There are some pregnancy issues that are pretty common knowledge, like morning sickness, swollen ankles and pickle cravings. Then there are pregnancy issues that not a lot of people talk about and you get to discover them on your own during pregnancy. Surprise! You just coughed and pissed yourself. Congratulations! Every pregnancy brings its own special blend of symptoms and each trimester can be totally different from the last. Here are some things I’m experiencing in this pregnancy and this trimester that are making me look forward to being surgically sliced open in just a few weeks.
- T-rex arms – I don’t know what it is about a ballooning abdomen that actually makes my arms shorter and less agile than pre-pregnancy, but I encounter some issue with my newly stumpy arms on a daily basis. When we ride in my husband’s car, he backs down the driveway and slams the brakes to shut my door (who said chivalry is dead?). When I need to reach something on a high shelf, I have to use the tiny stool that my kids use to sneak gum out of the cabinet they shouldn’t be able to reach. And I seriously break a sweat trying to wipe after using the bathroom (sexy, eh?).
- Vena cava issues – This is a fancy medical term for a big vein that brings blood back to your heart. If you lie flat on your back late in pregnancy, your uterus can smash it causing you to faint, puke or a whole host of other issues. I knew this because when I was pregnant with my oldest, my GENIUS doctor laid me flat on my back for my exam, I fainted (naked from the waist down) and woke up in a room full of bustling nurses and a “Tsk. Tsk. This is why we don’t lie on our backs during the third trimester,” from my doctor. But what I DIDN’T know is that your baby can actually compress this vein in ANY position, causing what I fondly thought of as mini-heart attacks throughout the past month. I was feeling like I couldn’t breathe, my arms would tingle and I felt like I was going to vomit, all thanks to my baby compressing this vein.
- Great big appetite, tiny little stomach – I am starving all the time. But, much like gastric sleeve patients, the volume my stomach can hold is probably about 4 tablespoons, and that really sucks. This results in me lying in bed, stomach growling after just eating dinner a few hours before, which in turn requires me to get up and eat something. And during this period of pregnancy insomnia, it takes forever to wind back down from something as exciting as a midnight piece of toast.
- Phantom beetles – When my blood pressure drops, I have a visual hallucination that absolutely makes my skin crawl. I see what appear to be black beetles flying at me from all directions. The first few times this happened, I honestly didn’t know what was going on and I was actually swatting at them (they look THAT real). Now I know this is my body’s response to changes in blood pressure, and all it takes these days is to stand up too quickly, cough too hard or sit down on the toilet to send the phantom black bugs swarming in my direction.
- Painful Braxton Hicks – Braxton Hicks contractions are your body’s way of revving up for labor. (Dear body, I’m having a c-section. No need to practice!) Most of the time, they’re relatively painless, just a bit of uncomfortable tightening in your abdomen. I have been granted the super special Braxton Hicks that are actually very close to labor pains. They cause me to stop what I’m doing and wince to breathe through them, but they nearly always cause anyone I’m with to freak out. It’s hard to reassure someone that I’m fine with a giant uterine charlie horse.
- Cervix punches, rib kicks and other fun internal bruises – My baby is very active, and I never know which body part he’s going to jab next. Most of the time, I can handle the rib kicks, though I am pretty sore by the end of the day. But the cervix punches…that is enough to make me want to curl up in a ball (if I was flexible enough at this point) and cry. And if someone’s like, “Why are your eyes all watery? What’s wrong?” it’s not socially acceptable to say, “Oh, my fetus just clawed me in the cervix. No biggie!” I liken it to this, for the gentlemen. Imagine there’s a tiny ghost who follows you around all day and randomly kicks you in the testicles. You can’t see him, you never know when to expect it, but you’re guaranteed it will happen several times a day and you can’t tell anyone what hurts without becoming a social pariah. That’s what is happening to me, all day, every day.
- Forgetting basically everything – It’s a miracle that I even remember that this happened to me the other day. I was making spaghetti. I cooked the meat, I made (er…poured) the sauce and I boiled the water for noodles. I waddled to the cabinet to get said noodles and forgot why I was there. I waddled back, saw the boiling water, remember the noodles and made the trip again. REPEAT X 3 before I actually remembered the noodles! And we are talking about a 15 second trip here.
With all that being said, I would go through just about anything for my baby’s safe arrival on the planet. I will just appreciate him a lot more when he’s on the outside of my body and I can breathe, eat and occasionally sleep again.