Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm not fat, I'm pregnant (and other first pregnancy observations)

The last 15 weeks of being pregnant (well, really 13 weeks of being pregnant, because if you're new to this game, doctors count the two weeks before you conceive as part of your pregnancy...score) has been for me what my sister-in-law Amy aptly referred to as one giant science experiment. I realize this is only the beginning, and I have a long way to go, and as yesterday's eloquent The Bump e-newsletter reminded me I have no concept of the crazy crap that will happen to me in the six weeks or more postpartum; but still, I thought it best to record some early observations.

I'm not going to tell you what the pregnancy books or websites tell you, because if you really care you can go read them, and I'm not going to chronicle every week of my pregnancy in pain-staking you-probably-don't-care-at-all detail as is the mode on many blogs. I am going to share, though, some non-TMI stuff that I either couldn't find documented in a book or on a website or I only found after way too much 3 a.m. Googling (more on that later).

Observation 1: How are you feeling?
(Most) people love babies (and dogs) and (most) people love them a pregnant woman. Once someone knows you're pregnant, the first thing they want to know is how you're feeling. This is incredibly polite and well-meaning, but let me tell you: I feel fine. I believe my friend Katy, mother of two, put it best when she told me a couple years ago that being pregnant does not mean you suddenly become a delicate flower. Another thing I'll add to the mix: when, for a brief moment in history, I believed what my doctor told me and I thought I might not ever be pregnant, that became my greatest fear in life. So my philosophy remains that being pregnant is a hell of a lot better than not being pregnant, and you will not hear me complaining (much).

Observation 2: Give me gluten or give me death!
You may recall that one tactic I used to up my chances of improving my fertility was going gluten-free. I thought for a split second that I would continue this new Stuff White People Like diet into pregnancy. That stopped at week 6 when relatively serious food aversions set in. For roughly a month I ate no vegetables, no meat (and little protein in general, really healthy, I realize) and almost entirely sustained myself on carbohydrates. Glorious carbs. Cereal! Pumpernickel bagels! Cheese danishes from Wegmans! Potbelly sandwiches (ok, so I got a little protein from some twice-toasted deli meat). And I ate fruit. Lots of it. Even though now my food aversions have mostly gone away, I am still living on fruit. Here's a sampling of the fruit currently available in our home:
Somewhat surprisingly, I lost two pounds while eating my mostly carbs diet. Then by week 11 I had gained back those two pounds. As of yesterday I appear to have gained two pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight (which means I weigh 119 pounds right now, if you really want to know, Mr. Nosy). Of course, because women are the sex made to feel guilty about everything they do in life, BabyCenter would suggest I should have gained at least five pounds by now (and because I've only gained two pounds my baby will not be going to Harvard). I am trying to quiet all those guilt-inducing voices and focus on staying healthy, and thankfully my doctor is not concerned.

Observation 3: Burping like a 12-year-old boy
One of my earliest pregnancy symptoms that emerged during week 4 was burping (and painfully sore boobs, too, of course, but any pregnancy book will tell you that!). No one mentions burping, although it's apparently fairly common. Why do we burp while hosting this alien life form? I have no idea. But it hasn't gone away.

Observation 4: I'm not fat, I'm pregnant (or the phenomenon of small belly in the morning, big belly at night)
During my will-I-ever-get-pregnant phase I consoled myself by silently judging women on the street. I played a game I made up cleverly titled "Fat or Pregnant?" in which I would look at women and try to determine if they are fat or pregnant. Now I am proud to say strangers can play this game with me. Matt and I just spent five days in L.A. visiting my older brother Shawn, his aforementioned wife Amy, and their daughter Quinn (who is two today! Happy birthday Quinn!). Because this trip took place during the 14-to-15 week is-she-fat-or-pregnant? stretch, lots of southern California strangers were looking at me, no doubt thinking, "She is relatively small, but she really needs to do some crunches!" (Southern California is probably the worst place to be during the fat-or-pregnant stage.) Another observation: Because my belly is not 100 percent pronounced to strangers at this moment, it is continuing to participate in this strange phenomenon of being small in the morning when I first wake up and then it builds its slow crescendo during the day, culminating in a bump I can be proud of by bed time. Apparently it gets smaller while I sleep because I'm digesting or something along those lines, but who knows. Here's the obligatory belly shot with evidence that I participated in not one, not two, but THREE hikes while in L.A. (this one was on Catalina Island, and the other two were in Runyon Canyon in Hollywood right down the street from Shawn and Amy's house). Flat stomach no more!

Observation 5: Insomnia
Let me just say that everyone told me pregnancy would make me so exhausted that I would sleep all the time, and the opposite has proved true: I have more energy than I've ever had in my life. I realize this could and probably will easily dissipate, but so far I have been having trouble sleeping, waking up at 3 a.m. after going to bed at 11 p.m. and then STAYING AWAKE (hence the 3 a.m. Googling). Close friends have received a good number of 4:30 a.m. emails from me catching up on news or planning the social calendar because I couldn't find anything else to do. I also did some 4 a.m. closet reorganizing for good measure. Most days I'm not even taking naps.

But now it's time to take my little bump to IKEA for some mid-week desk shopping. I'll share the results soon!

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