This morning was an interesting one. My night was full of horrific nightmares punctuated only by my waking up short of breath, with every muscle tensed and an uncertainty as to what was real and what was, in fact, a dream. All in all, I did not sleep well. My neck was a mess when I woke up, I must have been clenching my jaw in my sleep because my entire face ached and I felt generally unwell.
I went to the café as I do every morning and made myself some breakfast but, as soon as I was about to leave, I grabbed onto Mum’s arm, told her I was about to faint and proceeded to black out. I lost all colour in my face, I started tearing off my layers because I was burning up rapidly and I felt my eyelids flicker as I fought to stay conscious. It was exactly as what happened in Thailand.
In my non-doctorness, I am assuming that it has something to do with my blood pressure. I have a bit of a history with low blood pressure, but it seems that at the moment I am struggling with being able to regulate it. I eventually came good and drove myself, very slowly, into Newtown for work where I bought two bottles of powerade (orange and blue, because they are the only flavours one should ever consume). Have I not been eating enough? Have I not been eating a varied enough diet? Is there something else going on?
When I walked into work, a colleague of mine looked at my belly and said, “Wow – well, you’ve certainly popped overnight.” I looked down, and she was right. I had. Sitting at my desk (how I always sit) as I type this my stomach now touches the desk. It is as if, overnight, bubba has had a gargantuan growth spurt and perhaps my body simply hasn’t caught up yet. It is as if I didn’t have enough blood pumping through me to support my now very rotund and swollen belly.
I lasted an hour and a half at work before the feeling of wanting to faint returned. So ahead of our hospital appointment, I thought that it was better that I head home and rest rather than try and push through and end up making myself even more sick. As a thing, I really don’t like leaving work early, or having time off work – I have always enjoyed working and earning a living. But, something that Bubba has taught me is that I am perhaps already more maternal than I think. Even just the thought that I could be unwell and that it could affect Bubba’s well-being completely trumped my dislike of leaving work and all I was inclined to do was take care of myself and in turn, make sure that our child was safe and healthy and looked after.
The rest of the day I spent curled up on the lounge under our fantastic fake fur rug blanket thing, making my way steadily through Gossip Girl on Netflix, eating a cheese and pickle sandwich because that is what I am all about right now.
The hospital visit went well. We are booked in to give birth at RNSH however we are able to do all of our prenatal appointments at Ryde Hospital – which is a brilliant system if you ask me, as it is so much more convenient for us at the moment. The midwife we saw was informative and respectful and she explained everything very thoroughly.
As the name of this blog suggests, I am completely oblivious to what my responsibilities are in the lead up to having this child. I have no idea when I am meant to book things and what to expect at each of these appointments. So, I went in thinking that we were going to have another ultrasound and talk about how my body and the baby is progressing. HOW WRONG I WAS. Instead, ladies, your fourteen-week initial maternity appointment is basically an hour and a half worth of questions about your family’s medical history and your own medical history. They weighed me and took my blood pressure and gave me more booklets than I was able to physically carry.
We were also given the option of birthing Bubba at Ryde Hospital, however they only offer natural midwifery. What that means is that if I needed or wanted an epidural or needed an emergency caesarean, I would have to be taken from Ryde to RNSH in an ambulance. That option just didn’t work for me, and I think Man was relieved that that wasn’t the option I wanted to take. The last thing that I would want while in the middle of labour is to have the added stress and worry of having to be ferried across Sydney for something that could be very dangerous or time-precious. I am also not one of those people who is anti-epidurals or pain relief, nor am I someone who would opt for it straight away. Like I told Man, when it comes to labour, I am going into it wanting to have a natural birth however, if I am in pain that I cannot tolerate or if I feel that not having pain-relief will be detrimental to Bubba’s or my well-being, then I am all for it. And giving birth at RNSH at least gives me the freedom to make that choice in the moment.
Thankfully, besides our nineteen-week ultrasound (WHERE WE FIND OUT THE GENDER – HOORAY) that I have to book, all other appointments are made for me and all Man and I need to do is show up! So, that whole arrangement is fine by me.
At home after the appointment, I was a bit (a lot) of an emotional wreck. I have found that when my body is tired and supporting Bubba through his growth spurts, my state-of-mind cops an absolute beating as well. I was really teary and so many things were coming up for me that I thought I had put to rest years ago.
I have always heard people talk about how hard childbirth is and that, “being a parent is the hardest thing anyone can ever do,” – but just as no one really told me or talks about how truly difficult the first trimester is, no one really talks about how hard pregnancy really is. That is something really hard for me to admit as well because for the longest time, all I have dreamt of was falling pregnant and being a mother. Even on days like today when everything feels like it really is too much to handle, I am still enjoying every moment of being pregnant. But truthfully, I was not expecting it to be this bloody challenging. Seriously, in those really low, dark moments I look forward to the searing pain of childbirth – it sounds like a relief compared to how taxed I feel emotionally. That is what I want to do right here, right now, with my blog. I want to tell women everywhere about EVERYTHING that happens, not just the pregnancy glow which I think only happens because pregnant women generally don’t drink. If Man or anyone else in the world stopped drinking, they would glow like a pregnant woman too. Sure, my eyes are clear and my skin is nice because I haven’t had any alcohol in months – but I always thought I would feel and look like some ethereal being when I was with child. More often than not I just feel like a slightly pudgier, far more exhausted version of myself.
But again, LET ME STRESS that even though I can feel really, seriously crappy at times, Man and I both have never experienced the amount of joy and love that we both feel. My belly has popped out even more and the smile on my face whenever I look down is like no other smile I have ever smiled. Of a night, I lie in bed and rest my hand on my stomach and breathe and feel overwhelming pride and gratitude for the beautiful human floating around inside me. I feel honoured to be a part of this pregnancy, and I honestly wouldn’t trade the tears, or the aches, or the unexpected physical and emotional feelings for anything.
I also just want to say a huge shout-out to the men out there supporting their partner, their friend or their sister through pregnancy. Sometimes I think that you guys have it even tougher than us. I may hurt physically, but I know what is going on inside me and there is a very tangible reason for all of it. Men? They are just along for the ride and they get to feel everything second-hand and a lot of the time, they will completely cop it simply because they are there. Man said to me last night when I acknowledged how much he has put up with already, “I think you think you have been worse than you actually are.” And maybe (HOPEFULLY) he is right. Man has done late night Panadol runs, deep-heat massages and has held me for hours on end when I just cannot stop crying for no reason. He has been patient when I feel anxious and overwhelmed, and has listened to every single one of my woes. Not only that, but he has not and will not miss any of our appointments – and for that, I will be forever thankful. The midwife yesterday even commented on how supportive Man is, and I felt so proud. I felt so humbled and so lucky that not only do I have a truly supportive and loving partner, but Bubba also has a father who is already completely devoted and madly in love with him and his family.
Here’s to you, Man (and all men everywhere) – thank you for allowing me to figure this pregnancy thing out for both of us the best way that I can and for being unwavering and unconditional in your support. So yeah, all in all – being pregnant is tough, but women are tougher.