I’m signed up for all the apps that tell you what should be happening with your body during pregnancy. I know what kind of fruit my baby is shaped like this week. I even read all the books way to early to remember what they say about this seventh month of pregnancy that I’m currently experiencing. When questions come up that ask “Is this normal?” or “What does that mean?” I can usually find the answer with a quick search on my smartphone.
But there are so many more things that I’ve experienced in the last 210 days of carrying around a baby that I did not expect. Here’s some of them:
1. 10 months, not 9
All women who have been pregnant are aware of this fact. You carry a baby for 40 weeks, which at 4 weeks in a month, equates to 10 months. I never knew this. And I’m really starting to question why we all miscalculate this simple arithmetic. Is it a trick to make pregnancy seem shorter and therefore more appealing? I don’t know, but I still catch myself thinking that in my seventh month, I’ve only got two more left. WRONG!
2. Absence of food cravings
I never craved pickles and ice cream. I never asked my husband run out in the middle of the night to pick me up a burrito. And I never threw caution to the wind and ate an entire bowl of chocolate (although this has happened when I’ve been sans preggo).
I found that while being pregnant, I’ve become a healthier eater. I’m actually more attentive to making sure my body is getting the right amount of nutrients so my baby can develop properly. I’m worried about getting in all my protein portions and trying to eat lentils because they have a lot of iron in them. I’ve never been concerned about these things. But when it comes to building a baby, my mind shifted into survival mode and I naturally think about getting in at least one piece of fruit a day.
I’ve also never had morning sickness, so maybe I’m lucky a freak of nature.
However, I have experienced swollen gums, back aches, tingling hands, leg cramps, and abnormally curly hair. So I’m not immune to everything.
3. Registry drama
I remember having a good time while registering for wedding gifts. I thought that picking out baby stuff would be even better. And I was wrong for two reasons. One: there may be three different types of mixing bowls or ten varieties of china patterns, but there are literally hundreds of pacifiers and baby bottles to choose from. And they are all the same. And, two: while we did have a sense for what kitchen appliances we’d need after getting married, we know nothing about what a baby needs to survive. Do we really need both a Boba wrap and an Ergo Baby carrier?
We had a particularly trying afternoon picking out a stroller. Buy Buy Baby has at least one hundred strollers on display in their store. Their brands vary from Chicco to Maclaren, as do their prices. Some of these strollers cost more than the baby’s bedroom set. We knew we wanted something cheaper than that. But did we want a travel system or a separate stroller and car seat that can be customized? Who cares! I just wanted a stroller that would carry my baby as I rolled around the grocery store. After an hour of grabbing, pulling, pushing, kicking, and physically exhausting our options, we went with an all-in-one travel system that costs less than $500 (surprisingly, that is on the cheaper side of a visit to stroller land). When we were checking out, the registry consultant informed us that the model we picked is being discontinued by the manufacturer. So I hope to God that someone buys us that stroller and buys it fast.
4. Tweaking my political views
I’ve always supported a women’s right to choose. And I still do. On principle as a woman, I believe it’s against my rights to not have complete legal control over my body. I had a hard enough time agreeing to get a flu shot this season, at the strong recommendation of my doctor (I was basically informed that I’d be endangering my baby if I didn’t get one).
The moment I saw my baby (complete with arm and leg nubs) in the first ultrasound at 10 weeks, it became obvious to me that this was a little person inside of me. He is a real person. I don’t need to question his existence as a human being. I did start to question why we don’t consider counting someone’s age at conception. This little guy is going to be 10 months old by the time he’s born. Maybe it’s because determining that date isn’t an easy thing to do (and you’re technically not pregnant the first two weeks of your pregnancy). And maybe it’s just because that’s the way we’ve been counting birthdays forever.
5. Feeling confident, not scared
I’ve always been terrified of the idea of giving birth, but now it’s the last thing on my mind. I think I’ve settled on the idea that this is the one thing my body was made to do. That has kept me at ease when I feel anxious thinking about how the hell does a 7-8 pound baby come out of me. It’s the most natural thing in the world and it’s also the hardest to prepare for. So many things can happen. I’ve never heard the same birth story twice. In a way, birth experiences are kind of like snowflakes. 😉
We’re signed up for a childbirth class in a few weeks at the hospital where we’ll deliver and I’m hoping that will make me feel more confident about being able to physically do what my body needs to do. It also might be during class that I finally freak and run out of the room screaming “I can’t do this!” But the people there should be able to calm me, right? That’s had to have happened at least once before.