Not too long ago, I believed that I could be pregnant on the side and continue with business as usual (work and graduate school). I have now come to the realization that my pregnancy is increasingly becoming front and center of my life. In other words, the pregnancy is my most important business right now. I knew the baby would be all-consuming, but the pregnancy I felt I could manage. Instead, my pregnancy is managing me.
I knew that every pregnancy and birth are different, but based upon my first two experiences I had not anticipated so much difference.
The extreme fatigue has been a constant reality check. "Hey lady, you are not who you once were before!" Whether, it is the ever-growing placenta, increased progesterone, increased blood volume, or the combination thereof I have been forced to alter my life. I no longer work. My mind is still racing, even if my body is not. The loss of my physical stamina has been the most difficult aspect of this pregnancy to accept.
I feel the effect of the hormones on my personality too. I have mood swings, but most of the time I am very sensitive and cry frequently. I wake up crying from dreams I do not always remember. Movies get to me. Sideline comments from friends can tear me up too. In many respects my pregnancy feels debilitating because as of late I have not been doing anything--and at times content to be so. Christmas shopping? Forget it, everyone gets an IOU this time around. I have refused several social invitations as well. Maybe I am depressed? Maybe I am over-analyzing this?
I am 14-weeks now. My pregnancy is still unnoticeable, but I FEEL pregnant. The fundus of my uterus is the size of a melon. In fact, I can feel my baby moving inside that melon. I have since the 12th week. At first, I thought I was going crazy because I am several weeks early for quickening. But, I do.
At 12 weeks my health care provider performed a transvaginal ultrasound that enabled us to see our baby. It was a remarkable moment for us both. We noted two arms, hands, legs, and feet. Then it jumped suddenly. I mention this because although the baby's image appeared to be big on the screen, after the measurements were taken it was found to be comparable with my dates. Nevertheless, I feel it.
My breasts have gotten bigger (they itch constantly--stretching). I feel abdominal ligaments stretching and pulling. I do not have cravings per se, but I like eating fried okra, green fried tomatoes, fried zucchini, fried egg plant, and pistachios. Okay, so maybe I do have cravings.
I discovered my pregnancy at 6 weeks and from that point on, I have been battling with some discomfort or another. I feel like a constant complainer. I am not normally like this. It's a phase I am going through.
My husband has given me the most strength throughout. His companionship and enduring enthusiasm sustains me. "My baby is going to be the next Obama [African father, American mother]", he chants incessantly. This experience is a first for him despite being a father twice over. Ultrasound imaging is not available on a wide scale, if at all. Also, in his culture the wife leaves her husband during her pregnancy for her mother's house, usually in some faraway countryside, to give birth and returning after the baby is born. Even if the mother-in-law lives nearby, men are NEVER allowed to accompany their wives during childbirth. It is absolutely forbidden. But he understands my culture's expectations of him as an American dad and is anxiously awaiting to assist in his child's birth.
Me, I do not even want to think about birth right now. Let's work out these fatigue issues first.