Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Joys of Pregnancy and Other Fabulous Tales

Yeah, I've got nothing on that one!
Since I am waiting to move on to the next step in decorating the nursery, I think this is a good time for me to finally post about the joyous and not so joyous parts of my pregnancy. Everyone I have talked to seems to have a different take on these joys and non-joys, as every pregnancy is different, but that's beside the point. Here it is all about me, bwahahahaha! (sinister, rule the world laugh!).  Anyway, I figured I should document what my experience in the baby making department has been like from the more physical, rather than the mental side of things.  I will probably forget some of this stuff if I wait too long, so now is the moment and I must seize it!  Just a fair warning, I don't like to hold any punches, so this may get a bit graphic for some.  But hey, that's just the kind of gal I am.  And is honesty the most important policy?  I do believe I read that somewhere once upon a time....

But first, here's your music video for this round!

Okay, now where to begin?  I'm seriously debating how to organize this segment...all the bad things at once, followed by all the good?  Mix it up by alternating between the two?  Chronological order by onset of experience?  I guess for the first time ever I'll just completely wing it and see where the flow takes me.  If it gets too chaotic I can always reorganize myself later, right?  Oh, and this will most likely be an entry that is added to as I get further along, so I guess winging it is probably best since the style will change from time to time as I delve deeper into my pregnancy.

I'll start with something happy, not that anything has made me unhappy, but good things are always nice to hear....

Now I have heard many a tale of being pregnant, but no one ever mentioned to me the waking up effect on the growing belly.  This is also one of the most amazing things I've experienced along the way, until actual movement occurred, so it's probably a good thing to put first.  Now I cannot speak for other preggos out there, but for myself, every time I wake up and get out of bed in the morning, I can literally watch my belly change shape.  It is so wondrously cool! When I first get up, my belly is higher up with a little bit of a flattened region between it and my pubic area (oh the pubic area, we'll get to that one later!).  I imagine it is because little Piper has had the weight of the world taken off her shoulders whilst I sleep, so she sits higher and more towards the back of my uterus.  I'm no expert mind you, this is just what makes sense in my head, so don't take my word that this is what is really going on in there.  But anyway, once I stand up to go start my morning ritual, I can literally watch my belly drop from the higher position to a much lower one that extends more in the front.  When I first noticed the phenomenon it was taking about the time it took for me to shower.  Now that I'm really beginning to show, I can simply stand there and watch it happen within a few seconds.  I imagine this is not something that is purely unique to my pregnancy, it's just something no other mother has yet to mention to me.  And why not?  It rocks!  Then again, I think everything about pregnancy rocks, even the not so pleasant parts.

And on that note, let's move on to a not so pleasant part....

Hmmm, where to start?  I think I should ease everyone into the not so pleasant parts so I'll begin with a not-so-not-so unpleasant part.  That make any sense?  If I was going in chronological order here, and was like a shit-ton of women out there, puking my guts up would be first on my list.  However, I was very lucky in the morning sickness department as I had not even the slightest bit of nausea, EVER!  Which is weird.  Every time I got sick as a child, and it has continued into my adulthood, every damn time I get the sniffles I hurl!  I've gotten so used to it that it doesn't even bother me to puke anymore.  So naturally I just assumed I would be a toilet hugger throughout my pregnancy. Well thank goodness for small favors as that did not occur!  You're wondering where the unpleasant part is now, right?  Sorry, got a bit off track and what I am about to tell you has absolutley nothing to do with puking.  My first unpleasant experience was, oh wait for the absolute horror....

         Horse Hair!!!!
And I couldn't have coffee to make it better like this chick!
Don't laugh, this stage was an absolute I-almost-shaved-my-head-bald phase!  My hair was so soft and luxurious and the prenatals were making it even more beautiful than ever, and then one day I woke up with dry, knotted, impossible to brush for all the damned tangles, snarled-up,disgustingly icky hair!  And that's putting it nicely.  It literally changed overnight!  It was so bad that every time I ran a brush through it to work out the tangles, it would instantly knot back up.  In order to help alleviate the situation I went to my hair dresser to get what I thought must simply be nasty split ends removed.  Guess what?  After the cut and during the styling she complained that my hair was impossible to work with because of the retangling effect...and she's a professional!  I tried leave in conditioner.  I tried not washing it.  I tried not washing it and using expensive conditioners followed by leave in conditioners.  Nothing worked!  I eventually broke down and decided to have it all chopped off.  Mind you I love my long hair and it was down past my shoulder blades, but I just couldn't take it anymore.  Luckily before I made that second appointment to have the hell hair removed from this world, I put out a desperate post on Facebook.  Well, it was more of a whiny, complaining, pity-party post than anything else, but you get my drift.
I'm sure this is what most people thought!
Lucky for me my female motherhood compadres responded to my desperate plea and told me DON'T DO IT!  They begged me to refrain from going into all out angry Brittney Spears with an umbrella mode and just wait a few weeks.
I totally get it now!
They promised me it would get better.  So against my better judgement I waited, and boy am I glad I did.  After about three weeks of hell hair, I woke up one morning and just as soon as it had appeared, it disappeared.  It was once again full and shiny and luxurious and awesome!  It was the best hair ever!  Now it was probably no better than before the horse-hair weeks, but it felt better than it ever had because of the hell it had put me through.  My hair and I are now on a friendly basis once again.  I like to think it lost its attitude because I threatened it with extinction, but I'm sure it was all just a hormonal thing.

One good thing and one bad thing down.  On to another good thing!

Next up in the rockin' pregnancy department....PORN BOOBS!  Yep, I said it, PORN BOOBS!  There is nothing  more awesome than waking up one morning and realizing you have finally grown those breasts you've been waiting on since you were twelve years old.  It might have taken almost three decades, but they have finally arrived!  I began my pregnancy as a small 34B, nothing spectacular in size but perky as could be. (hahaha, I rhymed!)  Over the last decade I had finally gotten used to the fact they weren't getting any larger.  Sometimes they would get smaller, like when I was on an extreme workout kick, but never any larger.  And I was fine with that, at least that's what I told myself because there was no changing them.  Well, not without surgery and I haven't ever been big on wanting implants (read between the lines that statement screams that I never had the money so therefore I didn't want).  So 34B...that was what I was given, and that was what I lived with...until now.

It is no secret that your breasts grow when pregnant.  We all know why, all that hormonal stuff and needing to supply milk for the baby, yada, yada, yada.  However, there is no set amount one will expand in the chest region based on their every day normal bra size.  I've read some horror stories of women who expanded to a K cup size once they got pregnant.  I didn't even know they made size K bras!  I'm sure these women started with much larger busts than myself, but dear Jesus what a nightmare!
These are 42K, and my artwork is awesome!
I've also heard stories of women who didn't increase in size at all.  Neither one of those scenarios was where I wanted to head once pregnant, and luckily neither one of those scenarios reflects what I got.  Luckily for me I gained only a cup size within the first month of my pregnancy.  It was nice to gain some right off the bat while I was still somewhat smaller everywhere else (I'll get to what that "somewhat" means here in a minute).  At first I was afraid that since I gained a cup size so quickly, that I would continue to grow and then have out of control massive boobs like those K cups!  But after the first little bit, the growing tapered off and they remained steady for awhile.  There I stayed at a nice 36C (yes I gained a bit around the rib cage, too) up until just recently.

As I began to grow everywhere else, my boobs for a time stayed where they were.  Then all of a sudden, within the last couple of weeks, I started getting sore boobs again.  Low and behold they were once more on the expansion route.  To make a short story short, I have just recently gone up to a D cup!  Now I'm not a huge D cup, but enough that the C bra is shamefully too small, and the girls are still perky which is a blessing.  I'm hoping that mother nature will be kind and let me not only keep some of what I've gained after everything is said and done, but I'm also hoping she'll be kind enough to let me keep them upright!  On the opposite spectrum of sprouting pregnancy porn boobs, I have read horror stories of deflating, droopy post pregnancy boobs.  I think I'll be fine, but have my fingers crossed regardless.
Yep, don't want to go there!

I'll entitle this next section "Why are my thighs touching?!?!?!"

As you can probably guess, this segment will not be a part of the pregnancy pleasantries.  This segment is all about weight gain!!!!

This section will not be FUN!!!  AHHHHHH!!!  

I'll begin with a little pre-pregnancy story.  Before I actually got the + sign on the old pregnancy stick, I spent three months trying to get that + sign.  During that three months the doctor's put me on Clomid and Progesterone cream.  The Clomid was to produce more than one viable egg a month and the Progesterone was to pump up the lining of my uterus so the implanted egg would stick better (that is the non-technical version).  Unfortunately, these two drugs have a slightly adverse side effect...weight gain!  My usual pre-pregnancy weight normally stays right around 135lbs max, and I was at this weight when my baby making adventure began.  To once again make a short story short, by the time I got that positive reading I had packed on 20lbs of side effect weight!  You heard that right, 20lbs!!!  I really can't believe I just threw that out there because only those who see me regularly have been privy to that knowledge, but what the hey!  So by the time I actually registered as pregnant I was close to a whopping 155lbs!  Now this may not seem like much to some people, I'm sure there are some women reading this right now who are rolling their eyes, but to me it was 20lbs heavier than I had ever been in my life.  I couldn't fit into any of my jeans and was forced to go on a dress buying spree to hide the extra weight until I could safely say I was showing.  I managed to cope pretty well with the extra weight knowing that in the end it would all be worth it...until I went to the beach.  

Right around the end of my first trimester, my parents and I took a little beach vacation.  I was past the just bloated stage and into the beginning to show stage, so that was great.  I was able to buy one of those modest 2-piece pregnancy suits with a tankini top and a little skirted bottom. I really only had one suit to choose from cause it was at the end of the season and there was only one left in the store that was remotely close to my size.  Most of them were extra large suits, so I was lucky they had the one medium left in stock.  Anyway, I wore the suit with pride and it offered enough coverage for that awkward stage of being in between really looking pregnant and looking like you drank too much beer the night before.  And with the extra weight I had gained pre-pregnancy, I was definitely glad of the extra thigh coverage.  I've always had nice legs and a damn good butt, but that extra weight made me a little uncomfy when it came to running around in a near thong like so many summers before.  Okay Ashley, stay on track...

So one day during this vacation we decided to take a day trip to a different beach than the one in front of our condo.  It was great because we had this completely gorgeous beach all to ourselves this particular day, which turned out to be a good thing considering my discovery that day.  As we were loading up to go back to our condo, and taking the considerable trek from ocean to vehicle, I noticed a burning sensation between my thighs.  At this point I realized my thighs, for the first time in my life, were rubbing together as I walked!  The burning sensation?  That was from the sand that was stuck to them and it was causing them to chafe with each agonizing step.  WTF?!?!?!?  I was completely mortified by this realization.  I had once been a professional ballet dancer and my thighs were a source of pride in my life...well no longer. Upon this horrid discovery I was greatly appreciative that this particular stretch of pristine beach was empty this day.  Once the discovery was made, and I realized the chafing was not going to stop, I decided to say fuck it and just waddled back to the car with my legs spread apart.  Yes, both my parents laughed hysterically at my new slightly retarded looking gait, all bowlegged and hunched over with my ass sticking way back behind me, but at least my thighs were no longer touching!
Yep, I looked this ridiculous!
After I got to the car I noticed my inner thighs were red and splotchy from the sanding they had just received.  I'm glad I was able to walk that ridiculous walk or they might have bled!  Anyways, needless to say I will not be wearing any corduroy this winter lest I should start a fire!
Once again, my artwork rocks!
Whew, glad that confession is out of the bag!  Now I can go on with my life free of that shameful burden.  Since we're on  the topic of thighs, I might as well just take you on a little trip north and go right into a little discussion about the pregnancy hoo-hoo.  Bet you thought you were going to get another pleasant topic, but oh no, let's just keep going down the path of shame and get all the fun (AHHHHHH!) stuff out of the way.  This voyage into the pregnant vagina will have two lovely parts distinctly different from one another.  The first part will cover a pregnancy delight that has been going on since day one, the second will be short and sweet and cover a more recently occurring event.

First off, let's talk about what I like to call the pregnancy vagina.  I know that sounds like it could go in oh so many directions, but the only direction this story is going is down. That's because what I have dubbed the "pregnancy vagina" is the ever annoying and constantly uber wet hoo-hoo that is a direct result of toting around a fetus.
Just couldn't help myself!
Who knows why pregnancy brings on a rain forest like environment to your nether regions, I'm sure once again it's all about hormones, but the fact is that it does!  And if you were extra lucky like me and had to shove a tube of Progesterone cream up your va-jay-jay every single morning for the first twelve weeks (not including the two months of pre-pregnancy injections), then you have had not only the normal pregnancy vagina, but the additional fun (AHHHHHH!) of dealing with a gooey cream slowly expectorating itself all damn day, every day, for what probably seemed like the longest twelve weeks of your life!  I guess I should have warned the squeamish to skip down to the next paragraph, oops!  Sorry about that one.  So there you have it, a woman's va-jay-jay is in a constant state of panty soiling during the baby baking process. To me it doesn't seem to serve any purpose, but then again what do I know?  I do know that throughout the first trimester that icky wet feeling had me constantly terrified that I had started bleeding every time I went to the bathroom.  So maybe that is why it happens, to keep the woman on her toes and constantly in fear that she is possibly losing the baby she worked so hard to create...sounds more like a cruel joke doesn't it?

Okay, now on to part dos of the vagina monologues...

As of the beginning of this week, and I discovered this in the shower Monday before work, I can no longer actually see my hoo-hoo.  Believe me, I tried to see it Monday morning.  You'd be surprised at the positions a lady can contort her body into in order to get a good view of the goods whilst holding a sharp object, aka shaving razor!  I ridiculously even tried holding up my belly with one hand whilst leaning way far forward to peer over the top.  Of course this didn't work and if it actually had I still couldn't have operated the razor with one hand while shaving anyway.  In my opinion there are way too many folds and crevices to maneuver around down there, so it definitely is a task that requires two hands!  No matter how you look at it, or in this case don't, my belly has overtaken my ability to properly groom.

Needless to say, it's a very good thing I've been grooming down there for years because now I can practically do it in the dark with my eyes closed.  Well I guess there would be no real point in closing my eyes if it was already dark, but you get my point.  So from here on out, I will be forced into grooming blindly.  I will admit I am horribly afraid that the next time I have to go in for an exam in which they actually have to check my girly parts, I'm sure that will be around the time of labor, that I will have grossly miscalculated my blind grooming skills and that I will end up having Chewbacca-like patches of growth that I have missed.
The horror!!!
I've spent my entire going-to-the-gynecologist career trying to impress the doctors with my grooming skills, and now I am facing the day when all that work will be thrown out the window and they will forever remember me as that chick with the patchwork quilt between her thighs!  I know I shouldn't care, and I probably won't even be able to get to it by that point in order to turn it into some Picassoesque style shave job, but I just can't help it!  I have at least some dignity I would like to maintain!
This was just too funny not to share, cause this is what I'll look like!
Alrighty then, I think I have spent enough time discussing my vagina, so on to more good stuff!

It is really quite difficult to pinpoint all the good things, besides the boobs and cool morning belly drop since those are so specific, because honestly everything is just so damn fantastic!  I finally have begun to feel Piper moving which is super duper wicked awesome!  I was actually feeling her here and there for a couple of weeks and didn't really even know it.  My mother told me the first baby movements felt like a flutter, sort of like a butterfly tickling you with it's wings but from the inside.  I was so set in my head that that was the feeling I was supposed to feel, that I failed to even think I could experience those first movements in an entirely different way.  When I finally got to 20 weeks last week, I went on an internet hunt for other women's descriptions of those first movements.  What I found got me really excited because I realized that the odd feelings I was experiencing were actually Piper doing her thing.

To me there were no real flutter sensations.  What I felt was more of a heavy, rolling, sometimes dropping sensation.  Ugh, it is so difficult to describe what I mean!  One of the ways I have been describing it...it's a feeling like a manatee lumbering through water.  Why this explanation?  I have no idea!  To me it makes sense in my head and then when I say it out loud it just sounds crazy, much like when trying to describe a dream.  I do sometimes feel her kick, I did a few times last night while lying in bed with my hand on my stomach, but mostly it is that swimming, rolling manatee feeling.  I can't wait to see how those little sensations of movement change as I get further along.

Swan Lake music, how appropriate!

Notice in the video about 2 minutes in where the manatee is rolling around?  Yep, that's how it feels when Piper does it!  Does that make any sense at all to anyone else?  Surely I'm not the only pregnant woman to talk about birthing a manatee!  Okay, I'll move on!

I'll finish up this post by saying that it is absolutely amazing to know I have a little person camped out inside of me.  I kind of feel sorry for men that none of them will ever know what it is like to carry another being around in their tummy (yes I know the baby isn't really in my tummy!) and feel them grow and move and all that fun stuff.  How very lucky I am to have been born with this capability!
Like a boss!
And how very lucky I am to have the ability to create and grow this life even as a single woman.  It must be excruciatingly difficult to be a single man who wants a baby.  While I have the ability to go out, procure some sperm, and voila; they could never go that same route alone.  Yes men have the ability to be great single parents, no doubt about that, but they do not have the equipment to have a child without a woman's involvement...and that's really gotta suck for them!  I'm so very, very thankful that I do not have to have a mans direct involvement to experience this creation of life.  No I couldn't do it without the sperm, but thankfully there are men out there who are willing to help women like myself.  I still wish I could give my sperm donor a great big hug and kiss for making me the happiest woman on the planet, but alas that is impossible.  It's funny that the one guy who finally gave me everything I ever wanted, put a forever smile on my face, and brought me to the point of loving someone so much that I feel like I could just explode from it all will be the one guy I will assuredly never meet.  Weird how life works out sometimes.  But besides all that...

That just says it all!

As always, I hope you enjoyed this post.  And if you did, I would be overjoyed if you would click on the banner below and be kind enough to vote for me on Top Baby Blogs.  There are no forms to fill out or information to give, just a click on the banner and then another click on the owl.  It's literally that simple!

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