Monday, April 14, 2014

There should really be a t-shirt

I am nearly done with the first trimester - woohoo! There should really be a t-shirt. I’ve received t-shirts for going on hikes, for bungy jumping, for graduating high school, even for attending a weekend conference- I really believe that the labours of pregnancy (which include more than just the mammoth finale) deserve some cloth and at least one exclamation mark. Believe me, when I say it’s deserved and I am only about to begin my second trimester. I’ve had my circus of ills, from broken bones (yes, you can break your nose on a rollercoaster and snap your arm in two during a handstand!), to torn ligaments (I kickboxed the shit out of my meniscus, tore both my scapholunate ligaments during a pole dancing craze to the point that an x-ray showed that the pain I felt every time I made a fist was due to dislocating my bones, to breaking my coccyx while finalising a major paper), to the wonder of various diseases, including scarlet fever and glandular fever to amoebas, and the comforts of pregnancy are right up there. So I’m going to make my own damn t-shirt and wear it with a big grin.

Even without a t-shirt, I am glowing. The doctor says it’s the increased blood flow, but it’s my elation at finally being done with this bitch of a first trimester. I’ve heard the second trimester is the honeymoon period, so I am gleefully watching my days tick over into second trimester goodness.

I never looked forward to pregnancy. I knew I wanted a kid, but I certainly wouldn’t have raised my hand to carry and give birth to all the kids if nature had a keener sense of justice - I mean half is fair, no? And I certainly would not have raised my hand first. If my husband and I could draw straws or do a rock, paper, scissors contest (and if I lost the first one, best out of three), I would certainly have opted for that option. But unfortunately, nature has graced only the female sex with this wonderful task - a little bit like Alien, only the alien comes out of you in a slightly less disturbing manner.

The one thing that I consoled myself with before pregnancy and would reiterate to my husband nearly every month was that boy, would I be glad to not have a period for nine months. None of the emotion, cramping, headaches, fatigue, bloating and sometimes constipation that came with the uninvited monthly visitor. Little did I know that the first trimester, at least for me, would feel like one very persistent period, bar the bleeding. I was so ignorant of this possibility, that the days before I found out I was pregnant and believing I was about to have  particularly pernicious period, I was in company with some good reds and my grandfather’s homemade loza and huddled my Bloody Mary the morning after. Somewhere between my red and my promiscuous and not so holy Mary, holding my bloating stomach and complaining to my husband about the crap hand women got in the biological card game, I told him he better get his boys in order and get me pregnant so I could have some respite from the monthly madness. Not my most glorious moment, but thankfully forgotten in the nebulous haze of a night out.

The night of my 31st day, the longest my natural if utterly confused cycle had gone, my husband and I took Chinese takeout and my particularly prescient cookie foretold that “a new friend {would break me out] out of an old routine.” My husband, grinning like a madman, said that we should take a pregnancy test right then. He looked so happy, I didn’t want to disappoint him, knowing a deluge was about to appear and I convinced him to wait till the morning. The next day, my husband hovering around me, I put my pee to the test. While the instructions said to wait two minutes, the dipstick immediately began to turn and my husband exclaimed the good news that I could well see but continued to remained a little incredulous of. Surely there were false positives, I reasoned. I couldn’t understand how I was bloated and cramping but pregnant. My husband, ever helpful with explanations, pointed out I wasn’t a doctor. Sure enough, when we went to our first prenatal appointment, the doc just laughed and said “oh, yes, that happens.” Ladies, there is a conspiracy going on to keep mum about the absence of the consolation prize. Be warned. In fact, as I will relate later, there are a few consolation prizes, including of course a baby but more importantly and of immediate concern, the pregnancy card! (but you can’t really use it in the first trimester, at least not outside of your husband and immediate family, sorry - just be sure to really exercise it with the people you can load it over to compensate for this injustice).

During the days I was “late” but due to a cycle undergoing some major identity issues, ranging from 25 to 31 days in a completely haphazard manner, not late enough for me to suspect that I had a tenant in my midst, I kept running to the bathroom in a desperate effort to avoid the effects of a deluge and nothing would come. That and the bloating convinced me that my period was just around the corner. However, in hindsight, there were a few signs that a precocious individual would have raised an eyebrow at. Although never a light eater, I had never consistently woken up before with a raging, nauseating hunger at 4 am causing me to raid the fridge. After which, I would flop into bed and sleep in, growling when I had to get out of bed (again, a peculiar habit for an early riser like myself). I also had the delightful symptom of raging heat and would walk about the house in a sweat, complaining about the heat to my flabbergasted husband, who had before resigned himself to our perpetual thermostat and covers war, in which I was forever on the attack to raise the heat and bolster the covers and he was ever trying to lower it and kick them off. I was a sweating, raging heater the week before I found out about my pregnancy. So much so, that when my husband hugged me one time, he said I felt like a furnace and he couldn’t hug me much longer.

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