Pregnancy is an amazing process, like no other, and I was lucky enough to feel pretty darn good for the majority of this time…with some definite exceptions. I realize that many women have it a lot worse (and a lot better) than me, this is just my own experience. At the end of the day, all of these pregnancy symptoms are nothing compared to the gift that we’re about to get as a result. With that said, let’s get real about growing a baby, shall we?
The GOOD: for whatever reason, I didn’t experience much nausea in the beginning. In fact, I’m happy to say that my entire pregnancy, I’ve probably been nauseous ten times. Sure, I experienced other “stuff,” (keep reading) but not so much of this classic symptom, fortunately. The best part about the first trimester was the realization that I actually had a baby growing inside me! It wasn’t easy getting pregnant to be honest, so we are that much more thankful that it did happen. Though it was still our little secret during the first trimester, I spent it on cloud nine just thinking about it!
The BAD: the first 13 weeks of pregnancy consisted of lots and lots and lots of naps. Everything made me exhausted, even sleeping. I didn’t stand a chance against this kind of tired – by early afternoon, my eyes were closing and my bed was calling…pretty much everyday. I guess growing a human is exhausting. Luckily, I was able to schedule nap time after getting everything done earlier in the day, so I often gave in and listened to my body.
The UGLY: instead of the typical nausea, my ‘ugly’ pregnancy symptom was much less common, but equally uncomfortable. Apparently, when baby starts to grow and push on internal organs, but still isn’t large enough for everything to find its place in there, things can get a little ‘mixed up.’ Not once, but twice early on in pregnancy, I ended up in the ER with a distended bladder, meaning that my bladder had stretched out and was not able to contract to pee like normal. I had to get a catheter in order to drain my bladder. Told you it was ugly…
The GOOD: sharing our baby news was definitely the highlight of the second trimester. At the 12/13 week marks, odds of miscarriage greatly reduce, so that is when people typically let the cat out of the bag. We shared the news with our families and very close friends earlier on with much excitement. We even got all corny and put a ‘bun in the oven’ for our friends to find when we invited them over for drinks (seltzer for me, always seltzer for me.) After the three month mark, I shared on OHH and social media too. At the beginning of the second trimester, I didn’t really look very pregnant yet, but soon after, strangers would start to comment, ask, or congratulate me. That made me realize that my body and my baby were really growing, that this process was really happening. Best of all, towards the end of the second trimester, I began to feel baby girl moving around inside me which is, by far, the coolest feeling in the whole wide world.
The BAD: the end of the first trimester and most of the second trimester was like one long aversion to meat. I typically get a good amount of protein from poultry, meat, and fish, so my diet was definitely thrown off…not to mention my ability to cook dinner. The hubs definitely got the short end of the stick on that one…While we’re on the topic, I should mention that while I didn’t really experience intense food cravings, my body definitely wanted more fresh fruit and refreshing smoothies. One thing that I’ve had every single day during my pregnancy is avocado and I’m pretty sure that habit will not stop with baby’s arrival 🙂
The UGLY: here’s another weird and ugly symptom for ya, as I seem to be the queen of them! After a perfect report at the dentist just a week prior, I started to notice that my bottom gum felt like it was splitting from my teeth and that there was lots of space there that wasn’t there before. Sure enough, it was the very start of pregnancy gingivitis. I was pretty shocked as I try to take really good care of my teeth, but apparently it’s not uncommon. Luckily, with daily flossing and mouthwash, this went away within a few weeks and hasn’t returned.
The GOOD: the best part about my pregnancy is that I’ve been able to continue to work out the whole time, which is pretty huge for my sanity and happiness! Fingers crossed that this continues these last few weeks leading up to the big day as I’ve heard that continued exercise can pay off during labor. Don’t get me wrong, I take things pretty easy, don’t let my heart-rate get very high, and rarely break a sweat. Just the continued movement has been great for my health and well-being.
While I don’t push myself the way that I used to, I have been able to continue jogging, spinning, weight-lifting, and circuit training, while really listening to my body. If something hurts, I don’t do it. For the most part, working out makes me feel a million times better, both physically and mentally, so I keep doing it. With additional size comes a bit more difficulty, so I imagine that things may slow down over these next few weeks and that’s o.k. At a minimum, daily walks and some prenatal yoga help to get the blood pumping just fine.
I was also very relieved when my doctor accommodated my request to avoid the glucose drink (full of sugar and genetically modified ingredients) to test for gestational diabetes; he did a simple blood test to evaluate my sugar levels and rule out GD. Thanks, doc.
The BAD: in addition to the exhaustion, extra weight, constant trips to the bathroom, and all else that comes along with the third trimester, I started to experience a few other uncomfortable symptoms. Hello, swelling and sciatica (shooting pain up my right leg and back.) Luckily, this has been fairly minimal and hasn’t gotten in the way of everyday activity, although I do modify certain exercises to avoid any pressure there. As for the swelling, it’s been mostly in my feet, so I try to reverse the blood flow by doing ‘legs up the wall’ almost everyday. Although the bad has been uncomfortable, it’s nothing compared to the ugly…
The UGLY: if you thought that the catheter and the gingivitis were ugly, just you wait…it gets uglier. Trimester 3 kicked off with the start of an itchy rash on my growing belly. The rash soon got worse and spread. And then it got even worse and continued to spread. Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any worse, it got worse and spread…until it was pretty much everywhere, completely unbearable, and debilitating. At it’s worst, I can’t sleep, have no appetite, zero control over my emotions, and was actually losing weight pretty rapidly – not good signs for growing a little human.
I’m still in the midst of dealing with this lovely symptom, which has included trying herbal treatments, multiple oral and topical steroids, antihistamines, biopsies, oatmeal baths, moisturizers, minimizing my wardrobe to a few cotton shirts, and doing anything I can do to get some rest and relief.
Most recently, the doctors think that I have a combination of two rare rashes, stemming from autoimmune changes due to pregnancy, called PUPPS and Pemphigoid Gestationis. The latter is known to effect 1 in every 50,000 – 1 million women…is that unbelievable or what?! Late at night, when I’m at my worst and I haven’t slept in what seems like weeks, I wonder WHY ME?! But then I quickly remind myself that everyone is dealing with something, whatever it may be, and to keep my eye on the prize, a beautiful, healthy blessing <3
*Update: fortunately, the test for Pemphigoid came back negative. The more I read about this ugly diagnosis, the happier I am to say that I don’t have it. We still don’t know much more than that, the consensus seems to be that pregnancy has caused my immune system to lash out (aka rash out) and general medical advice, along with some meds, is to hang in there until baby arrives, when things should clear up pretty quickly thereafter. So, that’s the plan!
My best efforts right now point to what I know: food! Desperate for some relief, I’ve minimized gluten, dairy, added sugar, and caffeine in an attempt to tame this beast. Although my diet is pretty clean and healthy, I’m committed to doing my best to rule out anything that may be causing extra inflammation. I can’t express how ugly this ugly symptom has been, but I am 1,000% positive that it will all be worth it in the end when baby girl is here!
March can’t come soon enough!!!!!
One Healthy Breakdown: nothing good in life comes easy, right? Babies included.