So my baby, Adeline is here, and I'm a Mom. Joy, joy, joy!
Now that the baby is actually present, I want to take a stroll down memory lane and talk about my pregnancy. I recently wrote a post discussing all the things I loved about being pregnant, but I left out a lot of the horrible parts, and my many weird side effects.
Fast-track to now, I was consoling a friend who was having a terrible pregnancy, and it just clicked, I did too. Adeline is no longer a newborn, and I realize that I have come down from the new baby happiness high.
Did you know that smelling your baby and breastfeeding releases dopamine, prolactin, and oxytocin? These hormones stimulate the same brain centres associated with reward and pleasure and have similar effects to taking a hit of ecstasy (or molly, MDMA, or whatever the kids are taking these days).
The newborn happiness high is a mix of "feel-good" hormones, lack of sleep delirium, and finally, having your baby in your arms.
All of these happy emotions lead to a condition that I call Pregnancy Amnesia (PA). PA occurs after the baby arrives, making one completely forget all the shitty things that happen pre-baby. It is PA that makes people have multiple kids. It is PA that instantly occurs when you get to hold your baby for the first time, and the world just melts away.
PA also goes hand and hand with a condition called Mommy Brain, which is the next evolution of Pregnancy Brain (both cause absent-mindedness because of fluctuating hormones and the fact that your brain is 100% consumed by the well-being of your baby).
I now recognize that I had Pregnancy Amnesia. In fact, as my mental fog lifts, I have progressively begun to recall the many side-effects and some very stressful events that happened. I am so proud that I made it through to the end and didn't fall into a pit of despair and depression.
In general, pregnancy is such a mixed-bag, and everyone has a different experience. When I think about pregnancy and the body, I immediately think of The Hunger Games. Your body becomes this crazy arena, where all these side effects are fighting like crazy to make your life hell (and your body hungry).
You know that scene where Effie Trinket is pulling names out of the giant orb-like jar. It's pregnancy, but instead of pulling the names of 'tributes' out of the pot, each paper is a sadistic pregnancy symptom.
Who will The Games call next?
Will it be?
Nausea with vomiting?
The list goes on. Ask any pregnant woman; they can probably add ten more to that list. The fun part is that you have no idea what you are going to get. If you are fortunate, you may get them all!!!!
May the odds be ever in your favour.
Looking back, I realize that I had quite a few; nausea (without vomiting), extreme fatigue, insomnia, carpal tunnel, backaches, and overall soreness.
From day one, I had to pee every five minutes. My sister even bought me a portable plastic urinal (there were some close calls, but thank God I never had to use it).
I had crazy mood swings; I would be crying one minute and then so angry the next. I took most of this out on my husband. He was a little insensitive (FYI gentlemen, never tell a pregnant woman that YOU are tired, or reprimand her about her french fry cravings).
I was so mad and I was questioning everything about him. I questioned his ability to be a parent, thinking, how can I trust this guy to raise my child? In my mind, I thought he had no business being a dad because;
a) he couldn't keep up with the 10+ baby books I was reading cover-to-cover (I wasn't working, so I had the time) and,
b) he had no idea how to support my crazy hormonal mood swings. I kind of feel bad about that now.
Anyway, back to me.
I was so nauseous, even water made me want to throw up, and the only thing that made my stomach feel better was carbs. I gained 70, yes, 70 pounds!
I reached a point in my pregnancy where I was like f*ck-it; I am just going to eat everything. I had so many weird food cravings, and as soon as Adeline arrived, poof, they were gone. My regular pregnancy cravings included; McDonald's Egg McMuffin's, Twizzlers, kiwis, cream cheese (on any type of bread), pineapple fried rice, broccoli, and ranch dressing, to name a few. I ate these things on rotation for nine months, along with other not-so-good-for-you foods (Costco thank you for your pizza).
Worrying is also a side-effect of pregnancy that people don't often acknowledge. I was super anxious that I was going to lose the baby. I worried about all the food I was eating. I worried I wasn't getting enough exercise. I worried I was too stressed. I worried about every other ridiculous little thing, like holding my laptop too close to my belly and giving the kid radiation poisoning.
I had placenta previa, so I could not exercise. I had the worst back pain because of not being able to work out, and all the weight that I was gaining (carrying a bowling ball-sized baby doesn't help with your back pain either).
One of the worst random side-effects that I had was an enlarged cyst or lymph node in my groin area just outside my uterus, which seemed to stump all my Doctors. When your Doctor has never seen it, that is not a good sign. It was intense, and I would feel this sharp shooting pain every few days and a dull ache on the others. I thought I had cancer, and I was losing the baby.
They suggested I do a biopsy. For my sanity, I decided to do it. Wow, it was excruciating (it felt right up there with root canal pain, and I feel for everyone who has had one before). In the end, there were no abnormal cells, and I was a-ok. Again, after I delivered, poof, the issue disappeared.
Now that my pregnancy is over, I breathe a sigh of relief, and the only thing I can do is look back and think about all the craziness that women have to go through to give birth. Enduring the 9+ months growing a human, and then giving birth to said human is pretty hard to fathom until you are living it.
After speaking with my friend, she was relieved. She still had all these feelings of guilt because she hated her pregnancy. She was tired of hearing other pregnant women talk about how perfect it was for them like pregnancy was flowers and roses. My sensitive spot was the women who told me they lost weight while pregnant (no offense if that's you).
Ultimately the pros outweigh the cons. Hello, Baby Adeline! I love you so much! Oh, and I did have some gorgeous acne-free skin.
Don't forget to share your pregnancy woes with others; we all need the support in knowing that we aren't alone in this process.
Check out my next post: 5 Tips for Coping with Pregnancy Side Effects.
What were some of your worst pregnancy symptoms?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner, and any conditions described in this post are made up entirely by me.