For some reason, probably from watching the movie ‘what to expect when expecting’ one too many times, I thought I would be a ‘pregnancy unicorn’. I figured I would sail through, unharmed from all the nasty things you hear about.
I was so very wrong! Below is just my experience with pregnancy and all of it’s joys, and I realize more than ever that everyone's experience is very different.
Weeks 4-17 I suffered morning sickness, not enough to be vomiting all the time, only sometimes, but enough to feel as though I’d done 3 shots of tequila and half a bottle of wine the night before. I felt hungover ALL THE TIME. I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry, sleep, or eat a burger. As funny as it sounds, I found it really draining, and so I would have frequent big cry’s about how I just wanted to feel normal again. At 17 weeks, or there about, it just suddenly went - woohoo!
This time was also very challenging as we weren’t telling anyone until our 12 week scan and I was so bloated in the first few weeks. I used to joke that I looked more pregnant weeks 6-13 than I did 13-22, so explaining why I was so bloated to modelling clients was a little awkward.
Feeling the first movements at 17 weeks was amazing and a little creepy, but mainly amazing!
Weeks 14-26 I had terrible back pain, my abs were holding everything in, which then pushed on my back and so I ended up with awful back pain and migraines, I would lie on the ground at night and just cry. As anyone who has been pregnant knows, all you can take while pregnant is paracetamol, and it’s not until you are pregnant that you realize how little it actually does. This also meant that I had to stop training people, I became unreliable and holding boxing pads ect, proved too much as I would suffer pretty bad pain for the next few days. I think my last client was week 22.
I didn’t really start showing till week 22, and loved my little belly once it popped out. Feeling the movements get stronger was awesome.
From 26 weeks onwards I felt fine. I was very lucky, and the end of my pregnancy was more "pregnancy unicorn" physically. I walked the Botanical Gardens every day from the apartment up until the day before birth (about 6km), did my stretches every evening for 20 minutes and plodded along while getting everything ready for the little bub. Apart from some ridiculous leg cramps/aches I was great!
Emotionally was another story, an unplanned pregnancy has a higher chance of pre/postnatal depression and although I wouldn’t say I had prenatal depression I definitely had some signs.
Unfortunately, because of my back pain I had to stop training people and ended up pretty much jobless apart from the occasional maternity modelling gig, which was only once or twice every few weeks. Not having something to do every day was driving me crazy. I did take on house wife duties, but 22-40 weeks is a very long time to not have anything really happening. I had a lot of little breakdowns, I wasn’t happy and it was pretty obvious to my close friends who expressed concerns. I felt very alone and isolated. I had gone from exercising intensely nearly every day, working nearly every day both modelling/nutrition and PT, to next to nothing. I tried every day to do something, have a coffee date or a lunch, a plan, something to do or buy for the baby, but still there is only so much you can do.
The reason I say it wasn’t prenatal depression (which is hardly ever spoken about) was that it came in waves, maybe I’d have a bad week and then be fine for a few weeks and repeat.
Towards the end was hard as well as you’re working everything up to this date and I didn’t feel labor signs apart from minor cramps until after my due date so that was definitely emotionally taxing.
Food and Exercise
Throughout my pregnancy I made a deal with myself, I would eat 3 perfect meals, so porridge for breakfast, meat and vegetables/salad for lunch and dinner, and then anything else I wanted I would have. I wasn’t so much conscious of putting on weight, but I was definitely aware I was feeding a little baby who needed the best nutrients to grow. So that was that.
Exercise wise I kept doing what I did before hand, minus running – I tried to run at 22 weeks and had to wee every few hundred meters. It was as though bub was having a cannonball party on my bladder! So threw the towel in for that and did bike sprints or used the elliptical machine. Knowing I would have to rest my body after the birth was good motivation for me to continue exercising, knowing there would be a break period. Obviously I listened to my body and some days I just rested.
I didn’t have a lot of cravings, one night I craved peas in a creamy sauce? Which was weird, I don’t really ever eat peas. Another was broccoli and cheese, so odd. Otherwise though, towards the end I craved carbs a lot and so I made sure I increased my intake of them, as I was listening to my body and it was a possibility I wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates. I also never really wanted sweet things till the end, I wanted salty savory things like chips and popcorn!
I went off coffee early on in the pregnancy for about 2 weeks, and the same with avocado (I couldn’t even cut avocado for our dinners). I also struggled throughout to eat salad, I wanted cooked vegetables instead? Not sure what that was about but I listened to my body!
I didn’t get any stretch marks till my due date! I was pretty annoyed, I only went over 4 days, due on a Saturday, Rocky was born late Tuesday night, but still I remembers being so annoyed that technically she didn’t need to be in there anymore and was making me get stretch marks! Now that my tummy has gone down there are 3 lightning bolts, but I’m sure they’ll fade and if they don’t, they made a baby.
I’ll make this brief as I don’t think nitty gritty details are super important, but I had a 24 hour labor. It started around 10:30/11pm on Monday night and Rocky was born at 11:38pm Tuesday night. The hardest part for me, although the pain was the most incredible pain I’ve ever felt, was the exhaustion of not having eaten apart from nibbling here and there and not having slept for 24 hours, I was so tired.
I had an epidural at 5pm Tuesday evening and it truly changed the whole experience for me. I had wanted to go natural and had every intention, but once I was well into contractions (5ish minutes apart) I was made very aware that I couldn’t do it all without pain relief. I was shaking uncontrollably, vomiting and getting anxiety attacks in between contractions as I knew there was another one coming. The epidural allowed me to relax and rest before I met my baby, it seems crazy now but I was so worried about being so tired at the end of labour and not being able to care for my baby.
So once I’d had the epidural I could calm down, Charlie, my mum and I were all able to get some rest until about 10pm when it was nearly push time, in the end I only had to push from 11:20-11:38pm and out came Rocky.
It was the most incredible feeling finally holding her. So surreal. They just threw her on my chest and bam we had a baby.
Now I am completely in love with our daughter and all the sleepless nights in the world wouldn’t change that.
To anyone out there pregnant and struggling, it gets better and you don’t have to love pregnancy. I remember almost feeling guilty sometimes about not enjoying it, now I look back and think what our bodies do during pregnancy is insane, we literally grow a little human, and that is hard work.
What they say is true…
I don’t remember pregnancy as being bad and I don’t remember any of the pain of labor. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat to get a little mini person. It’s truly one of the most incredible feelings in the world.