I have struggled for the last 7 months whether or not to even write this post. i’ve always shared things pretty openly on this blog for the last 10 years (wow), but for some reason I really battled internally to decide if this was something I wanted to write about. ultimately, I got over myself.
pregnancy is a weird, weird thing in life, for me. I initially felt as if I didn’t want to share anything with anyone. no due date, no bump update, no gender, no “announcement.” it felt impersonal and weird and I really believed I’d keep everything to myself the entire time, if we were lucky enough to get healthily pregnant. some of these stayed true, others changed. it felt to me like…this isn’t all I am as a woman. there’s more to me, even now as I’m approaching giving birth, than just pregnancy and procreating. but again, ultimately, I got over myself.
we decided to start “casually” trying - as in I wasn’t tracking anything - a few months after stopping birth control. I was feeling great being off hormonal birth control - it’ so freeing! I was in weight lifting class, our diets were on track and we were feeling great. nonetheless, I was fully expecting it to take months, if not years. I was very close to 32 at the time, and my OB had mentioned it was totally normal for it to take up to a year to successfully conceive. I was, honestly, fully prepared for it to take a while.
I was wrong. literally our first go at it, bam, done. It was about 1 week after “conception” (unbeknownst at the time) and I was sitting on the floor in weightlifting class, putting my lifting shoes on. Jao sat down next to me to put his shoes on and I immediately snapped around to him and said “were you drinking?!” I could STRONGLY smell alcohol. he looked at me like I was insane and said they’d had sangria at a work lunch, almost 6 hours earlier. no pregnancy test could tell me yet, but I knew. that heightened sense of smell was not common for me. I knew.
a week later, I took a test in the bathroom at work and after 1 minute saw nothing so I walked away to wash my hands thinking, nope not this time! but then when I walked back over to throw it away…BAM. 2 lines. unmistakable. pregnant. I called Jao immediately and was like “I have weird news.” we were both calm, unsure. over the next few days I took like 83 more tests. all positive. on Sunday, I had my first wave of overwhelming nausea. I was pregnant.
the next 4 months were a blur of extraordinary tiredness, unrelenting nausea, and daily struggles to get through it all. I fought tooth and nail every day to get through my work day, to find something I could stomach to eat, and to stay awake. I crawled to acupuncture 3 times a week, my saving grace, and would cry in my car afterwards, so grateful to have even a few hours of relief from the nausea. I was averaging 14 hours of sleep a day. I pretty much ate nothing except trader joe’s gluten free bagels, apples,milkshakes, and strawberries/blueberries - which were my main source of energy. I got the flu (despite the flu shot!) somewhere in that first trimester, and was absolutely knocked on my ass for 3 days, barely able to move. and I begged whatever merciful god existed every night that someday soon i’d wake up and feel better. that was the first 18 weeks.
it wasn’t all darkness of course. we went to Sweden and Denmark in this time. jet lag does NOT make nausea better let me tell you….but we had fun! we got to go skiing (dont’t even @ me, my doctor said it was fine), the McDonald’s in Sweden has gluten free buns so I ATE A GLUTEN FREE MCDONALDS BURGER (something I never thought i’d be able to eat normally ever again). we went to Vegas and had some fun virgin daiquiris. I was able to continue weightlifting. there were bright spots.
then I started a slow climb out of it. 20 weeks brought us our big anatomy ultrasound. we learned the gender. saw the baby on the screen, it was just so weird. I slowly got back to eating protein. slowly. I still didn’t eat much, and had only gained about 3 lbs at this point. I fought back waves of depression. i’d cry in the bathroom at work every day, desperate to feel normal again, to enjoy eating again. I missed feeling energetic and hungry and spry and fit and happy. I was of course happy about our growing bamboo shoot, but was struggling so much in the darkness of a rainy California winter to find my normal easy-going disposition. and honestly I just felt fat. I had no discernible baby bump - just looked thick. my body is long and my core is strong…I just looked like i’d hit the buffet. it was just uncomfortable. and on top of all of this, I found out I have a blood disorder that makes me prone to clotting. so I had to start giving myself a blood thinner shot every night. it felt like a LOT. but I could tell my body was trying hard to fight it’s way out of this haze. at least I could eat something other than carbs.
it was also around this time that I changed my mind on a few things. I decided I did want to tell people we were having a babe. I wanted to share our joy - we were excited and it was really fun to have other people be excited with us! we still have kept the gender to ourselves, though. that’s been our secret. but where at first I felt by sharing, i’d be kind of invading our own privacy….but once we did share our fun news, it just felt like our community hugged us a little tighter. it was nice, and made me feel better and less sick.
then I suddenly started feeling kicks. little baby kicks, scaring the absolute shit out of me at random moments. around this same time, the rain of winter lifted and sun started shining. around 23-24 weeks, Jao had to travel to Sweden for work, and I stayed home. in the 6 days, my belly popped a little. the sun was warm enough that I could go for a walk in shorts (which I started doing daily), and I got a copy of the Tracy Anderson pregnancy project DVDs. doing the month five workout…felt so good. I felt like myself, doing butt lifting exercises! I felt stretched out and light. and the small arsenal of maternity clothes I ordered with gift card from Christmas arrived. I still wasn’t very hungry but was able to eat a bit more. I was up 6 pounds by week 24 and feeling much better. when he came home, he found a much bouncier wife waiting for him.
I started feeling proud of my body and of myself. I was fighting SO HARD every day to be healthy, strong, and fit. I could now see this little bump that was growing and this little baby inside there that was kicking and squirming around all day. like finally, the fruits of all this fight. I still wasn’t feeling overly “maternal” - no birth plan, no real plans at all. I wasn’t following most of the pregnancy rules, I was kind of just doing my best and getting on with it. but I was feeling proud of myself.
and now i’m almost at 29 weeks. the fog has lifted. i’m still weightlifting (which i’ve done the entire time but now I have more energy to do it!), we are going on huge walks a few times a week (still getting my 12k steps in daily). I passed my glucose screening, no gestational diabetes. my weight is still very much under control (still only up 8 pounds to this day). my blood pressure is low. my belly has ARRIVED and is now getting in the way of my weightlifting! i’m still mostly eating strawberries, blueberries, and yogurt with bagels and pb thrown in for good measure, but I can finally eat with normalcy again when I so desire - just in smaller portions. I fill up so fast with this kid in the way. the strawberries and blueberries just taste so good….they’re hard to resist.
my mom and dad bought us a beautiful crib which we recently put together - made it all feel very real. we did a first little load of laundry for our bamboo shoot. I rap songs to him or her, and Jao reads news stories to my stomach. I still don’t feel overly like…”into pregnancy” or the experience or whatever…still no birth plan. (on my actual birth plan sheet at the hospital I wrote “my birth plan is to have the baby exit my body in a healthy state.” so that’s it.). the nursery isn’t really “set up” but you know, we have stuff. doesn’t really have a theme either but it’ll come along. not super stressed about the whole thing. i’d say the #1 thing i’m thinking about is what kind of pajama looks & cute robe i’ll bring to the hospital so I look cute (and also do they have plugs in the bathrooms in the room for my Dyson air styler?).
our baby shower is coming up - again, not super baby themed or traditional, but I guess Jao and I never have been traditional. it’s an all you can eat taco party with plenty of wine (and sparkling cider for us pregnant women!), lots of desserts, and mostly it’s just tacos and wine. it’s fiesta themed, not baby themed :-) we just want to celebrate this exciting moment with our family and friends. what better way to do that than tacos?
one thing I do want to say though….through this entire storm, as I fought through dark and hard days, sickness, endless naps, my inability to eat, etc. my husband has been by my side every. single. day. from the moment we realized we were expecting this bamboo shoot, to that first ultrasound that confirmed it was really happening, to every doctor’s appointment in-between…I have watched this man grow from my partner and lover into a father and complete and total family man. he has supported my every feeling, wiped every tear, rubbed every back ache, brought me rice every morning when my nausea was at it’s peak. he has stopped drinking with me(!), buys me boujee ass salmon eggs to eat with my breakfast to help bamboo shoot’s brain develop. he has eagerly asked me to read every week’s update of bamboo shoot’s development, he excitedly talks with me about what this munchkin will be like, what things he’s excited for us to show bamboo shoot. he tells me he can’t wait to strap bamboo shoot up in the baby carrier and take this kiddo everywhere. he loves how he’s created new connections with people as we are expecting, telling me he feels like he’s in a new club now…the dad club, and how EXCITING it is. he tells me every day how awesome I look (even when I feel round), cheers me on at weightlifting, and stops at every bathroom in the entire Bay Area as needed, no complaining. he supports all my choices (epidural? yes! an all black/white/grey baby registry? yes!) he loves to lay his face on my stomach and feel bamboo shoot kick him in the face. it’s impossible for me to truly express how grateful I am that Jao is my partner through this process and as we head into parenthood, I am so excited and feel so lucky to figure this mess out with him.
so that’s that. this munchkin arrives in about ~10 weeks or so. he or she is currently kicking the absolute bejesus out of me, as I type. so comfortable (but I do love feeling it - it’s our secret little language, just letting me know it’s all good in there). we already love our bamboo shoot beyond words, and upon arrival i’m sure that will grow into something neither of us could have ever imagined. and that’s all that matters, really. healthy and loved. we’ll figure the rest out.