Pregnancy…such a weird and amazing thing all at the same time. The amount of changes that hit your body all at once are astounding. You are literally growing a living thing inside of you. No matter how much I want kids or how much I love this little baby already, pregnancy will never NOT be weird to think about. It’s creepy. Creepy and awesome and a miracle and life changing and then creepy again. When I feel the little peapod move around I can’t help but think of the movie Alien. Hey! I’m just speaking truth here. 🙂 Anyway, this last Sunday marked my 20 weeks point which officially means I’ve made it half-way through already! What?! Since I’ve made it to this benchmark, I thought it’d be kind of fun to take a quick look back at the first half of the pregnancy and document some of the ‘lessons learned’ I’ve experienced and share some of my (not always great) coping mechanisms. Let’s dig in shall we?
1. The word ‘tired’ took on a WHOLE new meaning. Tired doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt during the first trimester. I would literally wake up, brush my teeth, put on my gym clothes, make a cup of coffee and be exhausted and ready to crawl back into bed for another 9 hours of sleep as if I just hiked the Serengeti. I would get home from work, lay on the couch and pretty much not move until I went to bed. Life was a struggle. Yawning while people were talking to me, spending a solid 3 hours in the afternoon at work doing nothing but trying to keep my eyelids open, going to bed as early as 8:15 and taking frequent breaks to sit down and do nothing were my norm. I tried to cope with this one in a few ways, take more little walks to keep blood flowing, go to bed earlier….nothing worked. I think that literally the ONLY thing that would have helped was if I had a cot under my desk to legit take an hour nap. Thankfully that exhaustion subsided after a few months because, needless to say, productivity was at an all time low during that period.
2. I’ve never felt more out of shape in my life. Now this has nothing to do with my physical strength. I actually haven’t lost much, if any, of my strength but my cardiovascular endurance ladies and gentlemen….a joke! Let’s just say that they weren’t kidding around when they said that the growing blood vessels and amount of blood circulating in your body may affect your stamina. Running a 5k went from feeling like a breeze to feeling like I was running a marathon that I hadn’t trained for in a tropical dessert at 10,000 feet above sea level. This also goes for normal every day activities. Running upstairs to grab your coat? Out of breath. Bending over to pick stuff up off the floor? Out of breath. Speed walking from your car to the store? Out of breath. Trying to talk while walking and/or doing anything physical? Out of breath. While this has gotten slightly better as the pregnancy’s gone on…it’s still an every day occurrence. I can no longer sustain any lengthy cardio session without ample breaks or ‘recovery’ periods, my 5k pace has gone from around 25:30 minutes to 29-ish minutes and that usually includes a couple minute walk somewhere in there. The only coping mechanism I have for this one that’s worked is to slow my roll. I’ve had no choice but to relax a little in the cardio department and to remember to take things slower if necessary. While this is difficult for me, it’s definitely worth it because any time I push a little too hard, I pay for it later in the day and/or the next day with extreme exhaustion and grogginess.
3. Intuitive Eating became easier than ever. This was one of the more pleasant findings! While I was blessed with not having any morning sickness or nausea, my stomach was definitely far more picky and wishy-washy than ever. Unfortunately a lot of food was wasted in the first month and a half of this pregnancy. I would pack my normal lunch, pull it out during my lunch break and just think to myself “No. There is no way I am eating that”. While I didn’t feel sick, certain foods just were not appetizing to me at. all. We ended up eating out at Chipotle, Panera and/or some other restaurant way too often and I went to grab breakfast on multiple work days and I never (and I mean never) eat breakfast anywhere but home during the work weeks. Food just didn’t sound appetizing and what did was usually something I did not have in my house. On top of that, I went through brief week and half period where I couldn’t eat cold vegetables at all. The only way I could eat them was if I sautéed them up in eggs or mixed them into a chili or sauce some how. Weird stuff. The cool part is that this made it nearly impossible to not eat intuitively. I had to check in with myself before every meal/snack and make sure it sounded ok enough to eat. I also couldn’t (and still can’t) eat too much without feeling super uncomfortable, so that has made mindless eating few and far between. All in all, this one has been a good lesson. 🙂
4. The sense of smell became far more prominent than ever. We will literally be walking into a store and I’ll go “it smells like burnt toast” or “eww what’s that smell?” or “it smells like restaurant bathroom cleaner in here…you smell that?!”. Each time I’m met with an empty stare and a “no, you’re crazy” from my husband. Definitely a strange symptom of pregnancy but absolutely true for me during the pregnancy so far. I can smell the most detailed, obscure things like cinnamon donuts from the parking lot of a grocery store or bacon from the CostCo parking lot (both of which were actually being made in the back of each store). That’s not normal. Also makes every trip to a store more of an interactive experience which I’m not quite sure how I feel about. I can really only hope and pray that it’s pleasant smells….walking into the gym is a whole other ballgame. The only coping mechanism for this one is to remind myself to breath through my mouth as soon as I get a whiff of anything nasty. #Gross
5. Sleeping is hard. Yep. While I’m pretty much always exhausted, falling asleep and staying asleep seems to get more difficult by the week. I’ve definitely learned that pregnancy is not intended for women who are stomach sleepers. The first trimester was OK because I could still sleep on my stomach and was crazy exhausted. As I approached the 2nd trimester, even though I really wasn’t showing at all, sleeping on my stomach became slightly more uncomfortable and I was forced to start sleeping on my side/back. Awful. I don’t know how anyone sleeps on their back or side all night. So uncomfortable. If I lay on my side for too long my ear starts to hurt and I feel so scrunched up and end up with a kink in my neck. If I lay on my back too long, the back of my head starts to hurt and it makes me feel like I’m laying in a coffin. In conclusion, I end up rolling around all night in between my two sides and partially on my back (because now I’m not supposed to lay fully on my back for a duration of time due to blood flow) and never feel like I get a full nights sleep. Also, in the last few weeks I’ve started to get calf cramps (another symptom of pregnancy) which make it even more difficult to fall asleep. My coping mechanism for this one has been to get a body pillow…which helps slightly and to try to convince my husband to cut out a hole in the bed so I can sleep on my stomach. That hasn’t worked yet so far. I can’t help but think this may be God’s way of getting me ready for all of the all nighters I’m going to be pulling when this little peapod arrives…
So there you have it. Those are some of the biggest ‘lessons learned’ so far in the pregnancy. All in all, I have been very fortunate and haven’t had many awful symptoms which I am so grateful for! It all comes with the territory of growing a human being inside of you and I try to look at it all through a positive lens. I am so blessed to have a front row seat to a miracle and find it amusing and curious to see the changes that come along with it. I LOVE hearing about other people’s pregnancy lessons or weird pregnancy symptoms…so let’s hear it! POST BELOW your most random pregnancy symptom or your biggest ‘lesson learned’!