Today marks exactly 22 weeks and 5 days of my pregnancy journey…a journey that has been both magical & …difficult. When I received the news that a baby was on the way I spent hours trying to find a relatable pregnancy journey; but it seemed I could only find those who had an absolutely amazing pregnancy (or at least said they did) or those who had to muster the strength to endure some truly tragic and tough obstacles on their journey to baby. Obviously, I was left unsatisfied with the drastically different and unrelatable results. Then & there, I vowed to be honest when anyone asked me how I was feeling or how the pregnancy was going and everyone loves a list. So, halfway-ish through my pregnancy, here are some thoughts.

  1. The cravings are a real thing. I always thought that “cravings” were an excuse for women to finally be able to eat the treats and snacks she has always wanted to but couldn’t because she was too busy maintaining her waistline. And yes, there might be a bit of that going on, but the truth is the cravings are happening. I have literally craved things I haven’t eaten since grade school, I caught myself in Hy-Vee staring longlingly at the Hostess display and I even have an “emergency box” of snacks & goodies hidden in my office in case of unexpected cravings…this isn’t me, I don’t even know who I am anymore.
  2. It has made me a better person. There is something about growing a human being that humbles you (I can’t imagine what it will feel like when I’m holding and caring for that same little being!) and gives you pause. I have a sort of love, grace & patience (as long as my hormones are behaving) that I have never experienced before.
  3. I couldn’t do this alone. Without the obvious assist from Travis this journey would be a heck of a lot harder without him. While I’m doing the majority of the physical work by myself, for now, it doesn’t feel that way. Travis has been there in every way possible and without his comic relief and his ability to quiet every single fear that pops into my head I would be having a much harder time enjoying this journey. His late night malt making skills don’t hurt either. 🙂
  4. Sciatica Nerve Pain. Ouch. I’ve complained enough about this across all social media platforms, so I’ll leave this one alone. But, ouch.
  5. Everyone loves a pregnant lady. I always thought PP (pre-pregnancy) this was a myth…it’s not. Obviously friends & family are over the moon for me and so accommodating but even the strangers I’ve encountered over my 5 months of pregnancy have been so incredibly happy for me – it’s extremely touching and an amazing reminder that humans are inherently kind no matter what the world is trying to tell us right now.
  6. All I do is pee. PP I was already an extremely active…pee-er? I blame a small bladder and above average consumption of water but since pregnancy it is all. the. time. One trip to Target results in 4-5 bathroom visits. I’m just relieved the bump is out now so people stop looking at me with concern.
  7. My dreams are starting to scare me. I’ve always had vivid and often scary dreams…storylines so complex I would wake up with them on a loop in my head throughout the day; that being said, nothing….nothing compares to pregnancy dreams. What is even happening? Last night I was on the heels of a serial killer rampage and it was intense….and frightening.
  8. Itchy belly. It itches all day and all night no matter what I lather on it or how high I have the humidifier set for. I’m told there’s nothing I can really do….skin itches when it stretches….:)
  9. Pregnancy is a lot of “I can’ts”: “I can’t eat that.” “I can’t drink that.” “I can’t do that.” I have my moments where I start feeling sorry for myself and then one glance at an ultrasound photo on the fridge or a nudge in my tummy from her movement reminds me that it is all worth it.
  10. Did I mention the sciatic nerve pain? I just really wanted to make sure that made it in here. 😉
  11. I miss sleeping on my back. That list of “can’ts” I mentioned above includes laying flat on your back after you’ve finished the first trimester – something to do with reduced blood flow to the fetus…I try not to read too much about why I can’t do something in the interest of not sending my already anxious mind into a tizzy. I have the most comfortable pregnancy pillow and I can get pretty cozy curled up on my side but I really miss snoozing on my back. Plus, there is nothing worse than waking up on your back in a panic wondering how long you let yourself lay like that. 🙁
  12. Hormone rollercoaster. For a girl who already had all of the feelings all of the time pp….this has been a bit overwhelming. Suddenly, dropping your makeup brush when you’re in a hurry or catching the grumpy look of a stranger in the store can have me on the edge of tears. It’s a lot. Which is why I’ll refer back to number 3…make sure you surround yourself with a partner who will have grace and patience for your emotional outbursts or tears that suddenly start spilling from your face for no discernible reason.
  13. I talk to my belly like it’s going to talk back. It hasn’t yet. Once I felt baby girl noticeably thumping around in my stomach its become difficult not to include her in my day-to-day. So, I have found myself saying “should we go eat lunch now?” or “let’s get some sleep, yea?” It’s weird, but I’ve also had in depth conversations with my dog so this is probably weirder for other people than it is for me.
  14. I hear “how are you feeling?” a lot. This references #5 a bit. I have never had anyone ask me how I am feeling this much in my life. And I always feel guilty providing a truthful answer which right now is….not great.  I’ve found that people like to hear you’re feeling good because they genuinely care and because when you say the dreaded “I could be better” there is really nothing they can say to you to make it better.
  15. It’s best to just avoid Google. My rule of thumb with Google: when I am unfamiliar with terminology used I do a quick search and only read the very top result which briefly describes said term…delving any farther is dangerous territory.
  16. I listen to other’s pregnancy journeys (good & bad) as a source of camaraderie and entertainment not as a forecast for how my pregnancy will go. The only certainty we have in pregnancy is that no two are alike. When other women share with me I genuinely like to hear about their experiences – there is nothing more motivational than hearing about other women’s struggles or triumphs during pregnancy…but I don’t take them away with me as certainty that I will endure or succeed in the same way – that’s just bad for the brain.
  17. I’m the good kind of fat. A year ago I started a lifestyle transition and changed the way I looked at food and exercise. The result was 20lbs in weight dropped and a new love for fitness – I teased Travis the entire time that right when I reached my “goal weight” we would discover I was pregnant. And literally, down to the day, that is what happened. Obviously, some of that weight has had to come back and I’ve had to be much more forgiving about what I’m eating and the exercise I’m not able to complete – did I mention the sciatic pain?? 🙂 – now that I am pregnant. When I look in the mirror I have had to remind myself that the extra weight around my hips & waist is there to bring a health baby girl into the world. It doesn’t hurt that my husband tells me daily that I look as beautiful as ever…I can’t stress #3 enough.
  18. My heart stops every time I hear her heart beat. No matter how many times that heartbeat fills the doctor’s office my heart just stutters to a stop and my eyes fill with tears – the most beautiful sound on Earth. <3
  19. I need to write it down. Keeping up with my journal and documenting the bump are so important to me – I want to refer back to this journey often.
  20. Sometimes you have to make yourself get out of the house. My house is my favorite place right now (it always kind of has been but especially right now) but I know that in the future I will often be confined to these walls when I might not want to be so I force myself to get out and about as often as that pesky sciatic nerve (lol!) let’s me.
  21. Some knowledge is power. I like to be informed enough to ask my doctor important questions and to have a relative idea of what the next step is but I’m glad I’m a little bit clueless. It is very hard to worry about what happens next when you don’t know what happens next. 🙂
  22. This is the most important thing I have ever done. I’ve never been one for selfishness, even during a rare selfish moment I end up feeling so guilty about it that I don’t enjoy whatever I chose to be selfish about but this has changed that perspective for me. Carrying this little girl & bringing her to life is the absolute most important thing I have ever done in my life and will be my greatest accomplishment so sometimes that means telling someone I’m not up for something, excusing myself from a stressful situation or allowing myself the grace to call a day in which I just cared for myself a success. I think this will feel more natural when the love of my life is here in the world when her health isn’t so entirely tied to mine.

The bottom line…this has been the most incredible experience. Not all good…actually, a lot of it can’t be classified as good, but so full of meaning and purpose.

I’d love to know what YOU learned while you were pregnant – let me know!

xo,Hayley