I find this a weird question. But yet it’s asked all the time. Do you like being pregnant?
I certainly don’t hate being pregnant. I have had an “easy” pregnancy when it comes to symptoms, feeling good and not having to change much about my routine. But do I like it? My answer is that it’s fine.
I miss things I shouldn’t have in pregnancy. I’ve been pretty strict about following the guidelines. This list includes but is not limited to: coffee, alcohol (summer beers and Pimms cups), lox, raw feta and goat cheese, sushi and soft ice cream (omg the Mister Softee truck taunts me on our block and on the way home from work).
Midwife note: Guidelines for safe eating during pregnancy vary from place to place. For example, women in Japan eat sushi in pregnancy. People in some cultures drink wine and eat soft cheese. Caffeine up to 200mg is considered a safe amount, but it does cross the placenta so some people give it up completely or drink significantly less.
Avoiding soft ice cream is not really a standard recommendation in the US. It is in the UK and Australia. The reason is that machines are not always properly cleaned and can grow bacteria such as listeria. A truck (like Mister Softee) is more likely to have improperly cleaned machines than a place like McDonalds.
I suggest doing your research and deciding what makes the most sense to you, and of course talking to your healthcare provider.
US guidelines, UK guidelines and Australian guidelines.
I miss having more than 4 outfits. This is an exaggeration - I have more than 4 outfits. But I don’t have a lot of maternity clothes, nor do I care to buy a bunch, so my options are limited. I have started accessorizing with belts, scarves and jewelry.
I very much dislike that no bras fit and I have to keep buying more. Maybe some people like that their breasts change and get bigger, I am not one of those people. It frustrates me and I’m constantly annoyed with bras.
I don’t like gaining weight. But we knew this already from my prior post. I have come to terms with this, but it’s still not my favorite thing, obviously.
I like getting seats on the subway (sometimes). There are actually times I’d rather stand because sitting is uncomfortable but then someone gets up for you and so you kind of have no choice….this is a love/hate thing.
I like the fact that my body is growing a person. This is really, really cool. No one told my body what to do, it is just doing it. There is an organ that was grown specifically for this purpose, the amazing placenta.
I like that I am never alone. This is actually my favorite thing and something I’ll definitely miss when I’m no longer pregnant. You are literally NEVER alone. There is always this little fetus with you. A client of mine recently said, “It’s like you always have a friend.” I find this to be so true and something I never, ever thought I’d be so sentimental about. I actually think about the fact that this won’t always be and get sad about it. Of course I’m excited to see my baby on the outside, but I will miss the feeling of this person being inside me. I like feeling the kicks and movements. I like being able to talk and sing to Embers and to be able to push on my belly and have Embers push back. I’m getting teary just writing about it.
So do I like being pregnant? It’s fine. I don't hate it. There are good parts, there are annoying parts. But I am so happy that I am pregnant because I’m going to have a baby! Fred and I are adding to our family and we couldn’t be happier about meeting this kid and raising a human. It's truly amazing.
“It’s positive." This is what Fred said when we saw the positive pregnancy test today.
We didn’t expect it. I mean, we wanted it. We had been “trying”. I was feeling weird (more about that later). But we had some negatives last month and even a few weeks ago, so we weren’t getting our hopes up. It was an odd combination of happiness, surprise and also reinforcement (ah yes, that’s actually why I felt weird).
I stopped birth control in August, right before we moved to the house. We had sex a few times and called it roulette, but it wasn’t really trying.
My first period was 28 days from the prior one. Okay, great, the cycle is regular.
Midwife note: The average cycle is 28 days from period to period. An estimated due date is based on this 28 day cycle. For women with longer or shorter cycles, this could affect the due date and an early ultrasound is often recommended to be sure the due date is accurate.
The second period was….not. I was due for my period on my birthday and we planned to go to a spa in NJ called SoJo. I woke up and no signs of it. I even brought a tampon with me. We went and enjoyed the spa. It was great.
We had taken several home pregnancy tests (HPT) and we even bought some from the store (most were taken from the office stash...#midwifebenefits). On 10/16, I even made Fred do my blood at home. I helped him do it then snuck it to the office to send it without the receptionist noticing. Then I checked my results and signed them before another midwife saw them. My progesterone was kind of low, which of course made me worry I have some kind of issue. Turns out it was probably because I was about to ovulate. This is part of why we don't routinely check progesterone levels. It makes everyone nervous.
I had started tracking my temperature already, but it was mid cycle when I started and I was still trying to learn what it meant. Then my period still didn’t come. My graph of temps was all crazy and finally it spiked around day 34 and we had sex around that time. It was strange - I had a desire to have sex around that time. I also had some weird nipple pain around ovulation. I complained about that. It felt like they were chafing all the time.
During this time, I also talked to my midwife partner and even to an Ob/Gyn about potentially seeing me to figure out why I wasn’t getting a period. They both reassured me, as I would have done if I was counseling someone.
My temp went down and I started spotting only 10 days after ovulation and I got my period finally on day 45. Now I started analyzing short luteal phases. Oy. Also I had PMS again and another zit (it is important to know that this is bothersome for me since I was not a person to get acne ever).
I started to wean off coffee a bit during this time and got down to one cup of regular. I didn’t do much else though - still drinking my occasional beers and definitely exercising the same.
Midwife note: Caffeine is considered safe in pregnancy, in moderation. The safe amount is 200mg per day which is about one regular sized cup of coffee. However, it is important to note that it's known that caffeine crosses the placenta. This means some women choose to give it up.
Cycle number 2 of monitoring temp had to be better, right? I was good about the temp taking. We had sex a lot around day 12, hoping ovulation was at the “normal” time. I had mucus signs too. But alas, the temps remained low-ish. Then I had a crazy work week and couldn’t monitor them for a whole week. That was frustrating since last cycle had been really consistent and I wanted to know what was going on.
Around day 23, we started having sex again (after I had slept for days basically). We had sex twice. It seemed that my temp went up and I ovulated on day 25. The app thought I ovulated on day 12, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I had gotten this red mole (called an angioma) on my neck and then after googling it, found they were associated with pregnancy so we did take a preg test on day 29, but it was negative. I had also started snoring, but that also correlated with buying a new bed.
On day 31, I had a low temp. I got really crabby that day and emotional, very much like my PMS self. I think a few days later I had a zit and again PMS. I was getting my period, too soon, again...or so I thought.
The next day the temp was back up. The temp stayed up. I was counting the days past the probable ovulation. I decided to finally order that cycle monitoring bracelet, Ava, since I figured I would need it. Even with the temps up, a friend was in town visiting and we were busy with him and I wanted to wait until almost day 16 post ovulation to take a test.
On day 13 past ovulation I had some left lower quadrant (abdominal) pain, very mild, but noticeable. On day 14 past, I had a weird sensation in my abdomen. Basically it felt like I had done a bunch of crunches and my abs were sore. It didn’t hurt, just noticeable. I was googling like a person who is not a midwife, spending time on Baby Center. I had a feeling this was not my period, but also in heavy denial. I went to the dermatologist to get the red mole removed and she was like “are you pregnant?” and my response was “I don’t know.” I had it removed.
Midwife note: It is important to note that getting a mole removed in pregnancy and having local anesthesia are both safe. If someone had skin cancer in pregnancy, it would be important to know!
On day 15, December 5, we talked about taking a test. I was trying to convince myself we needed to do a first urine of the am. I also was trying to wait until day 16. Finally we decided to just do it. I had taken some pregnancy tests from the office.
Midwife note: The hormones of pregnancy (HGC) are strongest in the morning, with the first urine.
When Fred got home I was making dinner. I had to pee before we ate, so I left urine in a cup. Then we ate and Fred was done before me. I told him to go in and dip the stick to let it sit and we would look when I finished.
Midwife note: Pregnancy tests should be left for five minutes to get an accurate reading.
We went in the bathroom and looked at the same time. “It’s positive”, Fred said. I said nothing. We hugged. We looked again. We hugged. Holy shit, it had happened. We dipped another stick, just to be sure and see how fast it turned.
Then we went to pick up the laundry. We talked a little about the pregnancy, but also the normal stuff like getting the laundry.
It took a few hours for me to say that I was pregnant. I can’t believe it still. I wonder if this is how everyone feels. We are thinking of when we’ll do first ultrasounds, appointments, etc but also thinking way far ahead to next year. I am trying to stay grounded, because we never know what will happen. Let’s get through the next few weeks.
Midwife note: The risk of miscarriage is highest in the first trimester. Each week, the risk gets lower.
What’s really fun though - my mom is coming for Christmas and we will all be together. It’s a good time to potentially tell our parents since they will be together. It will definitely be really early, but we have decided we want to tell them early since it’s not like we wouldn’t tell them about a miscarriage.
I have a thousand things racing through my mind now and just trying to process it all.
I guess I’ll read some pregnancy books now. I have always told my patients “Oh I never read those" which is true. I have only read one book ever and that was because it was required for school.
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City