Midway Musings…The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly…

8 Sep

Do you know what today is?  Sure, if you’re not in the know, it could be any number of things: Wednesday, September 7, Hump Day, the day before the day before the weekend…But if you’re me, you’d know that today marks the halfway point in my pregnancy!  Yep, we’re 20 weeks today!!  Woohoo!!  And like I said last week, I wanted to do a post entirely on mine/our thoughts on everything pregnancy-related thus far- the good, the bad and the ugly.  And even better, I figured I couldn’t ask for a better spot to discuss these musings than my sunny Waikiki balcony overlooking paradise.  That’s got to put anyone in a great frame of mind, right?!

Hmmm, where to begin…Let’s start with the good.  Good things about my pregnancy…Obviously, the end result will be the best.  Baby Boy T will be here with us- how cool is that?!  The whole idea that I’m growing another human inside my person is still just beyond my comprehension- again, so cool.  And he’s finally moving around in there!  Well, I guess I should rephrase that since he’s technically been moving around since the first ultrasound (you’d be amazed at how acrobatic he is on film!)…I can finally FEEL him moving around in there!  And John got to feel him once, which made it all the sweeter.  Which brings me to another great thing that comes to mind…my husband.  He’s just loving the idea of being a dad.  And he’s sure going to be a great one.  Just seeing him like this makes me love him all the more with each passing day.  And yes, he’s great about doing all the ‘father-to-be husband’ duties- putting up with my cravings (and indulging in them with me so I don’t feel like a loser!), rubbing my swollen legs and even washing my back (which seems to have one spot on my left shoulder that likes to react to the influx of raging hormones)…*Sigh*

Which leads me to the bad and the ugly…And darn it, there are way more in these lists, but y’all know me, always keeping it real for y’all :).  And honestly, when it comes to pregnancy and impending parenthood, I’m now convinced that there are very few women out there who are willing to do that!  Sure, there are tons of websites and support groups and blogs that provide unified forums for lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs…’  For all the women who have spent their lives waiting to be mommies and are now basking in the glow of pregnancy…But where are the ones for those of us NOT in that club?  Or am I the only one??  Well, going out on a limb, I call BS. Surely, there are plenty of women who weren’t always so sure they were meant to be mothers (and men who weren’t born stamped with the ‘daddy’ nametag) and plenty who do NOT enjoy being a human incubator for 10 (yes, it’s actually 40 weeks, not 36…Liars!) months.  And for those women, I hope they stumble across this blog and feel a bit better about NOT being a member of the club (at least not yet), just by knowing that they’re not alone in their feelings.  Hi, I’m Erin and I do not enjoy being pregnant.

Let me start by saying that neither John nor I were born as those people we all meet who ‘just knew they were put on this green Earth to be parents.’  Sure, we’d always thought we’d have kids, but it never, EVER became a ‘be all, end all’ situation, if that makes sense.  I think I’ll save this little background story for its own post next week, though- I mean, how much information can I possibly cram into one musing?!  So, more on the ‘do we want children and how badly’ conundrum next week…But for now, let’s talk about the here and now…the pregnancy!

Now, y’all who really, truly know me know two big ticket items about me: that I’m uber health conscious/insanely active and that I’m a control freak.  Yeah…both of these take a flying leap out the window the second you get pregnant.  For the first few months, no, there’s nothing physically impairing you from carrying on with your normal eating and exercise habits…No big belly, no aching joints…No, there’s just nausea…And headaches…And lack of energy to the point where you feel like you might have the flu.  For me personally, I didn’t really have the traditional morning sickness- I only threw up a handful of times- but I swear it’s just as bad when you constantly feel like you could.  Heck, you even go in there to try, thinking to yourself ‘at least once it comes up, I’ll feel better for a few hours, right?’  Wrong- even when it does come up, it’s not like having a bug where you feel better for a while- you basically feel the same, just with watery eyes and a few beads of sweat added to the mix!  I also didn’t have the traditional sleepiness that  you hear alot of preggos talk about.  Mine was just more of a ‘so this is what it would feel like to be hit with a Mack truck every afternoon…’  I’d have to plan my days around being able to ‘rest’ every single afternoon.  Do you know how frustrating this can be for a round-the-clock self-employed working gal whose husband is out of town and therefore unable to help with house stuff, pup stuff, shopping stuff, etc? Jeez.  There just ain’t time for all that!

Anyhoo, as a result of all of the above, you do your best to make yourself feel better the only ways you know how….Unfortunately, that’s often in the form of comfort food, at least for me.  No real weird cravings (although I was all about bratwursts, which I usually despise!, for the first 6 weeks, but that passed, thank God), but I found myself wanting childhood classics on a daily basis.  Mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes, ramen soup, grilled cheeses…Yes, I’m a carb girl at heart, don’t judge!  But, that’s a double-edged sword…and both sides are sharp!  Not only are these items bad for your (already expanding) waistline, but they don’t do squat for your longterm energy levels or overall ‘feeling better’ attempts.  In other words, I was slapped in the face (repeatedly for several months) with a rule that I’ve long known- ‘when you eat crap, you feel like crap.’  There’s no getting around this one, boys and girls. Pregnant or not, junk food only makes it worse.  But when you’re faced with that or starving (because the mere thought of your usual fruits and veggies makes you want to hurl), you take the crap.  *Sigh*  To toot my own horn, though, I will say that I always pushed through the crappiness to get in my regular (slightly modified) cardio and weight workouts every morning and 3-4 mile walks five nights a week, RELIGIOUSLY.  Take that, prenancy.

So, I counted down the days until the end of the first trimester- I think I was expecting a lightbulb switch to flip that would instantly turn off all of the above and allow me to resume my ‘normal’ life- that awesome second trimester where you feel like a million bucks and have the energy of an African gazelle…I seriously went to bed that last night of Month 3 and planned to wake up a new woman to start Month 4.  Liars, those docs and books. That doesn’t happen, friends.  No, I had to wait until the end of Month 4 to feel any sort of relief.  But, THANK GOD, relief did come. Today, as I start Month 6, I have way fewer waves of nausea (though I still have some each and every week), fewer headaches (though I still get at least 1 weekly beast that lasts the entire day) and significantly more energy (though I still feel best when I can rest for a little bit in the late afternoon).  But all in all, compared with what I had all summer long, I’ll take it!

Other big items that you don’t think too much about ahead of time…Mood swings.  Good Lord, my first trimester was nothing but a giant (bad) mood swing.  God bless John, my parents, my grandmother and my closest friends who had to put up with me on a regular basis.  And I don’t mean the kind of swings where you go from happy to crying over a Hallmark commercial in 2 seconds…(Actually, I’ve still had very little of the crying/emotional thing going on.)  I’m talking that I was a raging bitch for at least 90% of the time.  It’s weird, though.  Yes, I’m a moody person by nature anyway (which I’m sure doesn’t help the situation in the least!), but I would find myself getting mad at things that were totally irrelevant.  Inside my head, I’d be thinking ‘Are you kidding? Are you really this pissed off about the wrong brand of orange juice making it into your fridge?!,’ but then I’d just go with it- like a unstoppable freight train!  Thankfully, much of that seems to have passed.  Nope, I’m not moody at all now- just as mellow and pleasant as can be.  And I have oceanfront property in Arizona ;).

Skin.  My skin has NOT taken well to growing a human.  From the day of conception (yes, we have it narrowed down to two possible days- we’re nerds, don’t judge :)), my skin has been rebelling.  Apparently, that’s an early sign that you’re having a boy- maybe the extra testosterone??  I don’t know, but I do know that my forehead, my decolletage  and my back left shoulder looked like a minefield for the first 3 months.  (Disclaimer: Most people- John, my folks, Sam, Eleanor- disagreed with me and said that it wasn’t bad at all and that I was making it out to be way worse than it actually was, but to me, it was like Proactiv should’ve been busting down my door to film their next documentary!  Ha!)  Speaking of Proactiv, that’s how I actually have managed to get it under control.  One night when I couldn’t sleep (you’d be amazed the anxiety you can have in the middle of the night when all the world is still), I stumbled on one of their infomercials and actually got suckered into a ‘free month’s trial.’  Now, over two months later, I’m a proud ‘subscriber’ and enjoying much clearer skin for the most part! (Knock on wood!)

Swelling.  Sure, we’ve all heard about preggos getting ‘cankles’ at the end of their pregnancies and boobs getting bigger.  I was prepared for that.  Only my body obviously decided, ‘why wait?!’  And this has been a HUGE problem for me since just about Day 1.  I’ve been quite ‘swollen.’  Actually, I call it ‘looking like a puff’ (my good friend, Eleanor, always gets a kick out of this expression :)).  But it’s true!  All of me is puffy!  My legs, my feet (my beautiful little sausage feet), my fingers (my wedding set hasn’t fit for more than a few days at a time since May!)…And my poor usually-A cup boobs…They’re now a SOLID Cs and still growing!  I know that lots of women absolutely love this aspect of pregnancy, but I LOATHE it.  I like my flat-as-a-wall bosom and pray daily that they return.  Why on Earth would any woman CHOOSE to have large breasts?!  At this point, that makes about as much sense to me as collecting palmetto bug legs.  They’re uncomfortable, they’re unnatural looking, they’re in the way…And they hurt!  It’s like your skin is being stretched to its limit (which it is!) and it’s downright miserable!  All of these puffy parts are s0 uncomfortable- not to mention unattractive (except the boob part, depending on who you ask ;))!  And as someone who hasn’t consumed salt in nearly four years, I’m convinced my body is making up for all the swelling it hasn’t gotten to do as a result of this notable absence.  Between the swelling and the normal weight gain, I’ve had to wear my JT’s workout shorts and t-shirts since the beginning of Month 3!  This also explains why none of you have seen me in anything other than dresses in months!

Which finally leads me to one of the worst ‘symptoms,’ at least for me, that no one really prepares you for…The emotional side of things…All of the above really weigh heavily on your emotional wellbeing…your self confidence.  Basically, from the day you find out you’re going to be part of one of God’s greatest miracles (and I truly, 100% consider babies- especially this one and I’ll explain that more in next week’s post that I promised above- absolute miracles…), you quit feeling like ‘yourself.’  And not just what you’re used to- a day or a week where you feel ‘off’- but indefinitely, long term NOT yourself.  Something (actually some’one’) has taken over your body and there’s not a damn thing you can do.  But your natural instinct is to try- to do the things you would normally do to get ‘back on track,’ only they’re futile.  But you know nothing else but to keep trying…And that’s exhausting.  For me, this part has been the most ‘debilitating,’ for lack of a better word.  You’ve lived 30 years of your life in one way- for me, it’s been active, healthy, fit, adventurous, looking any potential problems square in the eye and fixing them- and then all of that goes away.  Sure, you see pregnant women all the time and you expect a few things to change, but you don’t expect this flood of raw, often negative, emotions to rush over you- at least I didn’t.  And to make matters worse, there are very few resources that even mention this ‘bad’ stuff, which only makes it worse!  It adds this element of guilt to the mix that you’re ‘not normal’ for feeling this way or that you don’t deserve the end result because you’re not enjoying the process.  Again, I call BS!  So here I am, laying it all out there- for my friends who are currently pregnant with me, for those who are just starting to try to get pregnant, for those who have already experienced this journey and may have felt even just slightly this way…

It’s OK!  It’s OK not to love being pregnant…It’s OK to be scared shitless about what’s happening to your body and whether or not it will return to its old glory…It’s OK to dread the actual labor like the plague…It’s OK to be ready to fast forward to the good part!  I look at it like this: we all like eating good food, but don’t all enjoy cooking…We all like clean clothes, but don’t like doing the laundry…We all like exploring exotic destinations, but not necessarily the long flights there…Why is becoming a parent any different?  In other words, it’s perfectly OK to be excited about having a baby yet not enjoy the process it takes to get there!  Afterall, it’s the end result that matters, right?!  And just to clarify before I start getting hate mail :), please don’t think I’m making any less of those women who have loved every minute of their pregnancies.  Truth be told, I’m ENVIOUS of you!  My mother was one of you and because of that, I honestly thought that I’d be, too- or at least that I’d grow to become one of you.  I guess not everything is genetic?? Believe me, I’d give anything to be enjoying this (possibly) once-in-a-lifetime adventure and I can only hope that I look back on this post at this time next year and think, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t enjoy that more- let’s do it again!’  I sincerely hope that each of you can tell me ‘told you so!’  But alas, all I can go on is the here and now…which means that I can only assume that the upcoming second act is going to be a real doozy compared to the first.  *Sigh*

So…never one to end on a sour note, I’ll leave you with three more ‘goods…’  First, speaking of genetics, my mom didn’t get a single stretch mark during pregnancy and so far, I’m still in the clear, in spite of all this extra fluid and weight.  (Dear God,  I’ve now taken up stock in the cocoa butter industry and am certainly doing my part by slathering that stuff on daily like it’s my job.  PLEASE help a girl out.  Thanks.  Love, Erin).  Second, my morning ritual of high fiber cereal is still holding up like a champ.  I’m still regular :). (TMI, I know, but a girl’s gotta take her perks where she can!)  And third, just for all you belly pic mongers, here you go 🙂

Celebrating 20 Weeks, Hawaiian style 🙂

9 Responses to “Midway Musings…The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly…”

  1. granmom September 9, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

    Erin, I am glad to see you looking happier than you sound. Just enjoy the time left without another responsibilty. This is the last time for just you and John. Babies are a blessing and a joy but prenthood is never ending. Love you, Grandmom

  2. Debbie Barbaree September 9, 2011 at 2:23 AM #

    ERIN, you are TOO funny 🙂 and the cutest, little, pregnant person I know!!!

    • Erin T. September 9, 2011 at 8:20 AM #

      As always, you’re so sweet- THANK YOU! Although, technically you haven’t seen me in this not-so-little state! Hope to see you at the BBQ!

  3. PJ LePine September 9, 2011 at 2:02 AM #

    At-a-girl Erin! The best is yet to come. 🙂 You look marvelous. PJ

    • Erin T. September 9, 2011 at 8:21 AM #

      That’s what I tell myself everyday- the best is yet to come! So excited for that end result! See you on the 1st!

  4. Lindsey September 8, 2011 at 10:24 PM #

    Loved this post! You look absolutely beautiful!!! I had many, many nights where I sat in my closet crying, and not just crying, ugly crying over how none of my “normal” clothes would ever fit again. While putting everything “normal” into piles to take to goodwill Aaron would come in and try to save me. I felt ugly and my skin hated me. Although, my hair did look great, I hated feeling so uncomfortable big like that in my skin. Every pregnancy is different as I’m sure you’ve heard a million times, but I honestly believe it’s normal to go through these emotions. Your body is changing in ways you can’t control. Ways you’ve controlled for so long now…how else are you supposed to act? Heck, the one thing I was okay with keeping from my preggo body was my butt and that disappeared before I even got a chance to say goodbye, ha! It sounds like you’re doing a fabulous job of taking care of yourself and Baby Boy T. You will bounce back faster than you can imagine. Enjoy the rest of your time in Hawaii. Sending hugs your way.
    Oh yeah…You should try Bio Oil. I loved/love that stuff!

    • Erin T. September 9, 2011 at 8:23 AM #

      Lindsey, I really can’t thank you SO much for posting this. You really have no idea how much it means. This has really just been so much more difficult than I’d planned for…And it really does help knowing that I’m not the only girl on the face of the planet that isn’t just loving this crap! 🙂 I would LOVE to catch up more sometime very soon. Hope you three can make it on the 1st, too!

  5. Tim September 8, 2011 at 2:19 PM #

    I think it’s pretty cool that you celebrated your 20th week by, of all things, getting leid. (<;

    • Erin T. September 9, 2011 at 8:21 AM #

      I can always count on you to make me laugh. Thanks for seeing the bright side of things 🙂 You’re the best!

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