Things you don’t expect, when you’re expecting (You’re welcome)

In Thoughts by Sara Ann KLeave a Comment

So, I am reaching the end of my days as a pregnant person. 8 days more to be exact. And it’s been an interesting journey.

(***** UPDATE: I started writing this 8 days before my scheduled c-section on the 14th of March. Unfortunately, baby arrived earlier when my water broke at a friends’ birthday party on the night of the 9th of March. And #MiloGMT arrived in our world 10th March.  4 whole days earlier than scheduled. And way before his EDD of March 31st. This is the first time I’ve had the breathing space to continue writing this. Yes. 2 mths and 19 days after his birth. That in itself says something, my dear newbie parents-to-be. Just saying. I warned ya. Heck. Everyone has. But none of us listened. Or at least, even if we did listen, we never thought it would be this bad. But… I digress.)

I can safely say, I will miss certain privileges I have gotten. For instance, Redmart and ezbuy delivery men wanting to carry everything into my house for me. My family treating me nicer than usual. Uber drivers totally softening when they pick me up once they spot my protruding belly, after sounding totally cranky when the GPS leads them the wrong house first.

But as a woman in my late thirties, going through pregnancy for the first time has been anything but easy.

Or beautiful.

All those liars.

I think some women conspire to lure more women into the baby trap by telling them that pregnancy and childbirth is beautiful.

Honey. Your body is about to do some really strange and gross things.

But once you’re already in it.. experienced mom’s will start telling you… enjoy the pregnancy period… cos that’s the best part. Worse is yet to come.

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Too late now folks.

 

So all I can do, is prepare you for some things that I personally experienced, just so you know.

 

  1. KEGELS. LIES. AND INCONTINENCE.

Do kegels they say. It will help, they say.

It will make your pregnancy or birth easy, they say.

LIES.

ALL LIES MY FRIEND.

Look. I’ve done kegels. Heck. I’ve even attended a “pelvic gymnastics course” conducted by a Russian **”doctor”, and my punani has been trained just slightly short of patpong ping-pong-ball-shooting standards prior to this pregnancy.

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And yet. 3 mths in.. when baby settled in a spot comfortably sitting atop my bladder… I experienced the dreaded cough+pee. Something that is not supposed to happen if you are diligently practicing your kegels. At least this is what every site and book and female magazine, purporting the amazing things kegels can do for you, have claimed.

Kegels are supposed to make your orgasms more intense. Make your birth easier. And, reduce that pesky cough+pee combi when you are pregnant.

To be fair, let me state this.. I actually have gotten it pretty good in comparison to some of my friends I have spoken to. I can count the number of cough+pee / sneeze+pee incidents I’ve had on one hand.

But each time it has happened… I felt humiliated and helpless. Like my body wasn’t even mine any more.

The thing is though, 37 weeks in and I can still survive with just pantyliners. And like I’ve said, I’ve had less than a handful of incidents. And that apparently is something to be very grateful about. So guys, just for a second, imagine this is just the tip of the iceberg on a long list of sacrifices that women make to become the mothers of your children. Or your moms.

I’m not complaining because I’m considered one of the lucky ones. I’m not experiencing the “wake up every five minutes to pee” thing that a lot of my friends dread at night.

So for those planning to get pregnant when you see one of our cute babies…. a warning.. You know nothing Jon Snow. Your body will turn against you.

One friend told me she resorted to using Tena incontinence pads throughout her pregnancy.

Another had to use incontinence mats when she slept, especially when she was very ill and experienced coughing fits during her sleep.

And yet another told me that she had to constantly carry a fresh change of underwear in her bag daily, just in case she had an accident.

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(Also note, that this cough+pee thing.. might not stop if you have a natural birth… cos something happens to stuff “down there” at times. Don’t ask me about the technical details. I only know of this from pals, so I consider it secondhand knowledge. I have no proof that this is true.)

** honestly she called herself a Dr, but I don’t really know if her credentials were legit. Though I have to say she did teach some very practical… *cough* skills.

2. Bloody boogers

So.. I didn’t really have nosebleeds throughout my pregnancy, though this is common in quite a few of my friends. Some people have tons of these when they are pregnant because the vessels in your nose expand. Your blood supply also increases. So.. tadah. Nosebleeds.

I only have had two of these in the 8.5 mths I’ve been preggers.

And I’ve only had a nosebleed once in my entire 38 years, before pregnancy.

But here’s the thing…

I have never had so many boogers in my life.

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Yes. You heard me. Boogers.

Never before have I had such satisfying hauls when mining my olfactory cavities.

I actually usually have very clean nostrils. I could go by usually a week, without cleaning my nose, and even when I gave it a spring clean, it would barely yield any dirt. (Let’s not talk about when I’m visiting polluted countries.)

But, during this pregnancy. Big. Lucious. Boogers. Everyday. At least once a day. I have rediscovered the use of my pinky nail.

And yes, for some strange reason, most of the boogers have been bloody.

(UPDATE: Yup. This is definitely a pregnancy thing. The boogers continued for about two weeks after pregnancy. Non-bloody though. And now my nose has returned to its non-boogery state.)

 

3. Everyone is suddenly an expert

Yes. Aunts. Moms. In laws. Friends. Everyone will suddenly have an opinion on everything when you are pregnant.

Whether your stomach is pointy or rounded – therefore having a boy or a girl.

Whether or not you should be eating this, or drinking that. Seriously, it gets annoying. AND you will feel judged. Very judged. All the time.

It takes a lot of effort and practice to not be affected by comments.

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BUT – that said I did get an excellent piece of advice from an UBER driver. (Yes, that is how long I have not been in civilization people. Pre-confinement I lived in a Uber-time. Now, I emerge post-confinement to the post-apopcalyptic non-UBER world in Singapore. Le sigh.)

“Girl ah, I tell you ah. No matter what, you must make sure your husband is inside with you when you give birth. Don’t care whether it is natural or non-natural. That is the ONLY way he will appreciate what you go through. I tell you, after I went in, see how much pain my wife went through.. wah.”

Honestly. This is true.

A guy never can really understand the 9 months of nausea, giving up your favourite foods, feeling like you have an alien-like kettle ball in your stomach and carrying that around. How unsexy you feel. Etc. Etc. Etc. So, just for one day… having them there to witness the pain … Yup. I’d say this was the best unsolicited advice I received.

My poor husband, bless his heart, walked into a Dexter-like scene when he entered the operating theatre.

I do think he was grateful he could be on the normal side of me. The other side, that side covered by a green curtain that obscured the slicing and dicing going on….. he still eventually got a peek at.

Picture this: when the doctor finally tugged and pulled baby out of me, and did a AAAAIIIIIII SIMBAAAAAA moment over the privacy screen, she excitedly asked my hubby to stand up and take a photo. Which my husband, dutifully, and hesitantly, did.

And yes. He had a glimpse of my other half. Six inches of my gut cranked open, blood and all.

I might mention here, my husband is pretty tall. So, he probably would have gotten a glimpse any way at some point.

And note hons: he has treated me well since.

 

4. Weight

Ok. I really would like to insert some choice expletives here. But I shan’t. But let’s just say that during my pregnancy I put on the amount of weight equivalent to a small human. 30kg to be exact.

There are medical reasons to why this occurred that I shall share perhaps, in another post. But.. trust me. It is not easy at all when everyone seems to want to comment on your weight in some way. Know that everyone puts on weight. That some put on more than others. And it is normal to envy other people for how little/much they’ve put on. For those who don’t put on a lot, they too think they are ugly and gargantuan for some reason. There are those that try really hard to eat but don’t put on weight. There are those that don’t eat much, and yet pile on like crazy.

Take heart though, every pregnancy is different. BUT EVERYONE WILL COMMENT ON YOUR WEIGHT.

Whether you have put on a little. Or a lot.

It’s kind of ridiculous though when I do hear people grumbling about how much weight they’ve put on especially when it is within the normal/healthy range. (anything between 8 to 16kg)

“I put on 12kg,” one friend with a healthy baby lamented.

Aww, that’s so cute honey. I thought it to myself of course, while rolling my eyes, I hope, not too visibly. Ya. 30 over here.

But the ones who put on too little weight are not off easy either. I had friends who were stuffing their faces, but couldn’t put on weight at all. “Don’t starve your baby,” some said. “Don’t be so vain la,” others rebuked.

For those who were trying desperately to put on weight, but couldn’t because of their body type, or for some, friends who suffered  hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) – things were tough for them too. Many were chided by mothers-in-law. Nosy people.

NO ONE IS SPARED.

Trust me, it took a lot to keep myself motivated and not burst into tears when people made comments. People can be really mean. Many, under the guise of concern.

Well.. mean is mean.

And you don’t need to put up with that ok babes? Put mean people out of your lives. No matter how concerned about you they feign to be. If you have the balls, just tell them to their face, “I think that’s mean, and you hurt my feelings.”

Some will make excuses of course, but you’ll then know for sure that you need to get rid of these people from your life.

 

Meanwhile gurl… you have NOTHING to worry about. You’ll lose about 8-10 usually within the first week alone because of the baby (2.5 to 4kg), placenta and blood and lots of glorious after-birth (about another 4-5kg or so), let’s not forget water weight from all the water retention (usually 1-2kg). So don’t worry about it.

Also. You should be worrying more about the health of your baby then how hot you look.

Priorities woman. #justsaying

Dads out there – tell your wives she is beautiful. Because she is. Because she is giving up a lot of herself to bear you your child.

 

5. Luscious hair (everywhere)

Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s the Omega 3 supplements you are taking. But suddenly you will be in possession of a very luscious head of hair.

I have spent thousands to have my body be smoother than a baby’s bum. But thanks to this bonny baby in me, weird random hairs have been popping up in random places like a darned whac-a-mole.

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6. Open coffeeshop

Before I was pregnant, I always wondered why preggos sat so badly. In a very… unladylike manner with knees apart, and unfortunately to those wearing shorter skirts/voluminous shorts, flashing a knicker or two.

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To all pregnant women I have silently judged before as you sat with your thighs apart. I am so sorry.

Ladies. Crossing your legs will be a thing of the past. Welcome to an era where you will have to throw that “keep your knees together” adage into the trash. (Heck, you probably did any way, that’s why you knocked up gurlfren!!)

IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE to cross my legs. Hard to keep my knees together.. because of the GIANT BALL OF HUMAN in between.

I know it is weird, but I found myself often wondering, when will I ever be able to cross my legs again?

For people who are wondering, why can’t you do the duchess slant? Yes. Sitting with your legs at a slant which is both modest and elegant.

Picture credit: www.goodhousekeeping.com

Yeah, it’s not that easy. For one, having the human ball kicking inside you is pretty uncomfortable, so sitting in one position is tough. And sitting with an elegant slant to your legs, in one position for an extended period of time, is tougher.

Not impossible, just, not the most comfortable.

 

7. You will miss simple pleasures like sleeping on your back, and you WILL SNORE

Your hips will ache from sleeping on your side.

Your back will crave just lying flat.

Not only is lying flat on your back uncomfortable because you have baby in you that crushes all your other organs. Lying on your back also makes you prone to snoring like a tractor. Which, apparently, I did, because yes, the baby is crushing all your organs. And I got punched by my husband in my sleep because of my snoring. (He claims he just wanted to use my pillow to roll my head to wake me up a little, but his hand slipped. I think that’s a little too convenient. I’m pretty sure I will continue to use this against him every time he messes up or refuses to help with the baby once he is here. “Remember that one time you punched me in my sleep when I was pregnant…..”)

I never really snored much before this. Maybe only on the rare occasion I was extremely tired. Or sick with a stuffy nose.

So be aware women… you are about to realise your body is going to start doing lots of things it never did before.

Everyone will tell you that you need rest. Especially in the last few weeks running up to your due date. But it will be almost impossible because every position feels uncomfortable with the moving kettleball inside you.

Oh, and many places will turn you away from getting a foot massage. Ironic given this is the time you need footrubs the most.

(I went to Green Apple and Natureland for those.)

You know how it feels when you can finally breathe easy after a particularly stuffy cold? The sheer relief. Yup. I am looking forward to the equivalent of that. But for lying down, flat on my back.

And my hubby is definitely looking forward to me not snoring.

 

8. booooooooobies

Yes. Your little Xiao long baos will grow. Mine grew from small C’s to double D’s.

And of course the most comfy nursing bras are the ugliest things on the planet.

Seriously.

Like wtf people. Women have been getting pregnant since the beginning of time, and yet, with all of the advancements of the world, maternity and nursing bras still look like..

Yup.

UGLY.

Ok. I won’t argue about the comfort, because you’ll soon find these ugly beige over the shoulder boulder holders are comfy as heck. But if we wore these to begin with, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be pregnant now!!!

That said, I have discovered that ASOS, and Taobao have pretty nice nursing bras. Yes. Nicer than these. Much Nicer.

Case in point – example 1. (Note: this does come in less traffic-stopping colours of course)

Example 2:

Both of these I actually bought online, and they are surprisingly comfy as well. And under $20 a pop. The only problem is they are more for nursing, definitely not for hands-free pumping.

But who knew China could be ahead of us in the maternity lingerie curve.

Be forewarned though, big boobies are funbags for now, but are going to get EVEN bigger.

**UPDATE: I have confirmed this. Where I previously was a double D, and grumbling about it. Post-pregnancy my boobs have inflated up to an F when I am engorged with milk. I can’t wear many of my MATERNITY clothes anymore simply because they won’t zip up beyond my boobs. And while I might actually be fitting into more of my pre-pregnancy clothes now, I have bust a few buttons trying to wrangle these puppies into tops. So, whatever size you have gotten during pregnancy, note, you might get one or two cup sizes bigger once your milk comes in.

P.S. I have found seamless nursing bras and hands-free nursing tank tops/cami’s the most helpful thing.

Picture me now, pumping, going tappity tap tap on my computer.

 

I am pretty sure these are just the tip of the iceberg on things you don’t really expect when you are expecting. I know friends have talked about the pooping for instance (or lack thereof) because many were backed up during pregnancy. Even a friendly GP pal of mine told me how she suspects she singlehandedly raised share prices to prune juice during her gestation.

I, fortunately, did not encounter that. Mostly also because I had daily doses of Lacetol Forte prescribed to me by my gynae to regulate the flora in my gut. Hunneh – lets just say, I was never this regular before. So you might want to look into taking that.

But, if you are pregnant now, or planning to be pregnant. I hope this is of use to you.. because these are all things I never knew before I got pregnant. And I sure as hell would have liked to know it.

Meanwhile, good luck on your parenthood kiddo.

You’re going to need it.

Much love,

xx

sara

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