STELLAR'S Genevieve is having a baby! Here she tells us about some of the pregnancy-related things she really wasn't expecting.
Having reached the four-month mark in my pregnancy, there are a number of things I’m still coming to terms with and a truck load of things still taking me by surprise. Every pregnancy is different so I can’t speak for everyone but there are definitely things I didn’t expect and some things I could have done with knowing about.
There were a few reasons I suspected I was pregnant and one of them was the sheer exhaustion I felt. Usually I would have loads of energy and I’d happily walk home after work and head to the gym, but suddenly even a stroll was tiring. I was arriving home at 6pm, getting into bed, and conking out. When I woke in the morning after a solid 12-hour sleep, I could barely lift my head off the pillow. Gym visits were out the window for the first three months entirely.
I found out I was pregnant at about three weeks which was a blessing, but I instantly felt overwhelmed and sick with worry and needed to know what was going on in there. Unfortunately in Ireland, your first hospital visit and mini scan don’t happen until you’re 14 weeks, which meant a whole two more months of worrying. You do have options if you don’t mind paying and we went to the Ultrasound Dimensions Clinic in Blackrock where we got an early scan which put my mind at ease, temporarily.
Even after the first and second scan both went well and the doctors said everything looked great and categorised me as a very low risk pregnancy, I still couldn’t stop worrying. Am I eating the right things? Am I sleeping enough? How dangerous is inhaling second-hand smoke? Why am I cramping? Why is my head so sore? Is the baby really, actually, healthy? Although I’m getting less stressed as the time goes on, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t panic about something. Whatever you do DON’T Google. Trust me on this.
I never knew that morning sickness is quite literally day and night sickness. I know some people don’t get it at all, but I really did. The nausea was staggering. If you can imagine the most hungover you’ve ever been and multiply it by 10, that’s what it feels like. Combined with travel sickness. Smells, sounds and movements can trigger it and it’s likely you might throw up at any stage during the day. It was particularly bad up until 12 weeks and then it eased, but not entirely.
Suddenly your favourite food becomes the most unappealing thing imaginable, even cups of tea seem unbearable. Not only that, but you’ll have a delicious meal one night that you thoroughly enjoy but go to make the same meal again a few days later and your stomach is turning at the thought of it. Any time I had spicy food, I was up all night with indigestion and heartburn which I had never experienced before and bland foods are now my best friend. Creamy mashed potato, all day.
Trying to hide a pregnancy around Christmas time is tricky enough, there are only so many sickies you can pull and staying out past 9pm is difficult in the first few weeks. The first thing that a lot of people wondered about was the not drinking; was it hard? Did I miss it? The answer is no, not at all. The thought of a glass of wine made me grimace, when usually it would be one of my favourite things. Your taste buds completely change and I am just as content drinking a hot Ribena when everyone else is on the hot whiskeys.
It’s not just the worry that keeps you awake, it’s the discomfort too, and you don’t even need a big bump to experience that. It’s so difficult to find a comfortable position especially if you’re used to sleeping on your tummy or your back. You’re advised to avoid sleeping on your back after 16 weeks as your uterus presses against your vena cava, which is the main vein carrying blood to your heart. My advice? Get a pregnancy pillow as soon as you can.
I have always associated pregnancy with glowing, gorgeous health and I think I assumed the same would happen to me. It hasn’t so far anyway. The first couple of months were a blurry haze of sickness, bleeding gums, dry skin, a breakout of psoriasis and growing, veiny boobs. That’s not even the height of it. It sounds godforsaken awful but things are getting easier every day and it doesn’t take away from how happy you are.
So basically when the going gets tough, remember this: Your body is doing an utterly amazing thing; be patient with it.
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