Friday, April 29, 2016

"Life is better with a bump" is a LIE: Things I learned while pregnant

So before I got pregnant I kept seeing all these adorable bumpie photos, cute maternity clothes and daydreamed about eating a whole barrel of ice cream without anyone fat-shaming me. I dreamed of getting teary-eyed at seeing my little one's ultrasounds (ok, I did actually get teary-eyed when I first say my little guy on the screen) and giddy when feeling him kick.
I only had a few friends that have been pregnant recently, so the truths of pregnancy were not totally real for me. Now what people didn't forewarn me was how people treat you when you're pregnant. Some women have absolutely wonderful pregnancies and others do not. Well, as it turns out- mine was the dreadful kind- however it didn't turn into that till I hit the second trimester (we will dive into that later in the post). Now granted, I know there are ladies who had it WAY worse than me, and those ladies I commend you for being true blue troopers.

Life is better with a bump is a lie: things I learned while pregnant


So, in order to help out any of you newly pregnant/or trying to be pregnant gals out there, here are some things that no one prepared me for or talked about when it comes to being pregnant, that I can now share with you (now that my little one is out of my bump):
  • The Questions & 3rd Trimester Comments: People will ask you “how are you feeling?” basically from the second you announce your pregnancy. It was the default question people would ask me- many times I’d be asked that phrase at least 10 times in one day (or more).

    Once you hit your 3rd trimester, people will constantly ask you your due date- questioning basically how much longer you’re going to look like you’re smuggling watermelons down the hallway.

    Also in your 3rd trimester, you’ll get a lot of “oh you’re riding low, you must be ready to pop soon”- I was told that basically my entire 3rd trimester. Newsflash people, my son just rode low the whole pregnancy (he stuck to my lower right side almost the entire time). He also was late- born at 40 weeks, 5 days. But my labor was less than 6 hours from when my water broke to him being born- so I guess him being that low helped somehow? haha.
  • The Weird/Degrading/Rude/Old-School Comments: Also, be prepared for people to make weird comments. So I was in the grocery store at the checkout lane and the cashier noticed my giant bump. “Oh when are you due?” “January 30.” “This your first?” “Yes.” “Know if it’s a boy or girl?” “Boy.” Her face then lit up and she responded “Oh you’re so lucky! You got the good one on the first try!” The first thing I thought of was… a) what if I had to try to get pregnant for a long time or had multiple miscarriages- that comment would be a little rough. B) the “good one”? Really? Do we still live in a society where having boys is considered superior to girls?- but then again, maybe its just me reading into things while being very touchy and emotion.
  • Lightening Crotch: Ok, some people might not want to talk about this special subject, but I'm gonna be real here (real specific). No one ever talks about “lightening crotch.” So for those who haven't experienced it yet, there is more than just back/hip pains that go on when you’re pregnant. What many fail to talk about is what the mommy threads refer to as “lightening crotch.” For some reason, these threads were the only place I ever found anyone talking about it, besides talking to my doctor. They rarely mention it on "pregnancy woes" lists that exist on any of those fun baby sites.

    Basically "lightening crotch" is when you get sharp pains in your groin. I almost always got them on the left side and mine started in my 2nd trimester. They would persist all throughout my 3rd trimester. It basically feels like someone is poking you down there or a nerve is being pressed on. Mine ALWAYS hurt after I slept on my side, and often would happen if I tried to lift my legs higher than knee level. Luckily I have chairs at the end of the bed, because every day I’d sit on the chair to put any clothes that were below the belt on- it was the only way to not be in pain. This pain in the groin- sometimes brief, sometimes lasting a few hours- was “normal” according to the doc. My doc gave this suggestion to help alleviate it- "do thigh exercises with a kids ball between your legs." Tried it- but for me it just hurt worse after that. So in short- lightening crotch I guess is normal- wish someone would of told me about that!
  • Paranoia: Be prepared for you to freak-out about every thing you’re feeling. When it's your first pregnancy, you have NO CLUE what’s going on with your body- no matter what people tell you. I would spend hours online typing in “ I feel this way, while pregnant” in google searches (which honestly is not always something you should do- Dr. Google is never the best source). I’d mention to my doctor certain symptoms, and most of the time it was “normal in pregnancy”- many of which I was like “Really? Seriously?” Often times you ask yourself- is this serious enough to call the doctor or am I just over-reacting? You will become the most paranoid person you know during this pregnancy, forewarning.

    Believe me, for at least in my case, the last few weeks I constantly thought my water might of "had a slow leak" or "these contractions must be it" before they'd go away for many hours to my disappointment. Well, when my water did break and my contractions started, I then realized "Yep. This 100% is it. Why did I think those symptoms/Braxon Hicks contractions I had earlier were the real this? This is 100% totally the real deal." Not everyone has it as intense and some people DO have slow leaking water- but in my case, it just was paranoia before the real deal happened.
  • LOTS of Tests: Be prepared to feel like a lab experiment (lots of test) and keep up with educating yourself. You don’t realize nearly how many doctors appointments, blood test, etc. that your OB doctor will suggest- it adds up QUICK. I quickly went through my FSA account (I only put $500 in it, thinking "that should be enough to cover my co-pays for the first majority of the pregnancy, since my kiddo wasn’t due till the new year. That should cover all my doctors visits, test, etc- right?"- Wrong.)

    Some people are LUCKY- they have a very smooth pregnancy, are not high risk in any way, have a great health insurance plan- and pay little to nothing during their pregnancy. Then you have the rest of us. Just be prepared to have your blood drawn, monitors placed on your belly constantly and peeing in a cup a hell-of-a-lot more than that first pregnancy test. The second the doc sees even one hiccup, prepare yourself for at least 3 more tests to follow that. I felt like I lived at the doctors. Again- some people are lucky, but be prepared to not be one of those.

    Now I "lucked out" and only had to go once a week for Fetal Non-Stress Tests (Recommended because I ended up having Gestational Diabetes -stay tuned for a later post on dealing with that). Because I could keep my glucose in check only by diet. I didn’t have to be on pills or insulin, but many ladies are not as lucky and have to go twice a week for the Non-Stress Tests. With my insurance, I had to pay my $40 copay for basically every single one of the specialists visits. I also had to pay $40 copay for my glucose strips, not to mention the $40 copay up front for EVERY fetal non-stress test I had to take every week starting at 32 weeks. I would then often got charged $40 after the visit (so total $80 a non-stress test)- because they'd charge $40 for the visit and $40 for the doctor to access it after the test was done! WTF?!

    If you’re considered high risk in any way, and/or end up having Gestational Diabetes- be forewarned- the copays start to add up quick. I was kinda flabbergasted over the sheer amount of money having to be shelled out during this pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I am 100% behind making sure my kiddo is growing safely and is healthy- but DAMN! So biggie with this- be prepared to spend a lot of $ up front if you end up being considered “high risk” in any way shape or form.
  • Sometimes Doctors Forget You're Not a Doctor (Be Sure to Always Ask Questions if You Don't Know What They Are Talking About):  So, I started out with a semi-smooth pregnancy with my son. My 1st trimester was the easiest- I paid my $40 copay for my first OB visit to confirm I was pregnant, and I had NO morning sickness- just nausea. The only hiccup in my first trimester was that during that very first visit I was a single pound in the “overweight” category- meaning I was considered higher risk. I got pregnant at age 29 and had no previous history of miscarriage or whatnot. So other than that 1 pound, I was in a good place (I kept saying, couldn’t you have just let me go pee it out or something- 1 lbs, seriously!).

    However once I had my 20 week ultrasound- things went downhill from there. The ultrasound doctor noticed that one of the measurements was a little high- which in turn can be a red flag for various genetic disorders. He suggested talking to a genetic counselor, getting a fetal echo-cardiogram and another followup ultrasound. Of course all of this was dropped in my lap on a Friday afternoon, minutes before the end of the work day- so when I called back (I had bad reception in my workplace, so I missed the call) the doc was gone for the weekend. Nurse gives me the news with the doc's suggestions and I immediately have a mini-heart attack. She had no clue what all the doctor mumbo-jumbo ment- so I was left to turn to Dr. Google till my doctor could contact me via their patient portal or the following Monday.

    This was the WORST weekend I ever had to go through mentally during the pregnancy. Luckily the following Monday the doctor got back to me and answered all my questions and apologized for the news being dropped before everyone left for the day, though he still suggested I get all these tests/meetings done.

    I sat through the genetic counseling- though most of what she said I already had found out about during my weekend of traumatic googling. What she said didn’t change our minds on anything. I drove out to another hospital to get a fetal echo-cardiogram (because my hospital didn’t do those) and baby’s heart was doing great through that whole test. I got a followup ultrasound- at this one, baby looked great (and that one measurement was not to be measured after a certain number of weeks, so the followup Ultrasound didn’t discuss that at all!). After all of that testing, traumatic talk and what not- it was never spoken of again.

    Because I’ve had multiple times of dealing with specialists and constantly having to talk to doctors- I had to educate myself on various things to get it all straight in my head (because honestly, most doctors don’t tell you everything- let alone put it in easy terms that you can understand). Don’t hesitate to ASK QUESTIONS and do your research- because there is a LOT going on- and often you won’t find the answers to every single question you have from the short doctors visits.
my glucose numbers- gestational diabetes
My Glucose Numbers after the dreaded test...
  • The Nasty Glucose Test/Gestational Diabetes: Because I was 1 lb in the “overweight” category, aka. "higher risk," I had to take the 1-hr glucose test at 2 different times of my pregnancy. I passed the first one with flying colors. Then the second one I failed by only a few points. That sad failure in the second one ment I had to go through the 3-hour glucose test (Note: this test most insurance company’s consider special/extra tests- so I had to pay more for this test).

    When you’re one of the unlucky ones who has to do this 3-hour test, you form a bond with other 3-hour mamas in the waiting room. One such mama who was also taking the 3-hour test, actually ended up being in my birth class later, so we shared our trauma of the whole ordeal.

    Overall it wasn’t too horrible- I think the prep for it was the worst part- who the heck wants to force a pregnant gal to not eat/fast for 10-12 hours!? Mine was scheduled the morning of Halloween- my whole thought was “if I fail, I won’t be able to have much candy. So I’m taking the test the morning of Halloween, so I can have all the candy I want for one last time before the results come in.” Sure enough- I failed the glucose test (only the 1 hr and 2 hr- my fasting and 3 hr numbers were fine). Again, only failed them barely. *Stay tuned for my Gestational Diabetes post.*

  • Other Random Symptoms Rarely Mentioned: 
    • You often will Sweat on your upper thighs from where your tummy rest while seated. (I know gross, but totally happens easily).
    • Dry, itchy eyes (I had this the entire pregnancy!)
    • Sometimes when your toes swell/feet swell, they swell so much that the skin around your toenails hurt. Think about it- your toenails are not swelling too- Painful!
    • Acne like your 14 years old again! I got acne (still do and I'm 2 months Postpartum) all around my neck line and all over my shoulders/chest and chin. Gross.
    • Never sleeping comfortably from the 2nd trimester on. Doesn't matter what position you are in, you are never comfortable.
    • Carpel Tunnel (I had this happen a few times in my 2nd trimester).
    • Also, your cat might randomly decide they loveeeeee laying on you or near you. Though I've also heard some people say their animals avoided them while they were pregnant. My cat who hates most people, all of sudden was my best friend. Weird.
cats love pregnant ladies


I know I got real specific here for some things and kind of ranty/long winded on others, but I hope this helps you first-time pregnant gals or those wanting to get pregnant. Now that my baby is in the world, I adore him (though of course he does have times he's a pain in the butt). Just know, always ask if you're unsure if something you're feeling is normal. Even if it is normal, it never hurts to ask- as for some people "normal" actually isn't. You want you and your baby to be healthy in your pregnancy.
Godspeed in your pregnancy endeavors and I hope for your sake, you have a smooth pregnancy.
Have a great day all!
-M

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