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Welcome to The Club
Pregnant? Me too! Congratulations!
Are you still in shock? I know I am.
I think I’ve been slightly in shock since getting a positive reading on the pregnancy test. I was in such a rush to get to work the day I took the test that I didn’t wait for the result to develop and left the test in the bathroom. I was almost positive that I was not pregnant. I had already taken a pregnancy test a week prior, which was negative. While quickly cleaning up the bathroom before leaving the house, I almost swept the pee stick into the wastebasket. That’s when I noticed there was more than one line. Positive? What?! I’m pregnant!
Can you believe it? We’re pregnant! There is actually a microscopic life growing inside of us, and we are soon going to become someone’s mother! Egads!
Before we get to the drama and implications of parenthood, we have a whole 10 months of pregnancy to contend with. (Yes. Ten months. 40 weeks: 9 months + 3 weeks = 10 months, at least in my book!)
So, what do we do now?
When I discovered my first pregnancy three years ago, I remember that my mind became frantically cluttered with questions: What was this pregnancy going to do to my life? What was it going to be like to “be” pregnant? Were people going to look at me differently? Were my feet going to grow? Was I going to get stretch marks? How much does childbirth really hurt?
Being a planner, I made a detailed list of everything I thought I needed to know and set out to find the answers.
During that first pregnancy I bought and faithfully read all of the standard pregnancy books: What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Your Pregnancy, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, The Everything Pregnancy Book, Pregnancy and Childbirth, the gory yet interesting A Child is Born, and so on. These books were very helpful, but mostly in a clinical sense. I felt I still needed more. I really wanted to know everything about pregnancy- from the most intimate physical changes to the psychological roller coaster I’ve heard it could be. I wanted to hear every single detail from someone experienced and not afraid to discuss the various states of the vagina during pregnancy.
I questioned my doctor, my sister, my mother and all of my closest girlfriends about their pregnancy and childbirth experiences.
I enrolled in the standard classes: Lamaze, Childbirth & Infant Care 101 and a Pregnancy Relaxation course.
After I completed all of my research, I still felt that many pertinent details had been omitted– by the books, by the doctors and even my own sister!
These details, sometimes quite gross or embarrassing in nature, are important for every pregnant woman to know (at least in my opinion!). For example: No one ever told me that I may feel baby hiccups in my rectum; that my nipples were going to crack apart into dozens of small sections that resembled dried desert mud; or that I would automatically earn a “pregnancy card” that would be handy when cutting in front of 100 people waiting to use a public toilet.
You, too, probably have a gazillion questions about what to expect from your pregnancy. Some of your questions may be answered by your doctor or by reference books. Others may be answered by relatives or experienced maternal girlfriends.
With this book, a journal of my second pregnancy, I hope to help fill the gaps in between, and I promise not to withhold all of those “gory details.” I will tell you when I wet my pants in public, what my body (and relationship) went through and the story of my third nipple. Yup, third nipple.
My purpose is to give you, my dear reader and fellow pregnant pal, as much info as possible about pregnancy and childbirth—dirty details and all—while omitting most of the standard textbook stuff.
Be forewarned: I can sometimes be brutally blunt and explicit (not for the dainty mannered gal). If you share my mentality and really enjoy a good “Ewwwww! Really?” among girlfriends, then read on!
If you have never given birth then, the pain of labor and delivery may be your biggest fear. Before my first child was born I had envisioned the pain to be so encompassing that I feared I would lose my mind. I had been told many horror stories of women punching doctors, biting husbands and spit-fit, cursing the nurses.
I am happy to report that my brain (and saliva) remained intact during my delivery and I knew I would gladly go through it all again to have another child.
Some people say that a mother forgets the pain of childbirth once it is over. I’m not so sure this is true. If you want to know what it’s really like in the moment, I’m going to give you the real story.
I will document the birth of my child, blow by blow. I will have a laptop in the delivery room as well as a tape recorder to chronicle my various states of pain and sanity... I promise not to edit!
During my first pregnancy I remember thinking, “Wouldn't it be fun to have a girlfriend who was pregnant and due about the same time, so we could share the experience and compare notes?” I could ask her questions such as, “Are your boobs as sore as mine?” and “Do you have an equal ratio of skin tags to pills on your sweater?” I wrote this book so you can have what I didn’t– a week-by-week chronicle of the hormonal highs and lows and everything in between.
I hope, by sharing my experience with you, I may give you a more personal insight into the real experience of pregnancy and giving birth.
Keep in mind that not all women have the same experience and not all pregnancies are alike (even within the same person). If you are not having the same symptoms as I am, or even if you are experiencing something entirely different, it does not mean that you are abnormal. The range of what pregnancy symptoms you experience and when can be so vast. My friend Carol had morning sickness for the first three months; Abby never had morning sickness; and Caroline was ill for the entire pregnancy. Guess what? All of these cases are considered “normal” for pregnancy.
If you’re ever concerned about unusual symptoms, just ask your doctor or midwife. Some questions that came up for me and some of the women who logged onto the web site include:
“How is it possible there’s enough fluid surrounding the baby when my vagina is leaking like a sieve?”
“So, is it normal to be limber enough to join Cirque du Soleil?”
“What is this sticking out of my butt?”
Chances are, your doctor has heard that very same question many times before and your weird symptom is within the “realm of normality.” And remember, the “realm” is very, very big!
One more thing– if you are one of those women who have “an absolutely, wonderful pregnancy” every step of the way without a single discomfort or unpleasantry, well, cheers to you! Consider yourself doubly blessed.
I tend to be a bit of a complainer. I enjoy sharing my present states of discomfort and oddities with close friends. The daily reality of being pregnant, in my opinion, is not always a glowing miracle. Although it may be ugly at times, it can also be hilarious!
By the time you are finished reading this book, I hope that you may find the humor in a hemorrhoid and laugh when you break water on your mother-in-law’s brand-new Persian rug.
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