23 October 2014

Things no one told me (and a belly update)

I already told you about this project-documenting-a-project:

So I thought I’d give you an update today, now that I’ve got two months and two more photos down!

But just posting photos seemed like a cop-out, so I have also written you some words. For those of you who do not care about pregnancy, you can skip to the end and witness how my belly is starting to take over the world. But because I also want to document this pregnancy in words, I can also tell you about:

Ten things nobody told me about pregnancy

(I promise none of them are very gross.)

1. Clothes that fit in the morning will not necessarily fit in the evening

Every day my belly grows. Every night my belly shrinks. It started doing around fourteen weeks, such that in the morning I looked perfectly normal, but in the evening my belly was all HELLO WORLD! It’s amusing, until I forget that choosing a nice, form-fitting shirt in the morning means being swathed in a sausage casing by the evening.

2. The baby kicking doesn't feel like butterflies or popcorn popping. It feels like exactly like a small person is moving around inside you.

I was excited about the foreign feeling of the baby kicking and read all the metaphors for how it might feel. I'd sit there quietly and be like, "Was that it? That was vaguely butterfly-esque." Or, “That could be popcorn popping! Or gas. But maybe?” However, when I finally could feel him move, I knew exactly what it was because that's exactly how it felt. No metaphors needed.

3. Similarly, Braxton-Hicks contractions feel exactly like a muscle cramp.

Before I started having those practice contractions constantly, my sister-in-law told me that contractions felt like her insides were being vacuum-sealed. Other metaphors and descriptions abound. But again, I didn't have to wonder when I started having them. The uterus is a giant muscle, and it tightened up all by itself, just like a leg cramp or a foot cramp. A contraction... feels like a muscle contraction. Huh.

4. You may not feel the URGE to pee all the time… but you better do it anyway.

Maybe I just already visited the restroom frequently before I was pregnant, but I didn't necessarily need to increase my restroom visits, even as my belly grew. However, I soon realized that I'd better go anyway, whenever I had the opportunity. That is for one simple reason: at some point, I would need to sneeze. You can guess what happened next.

5. Maternity pants are a must far earlier than you think.

I’ve mentioned before that I was both bummed and relieved to buy maternity pants at the end of the first trimester. Bummed because I never expected to need them so soon, but relieved because those things sure are comfortable, especially considering how uncomfortable pregnancy can be (even in the first trimester). At least I’m getting my money’s worth?

6. That said, you can also wear non-maternity clothes far longer than you think.

It’s not the clothes I expected, either. The many high-waisted dresses I own stopped fitting practically before the second trimester, but I’m still wearing a surprising number of dresses and sweaters that I thought would be retired early. And they are way more flattering than half the maternity items I’ve tried. All that business about “maternity clothes are designed to fit your body!” is not necessarily true.

7. Food aversions are a much bigger deal than food cravings.

Immediately following the litany of “When are you due?” + “Do you know what you’re having?” + “Have you picked out any names?” is “Have you had any weird cravings?” It’s supposed to be a pregnant lady’s version of the drunken party story, I guess. My answer is a disappointing: “Not really.” But if you’d asked me in the first trimester about my diet, I’d tell you how every food is the worst thing ever except maybe [fill in the blank with one random food, like spaghetti-o’s]. I doubt that really counts as a craving, and nowadays I’m boring.

8. Babies can hang out on one side of your belly, and yes, they totally make it lopsided, and yes, it is insanely weird.

Why isn't this common knowledge? I suppose there are enough women with cute, perfectly spherical bellies that it just wasn't clear to the rest of us. But it's true. Baby P apparently wants nothing to do with my left side. All kicking, rolling, and punching occur over on the right, FAR to the right. And I'm just plain sorry if you ever see me have a contraction, because my belly becomes a trapezoid pointed off to the west-northwest. It’s, uh... it’s kinda gross.

9. The inside of your belly button is ridiculously sensitive.

My belly button didn't so much "pop" as "slooowly turn itself inside-out", so there wasn't a single moment when I realized that it was completely OUT and PROUD. That is, until I realized that brushing too close to things - tables, chairs, doorways - would elicit a yelp as I hunched over. The refrigerator door, for some reason, is the ABSOLUTE WORST, but over-aggressive toweling-off is also a big offender.

10. Normal, non-baby conversations become a joy.

Ironic that I’m saying this at the end of pages of pregnancy talk, but it remains true for me. Do you know how absolutely delighted I am when someone asks me how work is going? Or if I did anything interesting over the weekend? That is, anything but information about the baby? These days I am literally having the same conversation ten times a day, often with people I have never seen before in my life, so the opportunity to chat about anything else, anything at all, is probably the most fun I’ve had all day.

So there you have it!

Oh right, belly photos! Ok, so here was where I last left you:

And here’s where I was four weeks later (with a painted living room, YAY):

And earlier this week, four weeks after that!

Pro tip: don’t make a face when a woman this size tells you she’s got two more months to go. It’s just not encouraging. (Especially when measurements and weight gain are right on target like mine!)

If Baby P is prompt, there’s only two more photos to go! Let’s see how he cooperates... and how many more things I have to learn about pregnancy before then.


Tina said...

I'm so glad you wrote these ten things down - 'cause once you have "mommy brain" it lasts a while (do remember I told you that! ;-)) and you forget - a lot. With each one, I went, "Yep, she's right"...
The best metaphor I do remember, though, came back to me from Aunt Sandy. When barely pregnant I asked her what baby movement felt like and she said that I would know when I felt it but then added her best description would be of "velvet on velvet." I liked that one...
Btw, you look especially gorgeous at week 32. <3

Janice said...

It's fun to watch Baby P growing strong, even it means more trips to the restroom, oddly shaped belly, weird kicking sensations, and the whole nine yards. You look wonderful!