When it comes to pregnancy, there are a lot of new things and sensations to experience. Some of them are magical. Like feeling your baby kick for the first time. Or realising that he or she has hiccups inside you. Or hearing that heartbeat for the first time at the doctor’s office. Some pregnancy-related occurrences are less than magical, however.
Hormones. They’re not described as “raging” hormones for nothing! Mine manifested as severe road rage. As tears in the office. I took everything personally and was, often, extremely grumpy. Everything made me angry.
And the mood swings! You have no idea until you’ve actually experienced them. I was watching ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ with my fiancé one evening and found the part where the main character has a meltdown to be absolutely hysterical. I laughed so hard I snorted. Then I started crying because I was laughing so hard. Then back to laughter because I was crying, but it wasn’t long before that turned into full on howling because HORMONES.
The dreams. Vivid doesn’t even begin to describe these nocturnal happenings. With my first pregnancy I dreamed my unborn child and I joined a circus as trapeze artists. My second pregnancy was characterised by inappropriate sex dreams and discovering meth labs under restaurants.
Then there are also the physical aspects of pregnancy. Sure, morning sickness is textbook stuff. You feel rotten, you puke and you can’t really eat anything. My sense of smell was heightened. I could smell everything and it all smelled awful. The smell of the coffee machine as I walked into the office? Ghastly. I could even smell the people I worked with, and I must say that a few of those interns were definitely unwashed.
But a heightened sense of smell and constant nausea were nothing compared to dryballs. My eyes were constantly dry. Painfully dry and incapable of self-lubrication. My BFF even kept eyedrops in her office for me. My eyes were drrrrry but the quantities of snot my body was capable of producing was intense. I’ve never been so stuffy and snuffly, ever. There’s also the nose bleeds, which are always a lovely, gushing surprise. Also the only time during my pregnancy that I got to use tampons.
More textbook experiences include weird cravings. I never really got this one (i.e I never ate coal or licked prefab concrete) except for a once-off canned peaches craving.
There’s restless leg syndrome and achy joints as your body shifts internally to accommodate the impending birth. With all the stretchy hormones being released, you might even go up a shoe size or two. Although I was glad to discover that you don’t go up a shoe size with each pregnancy!
There’s ballooning breasts and leaky nipples and that awesome moment when your belly button goes from an innie to an outie and you’re left wondering how much bigger you can actually grow before exploding.
There’s constant peeing and an insane, unquenchable thirst. Which just means you’re alternating between trips to the watercooler and the watercloset. Fun. There’s also water-retention and cankles, swollen fingers and fatigue. In the early stages of pregnancy bedtime can never come soon enough, but in the latter weeks, you’re left wide-eyed at staring into the darkness at 1am, unable to sleep. Even when you do manage to get comfortable with 7 cushions and a pregnancy pillow, your brain wont shut down and let you sleep. I played a LOT of Plants vs Zombies when I couldn’t sleep.
There’s also metalmouth and lightning crotch. Yup. Those are actual pregnancy things, not the names of obscure rock bands. Metalmouth is the constant taste of something metallic, as if you’d just been licking a R5 coin that you picked up off a hot pavement. I have no idea what causes it, but I experienced it a lot in my third trimester. It was revolting.
What’s lightning crotch? It happens when the baby’s head engages with your pelvis and, I figure, when he/she bumps a nerve in your pelvis, you get a shooting pain in your vagina. Hence the accuracy of the term “lightning crotch”. When I explained the sensation to other mothers, they labeled it as “koekpyn”. Which is also extremely accurate.
Yes, there is a lot that is magical about being pregnant. The fact that you’re growing a human, from scratch, inside your body. That you’re bringing new life into the world. While I miss not having to suck my tummy in and how quickly my nails grew, there’s a lot that I don’t miss about being pregnant. Some of it was just plain weird!