What I Didn’t Expect Now That I’m Expecting - Everything That I Experienced in My Pregnancy
35 weeks!! We are 35 weeks today!! Exactly two more weeks to go till we’re full-term and Lilibubs can safely come out already. :) And as I am in the homestretch, I thought of sharing every single thing that I’ve experienced or felt to the best of my memory, from before we found out we were pregnant until today. (Siguro naman wala na akong bagong mararamdaman pa, hahaha!)
They range from the usual symptoms to the most unexpected, which prompts me to say that pregnancy is like a double major short course in college - while you learn about how your baby progresses week-by-week, you also learn about and feel the many changes and stretches your body is doing to accommodate the little one growing in your belly - quite fascinating, to be honest. God, the process of creation, is amazing! <3 A word of caution though, do read this entry at your own risk, as it is most suitable for a woman’s eyes. :p
Before We Knew We Were Expecting
I don’t remember how often I ran in March, the last week of which I had begun to suspect that I was pregnant. What I do recall is running in downtown Cagayan de Oro and feeling so breathless and out of shape, taking lots of breaks during that 30-minute workout and just listening to my heart beat like crazy. I attributed it to not having exercised enough recently; yun pala buntis na ako!
Aside from the missed period and getting easily exhausted during exercise, I experienced no other symptom that could have confirmed my suspicions. I didn’t vomit, nor have breast tenderness, nor had I spotted. I do remember singing at a wedding mid-March and feeling more than my usual hungry - so maybe that was another symptom too; I just didn’t put any weight on it.
Post-Pregnancy Test Until the End of the First Trimester (Weeks 6-13)
Extreme laziness, insane amounts of sleeping feeling like a hibernating bear, round-the-clock hunger, and zero attention span - the four main themes of my first trimester. The first three are to be expected, and even if I’ve heard of the so-called mombrain, I was still surprised when it happened to me! I found myself to be completely unreliable and unable to focus on anything for longer than maybe five seconds, haha! This phenomenon continues to this day; I actually told Joey not to depend on me for anything at all until after Lilibubs graduates from college! Hehe!
(To be honest, I am currently forcing myself to finish this entry, and in between I’ve been checking my social media accounts, making trips to the bathroom, shifting my sitting positions - such a lot of distractions I fall prey to! And I have found it hard to finish reading books as well - I keep switching between fiction and those pregnancy/parenting ones, making very little progress on both. I just keep zoning out!)
What I didn’t expect - itchy nipples and sensitive gums. I think I experienced this from late first to early second trimester, with the itchiness coming back early third trimester. Accompanying the boob expansion, my montgomery glands popped out like they were breakthrough artists and introduced themselves flamboyantly, darkening their stage in the process. (If you’ve attended breastfeeding classes, you would know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, there’s always google.) Anyway the itchiness was something I was completely unprepared for - I’m just thankful I didn’t wound myself from the unconscious scratching I must have been doing.
And the sensitive gums - I didn’t get the connection at first! But apparently, these hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy make everything about us sensitive, including our gums! I swear, now that I’m in my third trimester, there are times when I sit that I feel like my pelvis has gotten brittle and is about to give out - I can literally feel them crunch! - and again, it’s thanks to all those hormones who have softened everything to amply prepare for childbirth. Galing, noh? The pelvis is being loosened to give way for a seven-pounder to slide through. Yung feelings ko lang ata ang hindi nagalaw masyado, hahaha! I thought I was gonna be a weepy sot but during my entire pregnancy, I think I’ve cried or been overly sensitive only twice? Hmm mukhang buhos ’to pag manganak na ako ha. :D
The Second Trimester (Weeks 14-27)
It is weird how my nausea intensified on my second trimester. During the first I would experience random gagging at the mere sight of food I didn’t like (there was a short time when I disliked anything cooked with soy sauce). It never really progressed to actual food being disgorged (for which I am thankful for), but there were a lot of moments, especially on the second trimester, when I would just “air gag’, to quote my husband. What’s even weirder was how my ears would always pop before nausea would strike, as if I shifted elevation when in fact, I would just be standing or sitting or traveling on a level plane. Downright weird.
I never really had cravings, but I would find myself heavily influenced by every food post on Instagram, haha! I would throw a lot of “Bubs, gusto ko ng ganito, gusto ko ng ganyan” Joey’s way, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it if he wasn’t able to procure said food for me. Swerte siya in that sense, haha! My friends would tell me to pretend to crave for an out-of-season fruit just to give Joey a run for it - which I never did out of loving fear of my husband, hahaha!
But I would always be eating - from the first trimester until now I had to be munching on something every two-three hours. At first it felt like a chore, especially since I wasn’t used to eating that frequently, but now it’s really a necessity! For I have never experienced hunger the way I do now, na parang ikamamatay ko kung hindi ako nakakain, hehe. Wild!
Cramping. I’m so glad I got the hang of remedying this asap. It was horrible!! Waking up to a cramped leg is just the worst. So thankful for the husband who immediately got up and stretched me the three times I woke and was startled by the pain. I ate bananas everyday and put my feet up as often as I could and even put on compression socks. I think they all helped, but not as much as the newfound awareness I now had of my body - I don’t stretch my body as much in the morning anymore, and the moment I feel a cramp on my feet coming on, I immediately flex it the other way. The brain can learn fast makaiwas lang sa sakit, haha! Amazing!
The second trimester is when a preggo starts to show, and for me it was also the time when lower back pain and frequent peeing began. Since the first trimester, I have been asked by my OB to lie on my left side to increase blood circulation to Lilibubs. At first it wasn’t bothersome but as I grew heavier I found myself increasingly feeling numb on my entire left side. It has gotten a lot better now that I have learned the magic of using six pillows plus c-shaped pregnancy ones when sleeping - sobrang laking ginhawa! I should’ve slept with them sooner!
That’s another effect of pregnancy I didn’t expect - I now love our pillows so much I would not trade them for anything in the world, hehe!
Two-three times I would wake up in the middle of the night to pee. (It became four in my third trimester when I had to take some meds every four hours!) My sister-in-law advised me to limit my water intake as bedtime neared so I wouldn’t have to pee as much, but I just couldn’t. You see, another hormonal effect of pregnancy on me was that I always felt parched, even my sensitive skin and already chapped lips became even drier than before. Hence, I would still drink a lot of water even at nighttime, and also because being a singer, I’ve always been used to hydrating frequently.
And so because I wake up frequently, I had vivid dreams frequently as well. In one night, I would dream three different, sorely intense dreams that when I wake up, sometimes I would get slightly confused or disoriented! I never remembered any of those dreams no matter how real they felt like, though.
I will never forget my 27th week. The day after our baby shower I found that I couldn’t walk! It was so painful to even try! Equally excruciating was the pain I felt in my left butt every time I shifted from a sitting to a standing and back to a sitting position. It was INSANE. I thought it was because my left side was sore from lying on it too much, but as I researched I found that what I was experiencing was sciatic nerve pain. Apparently, it’s quite common during pregnancy (though I’ve never heard of it heretofore, it’s just not talked about as much as nausea). My expanding uterus, weight gain and increased fluid retention, shifted centre of gravity, or maybe even Lilibubs’ head could all have been pressing on the nerve. I even went to a chiropractor to have it addressed. While the pain and numbness didn’t go away immediately, I’m just glad that eventually, naturally, after a couple more weeks of random pain, it did. Maybe my body just got used to the weight, I don’t know. I’m just glad that nowadays, I don’t feel it anymore.
The Third Trimester (Weeks 28-34)
Now I understand why they say that the second trimester is the best, for the third trimester can be pretty overwhelming. There’s still the lower back pain, insomnia, and even more frequent bathroom breaks. Once again you start to get tired easily. You begin to waddle like a lost penguin, your armpits’ sweat glands are in a perpetual state of overproduction. Add to these acid reflux and shortness of breath, thanks once again to those hormones and the little one with her BFF placenta squishing all your organs to make room, particularly your lungs, which then again lead to insomnia. On and on it goes.
You develop heat rashes in your chest, your whole abdomen and chest area look like they’re auditioning for the latest Spiderman movie - blue veins all around, and your breasts look like twin mountains on the verge of eruption. As you grow heavier and heavier, everything starts to feel even more ngalay, and it continues to stagger you just how often you need to change your undies - there has also been quite a lot of activity down there. (Initially I thought the increased secretions were aftermaths of the pampakapit suppositories I’ve been taking. But even when I stopped, there was still a lot. So yeah, advice to the first time preggos, save your nice undies and just use those you wouldn’t mind washing over and over again. Get bigger-sized ones too because your hips - they won’t lie, they’ll get bigger as well.)
Belly button pain - have any of you experienced this? I did, once during the second trimester and again on my third, and it felt very strange. I first began to notice it every time I shifted positions from left to right, when lying down, and sometimes when I’m sitting. When I very gently pressed around my navel, I noticed it felt softer and more sensitive compared to the other areas of my belly. It was not a cause for concern though, for as several pregnancy websites have said, it is a rather normal discomfort some unfortunate preggos go through. (Here! Here!) I just assumed it was because my belly was expanding again, and quite right, that was what was causing the pain.
But the one side effect of pregnancy I never in my wildest dreams could have ever expected - loss of voice. On my 32nd week, I went from normal-sounding me to a sudden hoarse, piyok-piyok magsalita. It was puzzling. I thought it was because I was on house arrest the whole time this happened (I was advised to take it easy because I had spotting and contractions). I was mostly by myself for nearly two weeks hence I didn’t get to talk to anyone that much. I thought, maybe that was it, my vocal chords just weren’t used often so hindi na sanay magsalita (in hindsight, what a silly notion; voice rest is supposed to restore your voice, not the other way around). Just when I was starting to worry, I asked Joey to pray for me. Miraculously, it did come back right after he prayed! I’m my usual speaking/singing self now. And guess what, when Joey and I searched Dr. Google, pregnancy websites again state that voice changes when expecting are normal. Thank you so much once again hormonal changes, increase in bodily fluids, decrease in lung capacity, swelling of vocal cords and change in posture! Wild ang teamwork niyo, kakaiba! Ang dami niyo pinaramdam sa akin hahaha!
But my 32nd week was not all bad news. It was also around this time when I leaked colostrum. I was leaning over the bathroom sink, brushing my teeth, when I felt my breasts harden. Surprised, I checked myself, and there it was hanging on my left - a sliver of the future. Joey was so happy. I was so amazed. We got milk!
Would I do it all again, given all these experiences? You bet I would. I know that when we finally get to welcome Lilibubs into this crazy world, all the aches and pains will be worth it. Besides, every pregnancy is different, right? So my next one could be a lot easier.
Or it could be worse. But then again, would it even matter? :)
Thank you for reading! And to all who have been praying with us for Lilibubs’ good health and a full-term pregnancy, our forever thanks. May God reward you for remembering us in your prayers. <3