Thursday, April 24, 2008

Telling it like it is

I recently read the book Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy. A few people had mentioned it to me, I was in Target and saw it, so I bought it. I think I was laughing out loud in the middle of the mall by page five. Seriously. The woman is funny. And frank. I have a feeling I will know more about her than I would want to, but I gotta say, I love her honesty and the fact that she is REAL. (The book, in case you don't know, and why would you if you haven't read it, is about being pregnant and giving birth.)

This post has been percolating in my head for awhile now.....ever since the holidays in fact when my mom and my brother were trying to get my sister to say if she was going to have another baby. My sister responded, "I don't want to be pregnant again." To which my mom said, "Your pregnancies weren't that bad." To which my sister (rather cleverly I might add) replied, "They were uncomfortable." I decided that was it really--that word just describes it all.

(Let me interrupt this regularly scheduled commentary to mention that this is by no means a venting post. Being pregnant is a glorious miracle that I am thankful for every day. Don't let anything I say here detract from that....)

But, my sister nailed it--even with an easy pregnancy, and let's be for real for a moment, although it took awhile to get here, my pregnancy has been relatively easy without major complications (another reason to be thankful). However, it is UNCOMFORTABLE.

Let's break it down (or at least start to) a la Jenny McCarthy:
Barf-o-Rama a.k.a. Morning sickness:

Clearly the person who named it morning sickness was a man, trying to trick all women into thinking you would only be sick in the morning. What a cruel, cruel joke. Morning sickness happens. But so does mid morning sickness. And lunch time sickness. And afternoon sickness. And dinner time sickness. And even middle of the night for no apparent reason sickness. Another untruth (at least for me): it goes away once the baby starts moving, or you hit your second trimester. I've had periods, days in fact, without throwing up. But if I had to count, I think that in 34 weeks of pregnancy, I've had maybe five weeks where I didn't throw up at least once-and probably several times. (And one of those weeks was the week we first found out I was pregnant.) Throwing up was the thing I hated the most even before I was pregnant. You can imagine my feelings on it now--needless to say I'm tired of it and ready for it to stop.

Snorting, snifing, sneezing a.k.a. stuffy nose:

OK, this may not sound like much to you, but imagine having a permanantly stuffy nose. I mean you wake up in the morning and you are stuffy. You go about your day and you are stuffy, you lie down at night and have to wait until your nose clears enough so you can actually breath through it. Not the biggest of deals, admittedly, but I'm thinking I should have bought stock in Puffs before I got pregnant. Between blowing my nose, wiping my watery eyes after throwing up and going through gobs of tissues when I get a bloody nose....let's just say we have gone through several boxes.....

A-A-A-cho! Get me a tissue I'm bleeding! a.k.a. bloody noses:

As I alluded to above, bloody noses are also a glorious side effect of pregnancy. Who knew, right? I've never had one before being pregnant and well, I hope I never have one again. Not the biggest of deals, again, but still, one of those minor inconveniences in life that you'd just rather not have. The worst is never knowing when I sneeze if it will turn into a bloody nose or not. Like I said, I should have bought stock in Puffs.

Get the heck out of the way, I need to pee! a.k.a. frequent pee breaks:

Really, there's nothing to say about this other than the fact that it's amazing how much you really do have to go to the bathroom. Now that I'm in my third trimester I literally get up every 1.5-2 hours at night just to go to the bathroom. Good training for when the baby comes and I'm nursing, not so much fun now when all you desperately want is a decent night's sleep. During the day, my kids are so used to me sneaking out of the classroom to run down the hall they don't even bat an eye. I don't even ask the teacher next door to keep an eye or an ear out because I do it so often!

Flopping and wrestling a.k.a. sleepless nights:

I can't remember the last time I slept for a full eight hours. I have decided that the reason you are so exhausted during pregnancy is not only because you are creating a human and every single body part is shifting or shrinking or stretching while working harder than it ever has before, but also because you just. don't. sleep. Early on in your pregnancy you learn that you aren't supposed to sleep on your back, because of decreased blood flow to the baby. You can't sleep on your belly, for fear of squishing the baby (and, of course, because your belly simply gets too large). Which leaves your side. If you are a side sleeper this is not a problem. I am not a side sleeper and never have been. Largely due to the fact that I already have a minor case of scoliosis (my back is curved funky) in both my upper and lower spine as well as a permanent disability rating in my back courtesy of an idiotic woman who rammed into my car from behind several years ago. What this means for me is that sleeping on my side HURTS. A lot. So, I wake up often, to roll from one side to the other. Except, because I sleep with a body pillow (which, incidentally, doesn't really do any good other than to support my belly a bit) is more like a wrestling match than a roll. Sometimes, through no fault of my own, I wake up on my back, and then I lay awake for hours on end, waiting for baby girl to kick so I know she's OK. The first few times this happened I panicked and I just stay awake until she moves, which often takes awhile because she's sleeping too.... I try to time my wrestling matches with my bathroom breaks, but it doesn't always work that way. So, for me to be up every hour either rolling or peeing is about typical. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. Sleep? What's that? (The funniest part about this is that I feel as if, throughout my entire pregnancy really, people keep telling my HUSBAND he looks tired. Or, my husband tells me how tired he is. I continue to be my usual sympathetic self, the man does work hard after all, but I'm waiting for the day when I lose it and remind him that he is tired because he stays up late playing video games while I am tired because I'm carrying around our daughter!)

Carrying the weight of the world....on your back a.k.a. back pain:

It doesn't start your third trimester, as people will tell you. It starts sooner than that. For me, it started when I started sleeping on my side. Although during the day it wouldn't be that bad, or I wouldn't be aware of it as much, when you wake up with a sore back, you pretty much walk around with one all day long. It does seem to be getting worse now that I'm in my third trimester though, so everyone was right about that much.....

Big Boobs:

This is one of those be careful what you wish for stories! Throughout most of my adolescent and even college years, I wished my boobs would be just a bit bigger. Now that they are, I seriously don't know how women with large boobs do it. They just get in the way! While I enjoy having cleavage for the first time in my life (and I won't tell you what Russ thinks of them) I'm ready to go back to my normal size. Which, I know, won't happen for awhile.....

Will someone please remove the red hot spike from my calf? a.k.a. leg cramps

This is something else I had never experienced before pregnancy. Sure, I had the occasional charlie horse, but nothing compared to the leg cramps that you get while pregnant. For me, they usually happen at night (of course they do!) or in the early morning when I attempt to stretch. (As an aside- you know that stretch you do when you first wake up? Arms overhead, legs stretched, toes pointed, your entire body just s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g? Yeah, I haven't done one of those in AGES. You just can't.) Anyway, leg cramps- they really do feel like someone is driving a red hot spike into your calf. You can't do anything while your entire leg just tenses uncontrollably except grasp it tightly and try not to cry out. Usually when I have one of these I'm awake for awhile afterwards (like I said, sleep? what's that?) and then my leg will be sore for literally days after.

I need a ______ RIGHT NOW! a.k.a. cravings (or aversions)

Truthfully, I haven't had many of these. Russ has really gotten off easy I think. No late night runs to Dairy Queen for him! But every now and again we'll be driving along, and I want something. Most recently, when we were registering, I wanted Strawberry Lemonade that they serve at Chili's. Now, I would have been fine if I didn't have it. But I really really really wanted Strawberry Lemonade. And I needed it too, right away. (Yes, I got one.) I've heard stories though of women who eat buckets of mushrooms, or vegetarians who become meat eaters because they must have steak....can't say I've really experienced any of that. Although, come to think of it, I have really wanted a turkey sandwich. No idea why, probably because I can't eat it. Nor have I had any aversions. Food commercials used to make me sick my first trimester, but then again, everything made me sick my first trimester. But there isn't one food that I really can't eat or don't like. Maybe that's the silver lining to all the throwing up?


I have nothing creative or clever to say about either one of these. They stink. And they are also rather permanent-at least for me- and even more so during my third trimester. I swear, between throwing up and alternating between heartburn and nausea it's amazing I've gained as much weight as I have!

There are a thousand and one other little tidbits about pregnancy that make it rather uncomfortable--like the bloodwork you have to go through, or the sugary drinks you have to drink for your gestational diabetes test, or the fact that your entire body just doesn't really feel like your own anymore, or the fact that as you get bigger you get so unwieldy that simple things like tying your shoes are impossible, and standing up becomes difficult....but for now, this list covers some of the basics.

Here's something I know--or at least I think I know--women who have been pregnant don't tell you about any of these discomforts. At least, not until you are pregnant yourself, then the stories come out! Why is that? I am convinced it is for two reasons: all of these discomforts are nothing compared to actual child birth and secondly (and perhaps most importantly!), I suspect that the moment I meet my daughter for the first time and look into her eyes and feel her little hand wrap around my pinky....I suspect that all of these minor discomforts will just fly right out of my head.


Mom S said...

Sooooooo funny!
Great post.

Kelli said...

Oh Lisa, I wish I could just give you a big ol' hug right now! You are so funny!

And men say they're the stronger sex. Puh-lease.

Becky said...

I had a lot of the same problems when I was pregnant. Here are some things to try that you might not have already:
1. buy a tempurpedic mattress pad for your bed...makes it a lot more comfortable and helps to alleviate the pressure sores from the side sleeping.
2. you can sleep partly on your back...use your body pillow or a bed pillow to wedge behind your back so that are sleeping on your side, but leaning towards your back. I didn't know about this until the physical therapist told me and it made a world of difference.
3. Forget about the Puffs, use breathe right strips at night to help you breathe.
4. Drink more water to keep your sinuses more moist (and therefore less stuffy and nose bleeding).
5. Take a tylenol PM (completely safe for the baby now, cannot be taken once you are nursing). It will allow you to get sleep, which is really important in the last trimester.
6. Although the side sleeping sucks, try and sleep on your left side, since this makes the baby position correctly for birth and makes the labor much easier.
7. The only thing I found to help with the heartburn was to do some cat/cow stretches before I went to bed (also helps with baby positioning for labor). That and sleeping upright for goes away once the baby drops (unless your baby was long like mine). Then it goes away after birth.

You're almost finished!

Dianna said...

Its one of those books I've been meaning to read and now I just might have to! Yes all those discomforts will soon be a thing of the past! Hang in there her b-day is fast approaching!:)

Tina said...

We do tell you how uncomfortable we are... but until you are going through it yourself you just can't understand.

I second Becky as far as the breathe right strips. I bought them at Costco and wore them every night.

And, when you get one of those leg cramps, cry out as loud as you need to. Anything that helps! It was months before I wasn't afraid to stretch again... and that is another one of those things that if you tell someone "I get leg cramps" they just can't appreciate that those are Leg Cramps... or LEG CRAMPS. Or really., S**T S**T S**T S**T S**T ANOTHER F***ING LEG CRAMP.

And yes... you don't forget it all once your baby is born, but it just isn't that important anymore...