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Pregnancy: Expectation vs Reality

Showing up my baby bump with dog at feet

So, you’re pregnant. Now what? I was so focussed on getting pregnant that I didn’t think about what will happen once I do. 

Pregnancy can be one of the most memorable periods in a woman’s life. Each month is full of a different set of extreme emotions and physical changes (some welcome, some not so much).

Thinking about being pregnant is a pretty scary experience. You’re not sure what to expect and there seems like a lot that can go wrong. The first thing you need to understand is that if you’re pregnant, everything is going to be okay. The second thing you need to remember is pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks or 280 days, (and sometimes 289). And that’s just the beginning.

Pregnancy is not just fun and games

First things first – a visit to the doctor was scheduled. With a big sigh of relief she confirmed my pregnancy. Then gave me a list of Dos and Don’ts. <sigh>

Since this was going to be a delicate pregnancy she asked me not to exert myself. No issues there. I’m not known to do that in the best of times. Eat healthy, of course. And the funnest of all – progesterone supplements. Yay!

Progesterone helps develop the uterus lining to keep the egg in its place. However, it is quickly absorbed and discarded by the body so the body needs a constant supply of it – through oral tablets, injections, AND vaginal inserts. So much fun. I would need to take it throughout my first trimester. Not only did it make me irritable and miserable, it was also very annoying and inconvenient. 

I couldn’t keep going to the doctor for weekly injections so she taught me how to do it myself. The first time I did it at home, my brave husband had to leave the room because he couldn’t bear to see it. Ha! Wait till he realises what happens at the end of the nine months! 

My only reason for sanity during this time was that I was spared the morning sickness and weird cravings. Strong smells didn’t bother me and I continued to eat as usual. 

The second trimester offers some respite

The second trimester was quite tolerable. No more hormone supplements. I could almost forget that I was pregnant because my belly wasn’t big enough to show through, and some of the drained energy was returning.

I ate a lot of fruits (and junk food too), binged-watched a lot of shows (Breaking Bad), and hardly went out of my air conditioned room because the humidity outside was too exhausting.

So far, my body was so busy adjusting to all the new changes that I didn’t have the mental energy to think about what’s actually inside. When the gentle kicks started from the inside, the realisation slowly started creeping in. Many women say they feel a strong bond with the baby from the word go. I did not have that. At all. My husband probably felt a greater bond and excitement than I did.

Big changes within and without

Mr S was in the middle of changing jobs so we had a lot of time together, for the first time ever. Then just before the third trimester, he got a job…in another city.

Now, I don’t know how many of you believe in premonitions and listening to your inner voices, but I’ve learnt over time that they are not to be brushed aside. 

We had been living in Mumbai for the last 6 years and were loving it. It was the first house I’ve lived in for that long. But it had started showing signs that it wanted us gone. Constant water leaks and seepage issues, and a lack of space for the new kid inside and outside the house. 

On my walks I had often pictured myself giving birth in Hyderabad where we had a new apartment just minutes away from my parents house. Guess where the new job was located? So we packed our bags and pets, and headed towards a new adventure.

Getting a support system ready

As we settled in our new surroundings, I was thankful that we were in a familiar place with friends and family just a phone call away. While my husband figured out his new job, I visited recommended doctors to finalise my OBGYN. I easily found one I was comfortable with and thus my third trimester began.

My parents during this time were visiting my sister in the US where she had just had a baby of her own. They would return just in time for my due date. 

A dear friend stepped in and organised a baby shower for me. It was the sweetest gesture. It was a mix of some traditions and lots of fun! I was grateful for the extra love.

Pregnancy: Expectation vs Reality

The last two months of the pregnancy was not fun. You know those beautiful pictures of pregnant women with glowing skin and long flowing hair, smiling away at their growing baby bump? I was the opposite of that picture.

Please note for the record that I, not once during the whole pregnancy, stand in front of the mirror admiring my belly, and neither did I talk (or sing) to it. Experts recommend the latter but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It felt strange talking to your own body part.

I felt bloated and had constant gas and heartburn. I couldn’t sleep without having to get up and pee several times a night. And then the itching started. Coconut oil would soothe it for a while but I had to reapply several times in the day. Just part and parcel of womanhood!

Kind people kept reminding me that I should sleep all I can before the baby comes? As if you can stock up on sleep. And how with the constant waking up to pee and heartburn? Honestly, people! 

The kicks from the inside started getting bigger and more frequent. It was a strange feeling to see the footprint on the outside of my tummy – like an alien being clawing its way out. As the due date grew closer, I got more nervous. How painful would it be? How would it happen? What will happen after?

On the 40th week mark, the doctor suggested we induce labour. The baby was doing fine but my placenta levels were a little lower than ideal. My water broke right after lunch while I was on the toilet seat. That was such a relief for me because I would always get grossed out when they showed it happening at random places in the movies.

The time had come.

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