It seems like every time I've intended to sit down and write a little something about my pregnancy so far, I haven't really known what to say. This isn't because there isn't much to report (even though I have had an incredibly easy pregnancy, so much so that some women might find it irritating to hear me go on about it) but more so because it already feels like I'm making a decision to share on a topic that involves another person - who doesn't have any agency or control over my decision to share it....For most people, this probably looks like massive overthinking, (and maybe it is) but I think the word I would use so far to describe the emotions I've felt surrounding what to share and what not to share when it comes to this baby and the world of social media & blogging is cautious. I've been hyper-concerned with being cautious about the degree to which we let other people know the details of something as personal and sacred to us as pregnancy, being cautious about whether we choose to photograph and share photos of our baby after he's born, and being cautious about discerning what it means to have a social media presence as a mom versus as an individual.
I don't think any of these feelings are going away anytime soon, and I'll probably extrapolate on all the pros and cons I've mentally wrestled with these past couple of months in a post down the line, but at the end of the day, I can't escape the reality that I have so much gratitude for women who do share their family life, their ups and downs, their tips & tricks with a public audience. In all honesty, the majority of women I've religiously followed on platforms like Instagram for years have been moms. There's a vulnerability that comes with their willingness to share that I think a lot of people find honest and raw and authentic in a way that starkly contrasts the majority of accounts on those platforms. It pulls you in, and has a quietness about it amidst all the "look at me" noise saturating social media.
So on that note, today I've decided to share a little bit about what pregnancy has been like for me so far: the expectations versus the reality, surprises, and learning curve I've suddenly found myself strapped into....if you got through that longwinded intro you're probably more than ready for me to get to it...
Porter and I found out we were expecting on the eve of Christmas Eve. I already heavily suspected that I was pregnant based off the fact that I'd been having very light cramps on and off every few hours for four or five days at that point - I guess this is an incredibly early symptom for some women, especially those who have bad cramps and/or can feel when they ovulate (I fell in both those categories). It was too early to take one of the standard tests (which didn't stop me from taking about 5 a day), and Port was getting increasingly annoyed hearing me insist that I "definitely saw a line" when seeing said line required squinting in one eye, holding the test up to the window and tilting it in just the right direction...So when he asked me to please do what any logical person should do in that situation: wait a few days, I did what any good spouse would do and lied and said that I would. I then promptly went to my best friend's house, took cash out (Porter and I have a joint debit account and I didn't want him to see that I'd been to the pharmacy and assume anything in case it was positive), picked up one of the higher caliber early tests and took it as soon as I got home.
I was right. I was pregnant. Needless to say, Christmas this year was especially special.
I feel like the natural reaction to finding out you're expecting for the first time once you've been trying is bliss followed by an attempt to get into the battle-ready mindset of someone who knows they could start throwing up every morning or even all day long at a moment's notice. This is 100% how I reacted. Beyond the fact that I started reading every pregnancy book I could get my hands on, I felt like I was playing a 24/7 waiting game with myself. When would morning sickness start? How bad would it be? How long would it last? If it was really bad, could I assume we were having a girl like all the books say? Should we hire a dog walker? These were seriously the top concerns on my mind for weeks 4-12. But, for me, it never happened. Despite the fact that my mum and mother-in-law both had morning sickness, I haven't at all.
What I did get was occasional bouts of nausea, but only ever brought on by smells. They aren't lying when they say pregnant women suddenly have the nose of a bloodhound. Our dog, Duck's, kibble was by far the worst for me, and Porter would have to pre-prepare his meals for me every morning so I could just hold my breath, put his bowl on the floor and leave the room. Also meatballs, the smell of wine, and any kind of pungent house cleaner (they cleaned the rugs in our apartment building stairwell one morning and I legitimately thought I might die) were a big no-no.
But the worst for me in that earliest stage of pregnancy (and I realize this symptom just isn't all that bad) was hunger. No matter how much I ate, every single night like clockwork I was up at four am with hunger pangs like I had been on a four day fast and had also run ten miles and climbed a mountain. I literally would have to get out of bed and make a bowl of oatmeal or Frosted Flakes then get back in bed. I blame this symptom for the fact that I'm most definitely not in the category of women who lose weight or gain "just a pound or two" in the first trimester. Again though, in the grand scheme of things, not a difficult pregnancy symptom to deal with.
After those first twelve weeks, my pregnancy has been incredibly textbook. I'm in the "bliss" stage of the second trimester, where I have more energy in the mornings (even though I'm still ready for bed at like 8:30) and generally just feel like a normal human being except for the fact that I now have a visibly protruding belly that has a small human moving inside it... Thanks to a handful of helpful DMs, the leg cramps I was sort of plagued by for two or three weeks (especially after working long hours at shoots with little opportunity to sit down - resulting in one to three emotional breakdowns once I got home) have gone completely away as long as I have a banana smoothie at some point every day. Sleeping is a bit more uncomfortable, and I've learned that there is such a thing as learning too much (stay away from the birth story podcasts with topics that are likely to leave you terrified), but honestly, life is good. Talk to me in a couple months when I'm much larger, it's much hotter out, and I've realized that we really should've moved out of our fourth floor walk up, though, and I might be singing a very different tune.
Right now, my goal is to have an unmedicated hospital birth attended by midwives (thinking I'm going to do a post just about that decision down the line), and we've found an amazing hospital and birth team in Boston that we love. I've never liked having to take "new" medicine and generally have not so great reactions to any strong medicines, so I actually have less fear and anxiety aiming to go this route...
Oh, and lastly (as you probably know by now), we're having a boy.
I know you aren't supposed to lean in one direction or the other, but Porter and I both were quietly hoping for a boy. We're young and we don't have it all together just yet, and for some reason having a boy seemed less intimidating to us (can anyone relate?), maybe that's silly or unfounded, but regardless I felt instinctually very early on it was a boy, and it might be prideful but it feels good to know that first little intuitive feeling was correct....Also, I'm going to be upfront and honest and let you know that we had a rough time finding a single girl's name we agreed on. Like, it took weeks. We've had a favorite boy's name (or 2 or 6) for awhile now, but for whatever reason, we just couldn't seem to agree when it came to a girl. We finally nailed one down a couple of days before we found out the gender, but still, I'm slightly grateful we get to go with a name we've had in the back of our heads for awhile now.
This post is a long one so if you got through the whole thing I'm going to assume that's less so because it was riveting and more so because you're bored at work and the day is dragging on.
Looking forward to sharing more often on here in the coming weeks and months. Sometimes, it's nice to take a blogging break and this year compared to last I know I haven't chimed in all that frequently on here, but lately I feel more compelled to write and I'm going with it...
Thanks for being here!