Pregnancy: The Ugly Truth
dear expecting and future moms,
As you all know I have taken time away from photography due to being pregnant. If you do not know me personally then you may not know that I am pregnant with twin boys. My husband and I will be welcoming our precious babies, Quinn and Arie, into the world in October. We could not be more excited. Though we are both excited to start this new journey of our lives together, there are things that people do not realize that comes along with pregnancy. I have talked to many people recently who have experienced a single pregnancy and a twin pregnancy, both of which can be difficult at times. I just want to give expecting mothers or future mothers a little insight on what to expect when you are expecting, especially those little details that most people do not want to tell you about. If you all would like to bare with me, sit back, relax and read my story.
Let me just start by saying for some people getting pregnant is not easy. It is a journey within itself. My husband and I were fortunate enough to get pregnant after only four months of trying. For most people this is not the case. When we first decided to start trying to have a baby, we talked it through, we discussed the possibility of the struggle of getting pregnant. We both decided to not let that thought discourage us, but sometimes it is hard when you go month after month, take test after test and still struggle to get pregnant. For those of you who are continuing to struggle with fertility, hold onto hope, don't give up and pray! You are not alone in this journey.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant I was excited but with the excitement I was also incredibly nervous. When my husband and I found out we were having twins we just looked at each other and laughed. We knew it was a strong possibility for us, but you never really think it will happen to you. While growing up you always think about having kids but when you become pregnant, that makes it real. The nervousness stays throughout the entire pregnancy, and as a mother, it will never go away. It merely turns into worry. When my pregnancy was confirmed my life was no longer just about my own self, everything about my life at that point changed and became about the precious babies growing in my womb. There is nothing like seeing your babies on the ultrasound screen and hearing their heartbeats for the very first time. At that very moment I have continued to worry about them each and every second that passes in the day, I cannot wait until I get to hear their heartbeats again and make sure that they are healthy. There are times when it feels like years until my next OB appointment, though it is really only weeks.
With each passing week during pregnancy your body changes. Some of these changes are not pleasant. Though pregnancy is not the same for everyone, I know each person struggles in their own way. For me, when I first found out I was pregnant, I had horrible nausea and was constantly tired. The nausea did eventually subside after a couple of weeks, but being tired and the exhaustion just got worse. I was lucky enough that I only had nausea instead of vomiting. There are many women who struggle with vomiting for most, if not all, of their pregnancy. They say that the first trimester is the worst and once you get into the second trimester things will get better. Once I made it my second trimester some of my energy returned. I actually felt like waking up in the morning, fixing my hair, and putting on makeup. My main struggle in my second trimester was horrible headaches. During the second trimester your body makes noticeable changes such as weight gain and some swelling may begin. When your body isn't used to rapid weight gain it can cause pain. Your body is also in the process of adjusting for the babies growth, which can cause hip and back pain. I went to a Chiropractor which helped with the headaches and some of the pain. If you decide to go to a Chiropractor, you need to find one that is certified to work on pregnant women.
During pregnancy your doctors warn you about the possible effects, though some women don't experience some of the symptoms and some may be worse for others, I want to address some of the symptoms that I personally experienced. The further my pregnancy progressed, the more weight I gained the more I felt out of shape. Yes, for some people it is okay to continue working out but you cannot start working out when you become pregnant, you need to stick to your normal routine and may even have to modify it. Other aspects that comes along with pregnancy is swelling, heartburn, acid reflux, insomnia, and constant exhaustion. Swelling didn't happen to me until my second trimester, it mainly occurred when I went on vacation. I spent a lot of time walking and out in the heat which is not good. You can buy compression socks to help with the swelling, but resting and putting your feet up also helps. For me, insomnia started early on and gradually got worse as my pregnancy progressed. It was really hard for me to get comfortable at night, at one point I spent two weeks sleeping in the recliner. Eventually it became more difficult for me to get out of the recliner to go to the bathroom at night so much so that I had to transfer back into the bed. Most people recommend buying those pregnancy pillows, I did not buy one, I used at least three pillows to sleep. I put one under my head and back, one under my belly, and one in between my legs. It seemed to work for me and may work for you as well if you do not want to spend the money on a pregnancy pillow. Due to lack of sleeping comes the constant exhaustion throughout the day. I never really found a way to get over that, especially as time went on, but that is a part of being pregnant. Further into my pregnancy heartburn and acid reflux started to occur, but the heartburn can be managed with Tums or Pepcid.
The further your pregnancy progresses there will be things that you are no longer able to do such as remembering things. Pregnancy brain is definitely a thing, though others may disagree. At times it may feel aggravating but it can also be comical. When your belly gets so big that you can no longer see your feet, you may not be able to shave. If you cannot shave then it will probably be very difficult for you to tie your own shoes or put them on for that matter. When doing laundry, if you have a washer that is not front loading, it could be hard to change over the laundry from the washer to the dryer, especially if you are short like me. At this point you are probably peeing every fifteen to thirty minutes, which can become very annoying. For some women, you may be required to be put on bed rest, which happened to me. Bed rest can be depressing because you cannot do anything or may be limited in what you can actually do. It makes it tough when you get into the nesting stage of pregnancy, which is when you just want to clean and get everything ready for your baby’s arrival. One thing I loved doing during pregnancy was decorating the nursery. They have many themes for rooms nowadays that it makes it difficult to decide. My husband liked the wild animals and I liked the cactus so we just incorporated both. The most difficult decision we had to make during pregnancy was picking a baby name. For some, this may be an easy task, we not only had to pick a boy and girl name to possibly choose from but two boy and two girl names until we found out the genders of our babies.
Though pregnancy may seem overwhelming at times, it is easier if you have an amazing support system around you. I am fortunate enough to have friends, family, and a wonderful husband to help me get through this rollercoaster experience. Though we have others to help us look at pregnancy in a wonderful way, sometimes it is hard with all of the challenges that can occur. There are times when we as moms.. MOM.. that is who you are now, have to take it every bit of our pregnancy. Enjoy having those sweet babies inside of you. My favorite part of pregnancy was feeling my boys kick and move, though sometimes it felt uncomfortable, you cannot get those moments back. As hard as it may be to get over the visual changes and the toll it takes on our bodies just remember that once it is all over, you will have a beautiful baby!
Maternity photographs taken by Cheyenne Johnson. If you guys are in the Vinita, OK area check her out. She is very fun and laid back. I love her moody style and look forward to working with her in the future. http://cheyennejohnsonn.com
As a woman, we are constantly being criticized and criticizing ourselves. Pregnancy is looked at in many different ways. Everyone has their own opinion. Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing. You as a woman are bringing new life into this world. Do not let the opinions of others discourage you. Every person is different, our bodies are different, there is not one person who goes through the exact same issues as you during pregnancy. My best advice is to try not to compare yourself to others. One of the most discouraging things that has happened to me is when people walk up to me and tell me that I look eight months pregnant or I look ready to pop, when in fact I was not at the time. I just politely told them that I was not and that I am pregnant with twins.. TWINS. As much as it made me mad, I had to ignore what people were saying and remind myself that I am not only growing one human inside of my body but two and with that comes more weight gain and looking bigger than someone who is pregnant with one child. I personally struggle with trying to remind myself of this daily. It is hard to view yourself in a positive way when your body is changing in ways that you never imagined. There are a few aspects that I struggle with the most and that is the weight gain and stretch marks. Throughout the early stages of pregnancy I hoped that I could avoid stretch marks, I used the cocoa butter lotion that everyone recommends, but obviously all of our bodies are different and we have to accept that we are growing a human inside of us. Our stomachs are going to grow, our skin is going to stretch which in turn for most people leaves stretch marks behind. Do not think that because you have stretch marks that you are not still beautiful. Beauty is not about what you look like, beauty is who you are as a person. I know it is hard to remember these things when you look in the mirror but this is my reminder for you, that YOU are BEAUTIFUL in your own way.
Once it was time for our boys to arrive, we were nervous but oh so ready. We knew from very early on that the possibility of a natural birth was out of the question and that was upsetting. At first it made me feel like I was being stripped of a important aspect of motherhood, but all that really matters is that you deliver your baby the safest way possible for yourself and your baby. We had a c-section scheduled but had to move up the date due to some pre-term labor signs. Thankfully they saw these signs early and were able to give me steroid shots to help our babies develop. The day of the c-section was hectic but exciting. I remember everything that happened that day. When I went into the operating room they had me sit on the table so that they could administer a spinal block. The spinal block basically just felt like a big pinch. Once that settled in, I couldn't feel anything from the waist down. The weirdest part of the day was laying on the table awake while you are being cut on. I did not feel any pain but I know for some women that may not be the case. Within moments of laying on the table my twins were here and I could hear each of their cries, which was such a rush. They lifted each baby up for me to see and for my husband to get pictures of them. Once they took and cleaned them off they brought them both back to me and let me hold them while the doctors finished closing me up. I will never forget those moments. It was and will forever be the happiest day of my life.