I was told there would be glowing….

So it turns out that pregnancy is hard. Much harder than I ever anticipated.

I looked forward to the cute little bump, the adorable maternity clothes, the happy glow, the adorable flat pumps, flowing empire waistlines,  thick luscious hair and super strong nails. Yes, I’d heard that some people got sick and bloated and swollen and tired – but that would never happen to me! I was born to bear children!

The first week or so after I found out I was pregnant I was blissfully floating along on cloud nine, pretending my bloated post Christmas holiday tummy had something to do with the sesame-seed sized baby ball of cells residing somewhere in the vicinity of my pelvis and nothing to do with the copious amounts of gammon and pudding I’d just consumed. I quite happily told everyone that knew our little secret that no! I wasn’t feeling sick at all, I felt great! I was hitting the gym every second day, convinced that I was going to be one of those fit pregnant women who look like a model from behind with a cute little soccer ball bump. Whatever gave me that idea I have no idea! How was I supposed to sculpt a supermodel body whilst growing another human? (Especially after the aforementioned gammon and pudding)

Then one Friday afternoon, after my evening shower, life as I knew it came to an end. I lay on my bed curled up in a towel trying to understand why I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, what the heck was going on with my stomach, and why did everything smell so gross?! It was all just downhill from there.

Those next few weeks were absolute hell. When you think of it in the grander scheme of life, it was only about 10 weeks, 2 and half months, and that’s not a very long time at all. Believe me, when you’re living through it, it feels like an eternity! I tried every remedy I could find on the web and in the books and nothing seemed to help.  Some days I thought that I was actually dying. This wasn’t a sickness like having gastro or too much wine or a dodgy takeaway – this was something else entirely.

It started literally the second I got out of bed in the morning. If the room was slightly stuffy I was finished. If I managed to survive the bedroom, the smell of damp towels in the bathroom from the night before, or dirty laundry in the basket waiting to be washed would set me off. I couldn’t go near the kitchen. I still haven’t figured out exactly what it was in there that was so repulsive, but I think it was a combination of dog food, onions, and a general foodie smell. It was no use sealing anything in containers, the blood-hound nose I developed would smell anything slightly repulsive if it was sealed in a bomb-proof bunker 10 feet underground. Even previously pleasant smells were repulsive! I had a beautiful scented room diffuser in my spare room that I had to send home with a friend because I could smell it from the other side of the house and even the smallest whiff of it made me retch.

Much to my complete horror, I couldn’t even stomach tea. (A little background, my bloodstream is usually about 70% tea) I think that development led my poor husband to believe that I’d been possessed by an alien (well, I am playing host to another being I suppose….). I remember sitting on the floor, draped over the loo with tears running down my cheeks because I couldn’t picture the rest of my life without tea – whilst ridding myself of the only cup I’d drunk that week.

The only thing worse than lying prone on the bathroom floor with a heaving empty stomach that rejected anything I tried to put in it was going somewhere public (or work!) where any random smell I would never have noticed previously could send me running for the nearest bathroom, bush, bucket,  or bucket shaped receptacle. This may be a TMI moment, but it is a helpful hint: if you’re caught unawares without bathroom, bush, bucket, or similar container – your shirt pulled up as if you were picking berries will do quite nicely.

So that was the “morning” sickness. Whoever termed that coin ahem, coined that term (sorry that’s the preggy brain kicking in – another glorious side affect) should be hung drawn and quartered. This lasted from the moment I woke up to the moment I passed out at night – and sometimes woke me up during the night!  This of course didn’t help with the constant exhaustion. I’ve never felt exhaustion like that before- even after a week of solid partying during varsity days. I could have (and did!) slept at any opportunity I was given to lay down my head. I’d sleep in until after 9 on weekends, have a mid-morning doze on the couch in front of the TV, and then move location to the bedroom for a proper solid nap that lasted most of the afternoon before turning in for the night before 9pm.

Like most things do however…those weeks passed, and slowly, very slowly, I started to feel a little bit more like a human again.  One of the best days this year was when I woke up and actually felt like a cup of tea….I didn’t manage to keep it down, but hey! At least the need for tea was returning.  By about week 16 I sort of felt like myself again.

Even the week I spent in hospital hooked up to a drip during my second trimester for severe  gastro (that’s a whole different story that I’ll regale you with at a later stage) wasn’t as bad as that first trimester. I’ve always said that I want at least three kids, but will need to forget the horror of those first few months before I even consider doing this pregnancy thing again! The second trimester was a LOT better. Yes, it did bring with it some horrible horrible migraine headaches (which panado does NOTHING for by the way), relaxing ligaments around any old injuries (hello ballet toes and broken coccyx my old friends), and the danger of wetting yourself any time you sneeze, but I’d take that over the illness, tiredness and acne (Oh, did I forget to mention the acne that feels like you have nails stuck into your skin? Yes that happens too) any day.

I’ve just entered my third trimester – and there’s apparently a whole lot of enjoyable experiences to look forward to over the next few week! No I’m not talking about baby-showers and decorating the nursery…I’m talking heavy stomach, strained back, swollen hands and feet, the unmentionables (like constipation and hemorrhoids – there I mentioned them), heartburn and I’m sure a whole lot more I haven’t read about yet.

Anyway, my point is not to complain (although that does make me feel a lot better), I know that I am so privileged to be carrying this little life,  it’s just to say that this pregnancy thing is a LOT harder than I ever expected it to be.  The little kicks and wiggles I feel now certainly do make all the discomfort worth it (apart from when this child decides my bladder is a stress ball or a trampoline), and I’m sure that once I hold her in my arms (after even more pain and suffering) it will all seem immaterial.

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