Pregnancy over here was a very intense experience, 3 years of planning and preparing and 9 months of learning a lot about my own body, creating a tiny life, keeping healthy, happy and much, much more than I could ever have thought was possible before getting pregnant.
Our story started in 2011 when Bret and I started having serious conversations about growing a family. I’m going to make the story short and not get into too many details. Neither of us had thought about having babies before, so this was a new idea for us. For the next year or so I had got apply myself and take care of my health and be ready if I ever decided to move forward with the idea. I lost 65lbs, started exercising, and decided to also change other things that made me incredibly unhappy and sick in my personal life, I quit a miserable job, spent about two months in Brazil, did a complete antenatal planning and consultations with various doctors (something I don’t see happening in the US, but pretty normal in Brazil – I wanted to make sure I was healthy enough to have a baby, that my uterus was healthy, and that I could try right away if I decided to do it.). I also had to make a change on my mental health medication and that ended up adding another year for us. I made a transition into something that’s considered safe to take during pregnancy and I needed to see if my body would adapt to it well. I also needed to purge my body from the old medication and that would take a minimum of 12 months. After all of that, Bret and I decided to enjoy a year of fun and games before trying for a baby and in the mean time we decided to get married.
In 2013 I quit smoking. Something I truly fought I never was going to be able to do. Bret helped me an immense amount. Ultimately, he said If I continued smoking I couldn’t live here anymore.
3 years and a lot of changes later we mutually decided that, hey, maybe it’s time. I got health insurance (thank you Obamacare, without out this baby would not exist), booked a visit to the doctor, made a world of exams to determine it was ok to start trying. This is the short version. A baby, for was, was a true journey. After we received an ok from my doctor, I decided to quit the pill (I had taken the pill for about 20 years non stop at that point). The doctor pointed it out that completely healthy couples would take about 12 months to get pregnant. I quit the pill on July 1st, on October 1st I had a positive pregnancy test in front of me. I could not believe it! I was seriously surprised. Even after all that planning.
The beginning of the pregnancy was pure joy and celebration. I was able to keep my normal life and schedule, including visits to the gym until about 8 weeks – when I got nauseated and lightheaded during a body pump class and decided to quit pushing myself so hard. Then I got sick, heavily nauseated. I wanted to die, I was sick 24/7, there was no break and I tried to eat and keep my stomach busy to try to avoid feeling so sick. I did want anything, I didn’t want to leave the house, and my only moments of relief were when I was finally sleeping. At around 16 weeks I had a horrible case of nausea and vomit, I was sick for about 12 hours non-stop, weak, nothing would stop in my stomach anymore, not even water.
Afterwards I felt ok again. I stopped feeling so intently sick, I regained my energy and the cliché that you feel amazing during your second trimester became the most absolute truth for me. I could go on long, 2 hours walks alone, I would walk to the market or to get ice cream, it was glorious. I had a few cases of low blood pressure, I fainted a handful of times and around 20 weeks, during my ultrasound I discovered I had placenta previa anterior. Not only the place was covering the entrance of the cervix, it was in the front of my uterus and made feeling the baby harder because it served as a cushion between the baby and me.
I’m thankful for not freaking about about the placenta previa. I would have another ultrasound in 10 weeks to assess if the problem had resolved itself. In the mean time I had to watch closely for any bleeding. The ideal scenario would be that I’d never bleed. The worst case scenario, if I bled once I would be put on bed rest, if I bled twice and intently I would be in bed rest at the hospital. That was a bit scary, but since my positive pregnancy test Bret and I made a few agreements and commitments with each other. I would not be stressed out, ever, for any reason, he became immensely patient and tender with me, even when I was a difficult, evil bitch. On my side I would not stress, or freak out with anything, or spend my day reading about horrible stories, or think about the worst case scenario. We both wanted the bevy to grow and be born in a calm, sweet environment. All the baby needs is to be happy and healthy. For a person who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder it was not an easy feat. But I have to confess that meditation, aromatherapy and countless immersion baths really helped me out. I had the most calm pregnancy possible.
By our next ultrasound, at 30 weeks, the placenta problem had resolved itself. We learned the baby was measuring 2 weeks bigger than schedule and my due date was changed from 06/06 to 05/28. We had another ultrasound at 35 weeks, that showed the baby was breech and started discussing a more than likely scenario for a cesarean birth. The weeks that followed were a bit tricky, I showed a few signs of early pre-eclampsia and ended up in the hospital a few times for observation. It showed low iron levels, which led to a lot of exhaustion, a few out of control readings of high blood pressure and low platelets in my blood. Nothing too serious, but my midwife recommended I stopped going everywhere and focused on resting, relaxing, spending time in bed with a marathon of Orphan Black and Younger.
During my last visit my cesarean was finally scheduled. On the 1st of June we will have an adorable Bebe with us, to love on, to make us scared for our lives, and to change absolutely everything we know. We are now less than two weeks away from that date. I feel like we have put everything together, gone over every single list of what to do in the last month of pregnancy. I’m cooking food and freezing for after the birth, I’ve packed my bags and Bret’s parents will be flying in prior to the date. Sometimes I can’t conceive that we are truly having a baby. I’m sure I’ll be extremely surprised when I meet him or her. It will take a while to sink in, I’m scared and excited, all at once.
I’m trying to enjoy plenty of sleep, alone time, long baths, date nights with Bret and prepare myself mentally for what’s to come. Having this time in advance to know when everything will go down has made me so calm and happy, I can’t even begin to explain it.
I’ve loved on this belly for so long. I’ve enjoyed the belly so much, something I never even thought would happen. I’ve spent hours in bed with the baby, touching the belly, talking to it, discovering it’s patterns of movement and just rubbing oils and lotions on myself, playing music. I’ll certainly miss it. But Bret always reminds me that I’ll be happy and busy with the baby, I won’t have time to think about the belly. Bret has been such a gift to me. He has certainly had his nervous moments, but they were short lived, for the most part he has supported me and offered the best environment for this baby to grow calm and happy. He has been in every single class and doctor’s appointment with me, and has supported any decision and listened to any fear at 4 am. From a person that has never had a father, I have to say I’m feeling pretty proud of myself to have chosen the best man around, who will, without a doubt, become the best father for my child. This probably is the best achievement of my life.