Sacrifices (What You Give Up to Have a Baby)

When you’re pregnant, there are a lot of sacrifices you have to make (and even more after the birth of your child).  Most people are familiar with most; you probably won’t ever fit into your bikini again (or have so many purple stretchmarks that you don’t want to show your skin off), you have to give up the pretty bras for the ugly supportive ones (which isn’t so bad when you realize your dream of always wanting implants), and you have to give up drinking/smoking/partying (which is usually the hardest of them all).  Most of the well-known sacrifices are borne through pregnancy, because the end result, baby shaped joy, is more than worth giving some things up.

But there are some sacrifices that no one tells you about, not even your pregnant friends.  These are the things you have to give up because of the way your body is changing, and if I had known about some of these, I might have thought twice about being pregnant.

Your favorite foods.  Sure, everyone knows about the strange cravings (and aversions) that pregnant women experience during pregnancy (pickles and ice cream anyone?), but what most people don’t know is that most foods you enjoyed (loved, obsessed over, etc) pre-pregnancy go straight to the shit-list once your hormones get all ramped up.  Take for example: one of my most loved foods was lasagna/this delicious penne/cheese/red sauce/hamburger baked mixture that was absolute heaven (the one and only thing I could eat as leftovers).  Once I got pregnant, within the first six or so weeks, it was on the menu for dinner, and as soon as I smelled it cooking, I went straight to the bathroom to throw up.  At nearly 18 weeks, dishes with red sauce (pretty much the height of pasta goodness) still cause me to gag.  Which is really too bad, because they were my absolute favorites.  (Don’t even mention tacos to me; no matter where they come from, if I consume a freaking taco, it ALWAYS comes back up, even at this stage in the game.)

Regular eating schedule.  Along with morning sickness (that usually lasts all damn day, don’t be fooled by the name), and the loss of your favorite foods, when you do feel like eating, it’s usually at the most inopportune moments, and you crave the strangest things.  I haven’t been able to eat a meal past 6:00 pm without throwing it up.  Breakfast now has to be before 10:00 am or I get sick to my stomach.  I also would crave things, and by the time I got them, I didn’t want it anymore.  There was a window of time (usually about 30 minutes) that I craved it, and if I didn’t get it within that time, and ended up eating it anyways, it would always come right back up.

Hot and steamy showers.  It has something to do with the crazy amount of blood you now circulate to nourish the little critter you’re spawning.  But wave goodbye to those steamy, hot, long showers.  Even just being in a steamy room will make you see stars, and if you’re not careful, you will end up curled naked on the floor, trying to regulate your breathing, and get rid of the black you’re seeing (like my morning).  The only slightly enjoyable thing that comes from almost passing out is the slightly high feeling you get afterwards; the poor little brain cells dying slowly from lack of oxygen.

Sleeping positions. I’m a side sleeper; always have been, always will be (I hope…it’s so comfortable), but as I get bigger, the side sleeping only works 40% of the night.  I’ve finally reached the point where I’m sleeping through the night again (that’s another thing to look forward to; the restless legs, the inability to sleep for periods longer than 45 minutes), but if I’m in a position that squishes baby at all, he lets me know by pitching a kicking fit.  Not only does baby react, but it’s simply not comfortable anymore to lie on my belly (even when I wasn’t showing), and after too long on one side, it’ll go to sleep.  Later in pregnancy, sleeping on your back puts you at risk for a stillborn baby (because of the weight of the developing baby on blood vessels).  So really, however you sleep now will change a lot in the coming 9 months.

The integrity of your bowels and the nether regions related to them. (Also Known As “Regularity”.)  With the amount of gas you now pump out on a daily basis, you could fill a room to the point of noxiousness.  But that’s the more enjoyable part, because it relieves the intense pressure on your belly.  Because of the new cocktail of hormones racing through your bloodstream, things are slowed up a bit in the bowels.  Say goodbye to having a normal pooping schedule, and get ready to bite a towel when you finally do end up going, because by the time that crap comes out, it’s like rocks embedded with razorblades.  With the constipation, comes one of the worst pregnancy problems that no one seems to want to warn you about.  Hemorrhoids.  Oh my good god.  If you don’t know what they are, feel free to Google them, but for godssake, stay out of Google images (don’t say I didn’t warn you!).  They often come out of nowhere, and cause a consuming amount of pain.  Seriously, I’m not kidding about the pain.  My doctor prescribed me Vicodin for the pain.  Oh, another quirk.  Your bowels will often throw you off by giving you diarrhea on a random day, so start worrying about that gas you’re releasing…it might end up being liquid instead.

Your vagina.  Yes, something the size of a watermelon will be pushed out a hole the size of a small plum (after your body prepares a little bit for you), but it will also be a warzone for several weeks after the birth.  The doctor will tell you to avoid sex for about 2 months (you can lie and tell your husband/boyfriend 4 months, just to get a rest, if you need to), because that scary place down there will need some healing time.  But all that comes after pregnancy.  In pregnancy, your poor lady parts get other problems, that aren’t as physically devastating, but still horrible nonetheless.  If you’ve ever had a UTI, you will probably get more, and because the symptoms change in pregnancy, you might not know you have one until it’s so painful that you want to take a rusty knife to your body down there.  Yeast infections are more common, as well.  You may want to stock up on panty-liners, too, because you turn into a leaking human faucet (I cringe just writing that, but it’s true).

Your sex drive.  You will feel as sexy as a rhino in expensive French lingerie during your pregnancy, because you’re essentially getting blown up like a balloon. (I’ve been feeling this a lot lately, because my clothes are starting to get too small and it’s a strange feeling for someone who has never lost/gained a noticeable amount of weight in a small time period.)  But when you do want to have sex, be prepared for your hubby to be a bit hesitant (mine was afraid of hurting the baby after seeing where the heartbeat was located), and if you’re like me, lock yourself in the bathroom naked and cry from the rejection (pregnancy is a roller coaster ride; no judgy eyes here, people).  Some lucky women seem to feel more sexy in pregnancy and want sex more, and some (or most?) women just want to avoid any naked activities.  Both are completely normal (I’m told).

Your brain.  Often, I forget what I was going to do as I’m on my way to do it (I’ve washed loads of laundry 3-4 times because I forget to put them in the dryer).  I’ve gotten better at writing To-Do lists because if I don’t, I wouldn’t get anything done.  Work as a server is harder because walking from a table with a drink order to the soda machine, I usually forget at least one of the drinks.  Feeding the dog is now a task for the boyfriend (also because it makes me gag), because I forget whether or not I fed her, and she would eat 17 times a day if we let her. Seriously, you could drain your brain out your ears when you see the positive pregnancy test, because it turns to jelly and is basically useless anyways.

How many of you are now re-considering pregnancy after reading through that list?  I mean, I could have forgotten a few things, because my brain is ineffectual at this point, and all I see on the screen is the blinking cursor.

Maybe it’s naptime.