Tag Archives: first trimester

It’ll all be worth it. Trust me.

It was on a Thursday afternoon. Or maybe it was a Wednesday morning. Sunday night?

Whatever. It doesn’t matter. All the days are running together now. Even my birthday, which was spent on the couch trying not to die, much like how I’ve spent every other day for the past two months.

Anyway, it was during yet another face-to-face conversation with Mr. Toilet that it hit me: Pregnancy sucks.

Oh yeah. You read me right. All that stuff about glowing and being a sacred vessel and a goddess and how beautiful pregnancy is? LIES! All of it!

No, let me tell you what pregnancy is really like, at least the first trimester, which is as far as I’ve gotten. It’s like being hungover and coming down with the flu and ebola simultaneously after a night of dealing with food poisoning, which you contracted after getting beat up by a bunch of meth-using ninja warriors who like to use heavy, blunt objects to hit people’s boobs and lower back.

And that’s just what happens to you physically.

Mentally, you have suddenly dropped 37 IQ points and have the same memory capacity as a dog whose owner just left. Has it been five minutes? Five hours? Five days!?! Who knows? You can’t even remember how the toaster works.

As for emotionally? Ha! Just make sure your loved ones are wearing a helmet when they are in close proximity to you because your emotional lizard brain has taken over and is bulldozing everything else in sight. One minute you’re on the floor sobbing because you decided, like an idiot, to watch that Internet video of the puppy who overcame Swimmers Syndrome, and the next you’re threatening to divorce your husband because he smells like salami and if you can’t have cold cuts THEN NO ONE CAN!

And those things aren’t even the worst part. Oh no. No, as horrible as those things are, the worst part is how everyone keeps telling you “But it’ll all be WORTH it. Trust me.” Which is why I would like to take a moment to address all the parents out there:

Dear all the parents out there,

I know you have good intentions. Just like an addict who has hit rock bottom, gone to rehab and come out the other side with a new outlook on life, your words are only meant to encourage and comfort me. To let me know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve been there and if you can do it, then I can do it.

But the problem is, I’m still at the beginning of the tunnel. The first trimester is pure fetus-making hell and the only thing my stupid, forgetful, emotionally charged brain can handle right now is simple instructions like:

1. Get can of ginger ale.

2. Lay on floor.

3. Try to drink ginger ale without getting up off floor.

Anything more complicated than that and my brain simply can’t process it.

So every time you too cheerfully tell me that it’s all worth it, complete with your 16 exclamation points, all I can picture is your six-month-old holding a gun to your head and forcing you to type. “Now tell her it’s a love like she’s never felt before…good…good…if we keep convincing women to reproduce, soon we will have enough soldiers for the baby army and we can finally TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Haha-evil baby laugh-haha”

Because right now, I honestly can’t picture any scenario where this kind of bodily abuse could possibly be worth anything. You know why? Because I don’t have a baby yet. I have constant farting. I don’t have a little creature that has my eyes and his mouth. I have a bloated stomach and middle of the night nosebleeds. I don’t even have a tiny, tiny adorable foot kicking my ribs yet, reminding me that I have a new life growing inside me. All I have is the inability to poop normally.

So while I appreciate the sentiment behind your “it’s worth it” sentiment, it doesn’t actually help to hear it. Not right now. The only thing that helps right now is pickle juice and making jokes about how much pregnancy sucks.

And I would greatly appreciate it if you all could remind me that I wrote this post six months from now when I am officially a full-fledge parent and I’m telling some other poor, pregnant  first-timer about how I know it seems bad right now but it’ll all be worth it.

Trust me.

I’m pretty sure it’s a demon wizard

You guys may remember when I wrote a few weeks ago about how I quit smoking. If you don’t remember, let me quickly sum it up for you:

I quit smoking. People got hurt. Property got destroyed. At one point, the National Guard was called in to shoot me down off of a skyscraper. The end.

And I am happy to report that not only am I still 100 percent cigarette-free today, but the casualties list has significantly shortened thanks to my nicotine cravings finally dying down. In fact, my husband hasn’t had a frying pan or the complete works of Shakespeare hurled at him in eight days, a personal best since I started this journey.

And that’s not all that is new. I’ve actually been on a bit of a health kick lately. For instance, I hardly drink soda anymore. My coffee consumption, which was dangerously close to reaching “unemployed writer hanging out at Starbucks” proportions, has been reduced by 90 percent. I no longer eat hot dogs or other meats that I can’t readily identify what animal it came from. Believe it or not, I also haven’t had a drop of alcohol in months (which, alas, also resulted in some casualties…but don’t worry, the vet said our dog only suffered psychological trauma and physically is fine). And I’m trying to eat at least one vegetable a day as opposed to my usual one vegetable a month when my husband tries to sneak mushrooms into his homemade calzones (oh yeah, I can taste them, babe, and they taste mushy and disgusting).

And let me tell you, after all that, I have never felt worse. Oh yeah, you read that right. All that crap about how important it is to be healthy? Highly overrated. Those granola-eating hippies are all liars. Because for 20 years my body ran just fine on all those toxic ingredients. In fact, it thrived on booze and non-organic pizza rolls. And then I took all that stuff away and suddenly I’m curled up in the fetal position at the base of the toilet for months.

Then again, it could be because I’m pregnant. (Ha! See what I did there? Buried the lede for purely comical effect! Cruel writer shenanigans!).

Yes, dear readers, yours truly is with child. Preggo. Knocked up. In the family way. Bun in the oven. Uterus status: Occupied.

Or at least, I’m pretty sure I am. I have to be honest, it feels more like a very small demon wizard has taken over my body. But my doctor keeps reassuring me that this is highly unlikely despite the fact this pregnancy feels more like the movie “The Exorcist” than any kind of blessed event. Seriously, if you could see the things coming out of my body, you’d be wondering too. Not to mention, the violent mood swings (the weather makes me angry, that Snickers commercial makes me laugh like a mad woman, paprika makes me cry), the vivid dreams where I keep getting lectured by Bill Cosby, my sudden intense cravings for red meat that are so strong I’ve seriously contemplated taking a bite out of a live cow; all signs that point to demon wizard in my hormone-drenched brain.

That said, however, even if I do end up giving birth to a demon wizard (I’m still 70 percent sure I might), I couldn’t be happier. And that demon wizard will be loved unconditionally and dressed up as an adorable tiny bear next Halloween.

Which is why as I’m limping my way across the first trimester finish line, I wanted to share the news with all of you. Even those of you out there who truly hate it when women document their pregnancy journey in a public forum.

Because you know I’m gonna. The fun is just beginning, friends.

I am the 40 percent

The longest day of my life began at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday.

I had gotten used to waking up early ever since I found out, which I chalked up to the lack of massive amounts of caffeine in my body and my newly formed habit of falling asleep around 8:30 p.m.

But this time was different. This time it was the dull ache that gently woke me up. Clumsily making my way to the bathroom though, it was the blood that jolted me awake.

Spotting, I told myself. Mild cramping. No big deal, my head said while my body frantically looked for the right section in the book. Yep. Totally normal.

I laid down on the couch in total darkness and turned on some crappy late night/early morning/not really suitable for human consumption TV. I absent-mindedly rubbed my lower stomach, a sort of unconscious gesture meant to signal reassurance for the both of us. I’ll be fine.

We’ll be fine.

By 5, the crappy movie was over and the meaningless dull ache had forced me into a fetal position. By 6, I was walking around bent over in an effort to relieve the meaningless pain that had meaninglessly grew into an intense ache. By 6:30, I was lighting a cigarette from the secret stash I hadn’t been able to throw away yet even though I had quit smoking. Just one to calm myself down.

Everything is fine.

As my husband woke up at 7 and as dawn broke, casting brutal light on the situation, I allowed myself the first tears. He ran to the store for Tylenol and maxi-pads, a first aid kit for a gaping fatal wound. By 8:30, we were on the road to the women’s health clinic, an appointment that had actually been made weeks ago.

Good one, universe.

No one even knew yet besides a handful of close friends and family. Eight weeks pregnant. Keep it quiet for now. Just in case…you know.

And suddenly, I knew all too well.

We nicknamed it Poppyseed in lieu of the popular moniker “It” so many other couples use during those early months. Poppy, for short. It was a private joke courtesy of my cousin, who upon finding out my new condition three weeks prior, pulled a poppyseed off her cheeseburger, pointed at it and said, laughing, “that’s how big your baby is right now.”

Urine sample. Blood sample. Weight and height check. Hello, I’m Carol. Is this your first pregnancy? Congratulations. Symptoms could be normal. Your cervix is closed. Good sign. Hmm…can’t find a heartbeat. Let’s schedule you an ultrasound…just in case…you know.

I was due in May, which was perfect. If it was a girl, her name was going to be Mae. A decision made long ago. Because Aprill is always followed by Mae. If it was a boy, well…Milo has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Two hour wait. Silent tears. It’ll be fine, honey. Don’t worry. Mrs. Brandon? Nice to meet you. Hop on up here. Now what happened exactly this morning? Relax your legs. Too small to see on the monitor. Let’s try this.

Just the other day I had planned on shouting the exciting news from the virtual rooftops of Facebook and Twitter. After our first doctor appointment. Once we made sure there was little chance of any sort of just in case.

Well, there doesn’t seem to any pregnancy tissue. You may have passed it this morning.

There’s nothing you could have done. Or did do. These things just happen. Forty percent of pregnancies in the first trimester, to be exact. Most women only have one in their lifetime. Chances are high you’ll conceive again.

I know they have to say this. The doctor. The nurse. The now demoted future grandparents. The friends and co-workers.

There really is nothing else you can say.

But it doesn’t help. At least right now. Because no words can erase the image of your husband, so strong and stoic the entire time, finally breaking down on the phone when he calls his boss to tell him he won’t be in today. And because what died on that horrific morning wasn’t just a fetus. What also drowns and dies in that tsunami of blood and cramps is that movie montage you’ve been playing over and over in your head the past eight weeks until it’s the perfect mental screenplay of the rest of your life.

But then, the dream of a completely different future than the present you are currently living in fades slowly to black.

Suddenly you can no longer see the labor scene where you hurl hilarious insults at whoever is standing by, ones that even give the nurses a giggle. Or the moment you both sob like idiots when it’s all over and you’re holding a baby that has your eyes and Praise Jesus! his nose.

The never-ending need to count all his perfect fingers and toes. The uncontrollable urge to kiss her little face all the time.

The framed photo of her sleeping on her dad’s bare chest or his first Halloween where I dress him as Frankenstein’s monster simply so I could send out a photo card with the caption “We have created LIFE! It’s ALIIIIIIVE!”

Christmas mornings. First birthdays. ER trips because someone couldn’t resist shoving a Lego up their nose. Catching her digging through the trash with the dog as her accomplice. Him helping me make pancakes.

Ballet recitals. T-ball games. First girlfriends where I whip out every single embarrassing photo I can find, including the one of him in a dress having a tea party with his female cousins. First heartbreak where I cuddle with her on the couch and we eat ice cream while watching “Love Actually” and I let her cuss in front of me for the first time.

Graduation. Marriage. Becoming a grandparent myself. And everyone coming back home for Thanksgiving, filling our quiet house with welcomed chaos.

It all died too.

So, for now, I mourn the loss. Of her. Or him. And of the dream.

And hopefully, after time, and some Merlot, and maybe a night or twelve of healing vodka, we’ll be able to try again.

And I can start to dream again.