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  • Writer's pictureMary

Early Pregnancy and Becoming a Mom-to-be

Now in the second half of my pregnancy, I'm looking back on the year that led up to this point.

ultrasound of fetus at week 11
The nugget at week 11

For starters, the decision to get pregnant.

Even though Kev and I had always imagined starting a family, pregnancy isn't something that I'd longed for, really ever. We would often talk about things we'd like to do with the kids, but always as a "someday" sort of prospect. There were so many things we both wanted for our before, so many places to go and so many vases to make (lol).

That being said, we made a conscious decision to begin trying in the fall of 2019, and we took more of a logical approach to get to that point. First, we both want more than one child and we didn't want to feel rushed to have one right after the other. With us both turning 33 in 2020 we knew it was about that time, because when I hit 35, a pregnancy would be higher risk. Second, though we didn't yet have our current home lined up, we'd begun to look for our next place, which meant we would have room to grow our family once we left the 1 bedroom apartment. Third, there was no telling how long it would take to get pregnant, and no guaranteeing anything when it comes to fertility.

We weren't trying very seriously in the beginning, and didn't pay very close attention to timing. Having such a short window for conception and then having to wait two or more weeks for the results felt strange in an age when we're used to getting answers immediately. As the months passed and we weren't getting pregnant, our reactions slowly shifted from indifference to concern about medical factors to something like disappointment.

In the meantime, I began to read books from my local library as a way to mentally prepare myself for the possibility of pregnancy and motherhood. The books I read brought me great comfort because they offered me assurance that my life didn't need to revolve around a baby and that I'm not alone in my apprehensions. The three that stood out to me are:

When we discovered that I was pregnant, it was April and we'd brought Sunday home a few days earlier. When the at-home test turned out positive, we'd just gotten dinner delivered from Contrair, along with a beautiful bottle of orange wine. I allowed myself a taste of that wine and then bid farewell to my alcohol intake. I thought giving up wine would be torturous, especially during quarantine, but my body seemed to take care of that for me; in my early pregnancy I had no desire to drink alcohol, and a strong desire to drink fruit juices.

My first trimester was as pleasant as I could have hoped. No morning sickness, only slight, passing nausea. No crazy cravings. The strangest and most surprising thing is that I developed an aversion to coffee, something I love and thought I'd really struggle to cut down on.

The most notable symptom is that I was completely drained in the first and part of the second trimesters. I'd feel exhausted just a few hours after getting up for the day, and bedtime could not come soon enough. There were days where I took two naps, and I lost plenty of precious weekend hours being unconscious. Quarantine has been a silver lining here, allowing me extra sleep since I don't need to commute.

We told both sets of grandparents on Father's Day, when I was 11 weeks along. I hadn't yet had screening for genetic abnormalities, and though I was quite nervous about that, we also were so excited to share the news with our parents and siblings. This baby will be the first grandchild for both families, and we knew that when we told them, we'd be changing their lives.

That's the thing though. There are so few certainties in life, and everything about getting and being pregnant reminds you of that fact. At one of my early appointments, I asked my obstetrician about the chances of a miscarriage, and his response was kind and honest: a million things have to go right for you to get pregnant, and then a million things have to go right for the baby to be born healthy. He advised me to try not to stress too much about things that are completely out of my control.

And so that's how I've approached this time thus far. Sometimes I start to worry, about how much time I'll realistically be able to spend at the studio after the baby arrives, about having to clip his tiny nails and what if I nip him, about possible food allergies, and so many other things that sometimes would mean big consequences and sometimes a small challenge, but always with the element of risk, of some sort of loss of what was, of new territory. I try to let these thoughts come and then pass. I think baby is supportive - twice now, he's given me a little thumbs up on ultrasound imaging, telling me we're doing okay.

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