At 38 weeks pregnant, I feel like I am in the home stretch and it’s finally fair to have an opinion about this amazing, humbling, and sometimes gross process of making another human.
Pregnancy is no doubt different for everyone, but for me it has been pretty easy. That said, unlike some other women, I have NOT felt “more beautiful than any other time in my life” and I don’t think I am glowing, except for that weekend when I got sunburned in Michigan.
So I thought I’d share some of what I loved and some other things I haven’t in hopes of dispelling some myths and letting other “geriatric” mothers-to-be what to expect.
What I loved:
Early bed time: I am not a night owl. Back in my 20s I would stay out til dawn with the best of them, but for the last 10 years when I am done for the night I either put myself down for a nap on someone’s couch or deal with heckling that comes with going to bed early. So one of the best parts of being pregnant was when 10pm rolled around, no one give me any heck for going to bed. And it was heavenly.
Not counting calories: I am not obsessed with my weight, but it has always been important to stay in shape from both a wellness and, I’ll admit it, vanity perspective. So when I was pregnant I didn’t go off the rails and eat Ho-Hos and sit on the couch, but I loved not overthinking everything I ate.
Julie swore she never loved me more than when I was pregnant, especially when I pulled a hard right into a Chicago hot dog house for a 2nd lunch, or decided more than once we were having ice cream for dinner. So far the moderation paid off because I gained around 20 lbs, which I feel good about.
Cold & Sweet: I didn’t have any weird cravings when I was preggers, but I did have more of a sweet tooth. My theory was this was because I wasn’t drinking alcohol, which has a lot of sugar. That meant Julie and I often left the grocery with multiple flavors of ice cream, I craved more fruit than I can remember, and l looked forward to my morning iced coffee with Splenda like it had more than caffeine in it.
Baby Kicks: I didn’t feel the baby move until a few weeks after all the websites said I would, but around 24 weeks everything changed. Suddenly no matter what bullshit meeting I found myself enduring during the work day, the baby would flutter (and then kick, and later roll over like a whale!) and remind me that growing a baby was the most important job I would have ever have.
Julie and I would lay in bed at night talking to baby and ogle in amazement as the little one would get ridiculously active when I settled down for the night. Feeling Baby Betterscott move was by far my favorite part of pregnancy.
What I loathed:
No Wine: Throughout IVF, I drank very little and none at all after we did the 5-day transfer of the embryo. Once I passed the 12-week mark, I eased up a bit and had a glass here and there, but it was no longer part of my regular routine and I would make it last, sipping slowly over a 3-hour dinner.
Once I was showing, if I ordered a glass of wine or a beer I had to prepare myself to be judged by wait staff or sometimes other patrons. And let me just say, I think this is pretty shitty since there is no evidence to show one glass of wine while pregnant has any ill effects on an unborn baby. A whole bottle? Well that’s another question, but frankly keep your judgy side-eyed glances and comments to yourself.
No Sushi: Anyone who knows me knows I love sushi almost as much as red wine, making this pregnancy thing quite the sacrifice. But to get my fix I would order a California Roll, drown it in soy sauce and close my eyes imagining it was spicy, raw, mercury-filled tuna. I will admit to googling “do Japanese women eat sushi” and using the results as my rationale to have a few bites of the real, raw stuff. Because damn did I miss it!
No Running: I am not a marathon runner by any stretch, but logging 3-5 miles a few times a week has always been one of my favorite ways to clear my head and stay in shape. When we started IVF back in November, our fertility doctor recommended against jogging or exercising strenuously so I limited my workouts to yoga, prenatal muscle conditioning and walking throughout my pregnancy. And don’t get me wrong, those are all wonderful in their own right, but I am counting down the days until this baby is here and I am healed enough to get back out there run again.
Sleep: As a stomach sleeper, I dreaded the day when my belly would be too big to sleep in my favorite position comfortably, which was around 22 weeks. Right around that time, a coworker gave me her Snoogle body pillow which looked odd as hell, but really did help me somewhat of a comfortable position to sleep some.
The problem was, it was more than just being physically uncomfortable. I just couldn’t sleep now that I was pregnant. As someone who has struggled with insomnia for years, what was even more odd was that my pregnancy insomnia came with an unexplainable sense of calmness that I had never experienced. I didn’t toss and turn with my mind racing like I did prior to pregnancy, I just laid there for hours unable to doze off. Granted having to pee every hour didn’t help matters, but I firmly believe it is nature’s way of conditioning me to need less sleep and get used to waking up to feed a crying infant every 2 hours.
9 Months on the CTA Red Line: After 9 months of riding the CTA red line train to work, I can tell you chivalry is in fact dead and people are amazingly absorbed with their phones. I was offered a seat so infrequently that I began tracking it over the last 2 months of pregnancy and found I was offered a seat only about 15% of the time.
Luckily I was feeling good and more than capable of standing for my 30-minute commutes, but as people crammed on at Belmont and the B.O. compliments of August wafted over me, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed in my city. So the next time you get on the train, put your phone down and glance at who just boarded. You just might see an elderly, handicapped, pregnant or injured person who needs the seat more than you do.
That’s a wrap!
To conclude my 2-week-premature-recap of pregnancy, it was a pretty amazing feeling every day to carry around a little human and await its arrival. My hormones didn’t feel out of whack, physically I felt great, and I am not counting down the days or hours for it to be over.
Sure, we are teeming with excitement to meet our life-changing Baby Betterscott, but we never want to forget this 40-or-so-week journey to bring this little being into the world. Because it was everything we dreamed it would be—hopefully just like raising a child!