THINGS I’VE BEEN SURPRISED BY WHILE PREGNANT
Throughout the last 33 weeks, we’ve had quite the rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve always found peace in trusting God’s perfect timing and even with the curve balls that have been thrown our way, it’s never stopped us from feeling so confident that we’re right where we’re supposed to be. Bringing a baby into the world during a global pandemic wasn’t something I could’ve quite prepared for, but it’s been pretty easy to see the glass half full in most circumstances. There’s never been a season of life that I’ve woken up each morning more grateful than I am right now – and I can only imagine how that’s going to immeasurably increase in the coming weeks.
As women, I think we have this expectation of what pregnancy will look like from somewhat of an early age. Everything from what we’ll look like with a growing belly to how we’ll feel each step of the way and it’s been so eye-opening to compare those expectations we envision vs. the reality of the last 8 months. Now that we’re into our third trimester, I can truly say that my pregnancy has been such a gift. Each and every emotion, from the day we found out we were pregnant, to finding out the gender, to making it to the half way point, and so on, it’s all felt like such a dream. There have been a few surprises along the way, sure, but I’ve been so intentional about soaking up this time. As we draw closer to the final few weeks, I wanted to share a few things I wasn’t expecting while expecting.
NO. 1 // HOW I’VE EMBRACED MY BODY CHANGING.
Watching your body change week by week throughout pregnancy is inevitable, but the way it’s made me feel has been such a surprise. Around week 20, I realized that I think I just heard more of the negative than I ever did the positive. Maybe the negative just stuck with me more, but I think it’s important to hear both sides. The discomfort, achy/growing pains, sleepless nights, the heartburn, shortness of breath – it’s all part of it, yes. However, for me, it just hasn’t been that bad. I’ve always tried to view the hard as making you better and with everything in life, I think perspective is half the battle. I’ve embraced every moment of noticing little changes in my body and it’s been so powerful to experience. As women, you always hear about how amazing our bodies are and that we’re made to bring life into the world, but when you actually see and feel your own body taking shape to do so, it has a completely different meaning. It’s made me feel so strong – so capable, and that’s given me a confidence I never expected.
NO. 2 // EACH TRIMESTER IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE.
Some people find out they’re expecting with morning sickness, others find out because of two little lines on a pregnancy test. Either way, I’ve come to realize that the first few weeks of pregnancy rarely look the same for most people. Again, I think my assumptions got the best of me, but I was so surprised to feel as good as I did during my first trimester. I was also very realistic about listening to my body – if I needed a nap after a long work day, I closed my eyes for a few minutes. If I had a craving for something random, I ran to the store. If anything made me feel the slightest bit turned off, I stayed away from it. I was so lucky to not have any of the typical symptoms that a lot of women experience those first few weeks, but again, I think it’s important to hear the positive as much as it is the negative. The second trimester was pretty much the same, except for I had a burst of energy that I was surprised by. The need for mid-afternoon naps seemed to lessen and the motivation to start making space for her in our home kicked into full gear. I got so much done in those few weeks and woke up most mornings feeling better than ever. Similar to the first, the third trimester has been quite different for me than how I’ve heard others describe. I just told J the other day that I’ve wondered what I’ll look like and how I’ll feel during my third trimester of pregnancy for years and it’s not at all what I expected – it’s so much better! I can’t speak to what these last few weeks will look like, but as of now, the bump has never been more beautiful and I love feeling her so prominently.
NO. 3 // MOTHER’S INTUITION.
People say that the moment a women becomes pregnant, she’s a mother and the moment she delivers the baby, the dad becomes a father. Over the last few weeks, that has taken on such a different meaning for me. As the one whose body is growing the baby, you get to experience so many firsts that I believe start to shape your intuition as a mother. From little flutters, to full on kicks, to seeing your belly move all on it’s own throughout the day, you start to learn what your baby is doing + feeling before he/she even arrives. Because of my thyroid history and the medication I take on a daily basis, we’ve had to make a few hard decisions throughout pregnancy in regards to knowing what’s right for my body. Two times specifically, if I didn’t push back, call over and over, or go to bat for myself, the issue wouldn’t have been resolved. It’s like there’s this fight inside of you that comes out of nowhere because you’re suddenly responsible for someone other than yourself. Some days, that’s felt like an overwhelming amount of pressure to be held accountable for, but I know there’s validity in trusting your gut. It’s during those moments that I’ve looked at J and simply said ‘It just doesn’t feel right.’ I haven’t always been able to verbalize the feeling in the best way, but I could feel that something was off. When doctors are telling you two different things, your bloodwork isn’t even on the chart of where it’s supposed to be, and you have to take a little pill every night that supports you + your growing baby, knowing your body and trusting your intuition carries a lot of weight. I truly believe with each kick, each morning she’s woken me up moving, we’re forming this connection that’s unbreakable. You start to feel like to know the ‘why’ behind what’s happening inside of you and I can only imagine that once she’s here, that will continue to be such a learning process between the two of us.
NO. 4 // DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS AREN’T EXACTLY MAGICAL.
Since we started our process of conception with a fertility doctor, finding out we were pregnant was a dream. From the moment we took a positive test, we had bloodwork and confirmation within hours, followed by a couple of ultrasounds to check on baby before we were even 8 weeks. The communication was always so transparent and the attention to detail was exactly the bedside manner my heart needed after our journey to get to the point of a healthy pregnancy. Once I was released to my OBGYN, I instantly felt that excitement within the doctors office dwindle into feeling like just another pregnant women. Like most things throughout pregnancy, I’m sure everyone’s experience with this is different, but I had this expectation of what I assumed monthly visits to check on baby would look like and it’s been quite the reality check. Again, it’s reinforced that you have to advocate for yourself and stay on top of your medical history/charts, but even more general than that, my appointments have felt pretty lack-luster. I envisioned getting to see her every appointment, taking home these sweet, little ultrasound photos to cherish each visit, and feeling very in-tune with my doctors throughout this vulnerable time. The realty: “everything looks great, any questions?” and even then, pretty vague answers to those questions. Again, I always try to be a glass half full person and I can give people all the grace in the world – especially with how COVID has changed even the most routine of doctor appointments, but I must admit, it’s been one of the biggest surprises throughout this journey. I can only pray that my labor + delivery experience is different – and I feel like it will be.
NO. 5 // NOT ALLOWING LIFE TO STOP BECAUSE YOU’RE PREGNANT.
I’ll admit, I sort of assumed that once I was pregnant I would be tired all the time and start nesting early on. Although quarantine has given me my fair share of getting that time at home, I’ve also been intentional about not allowing life to stop simply because I’m pregnant. I wrote a little bit about this in this post, but even at 33 weeks, it’s making me feel more normal to just keep on keepin’ on, rather than hole up at home. We all know mama needs contact to feel connected, and J and I are both very social people, but I’ve cherished everything about these last few months more than ever. It was around 11:30 PM the other night and we were out with friends at one of our favorite spots. I ran into three women in the bathroom who naturally, asked how far along I was and when I told them, they were so shocked I was out that late. They all joked that they were in bed by 8PM each night of pregnancy, but especially during the third trimester. While I’ve definitely had those nights of turning in early, it made me so grateful that I could be out and feel great, as I know late nights out with friends are going to be few and far between during this next season of life. The last couple of weekends, we’ve had a house full of friends over until around 1AM. Everyone on the couch with a glass of wine (or a mocktail, in my case), curled up with a blanket, so at home. One of those nights specifcally, I just looked at J and said “I’m so happy right now.” Was I tired? Sure. But I wasn’t focused on that, I was just so thankful to be surrounded by so many our favorite people, making memories in our living room. It takes a village to raise a child and God has been so faithful in putting us right where we’re supposed to be, with the best people around us. When that’s your mindset, it makes you cherish those little moments in a completely different way. I joke (but I’m serious) that I’m going to pull a Monica once Tiny is here and tell everyone to come over and just hang out, while I just close my eyes for a “second”. There’s something about continuing your normal that just makes everything feel normal.
NO. 6 // CHOOSING A NAME THAT FEELS RIGHT.
For the last 4 years or so, J and I have had a girl name and a boy name picked out. However, when you’re actually expecting, that decision feels like it carries more weight than it did before. When we found out Tiny was a girl, we felt 99% sure the name we had picked out all this time was perfectly fitting. Over the course of a few weeks, a couple of little things happened here and there that just made it not feel right. We were both nervous to even bring it up to each other, because neither of us wanted to question something we’d felt so sure about for so long. Once we had the conversation, we both felt such relief to be on the same page! We had another name in our back pocket that I came up with around the 20 week mark – which means we hadn’t had a lot of time (especially in comparison to the other) to really let it be a contender, but once we officially veto’ed the first, we instantly felt so confident in our decision to switch it up. I don’t always deal well with change, especially on something as big as this, but when you know you know. Now we’ve been calling her by her actual name, rather than Tiny, and it just feels so right. We can’t wait to share it with you SO soon!
NO. 7 // THOUGHTFUL SACRIFICE.
It sounds silly to even refer to anything throughout this process as sacrifice, because (already) there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make sure she’s healthy + safe inside of me. However, from the moment I found out we were pregnant, I was surprised by how much thought I would put into every little decision. From the work outs I was doing and what I was eating to the medication I take and my nightly baths – every single part of my daily routine instantly felt heavier. Even picking up other kids or deciding to move furniture around the house, you have to be so thoughtful of how something that feels so routine can be impactful to your body and baby. In so many ways, you instantly feel like a mother because there’s nothing you wouldn’t change or do to protect this life you’re creating within you. It’s all preparation for how you will inevitably sacrifice during the next season and being mindful of how one stage slowly shifts you into the next is such a beautiful thing to experience.
NO. 8 // HOW QUICKLY TIME FLIES + GRIEVING THE BUMP.
Now that we’re in the final few weeks of our third trimester, so many people have said “wow, your pregnancy has really flown by…well, for me!” and I always follow that up with “no, for me, too!” Although some of the days have felt long, especially in the beginning anxiously awaiting the ‘safe mark’, this time has really flown by. Nine months sounds like a long time, and technically you’re pregnant for even longer than that, but there’s so much to look forward to with each week of changing and growing that it all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. I cannot believe we’re in the home stretch – less than 7 weeks to go and it feels so surreal. I’m emotional just thinking about it. The way I’ve seen by body change and how I’ve felt her grow inside of me has changed me. It’s challenged me and called me to more, already. Although I cannot wait for her to be here with us physically, I know there’s a big part of me that will grieve not being her home any longer. There hasn’t been one single day of carrying her that I’ve taken for granted and I’m so, so grateful.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve read article after article about pregnancy, birth stories, etc. so I thought I would share some of what’s surprised me over the last 8 months, as well as my positive experience over all. I’ve learned that realistic expectations are best, but often times, things are so much better than we could’ve ever anticipated.
He’s a good, good Father.