Here I sit, curled up in my husbands favorite chair. The room is dark and the sun is not even thinking about shining its face yet. Sleep was not my friend tonight. Tossing and turning for most of the night has become par for the course these last weeks of pregnancy. On a side note, you have all been reading the beginning of my journey. Which began way back in June 2009. It is now the week of February 15th, 2010 the week I will become a mom. We are now only two days away from our induction date. With my growing fear and anxiety of this impending birth, combined with a sever lack of sleep, I'm deciding its an excellent time to give you my insight into what was my 1st trimester experience.
If your an Accidental Baby Maker, fear not. A lot of us can feel completely wonderful during our first trimester. Some lucky ladies state that they have never felt more amazing from the moment they conceive until they pop that little one out. That could totally be you!!!! and if it is -- I'm sooo jealous!!!!
For the rest of us, most 1st trimesters and into the early 2nd trimester, it is not so much fun. It's a time of minute to minute changes. Your body is no longer your own, and someone else is calling the shots. My first 14 weeks can be summed up with nausea, vomiting, extreme exhaustion, and emotional craziness.
My theory, better to be prepared then caught off guard. If you know that your worse case scenario is being so sick that you actually end up loosing weight instead of starting to pack on the pounds, you can deal with it. If you know it's completely normal to have none of the energy you used to have you can make plans to accommodate your new sleep needs. If you find yourself crying at the drop of a dime, you'll know your not alone and that its completely okay! And if you end up being one of those lucky few that feel amazing, have no adverse side effects, I hope you'll know how good you have it!!! Back to my miseries and how I dealt with them. After all, this is about me :o)
Do not get fooled into thinking that morning sickness is just for the morning. It can strike, any time and any where. You could be feeling totally fine one minute and be running for the bathroom the next. I even had a day here and there where I thought, "wow, I haven't wanted to puke today." But for the most part, it was just a constant state of severe nausea.
My accidental baby maker survival. The smell of lemon. This came from my husbands co-worker who also had a miserable 1st trimester. You basically squeeze lemon juice all over a paper towel and stick it in a zip-lock bag. At the first feelings of sickness whip that baby out and take a few deep breaths through your nose. I am convinced this kept me from a several embarrassing vomiting situations. I'm not chemist, but there is something about that lemon fresh infiltration into your senses helped to ward off the gagging. I also found that staying away from all things stinky was safest. You may have loved tuna fish your entire life, but that sucker was a sure fire gag reflex trigger. Stick with simple, plain things that are yummy to you, but that you wont be forever traumatized seeing again a few moments later.
Next, the extreme exhaustion. I was literally waking up in the morning dreaming about being able to curl up and take a nap. I was completely amazed at the lack of energy your body feels. The only solution to this is to sleep it off. I could normally survive and thrive on about 6 hours of sleep a night, a good stiff cup of coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon. Making it through the day refreshed and able to last until 11pm or later. My new condition left me needing at least 8 hours at night. If left up to my body and not my alarm clock I would find myself stealing 9 or 10 hours on the weekend. That was only to ensure that I would make it to my 4pm siesta. I am not, nor have I ever been a napper. They always leave me feeling more tired then before I laid down. But during those first 14 weeks, if I didn't grab those extra couple of hours in the afternoon I was useless. Don't fight it. Don't be ashamed, and most importantly, don't try to power through. Your body is going through something ridiculously hard. It requires every spare ounce of energy you have. Get those extra hours at night and Tivo your favorite shows instead of watching them live. Skip the Friday night dinner and a movie with friends and choose an early night curled up on the couch. Its good practice for life after baby, when your social life will come to a halt and your entire world will revolve around the little one. Schedule time in your day for an afternoon "pick me up" nap. You'll find all of the other symptoms are a little less easier to deal with, if your getting a good amount of rest.
My final symptom was emotional craziness. I'm not talking about lock me up, I'm a danger to my self craziness. I am talking about, for me, I felt crazy. I am not a crier. I just don't show my emotions that way. I like to take a step back from an upsetting situation and process things internally before talking about them. I like to go into something calm and with a rational head. I like to keep my emotions in check. This flew out the window with my pregnancy. The dumbest things were sending me into sobbing fits. My feelings were easily hurt. I became incredibly sensitive about pretty much everything. If your significant other is anything like mine, this was the hardest thing for him to deal with. He would hold my hair back while I was sick in the bathroom, allow me peace and quiet to get caught up on my sleep, but He is a "fixer". He hates seeing me upset, and always try to do anything possible to make me happy. ( I know, I'm one lucky girl) The key point I had to keep emphasizing to him was that it wasn't something that was "fixable". I needed to be able to go through these emotions. I needed a hug when I was sad, and for him to listen when I needed to yell and scream with frustration. I needed to know that for the next nine months it was okay for me to be "that girl". The one that cried at Hallmark commercials, balled her eyes out when something mean was said, and could rant and rave when something just really pissed me off.
I also felt crazy for not falling head over heals in love with my newly discovered baby. Everyone was wishing me wonderful congratulations. Telling me what an amazing gift we had been given. I just wasn't emotionally there yet. I had not let go of my control issues. I was still feeling like this was a HUGE mistake. God must have gotten me confused with someone else. Surely I was not capable of making a baby. Everyone experiences pregnancy differently. We don't always plan on it happening and I have come to realize that it's okay to be totally freaked out. I believe its a healthy fear. Working as a nanny for the past 9 years I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. The sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the endless diaper changes. For me it was my job, something I loved doing from 9-5, Monday through Friday, but I also loved going home at the end of my day. I wasnt ready to give up that part of my life. I was getting in my own way of joy and happiness. I wasn't ready to let go of my fears and trust that God was in control. Sure I could do certain things to ensure my safety and well being. But the baby was something I had absolutely no control over. That's a tough one for me.
My survival. Find someone you can be honest with. Be allowed to verbalize your thoughts and have them be listened to and supported. For me it was a combination of my sisters. One, a lawyer, has no plans or desire to reproduce. She was the person I needed to validate my anxiety. I told her everything I was afraid to tell everyone else. I knew that she would cast no judgement, not label me as a bad mother, but offer me sarcasm and whit.She would tell me that it was okay to not be excited, and to be freaking out was 100% normal. My second sister, an elementary school teacher, who loves children, and has always wanted to be a mom, was who I went to when I needed encouragment and excitement about this new journey. I needed her to tell me that I could do it. To reassure me that my body was made for this. That I was going to survive the next 9 months and to convince me that I was in fact going to be an awesome mom.
Every Baby Maker, whether "accidental" or "planned" needs support. Even if it is spread out through many people. Trust me, its a long journey and you need to be able to talk through things, laugh about the funny, and cry about the scary.