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Monday, December 12, 2011

Pregnancy Symptoms

Yesterday I moved bedrest to the bath tub to soak my aching back in some Epsom salts. There I read Jenny Mcarthy's Belly Laughs in which she describes her pregnancy symptoms. It's a nice read bc it normalizes a lot of the symptoms we experience during pregnancy, some of which I hadn't heard of/read about until they happened to me. If you can get your hands on a used copy of the book I recommend it (I don't really recommend buying it bc Ms. McCarthy is a spokesperson for perpetuating the urban legend that vaccinations cause autism, which my friends and colleagues who are experts in the treatment and research of autism confidently state the data do not support).

Anyway since I have some time today (bedrest and all) I thought I'd document some of my own pregnancy symptoms so those of you who are or who have been pregnant might relate and those of you TTC can be warned :)

Updated 12/27/11 so I have a record of my preg symptoms in one place.

Morning Sickness: I was one of the lucky ones in this department. I had a lot of nausea my first trimester that I chalk it up to the hormone meds I was on. I've read a good predictor of m/s is whether your mom had it. Mine didn't. And I think she passed that blessing onto me.

Hunger: This one I did have my first semester. When I was hungry, I was starving. There was no in between. And if I didn't eat immediately, I was really uncomfortable, light headed and angry. I learned to carry fruit and high protein snack bars with me everywhere, because I never knew when the hunger might strike. And when it did, it was ugly.

Cravings: I haven't really had a lot of these either. First trimester it was more about what I thought I could eat that wouldn't make me want to vomit. So there were lots of carbs, pizza, burgers, and other bland food. Very early on there was a lot of cottage cheese and lemonade. Second trimester there have been some meat cravings (I don't tend to eat a lot of meat but we're supposed to eat high-protein diets during pregnancy and it seems my body doesn't think my bean-filled diet is adequate). But so far not pickles with PB and sardines. I have developed a sweet tooth which I definitely did NOT have before the pregnancy. Before I was pregnant I considered myself someone with a salt-tooth (I'd pound a bag of chips and not even think about saving room for dessert). But now I do have cravings for cookies. This week's sweet was carrot cake. Yum!

Weight Gain: Which brings us to weight gain. I've read that 25-35 lbs is considered normal and good. I've gained ~ 20 lbs already, most of that in the first trimester. I think most of that was due to the hormone meds I was on and the need to eat lots and lots and lots of carbs to combat the nausea. My weight gain 2nd trimester comes in spurts and is at a much slower pace.

Swelling: This was one of my first signs of pregnancy. In fact, I had to take off my wedding rings really early on bc I woke up one morning bc my ring had cut my finger from all the swelling. (I now wear an adjustable ring that DH bought be a couple of years ago on a business trip bc I felt so naked without my wedding ring). I swelled so much so fast early in pregnancy that I couldn't fit into any of my regular clothes and had to switch pretty early on to maternity clothes (I couldn't even do the ol' wear your regular pants unbuttoned thing bc my thighs/butt/etc were all way too swollen to fit in my regular clothes). It was a bit ridiculous bc I didn't look pregnant yet. Just fat. But I thought it was silly to buy bigger regular clothes when I was going to need maternity clothes anyway. So I just skipped ahead to maternity clothes. I think the swelling calmed down 2nd trimester--once I started looking pregnant. Although when we traveled my feet got so swollen I got blisters wearing super comfy shoes so I've learned to only wear shoes that are as open as possible.

Gi-normous Boobs: Yes my boobs have already gotten huge. And the growth spurt happened in the first trimester! This I was so not expecting. I thought the girls owuld get bigger 3rd trimester in anticipation of breast feeding. Nope. First trimester, along with the swelling, the breast tenderness followed by massive growth. I'd say this was my 2nd symptom after the swelling. A friend gave me some maternity clothes including some nursing bras. And her nursing bras fit me after my growth spurt. They haven't grown since the spurt first trimester. But I'm scared of what they're planning on doing 3rd trimester. And I try not to even think about what they're going to do when my milk comes in. I won't be able to stand up straight.

Fatigue: This was another biggie during the first trimeseter. I would sleep ~ 10-12 hours per night and still need a nap or two per day. It slowly got better when I was in my 2nd trimester. It wasn't the miraculous transformation I've heard from women describe. It was a slower transition. I still more sleep per night than usual (~ 9-10 hours) but rarely nap. As someone who didn't nap at all prior to pregnancy the fact that I still sometimes need a nap during the day suggests my current napping is baby-induced. I let myself take them when I need them.

Back Pain: I don't always have back pain, but when I do, YOOWWWWWWWSSSSAAAAA! I had been warned about sciatica pain from friends who've had babies. And that sounds terrible. I luckily haven't had that. But what I wasn't warned about but I have had is back pain due to rib popping out. Yes. That's right. My ribs pop out. And it hurts like a mutha. It happens because our bodies need to make room for the baby. Just as our hips expand, our ribs expand to make room for our ever growing uterus (according to, mine is the size of a soccer ball this week). And bc they're all pliable and moveable and what have you, they can pop out. The first time this happened to me was ~ 18 weeks. It felt like I had a knife in my back. I was in so much pain I went to a chiropractor and before this I was a big chiro-skeptic. But she popped that sucker back in place and gave me some lifestyle changes to make to try to prevent it from happening again. And I was cured. Until this weekend. When I coughed so hard I popped at least one back out. It now hurts to cough. And I need to cough to get the mucus out of my lungs or the MD I saw think I'll get pneunomia. Which is really really bad for pregnant ladies. Luckily I have a chiro appt later this morning. So ribs popping. Not something I expected. Nor was backpain so early in pregnancy. Again, I expected that to happen in the 3rd trimester when I'd be carrying around so much extra weight in the front that it'd put pressure on my back. Nay nay. It happens much much sooner.

Frequent Urination: I pee all the time. Granted, I've always drunk a lot of water and preggers I drink even more. Pre-preg, I'd usually wake up 1x per night for a pee break. Now it's more like 3-4 times per night. I tried cutting back on the water so I could get more sleep but then my pee got dark yellow and I've always prided myself on my clear pee (yes that's right. It's the little things). It was weird to me to have all this peeing going on so early in the pregnancy. I expected it during my 3rd trimester when I have a little person doing backflips on my bladder. I did not expect it during my first trimester. But I read there are several potential causes including natural hormones, those pesky hormone meds I was on, and that I'm now peeing for 2. I learned in childbirth class that the amniotic fluid is refreshed every 3 hours. The dirty fluid has to go somewhere then right? So I assume I'm peeing for me and the baby these days.

Gas: In the first trimester, forget about it. There was no stopping my farts. Again, unexpected so early on. Makes sense this happens in the 3rd trimester when the baby's taking up so much room there's none left for air in your pipes. I didn't expect it first trimester. Luckily, I've gotten a break from breaking wind during the glorious 2nd trimester. And, also lucky for me, my DH has almost no sense of smell. So when I get hit by the uncontrollable need to fart up a storm next trimester, I can do so knowing I'm not totally gagging DH.

Skin Issues: There are so many we can get: Acne: First trimester, yes. My skin exploded. To the point I even broke down and wore make up. Me. I never wear make up bc it just makes my acne worse. But it was so bad I thought no way my students will believe I'm a grown up with that pizza face. So I did the make up thing. Second trimester, best skin of my life. No acne. It's wonderful! Linea Nigra I have a very very  faint one. Stretch marks: I noticed my first ones 26w4d. On my thighs, which is not surprising as they have gotten pretty huge during the IVF and pregnancy. None anywhere else...yet....

Dreams about my baby: I've had dreams about babies. But they are babies I know already. I've had some weird dreams (e.g., lately I've had dreams about my pets dying -- since they are currently my babies, maybe those dreams = fear something will happen to the baby??). Week 26 I had the first dream I remember being about my baby. I don't remember much. She was premature. And she turned out to be a boy instead of a girl. This dream baby boy was adorable and we were very happy to have him. He was healthy for being a premie and took to breastfeeding relatively easily. Maybe my subconscious coming to terms with the fact that the delivery may not go as planned?

Emotional roller coaster: After 2.5 years of hormone treatments, I almost forgot to include this one because I've been on an emotional roller coaster for years! But yes I do cry more often now. And sometimes when I start crying I can't stop even when whatever made me cry has gone away/is resolved/etc. I can also get uber frustrated with DH -- sometimes over legit things. Sometimes not.

Symptoms I luckily have not had (...yet...):
Constipation: I'm guessing maybe bc I didn't have any problems keeping food/water down I escaped this very common preg symptom.
Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, and Hemorrhoids: It's still early on but so far so good.

Hot flashes: I've always been somewhat sensitive to temp but I prefer to be hot that cold (thus I live in the South). So I don't think I've gotten more sensitive than usual.


  1. Overall, It sounds like you are having a pretty typical pregnancy. That's good! I can't believe your uterus is as big as a soccer ball! It happens so quickly. I've definitely got the extreme thirst and frequent urination thing going on too. It was really annoying this weekend during all my cousin's wedding stuff. Lots of salty food making me drink more and more and then running to the bathroom every 5 seconds! Hope your cough goes away soon!

  2. Thanks for the list--now I know what to look for. Hope you start feeling better soon. It sounds like no fun!

  3. Lots of great information, thanks for sharing. I sure hope you are feeling better soon and you can finally be off bed rest.