(Originally written August 15, 2012)
Pregnancy is such a strange and incredible experience. It truly is unlike any other. Every pregnancy is different from person to person and even baby to baby. There are so many things that have surprised me throughout my pregnancy, things I never expected in good ways and in bad. As this journey is coming to an end, and the next chapter is just around the corner, I thought I’d make a list of all the surprises I’ve encountered throughout the past 9+ months.
I honestly thought morning sickness was where you woke up in the morning, felt queasy, puked and went on with your day. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Morning sickness for me was 24/7 for the longest 7 straight weeks of my life. I honestly spent weeks 6-12 laying in bed all day long trying to keep food down. I couldn’t eat ice cream and pickles let alone toast and jelly. Sunny D became a staple in my diet early on and I tried very hard to keep down anything I could. I gave in to every craving I had simply because the thought of eating in general made me sick to my stomach (my cravings in the beginning were also for things like Chicken Parm, toast and Olive Garden salads–not terrible). I was astonished at how hard I was hit with morning sickness. It honestly felt like I was car sick 24/7 for weeks on end. I’d crave things like lemonade and OJ only to make the nausea worse, twenty-fold. I mastered puking from a moving car, in the middle of a formal dining room on a cruise ship and in the midst of dinner (while my incredible husband learned to master doing hurdles across our living room to get the trash can). I have to admit that in the beginning, as much as I’ve known I’ve always wanted to be a mommy, I would often say to Bry “You’re carrying the next one!” I didn’t know if and when the constant pain and pure agony would ever end. I also knew, however, that it was worth it for that tiny little peanut of a miracle growing inside (and that morning sickness is actually a good sign that baby is firmly implanted). I’m also blessed to have an incredible partner who truly went above and beyond those first months to hold my hair back, rub my back and comfort and support me in every way possible.
While I’ve read so many stories of people who expected to be pregnant runners and for one reason or another weren’t able to, I was honestly one of those people who thought my pregnancy would consist solely of prenatal yoga and walks. I ran as normal through week 7 when morning sickness was so bad I wasn’t able to have the caloric intake or even hydration to fuel me through runs anymore. I thought that was the end of pregnant running. I dove into yoga and the stationary bike. At week 13 as morning sickness subsided, I started hitting the pavement again. My first run back I had horrible round ligament pain and thought I was hurting the baby. I stopped dead in my tracks. Nothing was worth potentially hurting our son. I kept up with yoga, walked and hiked a lot with Bry and started swimming which I rediscovered my love for. At 15 weeks I attempted running again and long and behold it didn’t hurt! Not only did I not feel a lick of pain but it felt GOOD to be out there. We consulted our doctor at every appointment to make sure it was still safe for me to run (it was) and I was lucky to consistently tick miles away on the running trail 3 times a week through week 33. At 39 weeks pregnant (tomorrow) I even ran 2 miles with the husband yesterday (1/4 mile intervals). I was surprised at how much I was able to maintain my activity levels, how much energy I consistently had throughout my pregnancy after the first trimester and how exercise actually made me feel BETTER not worse. I’ve been extremely lucky in that aspect. (Edited post baby: I even ran once I was in labor and walked 2 miles!)
I read a lot about pregnancy before we got 2 positive lines on our HPT. I knew 25-30lbs was the healthy recommended weight gain for someone who started pregnancy in the normal/healthy weight range. I started pregnancy around the holidays, after lots of indulging and lots of calories. I was heavier than I normally was and aimed for 20-25lbs to gain through pregnancy to put me in the healthy range. But I also never counted calories (except in the beginning simply to make sure I was eating ENOUGH not at all as a way to control my intake). I was very laid back about the scale and figured my body knew what to do to grow a healthy baby. I trusted it. When I was hungry, I’d eat. If I hadn’t eaten in 2 or so hours, I’d eat something anyway. If I craved something, I’d give in while trying to maintain a balance between healthy and indulgent. I’ll be honest, my pregnancy was riddled with cheesecake, brownies, ice cream, pizza and hot wings. There was lots of OJ, pineapple, nectarines and other fruits as well. But veggies continuously fell to the wayside. Yet somehow, at 39 weeks I’ve only gained 16.4lbs. I trust my body though and know that what the baby needs, he’s getting.
I always knew I’d love being a mommy. It’s what I’ve dreamed of becoming all my life. But I never knew just how much I could love someone. It truly is a love like no other and words can’t describe just how deeply you feel for that little peanut from the first moment 2 blue lines appear on that test, to the first time 2 tiny little feet appear on an ultrasound. It’s crazy the attachment you can feel for someone you’ve never met and how connected you are before you’ve truly laid eyes on them. I say it to Bryan all the time and I know it sounds insane but even though I’ve yet to meet my son, I miss him and can’t wait to hold him in my arms. There is no greater or comparable love.