I was one of those annoying people whose pregnancy, from start to finish, really wasn’t all that bad. I had very little morning sickness, didn’t gain too much weight, and didn’t feel like a cow too often. Early on, I had no idea I had become pregnant until I had a strange food occurrence. I ate some almonds and they tasted like mayonnaise, and a red-velvet cupcake tasted like burnt marshmallows. A friend suggested I might be pregnant, and sure enough, I was by almost 5 weeks at the time! (I still don’t quite understand the connection between the way the food tasted and being pregnant, so maybe it was just a coincidence?) When I got to hear the heartbeat at around 8 weeks (my doc had a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine), I cried. It was just so beautiful! I think I may have cried, too, when I first felt her hiccup, which was around 23 weeks.
Even my cravings were not all that bad. I craved orange juice the first trimester, but not just any orange juice. It had to be Sunny Delight, which probably isn’t made of much juice at all. In the second trimester, I had to have tater tots. Lots and lots of tater tots! I even went to the grocery store and bought a huge bag of frozen tots, which I have never done in my entire life, and haven’t done since then. In my last trimester, I could not get enough chocolate milk. Hot chocolate would not do; it had to be cold chocolate milk.
There were a couple of worrisome issues that came up late in my second trimester, though, besides finding a way to get comfortable enough to sleep. One was that I was having major Braxton-Hicks contractions, so much so that I had to take a medication to relax my uterus. Second, one of the routine ultrasounds showed that the baby’s umbilical cord was draped loosely around her neck. While there wasn’t much I could do about either one, naturally I freaked out, which made the contractions increase. I was also so worried that if I moved the wrong way, I’d end up causing my baby to be strangled, which is one of the reasons why I quit going to my prenatal yoga classes. I ended up being put on bed-rest by my OB/GYN around my 33rd week of pregnancy. That was no fun, but he eventually allowed me to go back to work.
Emily decided she wanted to be born 15 days earlier than her projected due date. The day she was born happened to be Columbus Day, which means my husband had it off as a holiday. It seems like Emily knew this and timed it just right so that my husband would be there for me right when I needed him. (By the way, she’s done other things similar to this. For example, she was fussiest on Friday nights when I didn’t have to wake up early the next day to go to work. Thoughtful baby.) From the very first contraction to the final push, she was born in just under 12 hours of labor. It turned out to be intense labor because we didn’t get to the hospital early enough for me to get an epidural. Weeks before this, while considering my birthing plan, I had every intention to get an epidural because I knew I wasn’t strong enough to do it without pain meds, plus I thought I had a weak tolerance to pain. Well, imagine my shock when they said an epidural wasn’t an option! And at that moment, when I was faced knowing I’d have to endure indescribable pain to bring my daughter into this world and me into mommyhood, my moxie came shining through to show me how brave I could be.