Pregnancy Facts: Carrying a Baby is Not Always a Barrel of Monkeys

I was thrilled when I found myself pregnant after struggling for years with endometriosis and wacky cycles. Getting pregnant was all I could think about. I was obsessed. And when it finally happened, I was too happy to see reality beyond the little plus sign on my pee stick.
I was way more interested in the fact that my body was actually working as it should. I had two, three, maybe four weeks of foggy glee before my body decided it had had enough fun. It was time to suffer, and suffer I did. I threw up in the front yard and the shower. I had leg cramps at night that would have crippled Secretariat. My heartburn blew out the toes of my shoes. Even though I had read or heard about these symptoms, I didn’t understand their import until I experienced them myself. In retrospect, I realize my pregnancy echoed the first commandment for having kids: Thou cannot know what being a parent is like until thou has a child.

With that in mind, I offer the following nuggets for newly pregnant mommies-to-be:

  1. Forget your mother’s ancient recollections and your friends’ happy advice. Who cares that your mother-in-law only gained 15 pounds with each pregnancy. No one can predict your experience, so learn to embrace the unpredictable. It’s only the beginning.
  2. It’s every woman for herself when pregnant. No one is going to barf for you, except maybe the cat.
  3. The yummy bubbles in your tummy are telling you your fetus is alive and kicking. Don’t let that feeling fool you that all is well. There’s plenty of time left for constipation, more barfing, heartburn and chronic nasal congestion.
  4. It’s OK to hate being pregnant. Just remember that the result is worth the temporary discomfort. Well, mostly.
  5. If you don’t like your OB/GYN, find a new one. Don’t feel guilty about it, either. You want to be comfortable with the doctor whose going to extract your placenta.
  6. The huge, cyst-like zits on your chest and back will go away eventually.
  7. Always keep food handy. You only have a 30-second window between hunger and satisfaction before you barf. But don’t eat too much, otherwise you’ll barf.
  8. Invest in shoes without laces.
  9. Just because your boobs get big, it doesn’t mean they’re pretty.
  10. Riding a jet ski in the Gulf of Mexico will not harm your baby.
  11. Don’t worry that the epidural will hurt. You’ll be too busy contracting to notice the huge needle in your back.