Friday, May 23, 2008

Things I Didn't Know about Being Pregnant

I didn't know that, eventually, you feel kicks a lot of the time. I thought that feeling kicks was like a once-a-day thing, if that. On TV, they always show a women exclaim and touch her belly, and everyone comes over to feel it, like it was something unusual. I didn't realize that I would feel little kicks constantly. I like it; it's comforting. (But, maybe ask me again once the kicks get hard enough to bruise.)

I didn't know that the exhaustion would be so constant. I always assumed pregnant women were tired just from carrying around extra weight, but I haven't really gained much weight yet, so that's not really the cause. It's more the hormones and the lack of sleep and the constant daydreaming interspersed with intense stress that I'm not getting enough things done. The exhaustion is much deeper than just from physical exertion.

I didn't realize that there were so many physical changes, at the same time. This one is odd, because as I tick off the various changes (thicker hair, faster-growing nails, appetite changes, swollen feet and ankles, etc., etc., etc.) it occurs to me that, individually, I knew that these were all side effects of pregnancy. But I never really contemplated them all at the same time, in total. And I certainly didn't think about how they interact with each other. Longer nails sound cool, and itchy skin sounds extremely manageable, but when you put them together, I find myself accidentally gouging myself with my ridiculous nails when I absentmindedly scratch. Awkward physical movements sound amusing on their own, and swollen ankles and feet sound mildly annoying, but when you put them together, you realize that you when you can't bend in half to easily to massage those ankles, they hurt a lot more.

I didn't realize how often other people would want to ask me about the baby. I used to watch other pregnant women who were constantly talking about their pregnancies, and I'd think, that's not going to be me. But a lot of it is out of my control, because it seems to be the only thing that other people want to talk about. It's nice that people care, but holy cow, I am willing to talk about other things! That may make some of you laugh, because I know that this blog is entirely on-topic, but that was kind of its purpose. Believe me, in real life, I'd much rather be spending my time discussing my research, or the Red Sox, or the unending Democratic primary, or the ridiculously stupid "gas tax holiday," or how much I can't wait to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Because truly, once I've said, "Yes, feeling kicks. It's a boy! I'm tired but feeling pretty good. Due in September. Yep, we're excited. Nope, haven't bought stuff for the nursery yet" I'm kind of out of things to say, at least to most people. My advisor doesn't need to know the kind of pregnancy details that I write here. In fact, a lot of the purpose of this blog is so that I can get that stuff off my chest without inflicting it on inappropriate audiences. (One of my fellow students asked me yesterday when babies start swallowing and peeing, and when I said that the baby was doing both those things already, in the amniotic fluid, right now, it grossed everybody out. Probably didn't need to be discussing those details with that particular crowd.)

Perhaps the biggest thing that I didn't realize about being pregnant is also the biggest surprise to me, particularly given my reluctance to discuss the pregnancy out loud. I didn't realize that I would be constantly aware that I'm pregnant. I though that while I was at work, for instance, I could focus on work and basically ignore the fact that I'm pregnant. I thought that I could finish everything I wanted to do around the house (shopping for supplies, setting up a nursery) over a few short weeks, and then spend my weekends much as I used to. It didn't occur to me that I would be constantly reminded of the pregnancy. At work, I'm daydreaming about the baby, and the nursery, and making checklists and plans. On weekeneds, I want to be working on getting the house ready, and doing endless research into what we need to buy. Every time I'm hungry, I run through lists of what I can or should be eating, given my "delicate condition." Even when I'm sitting quietly somewhere, working or reading or watching TV, those little kicks (and the annoyingly swollen ankles) keep the pregnancy in the front of my mind.

Just to be clear: I think that the all-consuming nature of it is more good than bad. Thinking about the pregnancy and little Barack makes me extremely happy, even when the thing that made me think about it was my swollen ankles or my need to pass on the sushi. I just never realized, two years ago, or even 6 months ago, that this is what pregnancy would be like for me.

24 comments:

Fertilized said...

it is much different than i assumed as well. I am glad its more good than bad for you!

Jen said...

For the longest time I thought that being pregnant would be strange. Like some alien had invaded my body. But now that it's happening, it feels wonderful. And I love those reassuring little kicks too!

Kymberli said...

I come from NaComLeavMo! Congratulations on your pregnancy! Those kicks certainly are very reassuring and baby/pregnancy obsession is normal.

Candid Engineer said...

Congrats on your impending bundle of kicks. :o) I think people like to ask about babies because it's a happy, universal phenomenon that most people feel comfortable discussing.

DC said...

Thank you so much for the comment on my blog!

Congratulations on your (hard-earned) pregnancy!! I look forward to following your journey.

Please keep in touch! :)

momofonefornow said...

I know what you mean about the exhaustion. It took every ounce of energy I had to just get up and go to work for my first trimester. I wanted to quit so that I could sleep until noon. Congrats on the pregnancy!

Sam said...

I'm not at the kicking stage yet, but the pressure from my uterus is comforting-at least I know something is happening down there! Congratulations on getting pregnant and enjoying all the preparation.

In Due Time said...

I'm from NCLM, congrats on the pregnancy!

Three P's in a Pod said...

Oh yes, Pregnancy brings on some of the most amazing changes, doesn't it? Congrats and I am glad you are doing so well.

I stopped by with NCLM because I so enjoy the chance to meet new people.

Feel free to stop by my blog anytime!

~ Alyson ~ The 3 P's Mama

Amanda said...

I came over from NaComLeavMo. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think that people ask all the time is because...well.. it's right there. Plus, it's just really cool to realize that there's a human being in there! (I know that I sound about 12, but really it's something that I just can't get over.) :-)

Ginny said...

I'm visiting from NaComLeavMo & this is a great post. I wish when I had my kids I knew about blogging. I think I would have recorded so much more! You can only do so much in baby books. It is little things like you mention that are easily forgotten. Both my kids kicked non-stop by the end. My 2nd actually would cause me physical pain she kicked so much, lol. Take care!

Eliza said...

I love that you call the fetus "Little Barrack!" Greetings via NaComLeavMo, and congratulations from a mom of three and FORMER life-long grad student! Um...here is where I pretend attaining your terminal degree will win you fame and fortune...see me pretending? Good.

Aunt Becky said...

This is such a sweet post. You're spot on, all of those things are things that I didn't know about pregnancy either.

I'll be back like a bad smell.

Erin said...

Here from NaComLeavMo! Pregnancy is definitely a time of many revelations. I remember feeling the same way about how no one ever wants to talk about anything else and could we PLEASE discuss SOMETHING other than how much weight I'd gained or whether it was a boy or a girl? Congratulations on finding out that you're having a boy, by the way--I have two and they are wonderful children!

Echloe said...

I found you via NaComLeavMo too.
I didn't know that babies swallow and pee their own amniotic fluid. But I think that it is cool, not gross. It is just amazing how much they develop in a short time. Congrats on your amazing swallowing peeing baby.

baby~amore' said...

I here from NaComLeavCom
Congratulations on your pregnancy.I read the beginning.

yes being pregnant was nothing like I ever imagined.
I think people don't know what else to ask and they think we are keen to tell them all the nitty gritty

My Little Drummer boys

seriously? said...

Congrats on your pregnancy. Best of luck!

Star said...

Also here from NaComLeavMo . . . it's great that you're blogging during your pregnancy about how you're feeling (emotionally and physically). I wish I had done more of that. I loved being pregnant and love to reminisce about those days. As many people told me (and it's true!) -- enjoy every minute of it, it will all go by so quickly. My son will be a year old next month and it seems like I wasn't pregnant that long ago.

Laura said...

NaComLeavMo

I couldn't get over how all consuming being pregnant was the first time around. Now there are several hours a week that I don't think about being pregnant again LOL

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

Bean said...

Hi, I came here via NaComLeavMo. Congratulations on the pregnancy and all those glorious side effects! I remember while I was pregnant my daughter (now 5 1/2) kicking me so hard during meetings at work that I would practically jump out of my chair -- kinda made it hard to forget about! ;)

littleangelkisses said...

I hope you and "little Barack" are doing well. This is a great post and makes me think back to my own pregnancy.

I come from NCLM too. Congrats on your hard earned pregnancy.

starsgoblue said...

This is interesting. I didn't really enjoy being pregnant because it felt endless to me but I agree with all you've written here. I remember with my son being kicked so hard I did feel so tender and bruised inside.

hopeful #1 said...

Here from NLCM, love this post! Well written and entertaining! =)

Anonymous said...

Personally, For me this pregnancy has been so hard. And like I thought that it was not really a big deal, but I can definitely relate when you say it's not easy. I never knew that all this stuff piled on top of each other would bother me as much as it does. I find myself constantly restless, and the worst part I'm a college student. I find it so hard to sit in my two hour classes because I cant help but day dream or occasionally feel like Im going to get sick. Sadly, this pregnancy is not what I thought it would be at all and it was unexpected.