Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Pregnancy Post

Yeah, I know. Another one. Someday I will return and write normal, novel-related posts. But for now, here is a repository of semi-helpful information for other current (or future) ailing pregnant women (myself included should we have another child).

 
Two Rules of Thumb for Pregnancy:

1. As long as it poses no threat to the baby--DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. You'll get loads of (well-meaning) advice from family, friends and random strangers on what to expect during pregnancy and how to address any ailments. Especially if you share that you're experiencing X symptom. Some suggestions have been useful to me personally, but a lot have been the opposite of true for me. As an example, conventiontional wisdom urges nauseous women in their first trimester to eat saltines. I'm allergic to gluten and there is no good GF substitution. But beyond this, this former carboholic hasn't been able to stomach starches of any kind the last 3 months. My body apparently wants protein, not carbs, for my empty stomach.

But we can learn a lot from sharing our stories. So if you get advice, listen, thank them and if it sounds like something you want to try, great. If not, take it in stride. It doesn't hurt to try stuff, but if something doesn't work that was THE CURE for another woman, don't beat yourself up. This is your pregnancy. Own it. Listen to your body. Pray. God will give you the wisdom you need for you--sometimes in the form of midwives, doctors, or friends--and sometimes not.

2. Along the lines of the first point--DON'T MISAPPROPRIATE. I have a habit of scaring myself with other people's problems. I've had friends who were basically bedridden and in and out of the hospital for their entire pregnancy. Friends who had emergency C-sections at 26 weeks because of X condition. Friends who miscarried early and some who miscarried late. (And a few blessed friends who sailed through pregnancy with a smidgen of ankle swelling as their only negative symptom.) You don't know the future and worrying doesn't help or change anything. Trust your baby, this pregnancy and yourself to God. This is hard for pessimists and perfectionists--especially after a doctor tells you that the biggest factor in the health of the baby might be the mental state of the mom (ie, stay happy, Mom!)  Thanks, Doc. No pressure!

To combat this, I remind myself that my mom's pregnancies are the probably the best indicator of how I'll carry. It's not a 1:1 correlation by any means, but if you want predictions it's better than anything else. My mom craved oranges (and only oranges) when she was pregnant with me. I didn't find this out until I told her I'd been sucking down orange juice like crazy. So far it's been my only craving. She also experienced consistent, day-long nausea throughout her first trimester. I have too, with the added joy of throwing up a couple times a day (or more).

Also, this is a GREAT verse: "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." ~ Isaiah 40:11


 
What Has Worked for Me:
 
For me, pregnancy hasn't been this joyous, rosy-glowed experience that culture (both Christian and secular) often sets us up for, but not all women experience. One of the BEST pieces of advice I've gotten from a mom is that whatever you're feeling or experiencing with your pregnancy is okay. It's NORMAL. It's normal to feel happy and thrilled to be having a baby. It's also normal to feel terrified, ambivalent or doomed. Yeah--like your life is ending. Because in a way, my life as I've known it IS changing. Mr. Amazing Dude and I did want kids but after nearly a decade of marriage it just looked like it wasn't gonna happen. So we'd adjusted to life without kids and were happy. It's been harder than I thought it would be readjusting and reorienting back to the "married with kids" reality. But being reassured that this is normal and okay has REALLY taken the weight off my shoulders.
 
For my very fun, all-day nausea nothing has really worked. Ginger (in all forms) helped some at the beginning but then I quickly overdosed on it and it's been hard to stomach since. I've tried everything else that's been suggested just about with little or inconsistent success: sea-bands, lemon, peppermint, essential oils, Unisom/B6 (pills won't stay down), etc. Oh, and still (regular) water doesn't stay down, so keeping hydrated has been a problem. The best thing for me (so far) as been rest, keeping food on my stomach, drinking fizzy water, juice, and other natural liquids, and staying away from trigger smells (coffee, meat, and most anything being cooked). I've survived on Siggi's yogurt (high protein, low sugar) and coconut water on really rotten days. I really wanted a magic bullet. I prayed for one, but sometimes the only way out is just surviving until it's over.
 
Speaking of surviving, I've made a point to watch, read and do things that make me happy. According to my old doctor it's the best thing you can do for the little alien. And while I've indulged way more than pre-pregnancy, my husband keeps reminding me--YOU'RE PREGNANT. This is the only time in your life (except when you're a newborn) that you can pretty much do whatever and no one is going to stop you. Unless you're getting drunk, or high, or about to commit murder. And even then, I'm not certain about the last one. Yeah, being a human incubator (or Mothership as Mr. Amazing Dude calls me) can have its perks. Making a baby (after the act of conception) is HARD. So do what you can to enjoy it. :)


1 comment:

  1. What good advice! I think it is a good reminder at lots of stages of life, whether it is pregnancy, sleep training, child rearing, schooling - do what works for you and your family!

    With all my fears through my most recent pregnancy, and beyond, I kept thinking of "Perfect Love casts out fear."

    Speaking of what works for you, one of the things that worked for me was almonds. It didn't cure me, but it did help on some of those really long days. But I also had to rotate "cures" because what helped me one day, grossed me out on others... oh pregnancy...

    Another thought that gets me through rough days, even now, is "This too shall pass." You are in our prayers!

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