Many of you will already be intimately familiar with what I'm about to describe here, namely the smorgasbord of physical delights that accompany pregnancy. It's a magical time.
Nausea - Everyone likes to point out that "morning sickness" is a misnomer because it can happen any time of the day. I, for one, felt pretty good first thing in the morning. It was just late morning through bedtime that I was completely miserable. While morning sickness typically fires up around week 6 or 7, my digestive system decided to be an overachiever and get things going before I even officially knew I was pregnant. Which might have been a hot tip, had I not had the very same nausea while remaining unpregnant the month before. Things that helped somewhat were ginger ale, peppermint candies, and lemon drops. I.e. sugar, sugar, sugar. And these things got very old and still didn't enable me to eat a lot beyond peanut butter on Saltines. Thanks to Emily Oster's Expecting Better, I learned about taking Unisom and B6, which I did with the blessing of the nurse at my OB/GYN intake appointment. One Unisom at bedtime, 100mg of B6 in the morning. I was certainly not 100%, but much better able to function and eat things that were not peanut butter on Saltines. While I did have some nausea regressions after, this mostly went away by week 14.
Food Cravings - My first bonafide pregnancy craving was for lunch meat. I wanted to buy a pack of deli turkey and eat it by the handful. Guess what you're not supposed to eat when you're pregnant. Very smart, my body. Once I had some protein, that craving passed. The one that stuck around for a while was spaghetti. Now, Raj and I have been off grains at home for most of the past year, but even when I did used to make pasta, it was never spaghetti. But for a while there, it was all I wanted. The craving could also be satisfied by ramen, other pasta, or basically any bread. So long, paleo-ish lifestyle. The constant need for carbs has thankfully subsided now.
Food Aversions - You know what's inconvenient? Discovering two days after Thanksgiving when you have quite a lot of your 18 pound turkey left in the fridge that you can no longer tolerate even the thought of eating turkey. Most meat was pretty dicey there for a while and seafood was entirely out of the question. I was also not wild about the thought of many vegetables. I discovered that bell peppers were no longer my friend the day of the surprise party I threw Raj for the fifteenth anniversary of his Navy commissioning. I'd spent several hours of the day before chopping onions and bell peppers for fajitas to serve 30 people and then was unable to eat any of them.
Fatigue - This has improved to where, rather than wanting to nap all day every day, I now just really can't keep my eyes open every day around 4pm. This is also the time of day when my next-door neighbor (with whom we share a wall) takes her daughter out to play with all the other kids out front, leaving her dog inside to bark nonstop for an hour or two until they come back inside. I am not exaggerating. I typically give up on napping and just crash by around 9pm.
Frequent Urination - I was promised Second Trimester Magic, wherein the first trimester extra-fluid need to pee four times per night would have ended and the third trimester baby-is-lounging-on-my-bladder need to pee four times per night would not yet have started. LIES. I get up to pee four times per night. And go roughly every hour of the day. And cannot run more than five feet without feeling like I need to pee.
Constipation - This pregnancy will also be known as That Time Lori Traveled With A Ziplock Bag of Fiber One Cereal. I really did take a bunch of it to Hokkaido and would bring it down to the hotel breakfast buffet every morning because it was (and continues to be) very necessary.
Heartburn - I now have strong feelings regarding the various flavors of Tums. Assorted Fruit is way better than Wild Berry, though if I get two yellows together out of the Assorted Fruit, I will throw one back for a different color.
Sudden Ravenous Hunger - When Raj and I were in Sapporo, we were hanging out in our hotel room when I mentioned that I was getting hungry. Raj asked if I wanted a snack, but we were headed out to the German Christmas market, so I said no, I could wait until we got there. Yeah, by the time we got there, not that much later, I was in full on toddler meltdown regarding my need for FOOD NOW. He (after getting me food) gently asked whether in the future he could tell me that I needed to have a snack. I agreed, though the need hasn't arisen since I now know that, in addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I must have my 10am and 4pm snacks. And I carry pumpkin seeds or cashews in case of snacking emergencies.
Mood Swings - Ok, so there was the hangry episode above and one day when a rude lady working at the hospital and somebody cutting me off in the parking lot both made me want to cry. And I do get choked up more easily by very sweet things I see on TV or Facebook. In general though, I would say I haven't had a lot of mood swings. You would have to ask Raj to get the real answer. Just make sure I'm not in earshot if you're looking for the unvarnished truth. Raj is neither stupid nor new to this marriage thing.
Pregnancy Brain - When you're as absentminded as I was to begin with, there is just no way of knowing whether it's gotten worse without actually forgetting my own first name.
Hot Flashes - I've always run cold, but in the first trimester, I was a furnace. Raj kept to the far side of the bed, lest I slow-roast him in my sleep. This seems to have mostly worn off.
Nosebleeds - Errday. Mostly when I'm trying to leave the house or right when I want to lie down to go to sleep. Awesome.
Random Hiccups - I've always had a random single hiccup here or there, maybe once a month or so. Since getting pregnant, I have several per day, one or two at a time, and they are LOUD. To the extent that we've been calling the baby Hiccup since quite early on. They seem to be getting ever more frequent. I'm a little bit concerned about how much of my time I'll be spending hiccuping by mid-July.
Weird Swelling Issues - So far, my rings and shoes still fit. What I was unprepared for was the way that extra fluid causes other problems like extra nasal congestion, carpal tunnel syndrome, and vision changes. The day after trimming the trees out front, I was basically unable to grip with my right hand. And I'm pretty much only able to comfortably wear my contacts for an hour or two at a time.
Migraines - The experts tell you to take a hot shower and lie down in a dark room. Maybe take a Tylenol if you get the green light from your health care provider. Ok, let me drive a nail into your left eye and let's see how much good a shower does you. I never imagined that, given all the delicious food and beverages a person has to give up when pregnant, what I'd miss by far the most would be Advil. After knocking on all the wood, I will tell you that I haven't had a bad one in a couple of weeks now. I'd read that these are common from weeks 12-20, which gave me hope that they would indeed end. So far, so good since around then (though mine did get going before 10 weeks.)
(Mostly) Clear Skin - There have to be a few good things, right? My skin, except for one giant cystic zit that appeared just in time to be in all of our Hokkaido trip photos, has been really good all this time. Usually breakouts, like migraines, are hormonal for me so I'd have expected them to go hand in hand. Given the choice, I'd have taken acne over migraines, but at least it's not both. I do, however, have a few little red spots on my neck, chest, and arms that weren't there before. And my first ever skin tag. Per Zero to Forty, both of these are normal weird pregnancy things.
Shampoo Model Hair - Well, fine, Pantene has not come calling. But I did pretty well quit shedding which means my hair looks much thicker than its normal fine self. I am very thankful that this symptom came along in time for the months of the year when it's cool and less-humid enough in Okinawa for me to actually wear my hair down.
Baby Kicks - Best symptom ever. Early ultrasounds showed Hiccup to be in constant motion and the way that I started feeling kicks around week 16, quite early for a first time mom, and the strength of them (Butterfly wings? No.) suggest this has not changed. She seems to be practicing martial arts, especially in the early morning hours.
Nesting - AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! In order to nest, you have to live somewhere. Once we move to the other side of the world and find a house to either buy or rent, I may have an opportunity to unpack before giving birth. Possibly. Baby Hiccup's cardboard box themed nursery will likely not be featured on Pinterest.
What wonders are yet to come in the next 18ish weeks? Who knows? Ok, probably a lot of you do. I'm just not sure if I want to or if it's better to save some surprises.
With Raj's good looks and my tolerance for lactose, I hope.
For those of you not up on your Steel Magnolias references, here's what we posted on Facebook:
In 6 1/2 years together, Raj and I have had lots of adventures exploring 17 states and 10 countries. But our greatest adventure of all begins this July...
Yes, just like Shelby Eatenton Latcherie said, "It's in July." Though our yankee doodle sweetheart will hopefully be born later than the third of July. If there's one thing your mama can teach you, baby girl, it's that it's rude to show up early. Your father can teach you how to sleep anywhere, anytime, through any noise or distraction. Please, oh please, learn this from him.
Thank you, Internet, for your kind words and support while we waited and worked toward finally becoming parents. We couldn't be happier.