Pregnancy is hard going. I knew that when we planned to have children, falling pregnant and carrying around a growing fetus for nine months wasn’t going to be a breeze as I’d heard the horror stories and I knew the risks. I was prepared to be uncomfortable for a lot of the time from as soon as we’d conceived, however feeling like I’ve been walking around with a watermelon between my legs still hasn’t hit me at nearly 37 weeks and it’s almost everything else that has plagued me throughout.
Morning sickness, no problem. Extreme fatigue, well I’m tired near enough all of the time anyway so it makes no difference, feeling very sore and heavy – nah you’re talking to someone who’s been classed as clinically obese for nearly five years so a few extra pounds hardly makes a difference to how out of breath I feel going up a flight of stairs.
The major issues a lot of pregnant women I know in my life seem to have don’t seem to have effected me too much – yet there are some smaller yet much more annoying symptoms and situations that aren’t necessarily talked about enough around women and pregnancy unless you’re distraughtly Googling away at 2am and hit a Mumsnet thread from 2007 and here’s six of them that have really ticked me off:
My number one nemesis throughout this entire ordeal – heartburn.
Why did no one warn me? I’m popping ante-acids like they’re sweets some days and for one period of time I was carrying a bottle of liquid Gaviscon in my handbag and replenishing it once a week. It’s not even spicy food in particular that can set me off, mine is caused by feeling even the slightest bit hungry as my stomach is pushed further in my chest by the growing baby so that horrible burning sensation can plague me from the morning until the nighttime and even sometimes in the dead of night, keeping me awake until the birds start singing and my alarm rudely goes off.
Agitated further by the requirement of my gestational diabetes to fast for one hour after each meal to test my blood sugar levels, the common remedy of eating little and often unfortunately doesn’t apply when I’m going through a rough patch with my heartburn and it can be relentless – especially when I start hiccupping at random intervals too.
There have been times where I find that I can’t eat a warm meal because of the ‘heat’ of the food going down my throat and I haven’t been able to even bring myself to drink a cup of tea for weeks. Even if I’m permanently on de-caffeinated tea bags I still love a brew, and I feel robbed.
The lack of communication between my hospital, the two clinics I frequent there and my GP surgery has almost been laughable from as soon as I was considered a ‘higher risk’ pregnancy at 28 weeks. I’m often going between two different receptionist’s desks that are within spitting distance of each other and handing my notes over to some mystified staff member with direct instructions from my consultant or midwife and told something stupid like ‘oh, we can’t book that appointment here’ or ‘I don’t know what this consultant/midwife wants but it isn’t our job to help you’ etc. Wonderful.
As I am under a diabetic clinic that only meets once a week, have to sit additional growth scans and have to take medication that needs to tweaked and changed at a moment’s notice for the safety of myself and my baby I’m sometimes left feeling like my care is slipping between the cracks of admin staff who a) have no clue what they’re doing or b) just don’t want to help. I’ve never thought on the option of private health care so seriously to be honest.
Unfortunately my above comments are merely the tip of the ice-berg as I’ve had periods of waiting times lasting over two hours with consultants brushing me off as soon as it’s my turn because they’re behind on their clinics and not to mention the monumental cock-ups with my medication at my GP surgery too. Why can’t everyone just talk to each other? I’d really like to know.
This is something that I never even knew was a thing or had considered at all in my life so far. Who knew that you could get jealous of other women’s baby bumps? Not me apparently.
Because I’m overweight I’ve had something often referred to as a ‘B belly for most of my pregnancy. I’ve often joked that the top portion of my belly is baby and the bottom is pizza because it’s basically the fat from my pre-preggo body hanging as a band underneath the swell of the baby. I still don’t have an exactly ‘smooth’ bump and doubt I really will even at full-term and it’s caused me no end of doubt, stress and jealously of other women who do ‘look’ pregnant at lesser week’s gestation to myself.
Coincidentally Mrs Hinch of insta-fame is due around the same time as me with her first baby and I got so wound-up by just still looking fat myself one day that I unfollowed her because of it. I know it’s absolutely nothing to do with her but watching someone else’s blossoming baby bump drip through my social feed everyday made me feel damn awful and I wasn’t doing myself any favours dwelling on it either.
I feel my biggest hang-up is still looking fat rather than pregnant worsened by the looks of shock I get whenever I mention how many weeks I am in conversation. I mean, I knew I was fat anyway but knowing that I’m getting bigger and feeling uncomfortable with nothing to show for it is just damn offensive some days.
Having To Carry Around So Much Stuff
In my mind when I had this baby would be when I started having to carry so much stuff. With an 8-year-old already in my home I’ve been through needing to carry all of her extra crap like a cardigan thrown-off during playing, a spare pair of knickers/shoes/trousers just in case and wet wipes for nearly all messy situations so I’m completely prepared for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bag to haul out the front door whenever we leave the house.
I wasn’t prepared for how much damn stuff I’ve had to carry throughout this pregnancy for myself though.
First off is my maternity notes which is an A4 book you’re given when your midwife first books you in, and God forbid you ever leave it at home and admit that to health professional – they’ll skin you – you’re meant to have it on your person at all times in case of emergency. Next I have my diabetic blood testing machine, container to hold my used needles and paperwork I need to fill out with my readings throughout the day, my metformin medication and then anything else which is usually snacks to help with my heartburn and diabetes – lots of snacks.
Add to that a bottle of water to tackle my constant dehydration as well as the usual crap us women chuck in our handbags (random lipstick from 2014 anyone?) and I often find my myself weighed down with a bulking handbag to take with me everywhere. I miss the days of chucking my purse in my pocket and my phone down my bra, then relying on someone else to have spare set of house keys because it’s all on me to be prepared for every emergency going now.
I could happily eat stress for breakfast before I fell pregnant but chuck a couple more hormones in the mix and I turn into a wreck.
I haven’t had any mood swings that are stereotypically associated with pregnancy per se, but I have been really susceptible to stressful situations. We have had some particularly tricky periods of stress at home in recent months and whereas I would usually be able to just get on with it, I’ve found it quite hard to calm myself down instead. At one point I had a little cry at my desk at work (first time, ever!), had to go home and then speak to my GP for a little help with how I was feeling. Luckily I have a really good support network at work and at home so I’ve been able to cope and get through the intense periods without a scratch and since I hit 34 weeks I’ve felt a lot more capable.
This pregnancy has made me feel quite strange and not quite in touch with my emotions which is actually quite horrible as I tend to know myself and how I react to different environments etc really well. I’m really looking forward to having more of a grip on myself and how I feel when this is all over – and being able to pour all over my stress-cereal again.
… And Everything Else
I’ve been badgered by a number of come-and-go symptoms during this pregnancy with the worst of them all being the front of my left thigh feeling numb from about 24 weeks. As the time wore on and the baby grew I soon found that the numbing sensation spread from quite a small patch to the entire top of my left leg and that walking for more than fifteen minutes at a time becomes practically impossible without developing a suspicious limp.
Right now I find that sometimes I can’t even stand for long periods without the intense need to sit down and relieve some pressure from my left side, and don’t even get me started on how uncomfortable it is for me to sit on my own sofa or lie down in bed. I was checked out by a GP who suggested pregnancy-related sciatica however as my numbness and pain is at the front of my leg rather than the back I was diagnosed as one of my nerves in my tail-bone being agitated/pressed down on by the baby instead – and there’s basically nothing they can do.
For someone who’s used to walking most places independently this pain has been the hardest to get on with and the primary symptom I’m very ready to be done with. My honest hope is that as soon as this baby is born I will be free of this issue as well as the constant need to pee and regular eczema flare-ups that have been here and there throughout the weeks.
Have you experienced any of these niggles or know someone who has? Anything else that’s really riled you up about pregnancy? Let me know in the comments.