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Pregnancy Recap

November 8, 2014

Well well well, here we are at 41 weeks pregnant and 1 day 🙂 I’m not going to lie, this is so surreal.  I mean, I knew that I was pregnant, and I knew that I would most likely blow past my “due date”, but never did I really imagine myself sitting here, typing this at this point in my life!

All in all, I feel very lucky that I had such a wonderful pregnancy.  Don’t get me wrong, it was full of ups and downs, but I’ve ultimately reached a point of such peace with my body and this process and my baby that I am completely happy where I am, sitting here and typing all of this out 🙂

For all the pregnant women out there, let me just give you a few of the things that I’ve learned along the way.  For those who have been there and done that, you’ll have to let me know if you agree with any of the things I’ve said here:

1.  If you decide you want to get genetic screening, be prepared for the possibility of an emotional roller coaster.

— Although I don’t regret choosing to get the genetic screening options that we did, in the heat of the moment, I COULD NOT handle it.  We were told at week 20 that our baby had a choroid plexus cyst (CPC) on his brain and that this was a common marker for genetic issues like Trisomy 18 and 21.  Learning this in combination with all of the raging hormones and the “fear of finding something terrible” was something I couldn’t handle.  It turned out that everything was just fine, but in the moment, I couldn’t see past the fear of this discovery.  So lesson learned:  remain objective about everything you learn during pregnancy and TRUST THE STATISTICS!!

2.  Ultrasounds are both joyous and stressful…especially if you act like I did in the above.

— Every ultrasound, I started out completely breathtaken with the awe of seeing my sweet baby on the screen in front of me.  “It is a baby!! I knew it!!” would race through my mind and then about halfway through, I found myself completely struck with panic.  “What if they find something? Then what?”  At our 28 week ultrasound we were checking to make sure that the CPC was gone and the ultrasound tech (someone very young and inexperienced) commented, “WOW, your baby’s head is REALLY big.”  Our baby’s head was measuring 4 weeks ahead of where it should be, yet still within the normal percentiles.  So, there really was nothing to worry about, but of course my mind began racing “Is there something wrong?  Is his head too big?”  The curse of motherhood…always worrying, even before you meet your sweet baby.  I made a decision right then and there to ignore that comment and to trust the process.  My midwife told me if I started to measure abnormally (fundal height) that I could get ultrasounds at that point to check on the baby’s progress, but if all stayed normal then we would just proceed as we normally would.  It still took a lot of positive thinking and repetition to keep my mind from freaking out after this.  This, however, was also the turning point for me in the pregnancy when I decided “I won’t be scared any further…and I will stop looking for what’s wrong and start enjoying all that is right!”

3. Hire a doula!

— Although my husband has been a total sweetheart and tried his best, there are still some things that husbands just cannot know or be prepared for.  My doula, although pricey, has been such a lifesaver.  She is experienced, knowledgeable, loving, kindhearted and a killer masseuse.  Even though I am still waiting to give birth, it gives me a very warm and comforting feeling to know that both she and my husband will be there to support me.  I think it is the “support trifecta” and I couldn’t imagine not having both of them there 🙂  She is a great comfort to my husband too!  Takes the pressure off of him just a smidgen too 😉

4. Take birthing classes with your spouse!

— Not only is this a great way to bond with your spouse  over the pregnancy and the impending changes headed your way, it also helps to arm you both with knowledge of the process.  Many people think “This is a natural process, why do I need to learn about it?”  Knowledge is power people.  Knowing how labor starts, what to look for, how to respond, and what is normal and what is abnormal is so great to have in your arsenal of knowledge.  Especially for people who get panicky when it comes to pain.  Having the knowledge also helps you plan ahead for what you would like your birth to be like.  We did the Bradley Method and loved it; however, there are lots of options for people who don’t want to spend 12 weeks learning all the minutiae 🙂

5. Don’t fall victim to the “I’m pregnant I can eat whatever I want” belief.

— Don’t get me wrong, I let myself indulge when I wanted to, but I am so thankful that I stuck to my healthy eating habits and workouts.  I truly believe that it made pregnancy so much more enjoyable because I felt GOOD.  I worked out 5+ days a week, walked the dogs several miles a day, kept lifting weights, swimming and running.  Running had to take a back seat at 28 weeks because of pubic bone pain/discomfort, but everything else has remained about the same!

6. Trust the process.

— Pregnancy is a miraculous experience and while it is highly medicalized, publicized and glamorized, it is also a completely natural process.  When I think back to everything I did to sustain a healthy pregnancy, I’ve realized that I really didn’t have to “do” much.  My body knew what to do and the baby knew what to do…essentially, I just existed, didn’t eat a few “risky foods” and carried on with my normal life.  I would have saved myself so much stress and anxiety if I had just trusted the process from the very beginning.

7. Learn to nod and smile.

— When it comes to pregnancy, labor, delivery and child-rearing, EVERYBODY has an opinion.  Oh, and EVERYBODY has to share it.  For some reason, the women who were most traumatized by pregnancy, et al, really are the ones who love to share.  I think it is a method of healing for them, but unfortunately, for many pregnant women it is more scarring than helpful to hear these stories.  Pregnancy has been turned into something “scary” rather than beautiful.  We proselytize fear and anxiety rather than embracing and celebrating the beauty and the miracle that is pregnancy and motherhood.  This is another reason why I think that knowledge is so important for pregnant women…it helps to combat fear when you know the facts and the stats 🙂  So when someone starts to tell you their horrific tales of pregnancy, labor and delivery, either stop them and say “Thank you, but I’m only looking for happy and positive stories during my pregnancy” or just turn your brain off, nod and smile.  I did the latter because I had a really hard time telling people to politely “shut up”.

I’m sure I could keep writing for days, but these are the things that surface in my mind from the past 41 weeks. What do you have to say about your pregnancy experiences or lessons learned?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. TSKeets permalink
    November 10, 2014 5:26 pm

    Beautiful and insightful. Am certain this will be helpful reading for anyone going through prenancy for the first time (or the fifth).

  2. Jenn Foy permalink
    November 11, 2014 7:19 am

    Beautifully written, and so true! You’re such a smart mama. I’m looking forward to seeing your little one grow (outside of your belly)!

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