1. The whole "exhaustion/fatigue" thing is real, y'all.
I think the worst part about being pregnant was the shear exhaustion that I dealt with for a good 6 weeks. Yes you read in the books that "exhaustion and fatigue" are early symptoms of pregnancy, but I didn't really get what that meant. I'm tired all the time because I'm always running ragged. Work, exercise, cooking, friends, meetings, church, etc--I'm always doing something or going somewhere, so I'm pretty much always tired. I would look at my calendar trying to find a Sunday afternoon during which I could nap. Then week 6 of pregnancy hit and I understood what exhaustion meant. It means feeling weak and tired in your bones. Not just like a "man I need a nap" kind of feeling, but almost a sick feeling. It kind of felt like the flu. I had no desire to do anything, go anywhere, or even talk. That was just too hard. I couldn't stay awake during a full work day. If I had court in the morning I usually had to take the afternoon off. All after work commitments went by the wayside. Thank goodness that it was summer and there wasn't much going on. If we had plans on Friday or Saturday, I had to take a good 3 hour nap before I could actually handle it. I took a 2 hour nap to get a pedicure before we went to Vegas--it was that bad. Poor Forrest had to start grocery shopping and my mom cooked us dinner because I couldn't do it myself. A shower was more like a nightmare--I had to lean up against the wall half way through, and I couldn't even consider drying my hair right away, or at all. I was happy to know that the fact that I was exhausted meant that my baby was draining me of all of my energy, and that meant she was growing. Still, it meant a major change to my schedule and life for a little while. I think the Lord does this to pregnant mamas because life will never be the same again and we may as well get use to it early.
You may not deal with as extreme fatigue as me but if you do, here are some suggestions that might help you deal with it:
A. Talk to your spouse about helping--make sure he knows that you may be too tired to handle your usual chores and that he might have to pick up the slack. I'm sure he will be more than willing, but it's always nice to have a little warning first. It's probably a great idea in general to have a "pregnancy attack plan" so you both know what to do in the event you are too sick to work, too tired to fold laundry, etc.
B. Stock up on freezer meals! I wish I had done this and I'm planning to do it now that I'm in my second trimester and feeling good, because I hear the 3rd trimester is exhausting too. I have maybe cooked dinner 4 or 5 times since I got pregnant--bless Forrest's heart. It would have been nice for me to have something ready that I could throw in the crockpot or oven and sleep while it cooked!
C. Decide what's important--this was the hardest thing for me. I want to do everything, even if that means cleaning my kitchen and doing my laundry on time. Forrest had to sit me down one night and tell me that we would still live if I left the clothes in the dryer for an extra day. He is so wise.
D. Get moving--I'm not talking about going to the gym, but maybe take a walk. Do make yourself get up and fold that basket of laundry. I found that even at my tiredest, it did make me feel better to get my blood flowing a little bit. Plus, I felt a sense of accomplishment, which I was lacking at the time, so it raised my mood. Most definitely rest and take it easy, and take advantage of this for as long as possible, but do know that you may have the power to perk yourself up for a few minutes just by moving around a little. Counter intuitive, I know.
2. "Morning sickness" is actually quite the vague term. I thought that meant you threw up every morning. I didn't have that. Some people consider morning sickness feeling nauseated. I didn't really have that either. I felt like general crap, and my stomach was a little funky at times, but I didn't consider it morning sickness, but someone might. I was one of the lucky ones, but if you are thinking of getting pregnant, know that the threat is real. I don't know what it is that makes some people sick and some people not. The day I told my mom I was pregnant I started crying and saying "but Mom I don't want to have to throw up!!!". Super grown up, right? My mom was sick with all 3 of us so I figured I would be too, but not so much, praise the heavens. Understand though that being sick isn't something you can control or do anything about, other than take the meds (which I had on hand just in case). It may mean you have to tell people you are pregnant before you are ready, or that people catch on to your new "situation" because you are running to the bathroom all the time. Prepare yourself for this, as it can be upsetting to get off of your plan. Also, understand that it can strike later on in pregnancy. You may be fine weeks 4-6 but then come week 7, it hits you like a ton of bricks. I lived in fear of this moment, and still do.
3. You don't get an ultrasound at every appointment.
Whaaaatttt? After you see that little peanut for the first time, you will want to look at it every day. I still can't feel my baby move, so I feel like I should be afforded an opportunity to peek in on her at least once a week, just to see how she is and to say hi. However, your doctor only does an ultrasound at your first visit, and maybe your 2nd if they couldn't detect the heartbeat outside of your belly the first time (which means on that first visit you can have an "inside ultrasound" done--you get the idea). Then you really don't get another one, barring complications, until your gender scan at around 20 weeks. This may be the last one you get!! I would say prepare yourself but I knew that the whole time and I'm still upset about it.....
4. New and fun changes happen to you all the time--not just at the beginning
So something really weird that has happened to me is that my motion sickness has gotten worse. I'm usually fine unless I read in a moving vehicle. Now, I really need to sit in the front seat of a car. I got so sick sitting in the back seat during stop and go game day traffic last weekend that I had to get out of the car and walk to our parking location. For real. On the plane ride to Vegas I was 2 seconds from reaching for the handy baggie in the seat back pocket--thank goodness we landed before the 2 seconds was up. I've never had a problem with that before, so hooray for me. Also, I didn't think that smells really were affecting me (especially the smell of food-bring it on) but last night I was making a poppyseed chicken casserole and was convinced the condensed soup was spoiled. I was so upset I even got Farrah to come over and smell it. She and Forrest both thought I was crazy--it was fine. I guess that means my smeller is off in some way, which I hadn't noticed before. Anyway, needless to say, funky stuff happens all the time and so you have to be prepared to roll with it. Oh and another great fun one for me is that I literally can't climb stairs without having to take a rest at the top. I was running regularly before I got pregnant and am pretty fit, so the stair thing makes me feel lazy, but I supposed with all the extra blood and weight, it makes sense.
5. You will grow out of your clothes faster than you think.
This has been really hard for me, which I know is silly. But, I wasn't prepared to see that pooch at 10 weeks and to be unable to button my pants at about the same time. I can't really advise anyone on getting over it because I'm not over it. I mean I'm so happy that I'm getting big because that means baby is growing, but still, it's hard to put on a dress and have to take it off because I look like 10 lbs of sugar in a 5 lb bag. To somewhat prepare yourself for this situation, I would suggest the following:
1. Even before you are pregnant, take stock of your wardrobe. What do you have already that can grow with you? Think dresses and long tops. Knowing what you have really helps in a pinch in the mornings when the dress you picked out for work is a big fat NO.
2. Take your friends' cast offs. I really don't have the time to go shopping ever and maternity clothes are not really a genre that thrills me, so I've been avoiding them at all costs. However, some sweet friends gifted me some of their old maternity stuff (one even before I was pregnant just so she could clean out her closet) and that has been the most helpful thing. This even works with hand me downs from friends that aren't pregnant, but are maybe just a size or 2 bigger than you. Farrah had some dresses that she decided were too short for her so she just sent them my way--perfect!
3. Get comfy in your husband's clothes! I've been wearing Forrest's boxers around the house (I look super cute let me just say) and I have a feeling I'll be living in his scrub pants (generously rolled up) and tshirts at the bitter end.
I could go on for days, but these are the main things that I felt like the books didn't prepare me for. Even though some of these things are less than pleasant, you know that it's all happening to you because of the little life you are growing, so it makes it much better to deal with.
Alright fellow pregos and moms, what would you add to my list? What crazy stuff happened to you that you weren't prepared for??