Friday, July 23, 2010

What I Didn’t Know About Being Pregnant

There was A LOT I didn't know about being pregnant until after I got knocked up. Here are some of the highlights that for the most part aren't in the books:

1) I was super clueless when I walked into my first maternity store. I pulled pants off the racks in my size and then the next 5 sizes up because I thought I would increase several sizes when pregnant. Stupid me - the sizes are the same as when you’re not pregnant - they just make them for your current shape plus a belly.

2) When they say, “stay off your feet,” stay off your feet. I think the instructions were to not be on my feet for more than an hour and a half at a time, but I really didn’t understand why, and since I worked out regularly I thought I was fine. In my third or fourth month I walked around the mall like I normally would for four hours. (I know... that sounds like something you shouldn’t do - pregnant or not - just for your own sanity.) My feet were swollen and I was in a world of hurt afterwards. No, not as swollen as my feet in these pictures (back by popular demand):

After giving birth because of pre-clampsia and hypertension

After the long drive from San Diego to San Jose

Generally I think the work-out instructions during pregnancy are very contradictory. You're told to both exercise and to stay off your feet. At what point do you transition from exercising just enough to needing to stay off your feet? (Exercise for 1 hour? Fine. More than 1 hour? Stay off your feet!) I stopped running as soon as I found out I was pregnant. A nurse told me that while it was safe to run, many women experience chronic incontinence problems later on because of it. ("You had me at incontinence.") I moved on to the eliptical machine instead and then, when my belly got in the way, walking for a half hour while I called to chat with my parents and in-laws.

3) Speaking of feet, your feet are always on display, especially as you get farther into your pregnancy. In my case I couldn’t wear heels - my shoe wardrobe consists of only heels and sneakers, no in betweens - so I went to the pregnant lady’s standby, flip flops. Be sure to get pedicures (or get your husband to do it).

4) I only learned about the line that goes down your stomach once I read a book on pregnancy. I’m surprised this isn’t mentioned more often.

5) Daddies-to-be never read the pregnancy books. I gave Mark a single chapter to read and he never read it. One of us had to read the books on what to expect before the birth and in the year to follow and that, of course, was me.

I like how this mom-to-be is already resigned to her fate of bringing a screaming, free-time-killing baby into the world and is already wearing unflattering mom outfits. Maybe Mark would have been more motivated to read his chapter if I'd had the updated version:

She seems to say "Yay! A baby is on it's way! And I can still wear hip, fitted clothing! Read me, Mark! Read me!"

6) Only 1 in 5 mothers-to-be experience their water breaking. (Note: all the literature now says “bag of waters” but I cannot get behind this trend.) TV makes it seem like all pregnant women experience their water breaking. I turned out to be one of the lucky 20%? (Actually I'm really glad my water broke since I then knew I was going into labor. I wouldn't have wanted to arrive at the hospital like the previous four false alarms, unsure if I was going to deliver. At least I knew there was nothing I could do about it and I could just enjoy the delivery.)

My water breaking was like this but in a bed. And I just want to take this opportunity to mention again how Mark forgot to bring me a change of clothes when I left the hospital after the delivery so I had to put on my water breaking clothes and underwear.

The delivery was like just like this. Two pale babies fell out.

7) Making a baby registry is really daunting. I started researching and reading reviews for each item on Amazon, Target, and Babies R Us. (I knew I was in trouble when I started reading reviews on things as mundane as travel wipes.) I did way too much research and it took me a couple months to put it together!


1) Go to Motherhood for full panel tummy pants. Some gals like the kind of pants where your baby gut hangs over the waistband but I was not one of them. I actually had to buy another pair of jeans (from Motherhood) when my first pair from Old Navy eventually got too tight across the belly (but then again I had twins). I wish I’d gone to Motherhood in the first place. They had corduroys, too! (And for those of you not in the know, A Pea in the Pod is ridiculously expensive. Avoid.)

My beloved maternity corduroys. (Not on me.)

Me at 22 weeks in my beloved maternity corduroys with Candice

2) Originally I planned on buying a dresser and putting the changing table on top of it, figuring that I would want a children’s dresser anyway and a changing table could only be used for a short amount of time. However, instead I highly recommend getting a changing table for cheap on Craigslist like I did. Changing tables have cubbies for everything you might need, and the changing pad fits nicely on top with a little guard rail.

3) Make a baby registry with a trusted mom friend. My friend April volunteered to help me and she explained what things were (flannel pads, waterproof pads, piddle pads...), and guided me on what to buy.

4) Bring glasses (if you wear them) to your ultrasounds! I was recently reminded of this by my pregnant friend Sara who forgot hers for an appointment. Invariably at every appointment I’d get ultrasound gel splooooted across my abdomen and then I’d realize I’d left my glasses in my purse. Without them it’s hard to make out the already hard-to-make-out action of the moving fetus (or, in my case, fetuses).

5) And finally, be sure not to be constipated after you deliver, and if you are come up with a plan on how to solve it with your doctor. A friend of mine gave herself an enema at home. That would have been a much better alternative for me than going to the hospital, waiting around to see a doctor with pain so bad it made me cry (someone who's had this problem said the pain was WORSE than child birth), and taking 8 hours until the problem was finally resolved.


  1. This post is awesome (and not just because I got a mention). Hilarious.

    That first "what to expect" mom is seriously depressed.

  2. This is very good info. I had no idea how maternity clothes sizing worked, but now I will have a leg up when I am prego! Also Motherhood, a store I hadn't heard of. Did Mark ever read any books on pregnancy or fathering that he liked?

  3. Motherhood is in most malls around here. I just never noticed it before.

    I think you should revise your question to read, "Did Mark ever read any books on pregnancy or fathering?" because the answer is still, "No."