With mothers day approaching and my little baby Button growing up so fast I thought this would be a fitting time to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly during my pregnancy with Ivory. I never did share my full pregnancy story last year, mainly because at that time I felt like a negative Nelly and didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t happy to be expecting #4. The Boss and I had been talking about having #4 for about 6 months and it seemed like the more we talked about it the less I wanted to get pregnant, ha! I think God knows me better than I know myself though and so BAM, I was pregnant in February 2o13 despite the use of birth control. Some things are just meant to be I guess!
photo by Ten22 Studio
It’s never much of a secret when I get pregnant because 1) I like to shout it from the roof tops pretty much the second I pee on the stick, and 2) I get really sick really fast and pretty much drop off the face of the earth. My pregnancy with Ivory was no exception, I got sick about 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. It starts with bad headaches and borderline narcolepsy, followed by nausea that gets so bad I genuinely wish I could be subjected to a medically induced coma until the misery is over. I must be the worst person of all time to be around when I am pregnant because I feel so miserable that I essentially have no filter or self control over whatever I say and do. I remember feeling constantly angry that I couldn’t just stop feeling sick so I would try to sleep as much as humanely possible or distracted myself with blessed Netflix. I went out of my way to avoid anything and anyone because when I get that sick I just feel so helpless and frustrated that there is nothing I can do or take to just make the misery go away so all of that debilitating frustration just comes out as angry negativity and the last thing I want is to bring someone else into my spiraling vortex of doom. Poor Bret never stood a chance, he learned from my other pregnancies that there really isn’t anything you can say, do or get for me to make it better so he just does what he can. He unquestionably kept our house together by taking on the cooking and cleaning and doing his best to keep the 3 kids happy and entertained away from my pessimistic reach. Poor husband, poor kids, I apologize again for anything I said or did while under the influence of morning sickness. For me the one thing that makes morning sickness entirely worse was going from working and being productive 24-7, to incapacitated and practically non existent on the couch for 3 months. I know without any doubt that the ability to conceive and carry a child is my greatest gift and blessing from God, but I will say in my defense that when I am that sick it is nearly impossible to “look at the bright side” and remember that my precious little baby will make all of that icky crap worth it. Obviously when I am holding her in my arms I can say it was all worth it!
With my other pregnancy there was some light at the end of the pukey tunnel and I would snap out of it and my energy and happiness would come back to me and I would start feeling the baby move and find out the gender and everything would be mostly be uphill from there. With Ivory the puking and nausea eventually did stop but I kept waiting for the negativity switch to turn off. For some reason with this pregnancy I never did snap out of it and I never got my energy back. My anemia was always really bad despite taking my prescriptions so I would have zero energy to the point where some days I felt like I couldn’t lift my own arms in the air and the depression I felt seemed to sit on top of me like the weight of the world. I’ve only experienced circumstantial depression a few short times in my life and although I have loved ones who struggle with disabling depression on a daily basis I was not prepared for the effect it would have on my life. I don’t wanna go off too much on the depression part but just know that I know that depression is real and it is unshakably hard and if you struggle with depression I commend you and pray for you to have the strength and resolve to never let it beat you. I have never felt so dead inside, despite having this huge blessing growing inside me. For me the hardest thing was not being able to will myself to feel happy, or energized, or to do anything for that matter. I mean I feel like I am a pretty motivated and active person but at that time I couldn’t get going to save save my life. I just remember feeling such a loss of control for my feelings and life that I actually worried that my baby would come out and be sad and miserable too. Are you depressed yet? I am totally not trying to whine, complain or have a giant cyber pity party for myself. I never talked about it or shared how difficult my pregnancy actually was and I felt impressed to talk about it and acknowledge all those pregnant or not pregnant people out there who struggle with depression, nothing can describe the burden it brings. thankfully for me it did eventually get better and 100% without a doubt it was all unquestionably worth it! Even though I struggled with the anemia and fatigue until I delivered I feel like the depression very slowly got better. I would try to take on projects to distract myself and keep myself busy and moving and I feel like staying busy helped more than anything. On the days I just sucked at being alive I would eat crappy food and tell myself that no matter what wasn’t getting done or how catastrophically messy my house was at the time that I was making a real life person and that is as productive as it gets, so suck it self esteem! It may be cliche but all the mood swings, vomiting, depression, smells, stretch marks and even being strapped down to a table and cut open was all unequivocally worth just those first few moments holding my darling, tiny, cherished baby girl. It doesn’t surprise me that women voluntarily put themselves through 9 months of mutating, discomfort and stress just to bring these wondrous little blessings to the world. Babies are undeniably worth every potential obstacle and challenge imaginable to bring them into our lives.
photos by Sarah Waggoner
Even though I don’t have many positive things to say about my pregnancy or depression for that matter I can say that I survived, the world didn’t end like I thought it would and I found some small emblems of mercy that made pregnancy a little more tolerable for me along the way. In hopes of providing ease or comfort to you during your pregnancy I will now share my Top 5 Must Have items for expecting moms!
1. Bump Nest Pregnancy Body Pillow: I have this pillow in white (of course) and holy moly guacamole! I used this pillow so much it was borderline abused. I would use it to sleep at night (obviously), to watch TV on the couch, to work on my laptop, for car rides, tummy aches… you get the idea. Also, I get super bad sciatic nerve problems in my hip/bum area and this was one of the only ways I get sit/lay without wanting to punch someone. This pillow is an investment into your comfort and happiness. Husbands are usually more than happy to pay the $100 because let’s be real, a happy wife is a happy life and when we get that large and in charge we do just about anything and spend just about anything for any type of relief. This pillow was my so called “happy place” almost all the time. At the guarantee of embarrassing myself yet again I will show you this mortifying picture that the Boss took of me sleeping with my Bump Nest pillow in what you can obviously witness to be pure, unhindered, euphoria. For those of you wondering how this thing compares to the Snoogle, it doesn’t! The Snoogle is to the Bump Nest what a wet nap is to a down comfortable and that is all I will say about that. Also, If you struggle with reflux, severe vomiting, or you long to sleep on your tummy I suggest getting the full Relief System. Dear husbands, be a hero and get your pregnant wife this pillow for Mother’s Day and in her delighted slumber she will dream up ways to thank you.
2. Scentsy Candles – On a regular day I have the sensitive nose of a black bear but add raging maternal hormones and I have the heightened scents of smell of an entire coven of vampires. To speak plainly my worst nightmare when I am pregnant is a stinky house or going out in stinky public places. When I am pregnant the slightest hint of food, feces, or farts is enough to make me absolutely suicidal. No need to point out that we have a toddler in diapers that packs an especially pungent punch, a large male cat with poor aim for the litter box, and a hefty bunny that defecates half his weight per day…. Some sort of air freshener or candle warmer is positively VITAL when I am pregnant for the safety of my family and the wellness of human kind for that matter. I confess to purging numerous dollars in an effort to test and try out every room fragrance and freshener known to man on the quest to find something strong enough to neutralize the odors in my home without the overbearing chemical coverup smells that inevitably lead to a headache or involuntary fits of barfing. Scentsy has won that race by a mile. I love that Scentsy has a ton of candle warmer options to fit your personal decor and style. The warmers are also wick-less so I don’t have to worry about my house burning to the ground, they are not a danger to my kids and they have the biggest selection of fragrances for any season or mood. One warmer burning can freshen up the smell of almost my entire two story house but all the same I have a warmer in almost every major room because I am a hoarder and hoarding is what I do. My all time favorite scent bars that I never ever get tired of are Welcome Home, Honeymoon Hideaway, Luna, and Lemons and Berries, in that order. You may have also seen that all my kids have the Scentsy Buddies which are basically stuffed animals with fragrance pouches you can change in and out of them through a zipper on the back. I can’t resist a toy that nullifies the smell of my kid while they play with it, pure genius!
3. Sunny Side Bubble Bar from Lush: Bubble baths are my thing! They make me happy, calm me down, relax me, slow down my busy thoughts, sooth my achy muscles, and distract me from all my cares! After I get the approval from my OBGYN to resume my nightly bubble baths I stock up on Sunny Side bubble bars like a squirrel hoarding nuts in winter. Referencing back to my smelling conundrum this citrus bubble bar is one of the only bath fragrances I can tolerate when I am pregnant. The product description on the Lush website describes it better than I ever could. “If you’ve had a day full of disappointment, pop one of these sparkly bubble bars into your bath. As you crumble it under the running water, you’ll start to feel immediately better. You just can’t help but smile when you see the shimmery golden waters it creates. Maybe it’s because citrus fruits only grow in warm, sunny places that their scents make us feel like smiling again. Sunny Side’s orange, tangerine and lemon help reverse the troubles of the day, however badly it started. It’ll turn your life Sunny Side up.” Ummm yah, I will take my bubble bath sunny side up from now on, thanks!
4. Bai5: It’s called Bai5 because it only has 5 calories per serving (10 cals total per bottle) and it is a 100% natural antioxidant infused beverage packed with antioxidants, organic stevia sweetener, and the superfruit that comes from the coffee plant. I am not normally a healthy conscious consumer of food and beverages, I mean, hello Waffle Crush and Diet Dr. Pepper! When my nausea first begins in the first trimester so do various beverages start to stock pile in our fridge. My brain will tell me I NEED a certain drink, I will get it, take a sip, and then never touch it again because it is too sweet, too sour, too carbonated, too healthy tasting, you name it! Again so much money wasted on trying to find a drink I can stomach. If you are like me and you go through that phase of puking so hard your abs get sore and your eyes are bloodshot and you know you are so severely dehydrated because your skin looks and feels like parchment paper and your lips are reptilian…. yah, you need Bai5. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and sour, it taste subtle but fresh and the health benefits can’t hurt either, am I right? PS. how fun is it to say “Bai5″?
5. Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins: Don’t laugh! Expecting someone who projectiles nearly round the clock to swallow something the size of a flash drive is irrational. It’s catch 22 because your body needs the vitamins and nutrients for the baby but your body doesn’t want to keep anything in, you can’t win. I used to take children’s gummy vitamins because I figured it was better than nothing but now they make gummy prenatal vitamins! Thank you scientist, chemist, and doctors for this helpful contribution to society. Now, take 2 gummy bears before bed and enjoy life in the morning.
And those my friends, are just a few of my favorite maternity things. Thank you so much for reading a long! If you already use any of these or decide to try something for the first time I wanna know what you think!