They lost their compassion (not that they had any anyway) long ago. When I puke they tell me to just keep my mouth shut and stop puking...or Anna had some advice when she walked into the bathroom as I was mid-hurl...she told me to flush the toilet...that I was gross. I have puked at work, in the car, in a store and outside. Nowhere is safe. I fortunately have made it to a proper waste receptacle all but twice. The first "miss" was the other day...I walked into the bathroom a few minutes after Chuck changed Anna's poop accident. As I walked in I was instantly taken over by the smell...as the first whiff hit the back of my nose it was like a reflex was triggered and my body was protecting me from the evil that must have been in my presence. How a small, sweet little girl could have smelled so bad is a mystery...Chuck hit the nail on the head when he said her crap smelled like black death....again, I fashioned myself a home made gas mask and cleaned the puke off the wall and floor.
The next day I was in the shower and I was blindsided by a vomiting episode it came on so fast and furious and was so violent my stomach revolted on me and purged right there in the shower. I called Chuck to get me some paper towels so I could clean it up...as I stood in ankle deep water with my breakfast swirling around me he told me not to worry he would take care of it. Now I am sure that it had something to do with the fact Sara had dance class and he wanted to make sure I was ready in time to take her or he would be stuck taking her...a fate worse than death...but either way I was grateful...now that folks is true love! Volunteering to clean someone else's half digested eggs out of the shower is the ultimate sign of commitment....he may have just redeemed himself for the Parmesan cheese incident.
Chapter 3--Are You Really Going to Eat That?
With all of my pregnancies I had some weird cravings. Sara it was white cake with white frosting and coconut. Anna it was cream cheese and olive sandwiches on hearty white bread...the package literally had to say "hearty white bread" or it wouldn't make the cut. With this baby it is potatoes. Any kind; mashed, boiled, french fries (dipped in a combo of mayo and minced garlic), potato omelets, cheese sandwiches with potato chips and my ultimate craving....drum roll please...canned potatoes. The girls keep asking why I am eating disgusting food...they don't get the concept of canned potatoes and I did have a brief love affair with my old standby of cream cheese and olive sandwiches. I don't really have an answer for them. I am a vegetarian and I eat a ton of fresh fruits and veggies everyday...the thought of eating anything green or relatively healthy literally turns my stomach and I have been avoiding it all costs. I did have 2 days at the beginning of the week where I wasn't nauseous and didn't vomit...I have been looking back on those days fondly since it came back with a vengeance...I think the fact that I made some homemade veggie soup...one of my favorites and ate 2 big bowls did me in. That is what I ate right before the whole black death poop from Anna. It wasn't as good coming back up and having to clean it off the wall really turned me off from veggies again. Oh well, it was a short lived run, but a glorious 2 days nonetheless. Oh for the record I had rice in the soup. EPIC FAIL!!! If you are nauseous during pregnancy avoid rice!! You will have grains of rice stuck in your mouth, throat and all the way down. Once you puke it up you spend the next hour trying to hack it up...much like a cat working on a hairball. On that note some other combos to avoid as they are not pleasant the second time around...
Orange juice and eggs.
Watermelon and garlic mashed potatoes.
Oranges and a granola bar.
Green bean casserole and deviled eggs (an Easter mistake).
Green bean casserole and anything really.
Chapter 4--They Grew Back!
When I turned 30 I was single, no prospects on the horizon, not sure I would ever have kids so I did some self improvement work. I had a little plastic surgery. Yep, not ashamed to admit it. I had a breast reduction. I had a pound and a half taken off each side...They looked great! Then about 4 years later it all changed when I got pregnant. If you took a topless picture of me now, cut it out in the style of a paper doll and inserted it into a picture of a newly discovered tribe of pygmies or the like you would be hard pressed to find me. It would be like "Where's Waldo" Nat Geo style. My kids have left my body unrecognizable. After 3 pregnancies and breast feeding they are so misshapen and discolored that I seriously look like a character out of Futurama. It is a good thing Chuck loves me because if he ever left me there is not enough Spanx, duct tape or plastic surgery in the world to lure in an unsuspecting suitor. Now at 15 weeks into this pregnancy I have had to add a bra expander to my wardrobe. It is an extra 3 inches that hooks onto the back of your existing bra. At the rate I am expanding I am going to have to go down to the basement and dust off some bungee cords to hold things together...
In the meantime I have to go for a cardiac stress test next week. Nothing serious, because I have a cardiac issue I have to be closely monitored during my pregnancies. So what that means is I have to run on a treadmill for as fast and as long as I can. I am not sure but I thought cruel and unusual punishment is considered unconstitutional in our country. I believe that this qualifies. Making a pregnant lady with enormously huge, sore boobs run...that seems cruel and unusual to me. Nonetheless I have to have it done. I kind of want to go in, just sit down and outright declare that I fail. I am not sure that will fly. In my mind I imagine myself to run gracefully...kind of like one of the Bay Watch babes as they glide across the beach in slow motion. I am sure I will look more like Big Ang (google her) lumbering my way through hoping I don't through myself into a cardiac arrest...
Chapter 5--The Gas We Pass
Yes my friends, I am going there. This is certainly something that was "conveniently" omitted from any pregnancy book I read. In the first trimester you will have gas. A LOT of gas. With all 3 pregnancies I was plagued by what I like to refer to as "Skeeball Farts". Yup, that skeeball...the arcade game where you take one ball from the rack and another one immediately comes down taking its place. I would have these "events" where I would fart and immediately another would be on deck and another and another. Fortunately for me, and society as a whole, they were silent and odorless, however, they were incredibly annoying. Pffft, pffft, pffft, I would turn around wholeheartedly expecting a ribbon of carnival tickets to be shooting out of my ass...you would think I should at least earn a little prize...something for my efforts...
That phase gave way to a very short lived phase (only about 2 days... thank God!!) of rather foul smelling gas. It would catch me off guard each time and I would immediately start gagging on my own stench...which in turn would lead to a puke fest. Try explaining that to very curious (and extremely judgmental) 3 and 5 year olds. Thankfully Anna figured it all out, "Mommy that baby growing in your belly sure has a lot of farts." Why yes, Anna it is the baby...not mommy. Sara was not quite on board with Anna's explanation but after a few little white lies from me she was a believer.
Chapter 6--Where There is Smoke There is Fire
And in the same vain one would imagine where there is gas there is poop. However, during pregnancy that is not always the case. I had my gallbladder out a month before I had Sara. Thankfully constipation was never an issue in that pregnancy or in my second. Unfortunately for me, that was not the case this go around. I had a brief back up for a few days. It was awful. Not only for me, but for my family as well. I would head into the bathroom, do battle for a while and have to come out and face my family who were lined up on the couch anxiously awaiting me to come out with my hand held high in triumph. On more than one occasion I would come out, sweat on my brow and have to dejectedly give them the thumbs down. The look of disappointment on their faces was haunting. Haunting I say. I felt like I had let them down. I feel I have a good appreciation for the fisherman aboard the Bounty Hunter (from the National Geographic Channel's Wicked Tuna). This crew has no luck. They are on the hunt for Giant Blue-fin Tuna. They know they are out there....they can see them on the fishfinder...but it can be days before they get one on the line. They battle the fish for hours, making progress little by little, finally the fish is in their sights and more often than not just as they are about to reel the giant tuna in the boat at the last second the line snaps and the tuna swims away. They have to head back to the dock, with their heads held in shame only to spend the next few days trying to hook another elusive tuna. Yeah, it is kind of like that. Again, thankfully things got back on track after a few days but I now have a deep respect for women that give birth vaginally. Strong work ladies...strong work!
Chapter 7--Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Star
It is a fact that pregnant ladies pee a lot. I always thought that happened towards the end when the baby is so big it presses on your bladder. Nope. It starts happening in the early weeks. Something to do with the shift in your internal fluids. For me the night is the worst. I seriously am up and down 20 times a night. To be completely honest there has been more than one occasion when I contemplated just peeing my bed. I mean both of my kids have peed in my bed...we are due for a new mattress anyway...but I couldn't bring myself to do it...the greatest reason being I know Chuck would have a field day with that and never let me live it down. While out shopping I have walked passed the adult diapers more than once but with my luck I would put them on and that would be the night we have a fire, the TV crews would show up and I would be caught live on TV wearing a diaper. Seriously, that is the thought I had as I eyed a package of Depends in Wal-Mart.
It is not just that I get up a ton to go, but when I do go I no sooner wipe, stand up, turn to flush and I have to go again. I have tried all the tricks (bending forward after I pee, twisting to the side...somehow I think if I squeeze my bladder like a sponge I will be able to get a few extra drops out)...but nothing seems to help. I actually came out of the bathroom the other day, walked into the kitchen and then it happened I may or may not have peed myself. Of course I blurt out, "I peed myself" and ears MaGee (aka Sara) hears me all the way from the other room, tells Anna and they both come running. They thought it was great. They asked if they could see it. No I tell them. Anna then comes to my defense and says, "I still love you even though you pee your pants." Thanks Anna, I can always count on you. Sara on the other hand has been asking me before we leave the house to promise not to pee myself in public that it would be embarrassing. Really? I so wanted to bring up all the times she peed and crapped herself in public...but I was the mature one and let it go...but it was hard to take the high road on that one...
Chapter 8--Is There a Hockey Player in Here?
When pregnant you might sweat. At night I sweat as if my life and the lives of all of those I care about depend on it. My clothes and sheets soak through, then because I am soaking wet I must get cold and wrap myself even tighter in the blankets. By the time I wake up I look as if I just stepped out of the shower and my bedroom smells like a men's locker room full of dirty hockey equipment where the heat has been left on high for a month. It is disgusting. Like I said, we are due to get a new mattress but Chuck wants to wait until I stop sweating...well after the pregnancy comes the baby and after I deliver I usually sweat like this for another couple of months. Add to that I am 40, so once I get through the post partum stage I am most likely going to start menopause and have to endure the night sweats that come with that....I guess we will go mattress shopping in 2018.
Chapter 9--Turkey Anyone?
So if you are a loyal reader of my blog you are well versed in my skin apron...the gross flap of skin that hangs down off of my belly. Lovingly named by my betrothed. Well when I am pregnant I get really big, really fast. My belly is protruding more and much of the skin apron has smoothed out much like a deflated balloon re-inflates as you add air. However, just like a balloon not fully inflated there is that flappy thing that hangs off the end. What is left of my skin apron has kind of morphed into more a turkey waddle. It is much smaller in size and just hangs out there. Weird...and yet intriguing at the same time...I am so curious to see what is going to happen to it next.
Like I said, pregnancy is like a daily science experiment. Most of the intimate ins and outs are not passed down generation to generation...it is like all the existing moms want the ladies without kids to join our club...but they fear if they know the truth they will stay far, far away. As something new and unusual pops up I am amazed that our species has not died out long ago...I mean who would willingly put this upon themselves? Oh wait...I have...3 times now. At least in an effort to inform my fellow women I am pulling back the curtain and letting you know What to REALLY Expect When Expecting!!!
I am a few weeks into my second trimester so most of this is dying down, but it is opening me up to the second round of pregnancy weirdness...stay tuned for what to expect in the 2nd trimester!!!