Before we get started, let the record show that I am absolutely, 100% elated to be having a baby. I can't wait to meet this little life inside of me, hug him/her, and tell that sweet little bundle of joy that they were "worth it in the end". That being said, telling an expectant mother such things while the vomit is still fresh on her lips is not only "unwise" but it's enough to get you punched in the testes....by a pair of angry ovaries. And maybe use a little wisdom before saying the words, "Just (fill in the blank) more months to go!" Because honestly, pregnant women aren't counting down the months, they're counting down the days.... that's 161 more nights that I can't sleep on my stomach, or 192 more days that I'll sneeze and wet my pants simultaneously, or 288 more meals that will send me dashing for a toilet!
Blessed be the glorious women that say that their bodies "just looooved being pregnant!" Perhaps these women are giving birth to teeny, tiny angels as their Mama bodies crave only cucumbers and fresh berries. Maybe these women feel the gentle fluttering of butterflies coming from within instead of heartburn and pelvic cramping. Or maybe these women have stopped taken their medication and are immersed into a deluded state of denial. Either way, these women make me sick... (but they shouldn't take it too personally, because basically everything makes me sick at this point.) What I wouldn't have given to know the cruddy side of pregnancy BEFORE it happened! Look, I'm not saying it would've effected my decision to have a baby of my own, but as an educated, well-informed woman, I would've liked a little preparation for the task at hand. Here are 8 things that I wish someone would've told me about pre-pregnancy:
1) Morning Sickness- okay, okay.... yes, I was AWARE that women got sick during pregnancy. I've had my fair share of health problems that have prepared me for just such an obstacle. However, what I wasn't aware of was that "not-so-much-morning" sickness will prevent a woman from sleeping more than a few hours per night... and that she will be forced to puke in a bowl while driving her car to work because she ran out of sick days already (PS, how is texting while driving illegal but puking is perfectly acceptable?? Thank God my foot automatically releases from the gas while I'm heaving!). How about the fact that the medicine to not-even-kinda-cure morning sickness is wicked expensive, and that the woman's insurance company will refuse to pay for more than 12 pills at a time, leaving said woman sobbing at the pharmacists' counter while he frantically tries to comfort her with tissues and found tablets of Zofran. Or how about the fact that this magical pill will cause horrific constipation for the next 9 months of her life?? Because that's how long morning sickness lasts, ladies.... 9 MONTHS!!!
2) Dog Nose- I've always found myself to have a rather keen sense of smell. My olfactory sense is actually one of my personal favorites... the way a smell can trigger a memory of an old friend, or how the aroma of baking cookies can leave you salivating, and that my husband's freshly-showered scent makes me hungry for affection. What I didn't know? That the smell of garlic will now make me nauseous... AND violent (because how DARE someone eat garlic and then come near me when they darn well KNOW it will make me sick?!?) And, little did I know, that I would be compelled by something deep within me to not rest until I have located and identified any offensive odor within a 12 mile radius. A word to the stink bug hiding in the back of my closet.... I'm on to you, my friend. And you're going down.
3) Fevers, Hot Flashes, and Cold Sweats- No, it's not the Bubonic Plague, it's just pregnancy. Do we judge a marathon runner for sweating while running, or an Eskimo for having a hot flash when temperatures hit 60 degrees? Of course not. But lets cast repulsive looks at the pregnant woman with pit stains halfway down her sides, or the fact that she has stripped down to her unattractive undershirt in an attempt to cool down. (Hey, it fit! AND it was clean-ish so lay off!) My personal favorite is when I read the pregnancy magazines that tell women to "strap on those tennis shoes and pull up those maternity yoga pants... it's time to hit the gym!" Oh, is it that time? Because I'm pretty sure I worked up a fantastic sweat while bending over to tie my shoes... and my fever spiked at least 2 degrees when I climbed the stairs to get the shoes out of my closet in the first place. Is it really safe for the baby to work out under these conditions? Because my leaky bladder and overactive armpits are starting to catch on to this "gym thing" and they're not happy. So I think I'm just gonna lay here and try to not sweat through the sheets on my bed (because God knows that changing them will spike the fever at least another 3 degrees...)
4) Alzheimers- Yep. It's truly a symptom of pregnancy to completely lose your mind. I can't remember where I set something down, what it even was that I set down, or if it's ever really important that I ever find that thing in the first place! (Gosh, I hope it wasn't one of my other children....) I have asked my clients a question and repeated the same question again seconds later. They stare at me as if I, their therapist, am the crazy one.... "You just asked me that," they say. "Oh, wow, did I?" I reply. "That's what you said the last time you did it, too!" Ooops. I definitely think that someone should've warned me that..... crap. Oh well, it will come back to me later.
5) Back Spasms- I don't know how Barbie does it, but after carrying around two gallon milk jugs all day, my back is killing me!!! Poor pregnant women experience spasms when they sit, when they stand, and when they lay in one position for more than 20 minutes at a time. You know when my back normally feels great? When I lie on my stomach.... oh, the cruel irony of it all.
6) Acid Reflux- Never having experienced heart burn before pregnancy, I was highly alarmed when I had a a sharp pain near my heart. Oh great, I thought. Heart attack is ANOTHER pregnancy symptom???
However, my husband lovingly informed me (AKA scoffed) that I was experiencing heart burn. Ahh, ok, good... no need to rush to the Emergency Room. But then the acid started. Whatever a pregnant woman eats, she better be prepared to order it with a side of Pepcid, because acid is all she will taste anyway. "What topping would you like on your ice cream sundae, ma'am?" Hmmm, definitely stomach acid, burning mucus, and a cherry on top, please.... Try to stay away from acidic foods? Sure! But I didn't realize that corn flakes were all that acidy. And buttered toast.... and turkey. Because what I'm sensing here is that NO ONE knows what causes or fixes acid reflex OR heart burn! It's all a bunch of lies told by the makers of Tums to keep disgruntled, acid-burbing, mommys-to-be dependent on those chalky Mixed Berry disasters.... (which sets off the morning sickness, by the way!!!)
7) Tearing... Oh, the tearing- When I was a little girl, I remember my mother telling me about episiotomies (hello, nightmares) and how they're important to prevent you from tearing when you have your baby (and then I prayed that God would change me into a boy while I was sleeping). Over the years, I worked through these nightmares and decided to brave the dangers of childbirth anyhow. But what no one told me was that my girl parts wouldn't be the only thing tearing down there. So, ATTENTION WOMEN!!! When you get pregnant, understand that your rectum will be torn for a good 9 months (at least) when your child-sized feces try to vacate your body after days of constipation (courtesy of pregnancy and the makers of Zofran). Did I know that the daily task of pooping was going to cause me excrutiating pain? Nope. Was I told that my husband was going to become my proctologist with his makeshift rubber gloves, a box of enemas, and tubes of cooling hemorrhoid cream? Uh, noooo. And was I notified that several times a week, I would wish for death as I grip my puke bucket with one hand and the side of the toilet seat with the other, screaming like a murder victim? (PS, thank goodness for country living... if I had anything BUT redneck neighbors, I guarentee the police would be at my door weekly.) But no.... no one told me that stool softeners don't soften crap (quite literally) and that passing an actual STEP STOOL would be easier than what us women have to go through. So ladies, do yourself a favor. When that pregnancy test comes up positive, don't run to your man, call your mother, or take a moment to revel in your joy.... grab a handful or raisins and a metamucil milkshake and start chugging. There will be plenty of time for others to tell you how "big you're getting!" later.
8) I'm not sure how to tell you this, but you need to be aware that your vagina may fall out. Ooohhh, laugh if you will, but if you're one of the rare women who's vag-in-a becomes a vag-out-a, you'll wish you had been prepared! While your body is pregnant, it creates a hormone that relaxes the pelvic floor (apparently our pelvic region has termites in it's flooring), causing your girl parts to exit when straining through bowel movement or heavy lifting. Thanks, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING.... I know where to get a great deal on nipple pads, but what about this vag problem I've got hanging around??? Sadly, this Thanksgiving, I lost my vagina to a battle with constipation. Those contraction-like pushes that occur when you're in the bathroom? Apparently it's possible to push out a little more than poo. With husband at my side (backside, that is), and me working through my pain (clutching the rug and cursing the day I was born) I felt an unusual sensation. When I tried to stand, I noticed that there was a warm numbness taking place, AND that I couldn't quite put my legs together.
What the heck, NOW?
I thought. So, I grabbed my hand mirror and had a looksie. Lo and behold, what used to be in was now ou.... and it looked like I had the holiday ham between my legs. Oh my gosh, WHAT DO I DO!!!! Well, if you call your on-call doctor (as you should always do if your vagina falls out), he will tell you to ICE IT. Yes, of course it was a male doctor. No female would instruct a pregnant woman to ice her inside-out ham and actually mean it! But, ladies, if you do find yourself in this terrifying situation, know that you are not alone. Once the swelling goes down, you can do some Kegel exercises and gently push/shove/staple/whatever your parts back into their rightful place. I mean, I'm pretty sure my husband and I will never be able to have sex again, ya know, with my jello-y parts ready to fall out at any given moment, but at least I can somewhat sit and walk normally once again.
Too much information? Well, I just wish someone had shared these bits of TMI with me months ago and saved me the awkward calls to my gynecologist. I mean, I tried to Google "How to fix a problem with my cell phone" and before I got to the word "fix", Google routed me to "
Did you mean 'How to push your vagina back in?'"
No, Google... not today, but thank you for knowing me so well... you're creepy, but sweet. And when little Sally or Johnny emerges from my screaming body this spring, I'm sure I will forget all of these crazy bodily quirks that have plagued me for 9 months. And then Google will be able to route me to pages like "How to make your nipples stop leaking while in Wal-Mart around all these wailing children". But until then, I hope that I was able to help some other women out there (PS, please read this article to your teenage daughters while having the abstinence speech).
PSS.... I love my Baby Bean already :)