It happened this morning. As I lifted my pyjama top off my head to step into the shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, and there they were. My brown marie biscuit sized nipples in all their dinner plate glory. “Barry” I shouted “Fuck!”. “What?” he asked, from the comfort of the bed. I stepped into the room and within seconds his face, full of expectation, had changed to one of barely concealed horror. His wife had ‘turned’.
I remember this happening with my first pregnancy as well, I think I stared at my boobs for close to 30 minutes. Overnight they had changed from perky 34Cs to heavy swollen appendages. And the nipples. Oh my god guys. You would think I would have remembered the fucking nipples!
So, barely 12 weeks in and my body has already decided it’s going to fast forward into alien mode. I think with a second baby your body is prepped and ready to go, so you get less time to feel normal before the changes set in. This time around it’s also been rougher on me. Debilitating exhaustion – to the point where there were days I would get home from work and be physically unable to run Carter a bath. Nausea, which I didn’t seem to have with my first, was always there. Brushing my teeth is still a battle of the gags and the constipation could win some awards. Poo’ing is such a great achievement that I may even tweet about it. Also, the anger. I pretty much hated everyone for several weeks. Normal conflict averse Kate was telling people to ‘go fuck themselves’ and I could barely contain my eye rolls in meeting. I could visualise stabbing people and I got into such a bad altercation with a taxi last week that I though I was going to be murdered on William Nicol.
However, it’s such a freaking thrill to know that I’m growing a another human bean in my belly. Fondly referred to as ‘Pip’, I count down the days between scans and am already rubbing my little belly. I don’t quite know how I’m going to have the patience to wait to meet this little he/she, but what I do know, is that Bulldog farts, food aversion and hubcap sized nips aside, I am totally in love already.
On Sunday, this not so little baby bump will be 9 months old. Before y’all panic and wonder why I’m not sprinting shuffling towards the closest hospital, remember that one is actually pregnant for a whopping TEN months so I still have a good few weeks to go. Yep, 40 weeks gestation, just another mind fuck us preggie woman are confronted with during our baking sessions.
I always wondered why, when you asked a pregnant woman how far along they were, they answered with some eye-rolling inducing answer like “26 weeks and 4 days”. Really? why couldn’t they just say 6 months? I’ll tell you why, it’s because every day we harbour this little human in our belly feels like an achievement. I know that sounds terribly self-involved and a bit ridiculous, but it’s true. I have gone through the past 35 weeks (and 4 days) knowing exactly how far along I was – to the day – at any given time.
Pregnancy becomes this great countdown – There are the big events like the trimesters, the important ultrasound dates like the out-of-the -danger-zone-12-week-scan and the all-important ‘baby is as big as a cucumber!’ milestones.
Imagine running a marathon – you have 42.2 kilometres ahead of you – and the only way you are going to cross that finish line without dying or faking a sprained ankle is to plan the race…every step of the way. You go in well fed, pre-race pooped, fit and with the right kit. You know that to reach the 21km mark means you are half way (20 weeks!) and that every 3 kilometres there’s a water point (baby ultrasound days, yay!). Closer to the end you find a burst of energy (OK, so this never happens in pregnancy) so by the time you cross over that finish line you are still alive, albeit slightly bruised and battered. (Your vagina).
So, forgive me for celebrating this very big milestone that is Sprouts 36th week in the womb, because it’s ended up feeling like a very long 36 weeks, and as anyone who’s ever had a freshly squeezed kid will tell you – the last month sucks, a lot.
You may remember, I wrote a blissfully glowing report on things I had learnt in pregnancy. Well, friends, that was in the first 12 weeks when my skin glowed, I maintained my weight due to some delicate food aversions (read – sobbing over a fishcake) and every single thing about growing a human child was a novelty.
Fast forward several months and I am pretty much 100% over it. So, an update on things I have learnt (later on) in my pregnancy:
EVERYONE will give you their advice. At first you suck in it like kitchen roll, fascinated by the stories, the anecdotes, the remedies. That shit was liquid gold. Until, it’s not, and you just want everyone to shut up and stop telling you all the things all the time. OH, you think it’s best if I get natural birth? Thanks very much. I’ve never once thought about how I’m going to get this baby from the inside to the outside.
The weight gain is all cool, until it’s not cool and one day you wake up with a fatter face, fatter arms and the inability to shave your legs without seeing cellulite in your ankles.
You are hot, all the time. I really didn’t battle with this until a month ago when the cooler weather set in, resulting in office heaters on full blast, and me melting in my desk chair covered in boob sweat.
Your tolerance levels for pretty much anything drop to a winning low. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing for me, Mrs-Hate-any-sort-of-conflict, and I now find myself directly confronting issues and people I have issues with. Just the other day I sent a scathing email and didn’t even add a smiley face to the end – I mean, that’s telling ‘em right?
People can and will say stupid things. Just a few pearlers from the last few weeks:
“Do you have a special Doctors note that allows you to still be at work?”
“Are you having natural or a Joburg special smash and grab?”
Are you going to be a real woman and have natural?
‘I’ve noticed you’re gaining weight, and not just in your tummy”
“Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”
You walk slow, and with a duck like waddle. I used to be one of those woman in the mall, who walked sofastallthetime and would roll my eyes in passive aggressive irritation at dawdlers and window shoppers. I am now that person causing 4 body pileups outside of Edgars, and forcing people walking with me to step backwards every few minutes so as not to leave me in their dust. Try as I may I cannot go faster than granny pace, and If I do I’m convinced my baby is going to physically fall out of me.
Reflux and heartburn are the devil spawn. I constantly feel like I have food rising in my throat and wake myself up most night by vomiting pure bile in to my mouth. On good days I can’t sleep, swallow or lay my head lower than a 90 degree angle. On bad days I think about this
At night your bladder turns into a vindictive little girl bitch that fills up rapidly and insists on being emptied, every half an hour, one pitiful teaspoon at a time. It’s cystitis on steroids.
Nesting takes on a whole new level. Just last week I found myself walking around the house, wiping down the plants with a dishcloth and coconut oil.
Every movement, pinch, jab, roll, kick and pain makes you assume that you’re in labour. THIS IS IT! you think, as the tiny ferocious child inside you smashes his head against your womb for the 18th time that hour. It’s not.
All the moans and groans and aches aside, I seriously still need some time before our little man makes an appearance. There are very important things that need to be done still, like packing his bag, packing my bag, and locating my nether regions to get them waxed.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I donwloaded every pregnancy app out there, bought all the books and subscribed to every online newsletter available. I tracked my daily progress, hungrily devouring the information that was provided to me. I lived for Sundays, which was the fetus’ ‘birthday’ and on those days I would shout out at my husband while he was in the shower “Babe, today it’s the size of a grain of rice!” and later “Oh my god – its a whole grape love!”
Fast forward to 24 weeks (boom – hello 6 months!) and our big little man is supposedly weighing in at an impressive 600 grams. Still a while to go, but it’s bizarre to think I have something the length of a ruler and the weight of a margarine tub just chilling out in my belly.
I’ve said it before, but I have had an easy pregnancy. However, nothing is without even its small issues, and as the time goes on more and more textbook symptoms are cropping up. Trust me, not much is fun about those, and as much as you try your damnedest to avoid the fateful aches, pains and marks of pregnancy, they are just sometimes unavoidable.
Never fear, I’ve kindly taken lab rat to a new level and experimented with a whole whack of options to cure these issues. Hopefully, if you are on this gassy glorious road to motherhood too, you will find value in some of these solutions.
1. Baby on bladder and other wee issues
I’m fine during the day, but the second bed time comes (around 6:30 pm these days) my bladder fills up faster than a nightclub bar on student night. I have my bedtime routine down to a fine art now; Wee, brush teeth, wee again. Get into bed and read for 30 minutes (get up to wee twice during reading session). During the night its a few more wees, and then a grand wee at around 5 am, bypassing the need for any sort of alarm clock. Ladies, sorry to break it to you, but there is no cure for this – the only thing that has slightly helped is to drink all the water you need during the day and then go H2O cold turkey from about 6 pm. Don’t even be tempted to swallow a little bit when brushing your teeth, no ma’am, even the smallest amount will top up your bladder faster than you can spell w-e-e.
2. Purple marks are the highway to hell
The other morning, while lifting my pendulous bosom from its resting position on my belly, I happened to catch my reflection in the mirror (lately that’s the only way I can see past my neck. Need a bikini wax? There’s no way of knowing unless staring directly into a reflective surface.).
I digress, I caught my reflection in the mirror and let out a howling wail – the underside of my now-no-longer-belong-to-me-boobs were covered in purple stretch marks, and not be too TMI about this, I’ll leave it at that – but let’s say I sobbed all the way to work that day.
Stretchmarks are sons of bitches, and apparently the boob ones do go away after baby is born. The only solution for this is to accept it, move on and dream about the boob job your husband is going to buy you to say thanks for carrying his child for 40 weeks.
As for other stretch marks – I swear by Bio Oil – I use it twice a day, on-top of a Palmers (designed for preggy) body lotion and combined with Palmers preggy body butter. By the time I’m done applying cream in the morning you could squeeze me through a keyhole.
3. Back be damned
A combination of orthopedically un-approved office chairs and a burgeoning belly are a recipe for disaster when it comes to a sore back. No position is comfortable and by the end of the day it hurts to even breathe. Apparently working from bed isn’t an option, so the next best solution is to discard said office chair (burn it if possible) and sit on a gym ball or chair not made from Satans tool box. Getting up during the day also helps. I found myself at one point going outside with the smokers for a bit of a break, until I realised that was probably worse for me than the chair…
4. Your shoes are laughing at you.
As is any form of home pedicure, foot cream or sock. Unless its a shoe you can slip into (praise you dear Havianas) just about any shoe is going to cause an unnecessary amount of bending and uncomfortable contortionism. The other day I walked into the office with one sneaker unlaced. My lovely colleague Lucy kindly tied it for me, as she will be doing for the next 3 months. Thanks Luce!
Top tip – fuck office wear and buy flip flops. Also, pay someone to paint your nails. Someone who isn’t a 3 year old or your husband.
5. If you sleep on your back your baby will die
… is what I told my gynae I’d read online. Which is when he replied with “Kate, imagine all the dead babies scattered around from woman who accidentally fell asleep on thier back!“. Mortified, he had a point – don’t take everything you read online as the gospel. That being said, it’s actually not advisable to sleep on your back. It’s impossible to sleep on your tummy and its pretty uncomfortable to sleep overall. My darling husband bought me a preggy pillow which I used once, and which is now dog bed v2.
I find spooning a regular pillow, and sleeping next to bed hitler (Kate you’re sleeping on your back again!*) helps tremendously.
* And when he calls me Kate I know I’m in kaak.
6. R200 for a belly band? I’ll take 2!
Possibly the biggest life saver during pregnancy has been the ‘belly band’. An overpriced stretchy piece of material that allows you to extend the life of your pants. These little miracle workers have allowed me an extra 6 months in my skinnys. I’ve also found that randomly flashing my unzipped jeans and belly band to colleagues on an almost daily basis more than makes up for the hefty price tag. They just love it.
I have more, but let’s save those treats for months 7 through 9, shall we?
1. The first 12 weeks, when no-one knows (and just think you ate all the pies) are when you feel the absolute worst. Want to throw up on your keyboard? Sure, just make sure you do it quietly.
2. You may not gain any weight but shit gets bigger and looser. I have a Kardashian sized bum, with none of the perks
3. Most people, upon finding out say “well done“. I swear, getting knocked up was the easiest praise I’ve ever received. If pregnancy was a promotion, I’d be President right about now.
* Side note – one person when finding out actually asked “How do you know?”. I wasn’t quite sure how to answer that one.*
4. You go through this awkward phase of part bloat, (small) part baby and (large) part fat. When I say ‘go through’ I mean it seems to last forever. Even now, with my news out in the open I find myself walking into a room of strangers defending the boep while screaming “I’m not fat, I swear, I’m just pregnant!”
5. You may be a 10 times Comrades marathon winner, but a few weeks in, you are so tired, so nauseous and so dizzy that the thought of climbing into your car seems like a chore, let alone going to gym (I refer to point 2.)
6. You gauge time by Doctor appointments, And every-time you have a scan you are surprised that the baby is still there. It’s true – for the first several weeks – apart from feeling like you’ve been roofied, there is nothing that makes you feel like you are really with child. Conversations with my gynae have gone as follows:
Me (naked and vulnerable on the bed, large camera dildo inserted): “Oh, cool – it’s still there!”
Doctor: “What do you mean it’s still there?”
Me: “Well, I don’t know, I didn’t really feel pregnant this morning”
Doctor: “Kate, you’re very much pregnant. The only thing that can kill your baby is me or nature”
Me: “Oh, so is it OK if I gym then? (this was clearly before I felt like I did in point 5).I mean, I skip and everything”
Doctor: “Honey, if skipping caused the baby to fall out, then everybody would be going to Virgin Active for an abortion”
7. Your food moods will change every minute. One night I made fish cakes for dinner. I count even take one bite before I burst into tears. When husband asked why I was crying, I cried even harder. In hindsight I think I was more sad for the money wasted on Woolworths salmon, than I was for the fact that I couldn’t touch seafood for the next few months.
8. Telling people is a treat, and probably deserves it’s own post, but I’ll summarise. When we told our respective folks, we wrapped up boxes of “Ouma’ rusks for the moms and “Grandpa” headache tablets for the dads. Firstly, let me tell you that the penny did not drop, and secondly we must have the politest set of parents in the history of parents. My mom, upon opening her (23 Rand) rusks must have gone on and on for over 5 minutes, gushing about how much she loooves rusks, and how delicious, and lovely and thoughtful of us to drive all the way over to their house and give them to her. You get my point. My dad, takes one look at the headache pills and says “I cant use these”.
My grannies weren’t much better. What we did for them was to wrap up the same box of “Ouma” rusks, but write “Great” on-top – as in “Great Ouma” – get it? She didn’t. After about 10 minutes of reading the box out loud, I had to eventually tell her that I was Pregnant.With.A.Baby. Only then did she look up at me, laughing, and say ‘Oh, Katie, I thought you just wanted to tell me how great I was!”
9. Preggy brain is a thing. I doubt it’s supposed to happen so soon – but twice now I have left the bathroom tap running after washing my hands. Thank god I have a spouse with a good ear.
10. You know when you’re younger and you meet a guy or girl who you really like? You cant stop yourself from saying their name at any and every opportunity. “Oh, you had a bikini wax today? Mark has a sister, I’m sure she also goes for bikini waxes”. It’s embarrassing, and obvious, and you can’t stop the verbal diarrhea. The same thing happens when you are pregnant – you want to talk about it all the time and have to physically stop yourself from mentioning your fetus in every conversation. (As I type this I have duct tape across my mouth to avoid boring my poor desk mate Lucy)
11. (I know, I said 10, but this is important). You are so excited you could pee! You also do pee, alot, but that’s because of increased blood flow, and not necessarily excitement. You’re not a dog for gods sake.