It took me a long time to get pregnant. During the months and years of negative pregnancy tests, I realize now how focused I was back then on just getting pregnant. I didn’t actually think too much about what would happen when I did. My friends and family warned me, of course. The nausea could get really bad, and the cravings and heartburn intense. I would get out of breath easily and would probably have some pretty swollen feet towards the end.
But we all know that hearing about it is very different than actually experiencing it. And honestly, I’m so glad I didn’t know how pregnancy truly would be for me until I went through it full bore.
I remember the very first symptom of pregnancy I had and it filled me with that giddy new-mom joy. We had done IVF so I already knew from my blood tests that I was officially pregnant. But my husband and I were meeting some friends for Chinese food—something I was looking forward to all week—and suddenly in the parking lot of the restaurant, I felt a wave of something that didn’t quite feel like nausea rush over me and the thought of biting into kung pao chicken made me want to hurl. Pizza, though, was totally on the table. Give me all the pizza. I bow to the pizza gods. And several confused text messages later, we were all seated around plates of pepperoni, hook, line and sinker.
But that adorable food aversion experience soon turned into raging, gagging, dizzying nausea and I couldn’t look at anything food-related unless it was my bag of Goldfish crackers. Every car ride was a power of wills—should I have brought something I could easily throw up into while driving down the interstate? There were times I would be crouching in my hallway, one hand on each side of the walls, my stomach revolting so bad I wanted to die. As the dry-heaves rippled through me, I had to keep telling myself through tears, You wanted this. You freaking wanted to be pregnant.
Yes, I’m so glad I had no idea how bad it could get for me. I’m so glad I had no idea my new favorite activity would be lying absolutely still and moaning for the first four months. I’m so glad that I really didn’t know how raging hellfire awful my heartburn would get. Nothing I did helped. I felt ridiculous taking walks in the summer because I would just huff and puff and waddle my feet and pretty much sweat profusely, to my husband’s entertainment, and seriously, why does no one warn you how much you’ll sweat during pregnancy?
I’m glad I went into this with little to no real expectations, because while I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, it would have caused some righteous worries and dread. Even now, on the brink of trying for a sibling for our daughter, I have a lot of anxiety this time around, unlike before. While back a few years ago, I was just struggling to stay pregnant, now I am finding myself wondering how the hell I’m going to be pregnant with a toddler running around.
How will I deal with her own middle of the night wake ups and my needing to pee every twenty minutes? How will I get up and down off the floor 378 times a day like I do now?
I think the first time pregnancies are truly the best. Not only do you get to experience the firsts—the first weird food craving, the first kick, the first time you see your belly move—but let’s face it. You’re clueless. You have no idea what you’re getting into.
It’s all worth it, of course. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wish I was still blissfully unaware this next time around.
Image via getty