Excitement vs. Anxiousness

September 20th is closer than it seems and as the days pass, it only draws more and more near.

It’s been difficult to describe all the emotions I find myself going through on a daily basis. The most prominent thing I have been feeling lately is tired. I have been tired all day, every day and haven’t really been sleeping through the night so everything catches up with me during the day. But when I waft through all the fatigue and look at everything else going on in there, I think excitement and anxiousness are two of the ones that are always shouting at me.

On one hand I am of course excited to meet my little kiwi in 58 days ( so long as this baby comes out when it is supposed to, that is). I can’t wait to see what our baby looks like, to look into it’s sweet little face and hold that little wonder in my arms. I already feel like this pregnancy has been too long and I can’t wait to cross the finish line and get my prize.

However, anxiety does surround me in some ways. I am anxious. In so many ways it’s hard to know if I have grown up enough. I want to be the very best parent I can be, and I fear if I will be able to hold up to the high standard I have set for myself.

It’s hard to know if you are mature enough to be a parent. I think this day and age, people never really grow up the way they used to. We don’t move out and get married in our teens, we don’t send our husbands off to the factory while we learn the arts of maintaining a household and birthing babies. We aren’t left alone to grow despite ourselves.

Now, our parents help us with everything. There are still questions I call my mother with, still basic things that as an adult I don’t know how to do. I still indulge in things I enjoy constantly, like video gaming, and other things like that. I still act like a big kid when around people I am completely comfortable with. And in two months time I will be responsible for this little life.

If that’s not enough to cause anxiety, I don’t know what is.

So far all I have been doing in these past few weeks is working my butt off to create a little nest egg should my maternity leave moths flying out of my wallet, sleeping, and attempting to get all the things around my apartment done before my little bundle of joy finally arrives.

It has left me for little time for much else. I see all these women posting about how their nurseries are complete and they look like something out of a magazine. How much they have stocked up for their babies. Outfits, diapers, creams, literally everything you can even imagine. I have only bought the outfits I would need to take my baby home from the hospital, I haven’t purchased any diapers as of yet, which is really something I need to get on top of. I finally got around to making a baby registry for my shower, which has maybe 20 things max on it as I had no idea what to even put on there.

All of this has me feeling quite behind and worrying that maybe I am not ready for my little kiwi as of yet.

Sure, I have the basics. Stroller, crib, changing table. I went out yesterday to look for a car seat but didn’t end up getting one. This is something I need to get sooner rather than later.

All the little things seems to be digging their way under my skin and it is pushing all my excitement to the side and making anxiety this large monster that is causing havoc in my life.

With a deep breath, I am going to pretend it isn’t getting to me as much as it is. How hard can all of that be? Wish me luck world, I am off to look for my car seat!!

Can Your Baby Beat The Heat?

Toronto went through a heat wave that began Friday, June 29th, 2018 and didn’t let up until Friday, July 6th. The humidex had temperatures feeling as high as 45 degrees Celsius or 116 degrees Fahrenheit. With me being well into my sixth month of pregnancy, bordering the seventh, I wanted to stay indoors. I wanted the A/C blasting, I wanted to be strutting around my apartment in my underwear eating ice cream and waffles completely unaware of how hot it really was out there.

Unfortunately, I am an adult and have to do this annoying thing called ‘work’ which meant I had to venture outdoors. The kids I work with were also feeling heavy because of the heat which meant it was easy to convince them to stay inside with me on the Friday, however, I had already agreed to take my mother, my sister and my nephew to Niagara Falls over Canada Day weekend.

Ugh!

Now for anyone who has been to Niagara Falls, most people tend to spend their days outdoors enjoying all the attractions. There is everything from haunted houses, mini golf, 4D theatre experiences, arcades and of course the new go-kart track. Needless to say, convincing an eight-year old that I wanted to be inside somewhere where it was cool was like talking to a psychiatrist while in a straight-jacket.

I dressed for the weather, wearing as little as I possibly could. A thin cotton dress on both days with some comfortable, yet breathable shoes that I could walk in all day without feeling like I suddenly had hams for feet. Needless to say, even drinking litres of water and migrating into the arcade where the AC was blasting every so often, I still felt like I was melting right out of my skin, and my baby was kicking the crap out of my ribs letting me know how foolish I was being for trying to beat the heat.

I felt like I had been wandering the Sahara for weeks, hallucinating a praying for a sudden snow storm or something to ease the constant burn of the sun.

What completely blew my mind was the amount of new moms I saw out with babies that couldn’t have been more than a month old. Tiny, tiny babies out in the scorching heat while their parents walked around enjoying the attractions.

Call it pregnancy hormones, but seeing this made me completely livid.

It was boiling, unbearably so. I was already feeling like I was a toddler about to throw a tantrum if I went more than half an hour without an ice-cold drink and getting out of the sun, just imagine how these poor babes must have felt.

I am not a parent yet, sure, but I like to think I have a lot of common sense. I know that babies, much like our furry friends, can not sweat. Why is this a big deal? Well, because sweating is our body’s way of trying to cool itself off. What does not being able to sweat mean? Well, it means that you have no way of regulating your own temperature and are more likely to suffer a heat stroke.

After some research, I found out that most pediatricians suggest keeping your baby, especially a newborn inside if temperatures rise above 26 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidex put it well above that.

After seeing people cart their pets and newborns around in that heat, I wondered what in the world they were thinking. Could they not feel the heat? Do these people not care about the overall health and well-being of their pets and their beautiful babes?

When it comes to my dog and the weather, I do not take any chances. I press my hand to the cement and hold it there to be sure it’s not too hot for my dog’s paws. If it is, I carry him over to the grassy area in front of our building for him to do his business and then take him back in, saving a longer walk for exercise for later in the evening when it cools down.

With my baby, I would definitely not be taking them out for too long in the heat… no less someplace crowded with little places to hide from the weather like Niagara Falls.

I don’t like to think of myself as a judgmental person. Most times I shrug my shoulders, tell myself it’s their life and their decision and go on with my life. Two instances where I can absolutely not keep myself from being overly judgemental is when it comes to the health and safety of animals and children.

Get your s**t together people. If it is too hot for you, it is most definitely too hot for your infants and you pets.

There is no way for them to beat the heat, so it is up to you to pretend to be a responsible adult that knows what they are doing, and keep them indoors!

3D Ultrasound

I typically think of myself as someone with a good amount of self-esteem. I can reason myself out of eating the whole tub of ice cream. I can save half a chocolate bar until later, I can talk myself out of the conveniently placed burger shop located across the street from my apartment that I have to pass on the way home from work every day.

However, after getting so amped up about finding out if my little bundle of joy was a baby girl or a baby boy before my last ultrasound, leaving without knowing that left me feeling antsy.

I kept thinking about the boy name and the girl name I had settled on without any help from my husband who suggested the name Dracula, Draxle, and of course Kyle Jr. (Kylie if it was a girl) he lost all naming privileges. I had decided on two and was pretty much set in stone, but while rubbing my growing bump while watching TV or walking down the street, I didn’t know which to call my bump by.

We had the intention of finding out the sex of our baby and then keeping it to ourselves until the birth. Not finding out sure made it easier to keep the secret. There was really no secret to keep. However, I did think knowing what we were having just between the two of us was kind of a bonding opportunity. A secret only we knew, one we would both hold onto.

Not knowing was really getting to me. My mom reassured me by telling me she didn’t find out the sex of my three younger brother’s until they were born. My mother in law told me she didn’t find out the sex for any of her three sons either. Well… that just wasn’t going to work for me. I needed to know.

I had already started to get things together for my hospital bag, and on the list of things to bring, it said to bring three complete outfits. Now, this sounds like an easy task until you walk into the baby stores and realize it’s split right down the middle based on gender and age. There is no middle ground. A limited amount of gender neutral gear.

How in the hell do women go without knowing?

At twenty weeks, I was obsessing over baby gear. I wanted to look up all the strollers, I wanted to decide whether I would do the bassinet, or whether I would skip it all together and find something else more practical that could be used for a longer amount of time. I wanted to decide on colours for the nursery. All of which would be easier if I knew if it were a boy or a girl.

Popping onto the pregnancy forums, I reached out to all the ladies in the Toronto area and asked for suggestions for a 3D ultrasound place that would guarantee us the sex of the baby would be revealed.

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This place was AMAZING!

I got to see my beautiful baby for thirty minutes on a big screen TV all while the tech explained to me what was what. I’ll have to admit, I have never been a fan of the 3D ultrasound. My husband and I always felt like the colour and the mushy look of the baby always made them look like Pumkinhead. When it is your baby though, it’s something completely different.

We saw how active our baby was. How they were using my placenta for a pillow and would give us a glare and move away as the tech pressed down where they were trying to sleep.

At twenty weeks, your baby doesn’t have a lot of fat. The tech was great and she explained all of these things to us while being sure to take lots of photos that were put on a jump drive for us to take home so we could print out any we liked. On the jump drive was also a video that was everything we had seen on the screen during our whole visit!

They gave us a printout of our choice when we left as well as a teddy bear that played the heartbeat of our baby!

Honestly, I would say it was worth the visit just for the memories. It would be so cute to show them later. At this point, I like to collect all I could because you never know what your kid will want from you later. I have an ultrasound of myself as a baby and was hoping to frame it side by side in the nursery along with my husband’s and our baby but my mother in law never got one.

I was disappointed to hear that. I really thought it would have been cute to compare all three and keep them framed in our baby’s room.

And when all was said and done, we knew what we were having!

So, boy or girl?

Sorry guys, it’s still a secret!

So, I’m Pregnant- How To Tell Your Boss

When I first began trying to get pregnant, I wondered how the conversation with my bosses would go. I do not work in an office, I do not work for a big company where I could shrug my shoulders at the idea of taking time off, calling in sick, or revealing that I would be going on maternity leave for a year.

I work for this great couple with five year old twins as their nanny. I have worked for them for over two years and although there have been some long hours, some hair pulling breaking of habits and I have gone through every test against my patience that you ever could imagine, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

It is a Monday to Friday job, but there are some days when I am with the kids for over ten hours depending on whether or not they go to school (there were a lot of sick days early on).

At previous jobs, telling them I was pregnant would have been easy. I would have requested to have a word with them in private, gone into a superior’s office where I would have told them about my pregnancy and my intention to leave towards the end.

What do you do when there are no offices? When you get about fifteen minutes a day with your employers to talk to them before running out the door while dinner is being put on the table? I racked my brain trying to find the right time, trying to find the right words.

Firstly, I do strongly believe in waiting until you are out of your first trimester before telling your employer you are pregnant, unless your job may put you at risk during your pregnancy. I believe in this so strongly that I didn’t even tell my sister about my pregnancy until I was 15 weeks pregnant. I tell my sister absolutely everything.

We told our parents when I was 16 weeks pregnant and then we told my job after that.

In a normal job, I would have told my supervisor I needed to speak with them. Sent an email before hand to let them know I needed them to clear ten to fifteen minutes for a discussion. Then I would professionally tell them about my pregnancy and my plans moving forward. I do think at this time, it would be a good time to discuss doctor’s appointments if you work a typical 9-5 job. It would also be a good time to discuss modified duties if you typically lift a lot of do strenuous work.

My job is not particularly normal. I approached my boss in the kitchen about five minutes before I had to leave when he had just come in from work. I noted the kids were both out of ear shot and told him I needed to have a word with him and his wife. Now, we have a very open, honest relationship. So of course when I said this, right away his interest was piqued and he wanted to know everything, just them. It wasn’t how I had planned it. I had planned returning after the kids had gone to bed and speaking with both of them, but I told him right there, because it would have been awkward to do anything else.

In the days leading up to this, my nerves were shot. I played through the conversation over and over again in my head. I wondered if they would be disappointed. I know how much they depend on my and in a small way I felt as though I were letting them down. I wondered if they would be frustrated. Sure, I had given them ample time to find a replacement, but replacing a nanny is no easy task. When it boiled right now to it, the heaviest weight on my shoulders was the kids finding out I was leaving.

My social circle has gotten smaller and smaller over the years, and majority of my time is spent with these two kids who tell me everything, who look to me for lessons and guidance, who tell me their silly jokes, lean on me when they are tired or sad. In a way, I felt like they were mine. The realization that a day was coming where they suddenly wouldn’t be, was heartbreaking.

It would be someone else wiping away their tears, someone else giving them a stern look when they are being difficult, someone else rubbing boo-boos, and telling stories. How long would it be before they forgot all about me, just as they had their previous nanny?

Telling the people I worked for was a lot, but they took it well and have been nothing but supportive after. We didn’t tell the twins then. I felt it wasn’t my place to tell them, and their parents wanted to wait until later in the school year, when the excitement of summer clouded everything else they were being told.

Keeping such a big secret from two really important people in my life was such a task. It left me tired, had me biting my lip to keep from letting it slip, and it just made me feel heavy.

Every day I pretended everything was normal, wishing and hoping that this would be the weekend they found out.

Being an adult is hard. You have to pretend to know what you’re doing and when big things happen to you, you have to pretend they didn’t until the timing is right. There is this whole conduct of doing things, everyone seems to fall in line, like sheep but no one really knows who the shepherd is. We do it, because that’s what is done. Plain and simple.

Regardless of how you do it, how it all works out for you, I hope you keep sight of the horizon. Remember what is coming, what you are moving towards and keep at it. You are going to be a mom soon, and there really isn’t anything more important. In our own small way, we shape the world.

So could you at least pretend to know what you’re doing?

Boy Or Girl?

I found out I was pregnant on January 16th, 2018. At the time, I was so excited and completely wrapped up in the new idea that I was finally pregnant, that I didn’t think too much beyond that.

I had this new, exciting secret.

I was pregnant.

However, as more time passed and my OCD started to kick into full gear I began to think about everything. Every outcome, good and bad. I researched and planned it all, every path my mind could have thought up.

When the dust settles, and you battle your way through all the fits of worry and endless planning, you stop and think about one simple thing; boy or girl?

You have this life growing inside you and you want to bond with it. You want a link and you want to start calling your little kiwi by the name you have chosen but will most likely keep to yourself for a few more months. This is a little difficult when you are constantly calling the baby it.

Typically, they say the gender is best revealed during your second trimester ultrasound, somewhere between 20-25 weeks. It was long before my 20th week when I started painting these mental images of my life and the small differences the sex of my unborn baby would make.

If you are a whimsical person, there are a few different things you can do to “determine” the sex of the baby before that ultrasound. You can pee in a cup of baking soda and water, whether or not it bubbles determines boy or girl. You can use the Chinese Gender Calendar method, which seems to be successful just as often as it is wrong.

I didn’t do any of these things. I hate having blurred answers. I hate the idea of maybes. I opted to wait for my second trimester ultrasound to determine the sex of our baby, however that didn’t stop my mind from wondering.

Turning to the forums that both kept me sane and shook my sanity, depending on the day, I decided to take a poll. Not to find out what everyone was having, but to find out what they hoped they were having.

When I was younger, I always liked the idea of having a baby girl. My reasoning was because I thought my life would be like the Gilmore Girls. I would be best friends with my daughter, we would be completely wrapped up in one another’s worlds and although we would disagree at times, we travelled through life together and our paths always worked their way back to one another.

My own mother described the differences between having daughters and sons to me. She always told me that raising girls was hard, it was an uphill battle from the time they could talk back to the time they were teenagers and eventually moved out. Similar, we were often at odds with my mother (my sister a lot more than I was). Raising boys, she said was a lot simpler. They were easier to entertain, they were like whirlwinds that seemed to leave everything slightly askew but they were easier. However, when they got older, they grew apart. They fell in love, and they created their own families, often forgetting about their mother, or leaving her a smaller role in their lives as their partner was usually close to their own parents. (Again, this is not always the case, just her opinion.)

Daughters, if you raised them right, grew up to eventually become companions. They were people that could sit with you, have a glass of wine and discuss life. They were phone calls you would spend hours on, just discussing your life and the ups and downs of it all.

Either way, raising children is an adventure.

According to the polls that I set out, it seems a lot of women these days would disagree with my mother. A lot of women want sons. This made a lot of sense to me.

I have worked with children all my life. I have been baby-sitting since I was twelve years old, long before parents asked for references and experience. I was a camp councillor, a daycare teacher, and even a nanny. My life, at one point or another, always seemed to be evolving around children.

In my own personal experience, I too felt like boys were easier. I helped my mother raise two of my brothers. Whenever a female cousin would be left in my care I would always groan at the idea of having to watch them. They always seemed like more work, like I needed to keep them entertained, always interacting with them. Boys kept themselves busy, almost a little too well and often they needed to be told to take a break from it all.

The poll had me wondering; “Why have a preference at all?” Are mother’s falling into the whole Mama’s Boy/ Daddy’s Girl lines? Children are blank slates when we get them, rough pieces of clay yet to be molded into anything, aren’t they?

Their very personalities are formed by influence. By the things we allow into their lives to shape them. Sure, sometimes children fight the molding we are doing, they become what they are to spite us rather than because of us, but even that is something we’ve done in a way.

So what does the gender of our babies matter?

When I was younger, when I had everyone else children and before I was pregnant with a child of my own, I thought I knew. It all seemed so simple to me. Boys seemed to be more fun.

Yet, meeting the right little girls has shown me first hand that there are girls that aren’t divas in training. There are adventurous, rambunctious, imaginative, wild and free little girls that make me smile and think; “Hell yeah, I want that!”

As far as I am concerned at this point of my pregnancy, the sex of my baby doesn’t matter. Healthy and happy, that is really all I want.

I’ll let you know what I think later (I will be honest, I am happier with the baby girl name we have chosen than the baby boy name, and my husband’s suggestions make me realize he will get absolutely no say in anything :P) when I actually do find out the sex of my baby.

Until then, I will pretend I know what I am talking about, and tell you that the gender of your baby is irrelevant.

That Elusive Pregnancy Glow

Let’s take a moment and go back. We’ll go back to before we grew up, back when we believed that acne went away once you grew out of puberty, back when we thought there were only two or three positions for sex, before we knew about cover-ups, and tampons, and all the other harsh realities that seemed to attack us women all at once.

Are you going back? Okay, let me know when you reach that part of your brain where you thought all pregnant women had this glow. Their hair was thick and vibrant and seemed like they were starring in shampoo commercials, their skin was flawless and dewy, all their weight went to their bellies and they were smiling and dancing and glamorous.

Stop there.

The wonderful, mystical pregnancy glow that transforms all of us women into unicorns. I’ve seen the movies, read the articles in the magazines, I have seen the commercials. What I haven’t seen, is this glow in my own pregnancy.

Considering the first symptoms of my pregnancy were constant and obnoxious gas and an abundance of acne. The bloating made me feel like I was showing until the constipation passed and then I realized my baby was a backed up food baby and not my actual baby showing. All of these things made me feel like this glow that they kept mentioning was like trying to spot Big Foot. I had heard the rumours, but had never seen the proof and at this point, it was beginning to feel more like a myth than anything else.

So, I get it ladies. You are reading through this, pregnant, feeling a little swollen and blue and wondering Girl what the hell and I reading this for? Well, I have a secret.

As elusive as that glow is, it is attainable!

Scrap what you thought it was. Throw away all those articles that tell you the hormones will do it all for you and all you have to do is sit back and marvel at your new beauty. Give up on hopes of just rolling out of bed and suddenly looking and feeling like a super model.

That pregnancy glow is all a state of mind. It’s what happens when you stop frowning at that ginormous pimple that has sprouted right between your eyes. It’s what happens when you take off the track pants and put on a bodycon dress that shapes your body and shows off that beautiful little (or big, depending on where you are) bump. It’s what happens when you fart on your husband/partner and then laugh about it. It’s what happens when your partner pushes out his belly and you take matching pictures. The glow happens… when you feel it!

One day you will push through that uncomfortable feeling, all those imperfections you were so focused on suddenly blur, and you will see yourself as this superwoman. You will push and strive for strength because suddenly you will realize that you want to be the kind of woman your baby will look up to. You want to be the kind of woman your child believes can shake and move the world.

That glow is what happens when you realize what you are made of, and each one of us is made up of more than we can ever imagine! There is no strength on this earth as powerful as a confident and determined woman!

The problem is, so many of us are blind to our strength, our eyes only glued on our weaknesses. We wait for validation, we wait for permission, we wait for the glow to come to us.

I feel like a lot of us are so overwhelmed in pregnancy. There is all this information we have to take in, all these tests we have to take, all this little worries and fears that creep into our minds about our unborn babies, we forget about ourselves. We forget that our happiness is as important to the growth and development of our babies as so much else. We forget our strength and fall to our weaknesses.

I’ve pretended to have strength, just as often as I’ve pretended to know what I am doing. I pretend I am okay on days when I feel like I am going to break down. I pretend I have all the answers when I am not even sure I fully understand the questions.

Don’t we all?

Fall into your strengths, maybe it will make all the pretending we do a little bit easier, make that glow a little more attainable.

Men and Women

They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That’s a very round about way of saying we couldn’t be more different. I like to chalk it all up to the differences in how we are raised. Girls are told to talk about their feelings, we are constantly asked what we are feeling and what could be wrong with us. Boys are taught to do things, their feelings are often not allowed to flourish quite the same way so they tend not to understand a lot of those feelings, or know how to properly express them.

These may seem like ways of the past, but I can see the differences daily. Boys are superheroes meant to fix things, save people. Girls are princesses. We put our sexes in these boxes and then we complain about what they grow to be.

In 2018, those boxes have grown, become more all-encompassing circles, however it’s not the case for everyone.

I think the differences between men and women seem most obvious to you when you are pregnant. Your hormones are on steroids and you are feeling so much all the time.

The first trimester of pregnancy can be extremely rough. I spent at least an hour in the morning hugging the toilet bowl, for the rest of the day I had that icky feeling you get when you are sure you are going to throw up any moment. Exhaustion shackled me, even something as routine as getting out of bed and getting dressed so I could start my day felt like torture. I was struggling to go through the motions and hoping the next day would somehow be easier.

In the back of my mind I had this fantasy that my husband would be this compassionate man who would rub my feet at every opportunity, pick up the slack around the house when exhaustion got the best of me, and understand what a struggle it all was. In reality, we were both exhausted. My husband has a very physically trying job and I was finally feeling as worn out as he usually did.

Emotions were high and I was feeling a little detached from him. In the back of my mind I kept wondering why he didn’t understand, why he couldn’t see I was growing a little person inside of me. It was a job outside of the job I was already doing every day.

In times like this I think it is important to note that although your husband/partner loves you, the pregnancy isn’t as real to them. They don’t feel those early symptoms, and until they can see the swollen belly, it’s hard for them to really understand that things are changing inside the body that still looks so familiar to them.

The first trimester can feel very isolating. To everyone else, you still look like the same person. For most moms in their first trimester, the pregnancy is something that you are keeping between you are your partner. You are struggling to cope with all the changes without hinting at anything.

My husband isn’t the villain in my story. I don’t want to paint him out to be. He is my partner and most days, he is my best friend. Try to get pregnant wore us both out a little bit, and on top of everything, we were both working busy hours. This meant that by the time we both got home from work, we were slumped unconscious on the couch. After being together for nine years, we are in this zone of comfort where we are so used to one another’s presence and moods, that a lot goes unsaid. It also means that a lot of the niceties and romances seem to be forgotten.

If I had been a lesbian, I would love to think my partner would be more aware of what I am feeling. I would love to think I would be getting my feet rubbed, desserts brought to me and lotions being rubbed on my growing baby bump day and night. The truth of the matter is all relationships require work. No matter who your partner is, it will require work. Pregnancy, unfortunately, is a time where you are so overwhelmed and tired, you forget you still need to put in the work.

Men, forget to put in the work just like we do. They have the same emotions, jump over similar hurdles. Yet, we still act as though we are on opposing sides.

Patience is key.

As is communication.

Men may be from Mars, and women may be from Venus, but we managed to get together somehow, didn’t we?

Who’s to know what I am saying. I am just an over-emotional pregnant woman wading through uncharted waters hoping I am going the right way. Pretending I know which way is the way to shore.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

When you are someone who is trying to conceive, something you will find yourself on the web searching for a lot is Early Signs of Pregnancy. Every woman is different, and every one of our bodies is different. Although there are some of those articles and blog posts that give you a list and also have you wondering when you scroll down to the bottom “If what I am feeling isn’t on this list, does that mean there is no chance I am pregnant?”

We know ourselves and even the most oblivious of us knows our body. We know when we are feeling a little under the weather long before that cold starts flipping switches in our immune systems. We know when it is going to rain based on that trick knee, or wonky shoulder. We know just by how we wake up in the morning if we are going to have an off day. We sense these things in a way that can’t fully be explained, or maybe it can and I just haven’t been reading the right blogs or scientific reports.

In the beginning, when I was already pregnant but had yet to take the test, there were things I noticed, changes in myself that didn’t quite fit the lists that I had been reading. I thought I would share some of these early symptoms with you and hopefully, if they are ones that fall into play with subtle changes in your body, you will be a little more hopeful as you journey towards the stumbling of parenthood.

First and foremost, I noticed that no matter what I had been eating that day I had an obnoxious amount of gas. I was taking prenatal vitamins at the time and thought that this explained the rise of gas. Every body farts, we all let some slip in moments when we are alone or are sure they will be silent. These, let me tell you, were something to be embarrassed about… not that I personally was. Although, I am sure my husband wishes I was a little more nonchalant with my passing of gas in the early stages.

Honestly, I would wake up farting, and let out these trombone type farts all through the day. When I wasn’t releasing gas, I was bloated and cramping. A build up of gas I couldn’t quite get rid of causing me to almost double over. It was a lot. Thinking back, I don’t know why a light bulb didn’t go off in my head hinting that maybe there was a hormonal reason for it, a little pea in there shaking things up from the inside. Especially since before all this I wasn’t a particularly gassy person.

Gas was definitely the first symptom and it is one that has stayed with me along the way.

My second symptom was pressure in my lower abdomen.

I am someone who has always slept on my back. I tend to roll onto my sides before I wake up early in the mornings, but my preferred place is on my back. Now before bed, I like to lie on my belly. Usually reading, playing sudoku or other things to help me shut my brain off before I go to sleep. I noticed that those moments had become less and less comfortable.

It suddenly felt like my stomach was hard, like there was pressure there. Sure, this could be explained by the new build up of gas. I could have been bloated and lying on my stomach was making me hyper aware of just how bloated I was. However, it was something that was constant, something I felt every night for the first few weeks after conception.

This early on into the pregnancy, there is no way you could feel that tiny little sesame seed of a baby in there, but your body is getting ready for all the changes. The hormones are running marathons through your body and making changes to the way you normally function. I would account the stomach pressure to any number of these things, but it was a symptom that was again missing from a lot of the sites I was reading.

One of the symptoms that you won’t be celebrating and will probably cause you a great deal of grief and sad days is something you thought you had under control but will come back through your pregnancy in full force.

Acne.

Unfortunately this is another symptom that has stayed with me. I had terrible acne in my teens, it was the main reason for bangs even though I had a mass of curls. When I was fifteen, I started birth control to help me keep it under control. Sure, I still got random pimples here and there through my life. Unlike what they may have told you in health class, acne is not just something you experience through puberty and it can stick with you well into adulthood. Yay!

It started with acne all along my hairline. It wasn’t my usual spot for pimples, which again should have clued me in. Along my jawline seemed to follow. No matter what cleansers I used, what facial treatments, what masks, they just kept popping up all over my face like weeds.

The main three symptoms I experienced early on were the gas, the pressure in my stomach and acne. These symptoms seemed to start a week or so before my expected period and I became more aware of them after I took the pregnancy test.

A lot of women are probably hoping for some sign, some hint towards their baby before their expected period. Hopefully, some of these fall true for you!

Big Fat Positive

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If you have ever been trying to get pregnant, I am sure you think of the pregnancy test as a nemesis of sorts. It’s you, a full bladder early in the morning, and a test that can either make all your hopes and dreams become a reality, or can shatter them yet again for another month.

The amount of nervous energy vibrating through your body is enough to power an electric car for a cross country road trip. Your heart is racing and you tell yourself that this is it, this is the test that will change everything. You’re so sure of it, you can feel it in your bones. Yet, there is that voice of doubt in the back of your mind, whispering that these thoughts are ones you’ve had before.

Taking a deep breath, you take the test. There is no use prolonging the inevitable, and for all those nerves you are feeling, your bladder could care less. It’s about to burst and if you let it, you’ll have to wait for tomorrow for another chance at the test.

Personally, I waited a whole week past my scheduled period before I took my fourth pregnancy test. There were a few reasons why. First, I was feeling more than a little defeated. After the first month, my body was changing due to the stress and anxiety that trying to conceive was causing me. All my hours were spent thinking about it, planning for it, hoping for it. Naturally the second month, I took the test the day after my expected period… or at least attempted to. As soon as I sat down on the toilet, took the wrapper off the test, I felt it and with it the immediate sadness that at the time seemed so overwhelming.

The third month I waited four days. Again, I got an unexpected visit from my dreadful Aunt.

By the time the fourth month came around, I had lost a good dose of my positive attitude. Even though I was already a week late, the negativa voice was so much louder.

I think a lot of the things we see in movies about pregnancy, a lot of the talk about pregnancy that makes it into the storybooks and onto the screen leaves out a lot of the depression and heartache that plagues you. They leave out a lot of the struggle, the dark moments that make you just want to fade away into the shadows of your mind where the shimmer of hope can’t reach you.

Why? Seeing these things would be so relatable and I feel like it would help a lot of us as women, feel like getting pregnant isn’t always easy, and it’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to tell your partner and your friends how sad it all makes you sometimes. These things don’t make you any less of a woman, and they won’t take anything away from you when you finally do become a mom.

The helplessness you feel that sometimes overcomes you, it eats away at you a little bit. It breaks you down in a way that makes you wonder if you lack the strength you will need to be a mom, and maybe that’s why you haven’t been given that YES you so desperately want.

I’m here to tell you I went through it, I experienced it all and I am still here. And I can promise you that whatever comes later, I will push through that too, just like a lot of you will.

The day will come where you get that big fat positive test result, or you get that letter telling you a baby is waiting for you. The day will come when you become a mom and no matter how small or weak you felt during the journey to get to that moment, you will never feel more strong.

Nothing worthwhile in life ever comes easy. And the joy and happiness you feel from the moment you know you are going to be a mom will be enough to make you forget all of that darkness.

No one really tells you how to get through the hard times in your life. All they really ever seem to tell you, is that eventually you will get through it. We all pretend we know what we are doing. We pretend to know the way, to hold the map of the years we have left behind us. In truth, most of us are amazed we got here in the first place.

I can’t give you any tips on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant. I’ve been through it, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you what it was that finally got us that positive test result we had been hoping for. It’s like I stumbled through it all blind and have finally broken through this thickness of trees and can see a beautiful view of what’s ahead.

Will I pretend to know what’s in store for me? Isn’t that all part of the gig?

Trying To Conceive

Alright ladies, if you are like I was when I was growing up, everyone you knew who was having babies were people who were surprised by their pregnancies. I grew up in a more low income area, and unfortunately teen pregnancy was something that happened often. I remember thinking to myself when I was in my pre-teens: “Geez, it must be really easy to get pregnant!” This, as well as many other personal reasons, is why I didn’t lose my virginity until I was nineteen years old.

If you are one of these lucky ladies that experienced an “oopsie” that later became one of the great joys of your life, CONGRATULATIONS! However, this is not the case for a lot of women. As many Fertile Myrtles that are walking around out there, many of which are in my own inner circle of friends, there are just as many, if not even more women out there who are struggling, hoping, and praying that whatever they are trying will work for them this time.

I can’t speak for everyone, I don’t know personally what it is like to get knocked up without even having to think about it, or the stress, heartbreak, and long road of fertility treatments, or even about the new sciences that are involved in IVF. What I do know is that after my husband and I got married this summer, the thought of a baby was on my mind more prominently than ever, and I had this thought that without the birth control, all I had to do was let nature run it’s course.

To be fair, we didn’t try for very long. From the time I got it in my mind that we would get pregnant to the time we did was four months. For those who have been trying for years, you are probably rolling your eyes at me. I am not saying it’s really long, but as many women know who are trying, every day feels like an eternity. I had lived most of my life with this idea in my head that all it really took was one time, because for most of the people I knew, that’s all it really did take. I never thought I would have to try to get pregnant. I think for a lot of women, that’s a sad realization.

So this is the narrative of someone who got pregnant naturally after a few months of trying. The apps are super helpful. If someone were to ask me before I got married how long my cycle was, or the state of my vaginal discharge, I would have raised a brow at them and wondered how in the world any of that mattered. When you are trying to get pregnant, not only do you need to figure those things out, but you need to keep track of these things every day. Discharge, basal temperature, weight, diet, these are all things that impact your fertility. Certain apps are better than others at this, and what I ended up doing was downloading all the free apps the Apple Store had to offer and using them all for the first month to determine which was more accurate. In the end, I ended up sticking with OVIA.

There are truly too many things to keep track of and the apps help minimize the stress a little bit.

Trying To Conceive forums are both a blessing and a curse. After my first month of trying and still getting a visit from my awful Aunt Flo, I quickly flocked to the forums to see if there were any tips to make sure the next month, my Aunt would stay elsewhere. The plus side of the forums is there are thousands upon thousands of women in these blogs that give you reassurances. It makes you feel a little better to know you are not the only one and that helps you feel normal in your struggle. On the downside, it is a little bit like falling into a rabbit hole. I would find I would go to post a single question and look up at the clock to see an hour and a half had passed and instead of getting my answer, I had a dozen new fears and worries.

Having sex every day isn’t ideal. The common consensus is that you should have sex every other day or every three days. Sperm can live inside you for up to five days, and your partner will need time to replenish. This was probably our biggest mistake.

Having sex on a schedule removes the intimacy and maximizes on the stress for both you and your partner. Sometimes the need for a baby is so desperate and the idea, that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you it may not happen gets louder and louder every day. The louder that voice gets, the more you think about the schedule and sex becomes less and less about you and your partner and more about the end game. There was a time when I forgot he was the love of my life and not just a donor. Although sex is necessary to make it all happen, it’s important to keep the intimacy present and even add a little more fun to your nights when sex is on the calendar.

A negative test doesn’t mean NO forever. You pee on the stick and wait, practically holding your breath for the full three minutes it takes you give you your yes or no. It’s a miracle you don’t pass out from lack of oxygen. The whole time you are trying to tell yourself it’s no big deal, and that no matter what the test says, you will be fine. Yet, once it says no, you can’t help but be crushed. The first time I got my negative test, I felt like I wanted to draw the shades, climb back into bed and sleep until someone magically brought a baby into my life. I would love to tell you it gets easier as time goes on, and by the second or third negative test, you will be seeing things a little differently.

Sorry ladies, no such luck, at least not for me anyways. However, I would like to think it’s yet another way life is toughening us up, preparing us for the time when we actually do get pregnant and later, when we get our bundles of joy.

There are probably about a hundred other things involved in trying to conceive, especially because I am just skimming the surface of conceiving naturally. I’ll stop here though, as I hope there are some women reading this who are just starting their journey and I don’t want to make it seem like it’s daunting.

I will leave you with this thought though. Do you remember back in High School in health class? How they went over the reproductive organs and basically told us that if we had unprotected sex we would either get an STD or end up with a baby? All it takes is one time. That is what they used to tell us. I wish they had been a little more honest with us and prepared us a little better for adulthood. Maybe had they gone over all the scenarios, I would have been better prepared in my own.

No matter how you are going about all of this, just know that a journey is not a sprint. Anything worthwhile in life takes time, energy, and commitment. Whether you conceive naturally, with a donor, with fertility treatments, with IVF, or if you get your bundle of joy through adoption, just know that if you really and truly want to be a mom, put your whole heart into it and it will happen.

Until then, just pretend you know what you are doing.