Pregnancy – Lessons from Trimester 1
Those 2 pink lines. I knew they meant my life would be forever changed. I just had no idea things would change quite so fast. I knew my body would be going through a lot, but I immediately focused on the changes that would occur in October when “Baby A” arrives.
Soon after my pregnancy was confirmed, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which is basically crazy intense ‘morning sickness.’ It is something that doesn’t have a cure, but fortunately is short term in most cases. However, ‘short term’ doesn’t feel so short when you’re getting sick multiple times day and night for weeks. For about 7 weeks during my first trimester I was getting sick so frequently I was actually losing weight. I had to get fluids and anti-nausea meds pumped into me and my blood sugar and electrolytes got all out of whack (←medical phrasing). I couldn’t stay hydrated despite my best efforts and I found myself frustrated with my new life. In addition, my immune system was basically shot so since January I have caught the flu, a stomach virus, a few different bladder infections and most recently strep throat. That is more sicknesses in the last 3 months than I’ve had in the last 3 years combined.
Like I said, I knew those 2 pink lines meant my life would change. I just assumed it would be after I gave birth. I knew this baby meant I would never be able to walk out the door worrying about only having my keys and cell phone on hand. This baby would obviously keep me from soaking in the bath tub for 45 minutes after a long day. I also realized after a trip to Baby’s R Us that my ‘shoe fund’ would be no more. Seriously – who knew a 7 pound human needed so much stuff?! And perhaps the scariest thing of all – I knew this baby would mean no more sleeping for 8-10 hours a night.
My life has changed a lot during the first trimester though…much more than I ever would have anticipated. As I laid in bed this weekend with strep throat, I began to think “Why me?” I was finally over that horrible HG sickness…I was thinking I would be running consistently again soon….I was gaining weight (which I find oddly exciting)….and then BAM! I got hit with strep throat, which forced me back in bed. Saturday night I cried myself to sleep. Sunday morning I woke up pissed at my body. But then the thought slowly began to creep in my mind…I’m being prepped for parenthood. These changes have a purpose…perhaps more for my heart and attitude than anything else that is going on physically.
I was blessed with one of the best moms in the entire world and one of the things that made her so great was how willingly she sacrificed over and over again so my sisters and I didn’t have to go without. And she never complained about it once. She did it graciously and I’m pretty sure if she had it to do over again, she would. Her life as a mother to 3 young girls was marked by sacrifice, humility and dedication.
And I hope I’m half the mom she is.
Right now, my body is sacrificing a lot to grow a healthy baby. The doctors have kept close watch over me the last 3 months and they have continually told me that my baby is doing great and despite my own health frustrations and concerns, the baby is actually growing ahead of schedule, which is great. It is like my body knows (even if my mind doesn’t) that all of its energy must be devoted to growing “Baby A” so some things, like my own immune system, must be placed on the back burner. But that’s okay because I’m growing one of the most exciting gifts I’ve ever been given and I have a chance to impact someone’s life like my own mother impacted mine.
Most people have welcomed the news of this baby with excitement and encouragement, but there have been some pessimistic responses to say the least. “Oh – your life is never going to be the same. You poor thing – you better sleep while you can.” “You better enjoy that fit body while you have it because it won’t be the same after that baby.” And my personal favorite, “I never say congratulations when I find out people are pregnant. It is really just awful. It changes everything…your body…your marriage…your whole life.” What a peachy thing to say, right?
This is the point I’m trying to make: I think kids strip you of your ability to be selfish and that is why some people choose to view them as a burden instead of a blessing. My pregnancy has already stripped me of a lot of my selfish desires. As I contemplated everything I was so upset about, I realized it all centered around me. I wasn’t able to work out. I am not able to go to Napa Valley this summer. I wasn’t able to sign up for the latest race that all my friends are doing. I wasn’t able to look my best. I wasn’t able to go out and have fun because I was too sick. It was all about me, which is ironically something I don’t ever want to instill in my child.
I’m not sure why I’ve been so sick during this pregnancy (I hear some people skate through the first trimester with no issues at all – cheers to all those lucky ducks), but I think it is definitely shaping my heart for the journey that is before me. In just 3 months, I’ve learned I’m capable of loving someone that I’ve never met. I’m capable of loving a baby who has nothing in return to give me. Seriously – ♥ this baby to pieces already. Its weird. I’ve learned that if I let it, this baby is going to play a significant part in shaping me into the person I’m meant to be, just as I seek to mold their life. I’ve learned that forgoing freedoms is an excellent reminder of a commandment that I have forgotten for quite some time; “Do nothing out of selfishness, but rather in humility value others above yourself” ~ Phil2:3.
So, I don’t come to you today with a workout or recipe because I’m sick again, but I’m so blessed…tight pants, broken out face, strep throat and all…I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Ps. 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord.”
P.S. I reserve the right to still complain via this platform in 8 months when I haven’t slept in weeks because of a crying baby.
P.S.S. I also reserve the right to complain via this platform when I’m 36 weeks pregnant in the dead of summer and about to pop.
**As I wrapped this post up, I had to stop and get all over Ob because she was growling at Marley because he was getting up on the couch with us and she didn’t want to share her space. I think the only person (pup?) in this house whose life will be rocked more than mine & Dave’s come October is Ob’s. For now, she’s enjoying life as the baby in all its selfish glory though.**