I had thought that after our 8-week appointment, my nerves would calm themselves, my anxiety would dissipate, and I could settle in for the next 32-ish weeks, while my cute little belly (and only my cute little belly) grew and my face became all aglow with pregnant sunshine.
Once we returned from our unplanned Christmas in Michigan, I think we were both ready to get back to “regular” life. Turns out that when you’re pregnant, regular life isn’t really a thing anymore—Once we confirmed via ultrasound that our little prune (or, “Prunella”, as baby was known in week 10) was indeed very much alive and IN THERE, I went from questioning her existence to feeling it. Not in kicks and jabs yet, but in extreme fatigue, bloating, and a nagging feeling of ick that never quite went away.
*A disclaimer here, before I go any further in my complaining and alienate/irritate women who had much more difficult pregnancies than mine: I promise I’m aware of how lucky I was not to be puking all day every day, or at all. This is especially true because I truly, truly hate vomiting. I’m still a little worried that karmic retribution of some kind awaits me in labor after a completely puke-free pregnancy.
Anyway, the fatigue was probably the worst part of it all. I had long harbored lofty goals for pregnancy…I was going to be one of those women who never let up on her 6am workouts, minimizing unnecessary weight gain and breezing through labor and delivery because of all those squats she did while pregnant.
Instead, I made it to the gym on average once a week for the entire first trimester (and now, the third, for the curious) and ate more pizza and Thai food than is recommended for “healthy weight gain.” The unfortunate thing was, nothing else sounded good. On more than one occasion I’d come home from work, collapse on the couch, and contemplate whether I could stomach whatever I had put on our dinner menu that night. Often I’d get through it, but a few times I’d just tell Ryan, “I’m sorry, I can’t.” And he took the calling of the audible in stride, every time. He often ate whatever we were supposed to eat for dinner on a Friday night for lunch on Saturday. I’d come home from work or my lone trip to the gym for the week and find him watching college football on the couch, eating a gourmet lunch of roasted pork tenderloin or pesto salmon. He’s the best.
The other fun little oddity was my superhuman gag reflex. Our very clean, normal refrigerator became formidable. The garbage can, even worse. There was a long stretch of weeks during which I would ask Ryan to fetch everything I needed from the fridge, and then return it when I was done. Any trash that I accumulated in preparing breakfast/coffee/lunch for the day would be left on the counter next to the can so that he could dispose of it when I was at a safe distance. Just a whiff of either would instantly have me dry-heaving. See? He’s the best.
And, not surprisingly, my old pal anxiety followed me through those weeks. Toilet paper checks remained routine, and on the two occasions they turned up the smallest of spots, I called the midwives and jumped at their offer to come in and “check things out”. Thankfully, things were always fine, and I was okay with surrendering my original plan of being all Zen and collected (you know, my typical demeanor) in favor of slightly neurotic if it meant having a little extra peace of mind. The midwives were not bothered by this, and though my ever-patient husband would have preferred that I remained calm, he supported my need to just make sure. Every two weeks.
In the last days of that first trimester, before I could feel baby move and know for certain he/she was okay in there, I had to do a lot of praying and scrawling into my notebook, trying to relinquish my worries. I was not always successful, but on the days I was, it was perfectly clear: This little one was meant to be mine, from the very beginning of time. I didn’t need to see or feel baby to know that his/her life was in the best of hands…much better hands than mine, though I will forever be grateful that He chose me to carry this child here on earth, in every possible way.
As He always seems to do, God was telling me yet again:
When have I not taken care of you? When was it not okay in the end? Relax. Eat your Phad Thai. I’ve got this.