Pregnancy is crazy. This is the thesis of my two part series. I’m one of those girls that has always wanted to be a mom. Growing up, I often tried to mother my younger siblings and cousins…with mixed results, I’d say. 🙂 Bryan and I have talked about becoming parents from the beginning of our relationship, and now that it’s actually happening we are in awe. It’s really unbelievable what God does to bring a child into this world. And while we marvel at the miracle that is unfolding for us every day, I also want to take note of the often humorous challenges that go along with pregnancy. I was always taught that you have to be able to laugh at yourself. It’s the go-to coping mechanism that my family has passed down for generations, and I can see the resilience that it has cultivated. So, as I celebrate making it to 31 WEEKS this week, here is a list of things I want to remember (highlights and struggles):
I want to remember how out of control my emotions have been. It feels like every emotion is ten times more intense than usual. I am basically on the verge of tears at all times. One minute, everything is calm and fine and the next tears are pouring down my cheeks. It’s the strangest thing, because even in the moment I can usually acknowledge that I am being irrational, but these crazy hormones prevent me from being able to control my tears or anger or anxiety. At my worst, I allow my anxiety to escalate to the point that I imagine awful scenarios when Bryan is a few minutes later than I thought he would be coming home from work or take my frustration out on people who love me. One such occasion during the first trimester is what we now refer to as the “Parmesan Incident”. I made dinner for the first time in weeks. I had been so sick and exhausted after work each day, that I hadn’t been cooking. I love to cook, and eating take out looses it’s charm quickly, so I was thrilled to be making a meal again. It took all of my energy to get the turkey chili into the pot to simmer. I went to nap on the couch until Bryan came home from work. When he arrived, I proudly announced that I had made dinner. He just needed to put the chili into the bowls and add the cheese on top. When he walked over and sweetly presented the bowls to me, I heard myself shriek, “PARMESAN???!!” (Remember, my husband is not from the U.S. He had no idea that turkey chili is traditionally eaten with shredded cheddar. He opened the fridge, saw the parmesan cheese, and went for it.) The horrified look he gave me in that moment let me know that I was becoming someone he didn’t recognize. Out. of. control.
More often than raging anger, I experience spontaneous ugly crying. Almost anything can set me off. I have ugly cried over an episode of Car Talk on NPR shortly after one of the brothers passed away at the end of last year, the movie The Book Thief (if you’ve seen it, you know), sweet prayers Bryan and my family have prayed over dinners, not being able to help paint the master bedroom in our new house, getting rerouted by Google Maps because of construction and having to take a cold shower. I could go on, but I think this captures it well enough. Is it embarassing to admit these things? A little. But this is part of the adventure. 🙂
I want to remember the stages of growth and development. It’s been completely fascinating for me to read updates about the various milestones Baby is achieving. For instance, how is it possible that he was fully formed by the end of the 3rd month? His heart started beating at about 6 weeks. Wowzer! It’s cliche because it’s true–it really is a miracle. It’s easy to worry about all the things that could go wrong, so I remember feeling a huge sense of relief when I read at 24 weeks that Baby would likely survive if he was born from that point on. And if the updates weren’t enough to reassure me of how he is growing, feeling movement really confirms it. Aside from the joy this baby is already bringing to our families, my favorite part of this experience has been feeling him move. It’s amazing! His kicking and shifting movements are getting stronger. He weighs more than three pounds now, after all. 🙂 Occasionally his kicks and punches are even painful, but mostly I love that they’re getting stronger. Bryan can feel them better, and we can even see my stomach move. More and more, I feel like there is a human in there and not just a tiny, seahorse-like creature.
I want to remember my weird cravings. I am generally a food lover and not picky at all, so it’s been interesting to have to be so careful with what I choose to consume. The consistent cravings have been:
1. Citrus–grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes. Bring them on–the more the better! Some sweet friends made us a dinner of citrus stir fry and citrus cheesecake recently. I devoured it. Cooking for a pregnant woman and including her cravings is just the perfect way to make her feel loved, in my opinion.
2. Chicken. Other meats have turned my stomach at times, and some are on the no no list for pregnancy like cold cuts and sushi, but chicken has been a faithful friend.
3. Dairy. Regular Kara would never drink a glass of milk. I only liked milk on cereal and had actually switched to almond milk awhile ago. Regular Kara enjoyed cheese, but not in large quantities. Regular Kara would choose frozen yogurt over ice cream every time. Baby loves milk, cheese, yogurt, frozen yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese, whipped cream, etc. Husband is a big milk drinker, so he finds this particularly hilarious and proudly proclaims, “That’s my son!”
These three have been steady since the second trimester. Then there are the random ones. One Sunday afternoon, we were hanging around the apartment, and I suddenly had a realization. “I want brownies and lemonade!” I said it out loud, excitedly. Because I spend so much time feeling super hungry and not knowing at all what sounds good to me, it was great to suddenly want something specific, even something as odd as brownies and lemonade. I immediately popped up and went to the kitchen to bake some brownies. I ordered lemonade at dinner that evening, and the craving was satisfied. Happy tummy, happy baby, happy me. Another time it was a cinnamon roll, which I don’t normally buy. Bryan went out to put gas in my car and came back with a box from Cinnabon. He’s the best. 🙂
I want to remember the physical hardships— gagging every time I brush my teeth, getting mean heartburn from anything I digest, hot flashes, perpetual, voracious hunger, restless leg syndrome and muscle cramps, nausea and food aversions (most recently the smell of popcorn. so weird.), headaches, overwhelming exhaustion, the inability to breathe through my nose… These discomforts can be hard to endure, particularly since I’m working full-time (a fact that baffles my Grammy). But there is something about fighting through challenges as I grow this baby that makes me feel empowered. The best things in life don’t come easy. While I know I could never do anything to earn the honor of becoming a mother, it seems appropriate that the road to bring our son into the world is a bit rough and rocky. We feel incredibly thankful that it’s been a healthy pregnancy thus far, and we pray every day for Baby.
Come back tomorrow for Part Two!! 🙂