It’s been a pretty smooth pregnancy. This is week 39 and not a single complication, everything normal, on schedule. Although it is my first pregnancy, I thought I was prepared. I have friends with kids; I remember my mom’s pregnancies with my little sisters; I’ve read the books. Unfortunately, friends don’t share everything, memories are fallible, and the books don’t always present the clearest picture.
Here are 5 things about late pregnancy that are apparently normal, but I was entirely unprepared for:
- Dizzy spells and seeing stars: this one freaked me out a bit. Two weeks ago I had an ocular migraine (seeing flashing lights, blurry vision, headache) and went to bed early. It was mostly gone by the next day, so I moved on. Yesterday, I was curious and Googled ‘seeing stars in pregnancy’ because lately this has been happening to me a lot — despite staying hydrated. I was worried when I saw it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, but since my blood pressure has always been ok, this isn’t a concern (for me personally, but always check with your OB – I certainly did).
Solution/Explanation: Drink extra water and move slowly from one position to the next.
- Nausea when laying down: the last few nights I’ve woken up feeling incredibly nauseous. No actual vomiting, but I felt it in my throat. Nasty.
Solution/Explanation: A lovely result of acid reflux. No rest for the weary, this only gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. YAY! So eat those TUMS and sleep propped up (I make a pillow armchair and sleep kinda reclined. If I had a LazyBoy, I’d sleep there).
- BRAXTON HICKS EVERY TIME YOU MOVE. I’m not totally unprepared; I knew Braxton Hicks were part of the deal. Last Friday, I spent the day running errands and had tons of Braxton Hicks. Since my husband was leaving for his business trip Saturday morning, he begged me to take it easy. Hm, Netflix and microwave meals all weekend? Don’t have to ask me twice. Since then, I am just dandy if I am sitting down, but as soon as I get up (Even if it’s just to pee!) BOOM Braxton Hicks. This morning’s shower cost me two.
Solution/Explanation: Normal for this stage of pregnancy. Call Labor and Delivery if they become regular (and frequent), don’t stop when you settle down, or are really painful.
- Really achy tummy: outside and in, this is not a comfortable stage. I’m not sleeping, getting up to pee every hour, and my stomach aches (like someone’s standing on it….or, I don’t know, growing inside it) all the time. It is increasingly difficult to find a position that doesn’t hurt. Sitting up straight on a comfy chair seems optimal. Of course, you can’t sleep sitting straight up, so good luck there.
Solution/explanation: the world has just chosen to keep secret how freaking uncomfortable the last month is. I thought early third trimester was bad. Experiment with positions until you find something you can live with. Move slowly when you wake up or else risk killer cramps.
- Weird poo: Ok, this is gross, but you know what this whole pregnancy and birth thing is disgusting and not one bit “beautiful”. Those women who gush about missing pregnancy and what a beautiful experience it was, they are lying. Or else they have memory loss. By all accounts my pregnancy has been a breeze and perfectly textbook, but it is pretty horrific the things going on with my body. This latest development I blamed on my obsession with not getting sick (ie eating tons of oranges and other vitamin C fruits). I had read this could be a sign of labor, but I didn’t expect it to start in week 38 and last for…?
Solution/Explanation: Various types loose and/or strangely colored things showing up in the toilet are apparently normal (?!). WTH. Best part is there is zero fix for this. I’ve basically cut out fruit and upped the carbs, but as this hasn’t helped, I may just say screw it and eat my precious oranges and blueberries again. Just stay hydrated, my friends.
The combination of these symptoms since last week had me slightly concerned, my absent husband even more so. At his request (and giving in to my slight paranoia), I called the OB. First, I hate when a medical professional (ha, professional) is condescending, so I had to deal with that. Otherwise, it was a reassuring call. All normal, and they’ll see me later this week for hopefully my last appointment (39 week).
Of course, they covered with “if you start bleeding, have a sudden loss of fluid, or experience regular, frequent, and increasing contractions, contact Labor and Delivery right away.” Well, actually, I knew that much, it was just items 1-5 that I was unprepared for.
Lesson learned. Pregnancy is a gross and uncomfortable process. Little baby, you had better knock my socks off. All for you, kid, all for you.