5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Getting Pregnant
At the time of writing this, I'm just over 37 weeks pregnant.
If you ever saw What to Expect When You're Expecting, I was Cameron Diaz. People complimented me on how small I was because I wasn't gaining weight in my face. I didn't have any discomfort or complications throughout. I always got dressed to the nines to go out and I comfortably wore high heels until I was a full, round 8 months along.
It was a flawless pregnancy until I hit 9 months. Little Baby Kabir tried to enter the world 4 weeks early... like 3 different times. I stopped being able to get out of the bathtub on my own, or put my own shoes on, or walk. My pelvis aches. I gained a ton of extra weight. I snore so loudly that my poor husband sleeps in the guest room half the time. I am currently a mess.
Sitting around on midwife-ordered bedrest really got me thinking about all of the expectations, or lack thereof, I had of pregnancy. I really did everything I could to plan and prepare myself, but there are always unknowns. Here are the things I wish I knew before I got pregnant:
1. Getting pregnant is going to take some time.
In May of 2019, I traveled to Virginia for a 3-week training for my new federal job, leaving Ravi at home in our little apartment in Garland, TX. It was the very first time he and I had been without one another for longer than 24 hours since meeting. As you can probably guess, it didn't go very well. We missed each other, of course, but Ravi was a lot lonelier than I could have ever predicted.
On one of the last days of my trip, he called me around lunchtime. "I think I'm ready for us to have a baby." This was a little out of the blue because we hadn't ever seriously discussed having kids. He used to always say he didn't want kids, even though he knew I did.
I started preparing- picking out the best insurance, made an appointment to have my birth control, started taking vitamins. We waited a couple months to start trying. We decided we didn't want to schedule conception, we just wanted it to happen.
Well... it doesn't just happen for everyone. The first month didn't bother me. The second month hurt my feelings. The third month broke my heart. By the fifth month, we fought all the time and the pressure was overwhelming. By the seventh month, I started strategizing and preparing for a possibility of infertility. I got pregnant after trying for nearly 9 months.
2. Nothing prevents stretch marks.
Some of you are going to read this and think, "except Vitamin E oil" or "except cocoa butter" and you are wrong. There is absolutely nothing proven to prevent stretch marks.
I soak in Vitamin E oil bath tonic almost daily. I used a whole bottle of facial-quality Vitamin E oil. I lather up with lotions and serums and butters and I literally massaged olive oil onto my belly and hips one day.
At 36 weeks, even I got 6 burgundy electric-bolt shaped marks on the underside of my belly (to very fashionably go with the lightening crotch I started experiencing around then...). They are itchy and uncomfortable. Most of the time, they're verging on numb, which is a lot less comfortable than you'd think.
3. You may completely outgrow your maternity clothes.
I am very proud of my maternity wardrobe. I have plenty of pairs of both pants and jeans. I have crisp white shirts and fashionable tanks. I have sweaters and coats for cold-weather. I have a plethora of dresses for parties, holidays, and a whole bunch of other events that 2020 skipped.
I was a smaller size 8 when I got pregnant. I was a maternity 8 until about 25-ish weeks. Then, a maternity 10 fit better. Now, my belly is so round and large that only maternity lounge clothes fit, and barely at that. My maternity tee shirts make me look like a Rugrat.
Another thing that I wish I was more prepared for- my shoes don't fit. My feet aren't swollen or anything, but the 7.5-8 sized shoes I wore pre-pregnancy may as well be kids shoes. I should have bought a pair of 8.5 sized flats instead of a gold sequined New Year's Eve dress. I've literally worn the same pair of white sneakers for 4 weeks now and they match virtually nothing.
4. No pregnancy is perfect.
My midwife used to tell me I was so good at being pregnant that I should have 10 kids. On our babymoon, I danced salsa for hours in heels and a bartender tried to give me tequila shots because he didn't believe I was 5 months pregnant. I was an exercising, slim faced, super-pregnant hottie (if I do say so myself).
The ninth month has been a wholly different story. I started getting shooting, electric pains on New Year's Eve. I was cramping for days. Sleeping became really difficult. I could barely get off the couch by myself and when I could, it took me awhile to recover so I could walk across the room. Pregnancy can be unpredictable and I probably shouldn't have thought that I was immune to complications.
Even beyond the scary stuff, I'm starting to struggle. I've gained more weight than I planned and can't exercise anymore (midwife's orders). I'm having a hard time breathing, especially at night, and my snoring is interfering with my husband's livelihood. I can't get up the stairs to work, so I'm on medical leave. I'm emotional. I'm uncomfortable. I'm impatient.
Please, child. GTF out of me.
5. Baby comes when baby wants.
Our original due date was February 4th. I think it was based on my last menstrual cycle date. When we had our sonogram, he measured a week ahead, which fit better with my last ovulation date. That changed our date to January 27th.
My mom joined me at an appointment and told my midwife that both my brother and 1 were nearly 2 weeks late. The estimated date shifted to February 11th. Then, my fundal measurement put me 5 weeks ahead, totally screwing up our thought processes.
I've been expecting this baby to exit every day since our labor scare on New Year's Eve. 8 days of expectation is a lot. I wake up every morning with a backache thinking "whenever you're ready, little man".
I'm 37 weeks and 2 days along, so he's safe to come out (although a couple extra days would benefit him). Whatever day he chooses, though, will be totally unexpected, no matter how badly I want him out.
Ultimately, pregnancy has been a wild and wonderful journey. It's mind blowing that two people can create life, seemingly out of nowhere. It's incredible that there is a being inside me that is completely independent to me. I imagine his little face and his little feet. I dream about him. I love him.
That feeling makes all of the discomfort and pain worth it. I don't know him yet, but I'd do anything for him.