To say that being pregnant sucked would be a severe understatement. I had this completely unrealistic idea that I would be walking on clouds while wrapped in a warm, glowing light, with perfectly dewey skin, listening to the angels sing and play their harps, while simultaneously gorging on ice-cream straight out of the carton. I was wrong. SO WRONG. Except for the ice-cream part. That totally happened… on multiple occasions.
To be honest, pregnancy was a very difficult period in my life. From physical pains to the emotional highs and lows, life was incredibly abnormal for many months. My body felt like a foreign country, but not in a, “Cool let’s go exploring!” kind of way. More like, “OMG we are lost, we don’t know the language, we have no money, we have to sleep on the streets, and there is no way to get home!!!” state of emergency. If you had a difficult pregnancy, I’m sure you can relate. If you didn’t have a diffciult pregnancy, well, commiserate with me anyway.
The First Trimester
November 2017 – February 2018
My mother has never been one to complain, so I should’ve known not to believe her when she said pregnancy was a miraculous and beautiful journey that she loved. She’s either forgotten its misery, she lied, or she’s just the happiest person on planet earth and she meant every word. (Just so we’re on the same page, it’s the latter. Seriously, ask anyone and they’ll nod in agreement). I was the last of my five siblings to have children and I’d say the bottom 10% of my friends to have a child. Nothing could have adequately prepared me for the nausea, mood swings, depression, and sheer exhaustion. The symptoms were debilitating.
This baby was not planned at all. He was a total honeymoon baby where we rolled the dice and hoped for the best. Now that our sweet boy is here, I can say that we did, indeed, get the best for which we had hope. But in the months leading up to his arrival, I definitely felt less than best. Prior to getting married, Ian and I both agreed that we would be content in our life without ever having children. Finding out we were pregnant was terrifying and disappointing. The positive test felt like a far cry from something “positive,” and now that I have been through the thick throes of pregnant misery, I can attest that pregnancy doesn’t feel very positive.
Whoever coined the term “Morning Sickness,” make yourself known so I can throat-punch you. My body can handle an extensive amount of discomfort, but that all-day-nausea crap? Nope. “Morning Sickness” was a big, fat lie. Yup. More like, “All day, everyday, with unrelenting symptoms sickness.” Saltines & ginger ale were a regular staple around here. Buttered noodles too.
I also got a really cool (read: not cool) sinus infection. No one can prepare you for being sick AND pregnant. You can’t take just any medication over the counter. You have to call the doctor or make an appointment to see the doctor to approve any medications. I was been basically bedridden for the last few weeks leading up to this event anyway (thanks, nausea), but to have had this severe of an infection completely zapped my already-lacking energy level. I ended up taking a shot of apple cider vinegar while waiting to hear from my doctor because my throat felt like it was literally on fire. I couldn’t talk, laugh, or whisper without feeling intense pain. I think Ian was secretly grateful for that because he scored a few days off from hearing me complain about being pregnant. Twelve days later, the symptoms began to trickle away. Being able to breathe and talk without wincing was a huge win for me in the first trimester. How the heck was I supposed to survive labor when a stupid sinus infection had me in this much of a tizzy?!
And let’s talk about those hormones. Why was a car insurance commercial getting me choked up? I’m talking uncontrollable, inconsolable tears. Over car insurance. Don’t even get me started on the baby diaper commercials. Those were real tears because the babies were so soft and squishy, but also because I realized how much money we would dump into the baby’s dumps. Ya feel?
Alas, we did hit our first milestone: the first appointment. I was a nervous wreck. Be warned, newly-pregnant people. DO NOT drink as much water as the doctor tells you to before the appointment. They said something outrageous, like 50 ounces of water or something absurd. We had a morning appointment, but the doctor was running about an hour behind schedule. I had to pee so badly that when I finally got my first glance at our little nugget on the ultrasound monitor, there were no unicorns or butterflies. Just red rage as I succumbed to the pain of having a bladder so full that the doppler on my stomach physically pained me. A tear rolled down my cheek, but not because I was moved by the baby’s image — I was in actual pain. Thank goodness I didn’t wet myself right then and there, albeit I may have enjoyed the ultrasound a little more if I had. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.
I did start ordering some maternity clothes online around this time. Shopping was fun; hiding what looked like the beginnings of a good beer belly was not. I had to start wearing my stretchy pants to work and people definitely noticed. My blue button-down shirt offered no stretch at all, which made me look like I indulged far too much on Christmas cookies without making any New Year’s resolutions actually stick.
The Second Trimester
February 2018 – May 2018
A few weeks after our first ultrasound appointment, I was beginning to feel the nausea subside. Hallelujah! I thought I was finally in the clear and I wanted to celebrate feeling normal for the first time in two months, so Ian and I went to Meadow Lake Resort for a nice dinner. I dove mouth-first into a hearty, rich pasta dish with fettuccine and vegetables. The flavor was so decadent that I didn’t even need dessert. Unfortunately, the glory and satisfaction of that meal was short-lived. I started feeling the pangs of nausea return on the drive home. I took big, deep breaths through my nose and out of my mouth on the 20-minute drive, but I started dry-heaving before we even got to our driveway. I stripped down for a lukewarm shower, as those usually seemed to help, but it didn’t take long before the not-so-glorious return of dinner splashed against the tub. Ian peeled back the shower curtain and rubbed my back while I heaved out my expensive dinner. I kept apologizing – for wasting the money on my meal at dinner and for his soggy shirt – but he didn’t even mind. He just wanted me to feel better. Swoon.
At the end of February, we visited New Orleans with friends. The trip was planned months in advance, unlike our pregnancy, so I had to skip the booze. One night we were out exploring and bar-hopping (to which I can attest that the water at each establishment tasted the exact same). Ian and our friends were having a great time sitting at the bar, sipping on beers and sharing shots, and I couldn’t help but feel left out. I excused myself to the restroom. On the door of the women’s facilities, I’m not even kidding, was a cartoon drawing of a pregnant woman and a list of reasons why drinking while pregnant is dangerous for the baby. I was swallowed by anger and resentment. I just wanted to have fun with my friends, dang it! Listen, I don’t need to have alcohol to have a good time, but I was on vacation and wanted to live a little. I locked myself in a stall and cried. I’m starting to notice a pattern of me crying in bathroom stalls. I don’t know how long I was gone, but I know that crying just made me feel worse. I splashed water in my face and tried pulling my act together. When I returned to the bar-top filled with my loved ones, I couldn’t mask my emotions all that well. Ian kept asking if I was okay, which just made me more angry. We went for a walk down the cobblestone streets and walked through an outdoor artisan market where I unleashed all of the resentment I was feeling. Ian was so gracious. So patient. He hugged me, he held my hand, and he apologized that the trip hadn’t turned into what I was expecting now that we were expecting. His apology made me feel bad for feeling bad. Ugh. I just couldn’t win with those hormones. I was up, I was down, and I was always sideways somehow.
Nesting also hit hard during the second trimester. We were able to get a head start on the baby room after finding out that we were having a little boy. Ian’s mom, Rachel, came over with all of the paint supplies so we could tackle the labor-intensive wood paneling priming and painting. If you love painting but want to hate it, definitely take a stab at real wood paneling. You can’t just take a roller and go over the top. You have to do that plus take a brush and fill in the grooves between each panel of wood. We had to do two layers of primer and three layers of paint. YUCK. Three days later though, the room felt brand new. I was obsessed with collecting aviation-themed decor and organizing it all to look cohesive.
I also told my employer during this time that I was pregnant. I was really worried about what they would say, which seems so silly now, but everyone was supportive and incredibly happy for us. Their happiness really rubbed off on me and helped me to accept that I was becoming a mom. Everyone always asked how I was doing or how I was feeling, and even if I was having a difficult time, their kindness and sincerity gave me the strength to keep going. Thank you, SkyWest and Hops family!
The Third Trimester
May 2018 – August 2018
Summer season at the airport was in full swing. One nice thing about being pregnant was that my maternity uniform hadn’t arrived until summer was almost over, so I got to basically wear black stretchy maternity pants from Target (think fancy leggings) with a lightweight blue tank top and blazer. I was so comfortable in my work clothes. The other nice thing about being pregnant was that I couldn’t fit in the airplane seats that well, which exempt me from being on the turn-clean team. I didn’t have to get sweaty or smelly (well, any more than usual) trying to wedge that belly between seats to clean up trash or vacuum under the seats, which was a blessing. I’m sure next summer, however, I will make up for lost time.
I mostly worked the ticket counter and gate. The ticket counter was a challenge because everyone was scared to let me lift bags that were greater than 25 pounds. But it’s a ticket counter during the airport’s busiest season to date. I couldn’t be efficient if I couldn’t lift the bags! I got away with it a few times, but passengers and coworkers usually beat me to the bags and were able to assist me. I felt pretty helpless, but was overwhelmed by how mindful and kind others were to my unborn baby. When I worked the gate, Flight Attendants usually gave me snacks and drinks. Even some pilots shared their fancy chocolates. I definitely couldn’t move as fast when closing my flights, but the snacks were like a dangling carrot and definitely upped my pace.
I started not feeling that great by the first week of July. I wasn’t due for another five weeks, but I just didn’t feel right. My head started aching and all I wanted to do was sit in a dark room and close my eyes. The nausea returned too. My feet were so swollen that even wearing a one-size-larger-than-normal shoe felt uncomfortable. One of my coworkers offered to take the last shift I had before having five consecutive days off. I genuinely felt guilty for giving it away, but she insisted. Thank you, Katie, because I often wonder what would’ve happened if I had worked that last shift.
Four days later, I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, and our son was born via emergency c-section.