An Uncomplicated Life Blog: What Pregnancy is REALLY Like

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What Pregnancy is REALLY Like

Some women love it, others can barely stand it. Here's what pregnancy looked like for one woman with two very different experiences


This is a sponsored conversation my Mums The Word and The Stork OTC. All opinions are my own.

If you saw my post a few weeks back, hubs and I are on the fence about adding to our family. The thought of having a newborn again is frightening! It's also gotten me thinking about the two very difference experiences I had while pregnant. One was a breeze and one was extremely challenging. What if I get another challenging pregnancy?! Ahhh, there's so much to consider when family planning, isn't there? I've shared both of my birth stories here before (see here and here) but I haven't really talked about what those pregnancies were really like.


Henry was a surprise baby. Everyone thinks Otto was because he came so close after Henry, but oh no - it was Henry! It was October 2 and I was on a flight home from a day-long work trip to Houston. My period should have come at 10am that morning (yeah, I know even to the time of day when she's due to arrive) and it was now after 4pm. I had just run a half marathon a week before, so I figured that could be the cause of the delay. I ordered a glass of wine on the flight because I thought, "Oh girl, you better enjoy this while you can just in case!"

Next morning, I took a test and the test came back positive before the pee could even reach the control line. Well, hell! I thought. I'm going to need to figure out what to do about that wedding dress... And my bachelorette was planned for the following week. I wasn't immediately thrilled because of the timing, but hubs and I were planning on starting a family right away anyway so I got over the sober bachelorette and got excited about having a baby instead.

I felt nothing - no symptoms, nothing - for the first seven weeks. Then it was light a freight train hit me. I was nauseous, and had a non-stop headache but worst of all was the exhaustion. I remember being in my office at work and literally having to hold myself up at my desk, because sitting was too much work. I'd often leave work at 1 or 2pm and work the rest of the day from my couch, laying down. Soon, I developed such bad heartburn, I'd vomit my own stomach acid several times a day. I had serious food aversions and couldn't even let my husband eat meat around me or I'd heave and gag. I basically lived off avocado and cheese sandwiches and berries.


At 28 weeks gestation, I quit my job. The baby was breech and I swore he was going to head-butt his way out of my bellybutton. I was sick constantly. My face had changed shapes (my nose got HUGE) and I was retaining water everywhere. At 29 weeks gestation, I went into labor. My midwives put me on bed rest. At 35 weeks, I was referred to a MD to attempt an external cephalic version to turn the baby. It was unsuccessful and I was left covered in bruises. My midwives told me they were sorry, but there wasn't anything more they could do for me. I started the process of being transferred to an MD for a hospital birth, even though I had spent the last eight months preparing for a natural birth at the birth center.

At 36 weeks, my water broke. I called my husband to tell him he needed to come home and we googled directions to the hospital. We didn't even know where we were going because we didn't have time between the failed version and learning our way to our new birth location. We got to the hospital at 5:00 on a Friday, and had Henry four weeks early at 10:15pm via emergency c-section (they checked before they operated and yes, he was still stuck breech). My biggest memory was laying on the table, and having all the back pain immediately disappear as they pulled him out of me. I was SO glad to no longer be pregnant. Henry was, surprisingly, extremely healthy. He nursed right away and needed no NICU time despite his early birth date and being a white male, who notoriously have under-developed lungs.


Just 10 months later, we were ready to expand our family. My sister and I are only 18 months apart and were so close growing up, I wanted to provide that for my kids too. We tried for one month with no success. I talked with my mom, who was an infertility nurse for over 20 years, and she told me this was how she recommended women attempt to get pregnant: Have sex every other day the day your period ends. Keep your stress levels as low as possible and just have fun with it! My mom and I have the kind of relationship where that conversation wasn't awkward at all, and I took what she had to say to heart. I knew a part of my job would be managing my husband's stress levels too, since males play an equal role in conception. Since our kids would be so close and we had just started trying, we were able to keep things light and as "fun" as attempting conception could be!

The following month, I took a pregnancy test on Day 29 (the same day I found out when I was pregnant with Henry). It was negative. Dang it, I thought! Ok period, just get here so we can start again. My sister came into town, and we had a couple of late nights with wine. But my period never showed up. On day 35, I was super annoyed and went and bought what I thought was a bulk pack of pregnancy tests. I open them up, and wouldn't you know, I had just spent a fortune on ovulation tests! I became even more annoyed. I couldn't return an open box of tests! Luckily there was one pregnancy test in there. I took it, and again, the positive line turned before the control line.


With Otto, I became bloated and nauseous pretty much the day after the positive test. We had a big party planned for Henry's first birthday, and I spent a good amount of it sitting outside in the fresh air, trying not to get sick, sitting by myself! All of that started to clear up by 15 weeks and I felt much better.

I felt amazing in fact. I didn't have any heartburn. I had no back pain. He wasn't trying to create an escape route from my belly button like breech Henry did. He was head down. All was perfect! As far as pregnancies go, it was a breeze. I was able to work out the whole time and only put on 19 pounds (partially, I believe, because I was chasing after Henry the whole time). After the first trimester, I had no food aversions and could eat everything. In fact, I even loved spinach salads and all the other things "they" tell you to eat for a healthy pregnancy. 

My midwives welcomed me back to the birth center, but since I was only 19 months out from my c section, I decided to attempt my VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) at the same hospital with the same MD I was transferred to with Henry. I really liked the staff and loved the OB. I was 38 and a half weeks when my water broke at 2am with Otto, and 16 hours later I had him just the way I wanted, via VBAC.

The two pregnancies could not have been more different! One was a surprise and full of issues and massive discomfort. The birth went literally 180 degrees from the way I had wanted and planned. The other was planned and relatively easy. It was a textbook pregnancy and resulted in the birth I wanted. See, that's what pregnancy is REALLY like. You can do everything right and everything can get derailed. You don't get to know or prepare for how it will go. It could be easy and you love it, or it can be a long, hard nine months.


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6 comments:

  1. Ugh I'm such a nauseous person normally so I know those first couple months of pregnancy are going to be brutal for me. Thanks for the honest view of pregnancy!

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  2. This is one of the many reasons I'm afraid to have another (we're going to try, but not for a bit). My first pregnancy was really easy with a bump in the road of Gestational Diabetes which sucked. I'm nervous that my second one will be super difficult. In addition to all of that, I have no idea how people do it with two kids!!!! haha

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  3. I STILL remember getting that "I'm pregnant!" text from you when you found out about Otto. So so sweet. Crazy how different your pregnancies were! I guess you truly just never know how it's going to be.

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  4. I know so many women trying to conceive right now! I remember your pregnancy with Otto and was so happy you were able to have your VBAC.

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  5. Totally not the point of this post, but I love that shorter hair photo! You look amazing pregnant.

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  6. we are trying right now, and so far, no dice. if shit doesn't start happening soon, i might have to look into this stork thing.

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