Obviously there's the morning sickness and the painful boobs and the cravings and the growing abdomen, but there are a ton of pregnancy symptoms that seem to be either glossed over or omitted entirely from nearly every publication. And let me tell you -- this whole pregnancy thing is weird, man. From the time you find out you're knocked up to ... well, I don't even know when, because I haven't gotten there yet ... your body's new normal is anything but normal.
"Morning sickness" can be way beyond that ... or nothing at all. Guys, I was beyond sick my first trimester -- I spent half my time praying to the porcelain gods, while my friend barely even got a little nauseated. (I call bullshit. So not fair.) I'd get a little woozy in the mornings and throughout the day, but for me the very worst time was around happy hour -- a time when I'd normally be hanging with my friends after a long day of work. Instead I was hunched over the toilet dry-heaving because I had nothing left in my system. And the anti-nausea meds only ensured I was puking around 10 times per day vs. the 30-ish times without them. Good times, y'all.
Lightning crotch and lightning boobs are a thing. The books and apps might refer to "a little discomfort" in these areas, but I had straight shooting pains through my boobs and it's often felt like someone was stabbing my cooter. The best relief? Freeze a sponge or towel (in my case, an old bar towel) in a Zip-loc bag. Sit on it as necessary.
Nasal breathing becomes nearly impossible. My sinuses have been so stuffed up for my whole pregnancy -- and that's before we even start taking Texas allergens and air quality into consideration. And bloody boogers are a constant. The Google machine tells me this is all normal, but it blows (heh).
Your favorite foods may become a thing of the past. You hear about cravings often -- and they do exist -- but the food aversions are just as real, as are just simply not wanting the things you normally love. For me, tomato-based sauces like spaghetti sauce (a staple as long as I can remember) has just not been a thing. Nor have I been wanting burritos with the wild abandon I normally do. Adversely, my formerly lactose-intolerant self has been able to gobble up all the dairy, which has been a dream. Pizza, mac 'n' cheese, milk ... you name it, I can eat it! Let's hope it lasts ...
Your joints hurt -- and not just the ones involved in birthing. I got a massage a couple of weeks ago and was explaining to the therapist that my bad knee locked up in the middle of the night causing horrible pain, which isn't something it's prone to doing. It usually only hurts after strenuous exertion, and its more of a tissue issue. I'm used to my hips hurting, which makes sense, but my knee, a seemingly innocuous body part when it comes to birthing? And recently my fingers feel like I have arthritis or something -- almost like I've been clenching my fists super hard during the night. Apparently, as you get further along in your pregnancy, there's some sort of hormone dump that causes your joints to spread out, preparing for birth (this is why some pregnant women experience foot growth and have to change shoe sizes).
Mood swings aren't just about tears. I've had a couple of ultra sensitive moments, but for the most part my mood swings have resulted in hysterical laughing fits -- the kind where I'm shaking, crying and silent-laughing. I'd much rather have that than the sad-crying version.
Shortness of breath and heart palpitations are freaky. It's mentioned in books that pregnant chicks might feel winded or feel their heart beat a little more acutely, but y'all -- that's some serious understating. I spent years as a smoker and have never, ever felt as winded as I do just trying to get to the kitchen for more water. Let's not even talk about trying to blow-dry my hair ... And it's inconsistent -- I can go swimming or take a walk and be fine, but giving the cats fresh water will straight knock me out. And my heart occasionally feels like it's going to pound out of my chest -- even when I'm just chilling on the couch. It subsides, but it's intense.
The movements are insane -- and can make you nauseated. Sure, in the beginning I wasn't sure what the shit was happening, I just knew something was going on. But once I realized it was him having a one-dude mosh pit in there, shit became INTENSE. And as he grows bigger but my uterus remains the same size, the amount of pressure I feel from his movements gets way more hardcore -- sometimes his skull just jams out under my ribcage and it's super uncomfortable. Occasionally a stray kick to the gut will leave me feeling a little nauseated.
Pregnancy can be a really lonely experience -- even with a shit-ton of people around you. Sure, there are people checking up on you with frequency and if anything, you're getting *more* attention, but the ability to go out and do things is significantly lessened. You start missing your friends, especially if Happy Hour was a regular thing. Some people shy away, because: babies, and those who you expect would want to be more hands-on surprisingly aren't -- and you feel like a crazy person for even thinking these things. Then there are the feelings of frustration / sorrow / whatever about having to leave things like work behind or putting it on pause (especially if you're a workaholic like I am). I've felt a few times like I'll fade into nonexistence because I have to put it all on hold for a minute, and those feelings are hard to reconcile.
The tiredness and laziness are nearly impossible to overcome. Sure, the books say that if you're active, you'll have more energy. I call bullshit. I've had days where I've pushed through and been active -- uh, hello day-of wedding coordination -- but I've still been downright tired all the while. And it makes me feel even worse at the end of the day -- though I do sleep pretty solidly on those days. And I have little to no motivation for almost anything. I still get my shit done, of course, but it takes a while. And it's hard.
What symptoms or other issues did you experience during pregnancy that surprised you? Share in the comments!