Bing bam boom, yes, 2015 has proven to be the most fruitful year for me. Getting married, moving, starting a new role at work and now...wait for it...WE ARE HAVING A BABY! Needless to say, it was a welcomed surprise.
We did not plan it and I guess the powers that be just said, "This year Sunny, we are going to give it to you. ALL OF IT. At the same time. Can you handle it? You're just going to have to make it work and enjoy the ride."
I'm thankful for all the abundance this year, I truly am, but I have to admit it has been overwhelming.
If you've been following me for some time, you'll know that I'm a no bullshit type of person. So I'm going to try to pass on some of my experiences during my pregnancy adventures to date, with as much honesty and authenticity as I can.
1. 35+ (very close to 40) and having my first baby - I was never one of those women that "knew" she wanted to start a family at an early age. For me, the ovaries started to jump well into my late 30's and of course you read all this shit about having babies at a later age, all the risks and the discussions on depleting eggs. Yes, this all scared and worried me, but I knew what ever was to happen or not happen; I had the most supportive partner in my life to tackle this journey. Once I found out I was pregnant (yay), my worrying about NOT being able to get pregnant went straight to worrying about BEING pregnant and all that comes with it. The worrying never stops.
TIP:If there is one thing I would advise, it would be not to read to much into everything. There is such thing as information overload. You'll get yourself into a tail spin of worries if you read too much. I downloaded three apps (The Bump, What to Expect and a pregnancy weight calculator) and between the three, I was able to get all my basic information and tracking. Another great source of reading on everything from pregnancy, to parenting and life in general is Babble, started by a couple by the names of Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman . You have to watch their TED talk on "Parenting Taboos", it's hilarious and HONEST. After that, I just bugged all my TRUSTED mommy friends.
2. So many tests - The first 3 months, get use to getting pricked and probed. One blood test lead to another, which lead to more. First ultrasound I'd have to say, pretty darn cool to see the bean, but I was still in denial. The second (dating) ultrasound was probably the best one, you can actually see the form of the baby taking shape and this is where shit gets real! The 20-23 week ultrasound was probably the most emotional and the most exciting and hearing the baby's heart beat was a SURREAL moment.
TIP: When scheduling blood work at Life Labs, register and get a login. Book appointments online ahead of time and find a location that is open early in the morning. This will save you lot of time.
3. Tired - The baby is taking everything from me! You are pumping double the amount of blood, the placenta is building, the baby is growing at a fast rate and depleting all your nutrients and energy. I for one, was shocked at how exhausted I was during the first trimester. I consider myself a fairly healthy and energetic person, I exercised frequently, attended spin classes regularly but this baby was kicking my butt. I was winded going up a flight of stairs. By the time I put a full day at the office, I just wanted to head home, eat and crawl into bed. I had afternoon naps every weekend. The exhaustion was off putting for me and difficult for me to adjust but thankfully I was lucky and did not experience any bad nausea. Once I entered the second trimester, my energy started creeping back and I felt a whole lot better, as promised by all my mommy friends.
TIP: Don't be a hero. Take naps as required. If you do not have an office environment that allows you to take naps, you'll be surprised how a 20 minute brisk walk outside can help perk you up. Get to bed before 10 pm, sleep is your best friend, everything else can wait until tomorrow. Stay hydrated, dehydration will make you more fatigued.
4. Baby Brain - It's a real thing. All my mommy friends always talked about it and I always found it very funny. Ladies, it's a REAL THING. Once I found out I was pregnant, there was an instant priority shift and my mind went into automatic parental mode. 100% of my thoughts went towards me, my baby and my soon to be larger family. Every other thought seemed to miraculously disappear, or didn't matter. I was forgetting things my husband told me 3 seconds ago. Literally in one ear and out the other.
TIP: Sorry, but there really is nothing you can do about baby brain. You just have to accept the forgetfulness. I do promise that it gets better. Even though I note everything in my mobile...I started keeping a small note book or my day planner with me at all times and I began writing things down and even drawing diagrams. I personally found this very helpful.
5. Whoa, My Body - I was so anxious to get past the first trimester. Between 1 to 5 months, you get those odd looks from people..."Is she pregnant or is she just looking a little tubby today?" I started showing right away and I was so sick of looking and feeling like I had a huge food belly for three months. I just wanted my belly to "pop" so that my pregnancy was obvious. What can I say about the large boobs? For the handful of times I ever wished for larger breasts, I take it all back. Never again. I can not wait until I get my small breasts back.
TIP: A couple quick things that helped me before I transitioned into maternity pants. I used a simple hack to extend my skinny jeans, a hair elastic! In addition I purchased a couple belly bands, in two different sizes, to help provide a little bit of support. I tucked them into my jeans or over top, whatever works best for you. I also wear them under some of my dresses as well.
7. When to announce and when to tell work - Whenever you are comfortable, there is no golden rule. I told a handful of girlfriends right way since I had a lot of questions. Both my husband I agreed to get through the first 3 to 4 months before making a public announcement. We really wanted to savour the journey and the moments as a COUPLE FIRST. I decided to tell my boss just after 3 months because I really couldn't keep it in any longer. This made taking "time off" for doctor appointments a lot easier and I also wanted to give myself and my team ample time to plan out the next few months. I have a lot of projects on the go this year and I want to ensure I execute them all before I leave so I felt the earlier I told my boss, the better.
TIP: Once you've told your boss and your immediate team, speaking to HR is the next step. Make sure you read up on your company's maternity policies and note any questions you may have. One of my main concerns was discussing the flexibility between me taking a year off versus coming back early. It's good to get an initial conversation out of the way. The next time I speak to HR again probably won't be until I reach 7 - 8 months where we will review everything one more time before I give formal written notice on my leave date.
8. Other Truth Bombs - All the stuff you read about, I am going to confirm it all. Everyone is different and will experience first early stages differently. I didn't experience much nausea and I was very lucky that I had a healthy appetite from the start, I heard many horror stories on this topic. However, I did experience a whole bunch of other very unpleasant things. Where do I begin? Gas, check. Hemorrhoids, check. Constipation, check. Nose bleeds, check. Short of breath, bleeding gums, legs cramps in the middle of the night, check, check and check. Lovely right? Oh and one more thing, don't toss those panty liners out, you'll need them to save your under pants (if you get my drift). There you go, #TRUTHBOMBS.
Well there you have it, a snip bit of my pregnancy journey thus far. I'm sure I'll have more delightful things to share along the way. In the mean time, I'll leave you with this quote I got from my neighbor. I think it really sums up everything that my husband and I have been going through this year.
"You don't always get what you want, you get what you need".