body changes

Body Changes During Pregnancy

I’ve wanted kids for as long as I could remember and was really excited when we got that positive test! But to be honest, I never really thought about the being pregnant part. Ever. In my fantasies it was always the “after”–the baby, being a mom, being a family. I don’t know why I never really thought what being pregnant would be like. Maybe because I really didn’t have anything to relate it to? I don’t know. But in my mind those 9 months never really popped up in my brain! LOL

When I got pregnant and wasn’t really enjoying the first trimester, it was a bit of a rude awakening. Once the second trimester started and I was feeling better, everything got better — including my mood. This was also the time my body started to change a bit. Instead of it looking like I just ate a big lunch or was gaining a few pounds in muffin-top poundage, I was starting to look pregnant.

I began to wonder how I would adjust mentally to all the changes my body was going to go through. Because again, I hadn’t really thought about it much. I’d worked so hard to lose 110 pounds and had worked just as hard to keep it off for 7 years! How was I going to change my thinking that gaining weight was OK?

First, making the mental adjustment to stop being in “loser” or “maintenance” modes was a weird switch. It was even weirder in the 2nd trimester when I had to INCREASE my caloric intake! Suddenly I was supposed to be eating more food. It took awhile to make that mental shift.

While I’m eating more food and not beating myself up if I go over my calories once in awhile, I’m not going crazy either. I’m eating more, listening to my body (and when I’m extra hungry I eat a little bit more) but I’m not bingeing on stuff because I’m “eating for two.” This was a huge positive thing for me. I had some reservations that old binge-eating habits would return because I have this “free pass” all of a sudden, but nope, not really. I honestly don’t feel that different and I’m not eating that differently.

Second, I had to get used to my body being the center of attention. For years as I lost weight and after I had reached goal, my body was the focal point in a lot of conversations. People would make comments about how great I looked, how awesome it was that I was losing weight, that I did a great job reaching my goal! It was all positive reinforcement and it helped keep me motivated in times when the weight loss stopped happening. But it was weird to go from being the fat chick that hid behind big clothes and layers to suddenly being skinny and having people NOTICE. I never really got used to the body comments.

Being pregnant I’ve noticed that I’m no longer an individual person–I’m now a baby vessel and people make comments. Half the time they are wildly inappropriate and sometimes downright rude (Maybe someday I’ll share some of the truly awful comments I’ve gotten but…right now I’m trying to stay positive!)…but for the most part people are just noticing “the bump” and making comments. Again, my body is on display and the focus. Weird.

For the first half of my pregnancy I didn’t feel too different. Around 20 weeks I started to notice some things.

The Bump

Clothes stopped fitting properly. I was making the switch to maternity clothes and shirts that were a size larger. I was also noticing the bump getting in the way of things. I could still bend over to pick something up but it was getting awkward. Certain machines at the gym I couldn’t do anymore because my bump was getting in the way (like the seated leg press). It was getting uncomfortable to toss and turn in bed–I had to do it gingerly to avoid pain and discomfort.

I was trying to remember back to when I was 250 pounds–I carried most of my weight in my stomach area. Yet I never had these issues when I was obese. It’s so odd that gaining 10 pounds of baby weight and suddenly I’m floundering around like a turtle on my back!

A5RKXR Upside down tortoise

Just learning to maneuver around with this new appendage was an adjustment. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I’m 35 weeks!!!

Even though I was buying clothes in a larger size–which used to send me spiraling into a mild depression–I wasn’t too upset about it because I kept reminding myself that THIS IS TEMPORARY. I am not buying a whole new wardrobe in giant clothes. I’m just buying a few maternity items to get me through the next few months.

I kind of love The Bump, though. This was a spot on my body that I loathed after losing weight because of the loose skin that never really went away no matter how much I lost or how much I worked out. It made me self-conscious. But now? I’m not bothered by my stomach at all! Besides, it’s the home for the little guy for a few more months. And it’s kinda nice knowing he’s there with me all the time. 🙂

Getting Bigger in General

I felt a little sad when around 15 weeks I had to go buy a new bra in a larger size. Larger size and larger cup size. It was a moment of sadness because I remember just how happy I had been when I was losing weight and buying clothes in smaller sizes.

My legs (ankles especially) are getting a little bigger. I’m sure it’s normal swelling (from what I’ve read) but it’s still weird to see swollen body parts where they used to be skinny.

Getting Winded Easily

I am a very fit person, cardio has never been an issue for me. I was in great cardio shape (thank you swimming!) and then BOOM. 20 weeks, I was suddenly huffing and puffing walking up stairs. I was so winded, could barely catch my breath, and it felt like overnight I was suddenly back to my old body! THIS WAS HARD.

I was noticing in the gym that things were getting harder, that I was out of breath, that my heart rate got high really quickly….BUT I FEEL THE SAME! Why isn’t this the same?!?! I used to be able to run 3 miles on the treadmill without feeling like I was dying. What happened??? I used to swim 2000 yards in the pool in 45 minutes without stopping to rest and now…I am so much slower now at everything.

It was so hard to make that mental shift that I can’t do the same things I did before at the same intensity. I am still struggling with this. I struggle with this every time I go to the gym and realize, Oh yeah, I need to back off a little bit.

My body sure is reminding me of this. When I get winded, when my heart rate is too high and I need to rest, and then especially the next day when I am really, really sore. I am reminded that my body is different.

After

I know that after the baby is here my body is going to be even different. I haven’t really thought much about it yet. I probably won’t think about it! Not until the time is here. I know I’ll get back to something resembling normalcy, but it will be another mental adjustment when it looks different then pre-pregnancy.

Being pregnant is definitely an adjustment. What I find obnoxious is that none of the books really talk about how you will FEEL. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, so there really isn’t a universal “this will definitely happen to you” thing…The books don’t really talk about what the changes will be like. Sure, they say “you’re going to gain weight” but the books don’t really talk about how it feels, what it looks like; they especially don’t discuss what it’s like to gain weight during pregnancy after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past…you’re just kind of adrift at sea figuring these things out on your own, navigating your own feelings alone. None of my friends with kids could really relate or share how it feels because their story wasn’t like mine.

adrift

It’s odd to FEEL the same but every week your body is changing in new and weird, fun and sometimes alarming, ways. You just never know what is going to happen next.

You know what distracts me from thinking too much about my body changing? When the little guy started moving and I felt the flutters and tickles. Then getting the ultrasound and seeing a formed human instead of a blob of fuzzy gray. 🙂 He was waving and swimming and flipping around and it felt real.

If you’ve gone through this stuff, I’d love to hear about it!

First Trimester

It was around 5 months after going off the pill that I got the positive test result. Because I was so convinced it hadn’t worked, I feel like I did everything wrong! I ate sushi, I drank wine and beer, I cleaned the litter box every day, I sat in the hot tub and steam room at the gym, I ate deli meat, I took Advil….

The good news was that it was early enough that it should be ok. Everything I read and what my doctor said, those first few weeks most women don’t even know they are pregnant and because it’s just a cluster of cells and not attached to the uterus and getting nutrients through an umbilical cord, it’s okay. That made me feel a little bit better but I was still beating myself up a little bit about doing all that stuff! The other good news: I had already been taking prenatal vitamins for months, so that was good.

After the first positive result from the blood work, my doctor said to come back in 2-3 days to get another blood test to make sure everything was progressing as it should. It was a long three days, trust me!

The day after I told Michael our news I got home from the pool and Michael surprised me with a Papa Murphy’s DeLite pizza (black olives for my half since I can’t have pepperoni or Canadian Bacon apparently!<—which my doctor has now said is ok, as long as it’s cooked well), a carton of vanilla ice cream and a bouquet of sunflowers!

flowers1

I ordered some books to start reading.

icecream

How I’m Feeling

It was still pretty early and honestly I didn’t feel any differently BUT I started to think back to some of the symptoms I’d been feeling lately and the biggest one was fatigue. I’d been feeling extraordinarily tired lately but shrugged it off to the two week heat wave we had in Portland but now I’m wondering if it was the beginnings of this little Nugget’s life?

The other thing I noticed was that the previous few weeks I’d been leaning more towards vegetarian meals. I don’t know why. It’s not like I had an aversion to eating meat, I just didn’t crave it like I did vegetables and vegetarian options. One trip to Trader Joe’s I bought several boxes of their veggie Marsala burgers, Quinoa Black Bean burgers and other things like that. Weird for me for sure!

Symptoms

Week 4 and 5

Morning Sickness

Supposedly morning sickness starts around 5 or 6 weeks. Before I was pregnant I already had an issue with nausea. I have no idea why and I spoke to my doctor about this many times to no avail. Maybe it was low blood sugar, waiting too long to eat between meals, I’m not really sure. But Nausea and Me were old friends. My first thought was “does that mean morning sickness will be unbearable?” and then my next thought was “or will I not even notice a difference because I already deal with it?”

Week 4 and 5 the main symptom was feeling bloated and gassy and burping a LOT. It came out of nowhere so it’s not like I ate too much and felt bloated. It was just a constant feeling.

5weeks

Week 6 and 7

Morning Sickness

Early in Week 5 I had queasy feelings but it wasn’t all the time and not just in the morning. Mostly it was just food aversions. Nothing really sounded tasty to me. Foods I usually ate on a regular basis didn’t appeal. I found that I’d feel queasy if I didn’t eat. So even though food didn’t sound good, I forced myself to eat my normal foods and I added a few more snacks to the day just in case I started to feel nauseated.

Morning Sickness started for real in week 6. No more “sort of queasy” feeling–this was fullblown, I might puke, sickness. Didn’t puke in Week 6 but felt like I was going to. It came in waves. Gross, nasty, unpleasant waves.

Hunger

This one surprised me. I felt like what I’d read said the first trimester was all about food aversions and morning sickness, the hunger came later. But in Week 6 I started getting HUNGRY. Like wake up in the morning with a hollow, empty stomach that was grumbling and angry. In the past I’d ignore that for the most part but I am learning to listen to my body and eat when I can. The only thing that sounded appealing to me was grilled cheese sandwiches. I normally love all foods that are pickled or fermented but apparently little baby does not. Total food aversion. So odd.

Fatigue

Holy moly is that true! Week 6 it hit me. I was so freakin’ tired. I just felt slow, lethargic and low energy. Usually I am pretty high energy and can power through most things but this was dragging me down. I am not a “napper” (like ever, except when I’m really sick and even then I don’t really nap much) but I just had the urge to take a nap. I felt like I was going to nod off during meetings at work, I’d have to really focus when I was driving home at night. It was bad. I just wanted to sleep.

Heightened Sense of Smell

So much! It’s CRAZY how well I can smell everything, and I mean everything now. It’s disturbing how much I smell now.

6weeks

Week 8 and 9

Hunger

The hunger is real and all-consuming. Nothing was working. The usual tricks didn’t work, eating carbs only took the edge off. It was disturbing how ravenous I was–like I’d swam 4 miles without stopping to rest and wanted to eat everything in sight like a giant dinosaur. I was actually starting to get a little worried about the hunger–if I’m this hungry in the first trimester, what’s going to happen later on when this baby is actually GROWING?!? Peppermint tea, saltine crackers, Gatorade and bread products are my staple right now.

Fatigue

It’s killing me. But with throwing my back out I spent about 3 days mostly sleeping so that helped I think. Blessing in disguise? I took a week off from the gym due to my back and just spent time resting.

Week 10 and 11

We told the parents! And swore them to secrecy (although we both had doubts that they’d be able to keep it secret). It’s the first grand-kid for everyone so they are all super excited, over the moon excited!

I also had prenatal blood work done. They test for everything, including genetic stuff. The bad news? It takes a few weeks to get the results from the genetic testing. Waiting sucks. Thankfully the results didn’t take “several weeks” like they told me it would. All the results came back low risk, so no worries there!

Morning Sickness

It’s now moved to the evenings. I spend most evenings feeling really gross and sick. I’m hoping it’s on it’s way out in the next few weeks because I’m really not enjoying feeling sick all the time. 🙁

Mood Swings

So many emotions, drastic mood swings! Trying to just keep to myself right now because everything bothers me. I’m overly sensitive and just crabby (and part of that is due to feeling sick).

Week 12 and 13

Morning sickness is diminishing! Thankfully! I rarely feel nauseated now, which is a nice change. At the same time it’s kind of weird because now I don’t really have any symptoms. Trying to keep the anxiety at bay that everything is still okay. As much as morning sickness sucked, it was still a nice reminder that things were still “happening” in there!

A friend of mine that recently had the world’s most adorable baby gave me a big bag of maternity clothes! SO AMAZING! I suddenly have tons of maternity pants and shirts and it’s a huge lifesaver since I’m down to only 2 pairs of my pants fitting now. It was so generous of her to give me her clothes.

I made Michael watch the movie “Look Who’s Talking.” Can you believe he’s never seen it!? I loved it as a kid. He enjoyed it and said it was better than he was expecting. 🙂

Cravings

Lemonade. Obsessed. Getting my appetite back and starting to want vegetables and healthy food again instead of just wanting to eat bread and pasta. I’m glad for that because I was feeling gross just eating pasta all the time.

Body Aches

Wondering if that relaxin hormone is kicking in. My joints and ligaments feel…weird. I started having a pain in my butt which I am wondering if it’s pregnancy-related. Sciatica or something? I am still working out fairly normally but noticing that I am more sore and the soreness lasts longer. Recovery isn’t quite as fast as it used to be.

Keeping it Secret

This was going to be the hardest part. Michael and I didn’t want to reveal our news too early for a lot of reasons. Us both being older, I didn’t want to get too excited about the pregnancy until we crossed some milestones first. And I definitely didn’t want to tell people, even our parents, until we knew it was “sticking”. While I didn’t have a history of miscarriage it was still a concern for me.

I tried my best to keep my anxiety at bay about this topic mostly by trying not to think too much about being pregnant. I would dismiss my fantasies when they popped into my head and tried not to think about it too much but it was REALLY HARD!!

The biggest obstacle was going to be going to my family reunion. I knew we’d be getting questions about when we’d have kids but now that we were actually pregnant, how do I hide it? Obviously I wasn’t showing yet but not drinking at all the entire weekend when everyone else was in party mode and I’d normally also be partaking? Michael and I got to work plotting ways to be sneaky about it and how to dismiss the inevitable questions we’d be bombarded with.

How to hide not drinking:

It’s not like I was a huge drinker before. I was a social drinker for sure, with my 2-3 glasses of whatever as my limit. But I’ve gone through phases where I didn’t drink at all and no one thought it was weird. The main time was when I was trying to lose 100 pounds. I didn’t drink anything for a year and a half. And there have been other times when I was trying to lose a few pounds since that I cut out the booze. That is the quickest and easiest way to reduce some calories in your diet! No liquid calories!

So my go-to answer to why I wasn’t going to be drinking was that I was trying to lose the honeymoon weight.

Some other responses:

“I’m not going to drink yet, waiting for tonight.”

“I already had some today, just taking a little break.”

“I’m on some antibiotics and I can’t drink.”

“I over did it last weekend at a party and I’m officially never drinking again!”

And the go-to easy answer if someone offered me a drink: “Thanks but I’m a total beer snob and I don’t drink that.” <–truth, I am a beer snob.

Other ways I got out of the questions:

I drank non-alcoholic beverages in a red solo cup so it LOOKED like I was drinking but no one knew it wasn’t real!  It seemed to work because no one questioned me about not drinking. Red solo cup win!

 

First Doctor Appointment

My first appointment was at 5 weeks with an OB Nurse. It was basically an informational meeting to get my history and go over questions. We went through medications that were safe and not safe, food to avoid, exercise, etc. We discussed nutrition and she told me not to diet, obviously.

The first trimester you aren’t supposed to add more calories–in the 2nd you add 200 calories a day and the third 300 calories a day. I asked her what the base should be and she said for the first trimester I should be eating 1600 calories a day.

If you remember, I had reduced my calories to a base of 1300 a few months ago in order to lose some weight (and did lose a few pounds). Even though I wasn’t losing any weight this past month (now I know why), I was still pretty low. Plus I’d eat back some of the calories I’d burn in the gym. So on gym days I probably WAS eating around 1600 calories total. But I changed the number in MyFitnessPal to a base of 1600. Which was a weird adjustment. All of a sudden I had to get more food into my day.

 

Second Doctor Appointment

I had my first ultrasound when I went to the ER for my back. They were checking for everything and the number one concern was obviously baby. I was in so much pain that I didn’t really get to enjoy the ultrasound but Michael got to. He got emotional during it when we saw the heart beating (that was crazy to see!). Baby did a little flip, too.

A few days later I had my first OB appointment and another ultrasound. She did a regular physical and discussed the pregnancy and questions I had. My main question was about the morphine I’d had at the ER. The doctor had assured me it was safe at such a low dose and morphine leaves the system so quickly it can’t hurt the baby. I was still freaked. My OB midwife confirmed that it was fine and no harm was done.

She did another ultrasound and this time we got to hear the heartbeat! That was such a crazy, weird, surreal experience!! Baby’s heart rate was 168. Same as it was at the ER a few days earlier. She said everything looked good, baby was measuring great and that was about it.

 

Third Doctor Appointment

Not much to report. All they did was weigh me, take my blood pressure and listen to the heart beat on a doppler. It was kind of a disappointment. The appointment lasted about 10 minutes and no ultra sound. 🙁