Happy ‘Tini Friday! I had an extra cup of coffee and am feeling ambitious, so I’m sneaking in one more post this week. This is the first in a series I’m calling “JSH Baby Time” about pregnancy, labor/birth, and the first year with a baby. If this is not your deal, tune out and it won’t hurt my feelings, but I’m doing it because I WISH that when I was pregnant I had been able to find a blog where someone who’d just been through it laid it all out there and said “this is the no bullsh!t version of everything that you need and everything that will happen”, so hopefully this will help someone who is in the same overstuffed shoes that I was in about 20 months ago. This first post is mostly a reminder for myself about how to survive being a pregnant person, should we ever be brave enough to have a second little crumbsnatcher. It took me far too long to figure out most of these tricks, so here’s the cheat sheet version of Secrets to Survive Pregnancy for sweaty, swollen, beautiful preggies everywhere!
- Pants Extender. Although you will feel like you are the size of a black hole the very instant you discover you are pregnant, you will not start showing until about 12-15 weeks if it is your first pregnancy. Go ahead and get some legit pants extenders, so you don’t end up like me. Yeah, they’re paperclips. Is this TMI? Sorry.
- Belly Band. The pants extenders will only last so long and then you will need a belly band. This will allow you to wear your normal pants longer, you just need to pair them with long shirts since you will be going out in public with the front of your pants essentially completely open. Don’t worry, it is only weird the first few times, and after that you’re just thankful for the breeze.
- A good belly cream. I was lucky enough to not get stretch marks and I honestly have no idea if it had anything to do with the fact that I lubed up my belly like WD40 on a squeaky door hinge as frequently as possible, but it couldn’t hurt.
- Snacks on your nightstand. Fortunately I didn’t get morning sickness too badly, but in the beginning the nausea every morning was rough. I kept some crackers and other little snacks in my nightstand and would wake up about an hour before I needed to get up for work to eat a little bit. Getting up with an empty stomach was what made me feel sick, so if I could eat a bit before I got up it really helped. You may also want to get a dustbuster…
- Colace. Constipation is real, y’all. Colace keeps it movin’. I took one a day.
- Belly Support Band. Eventually your belly will get so big that it makes every muscle in your back feel like it is burning with the fire of 1,000 suns. When you outgrow the belly band, switch to a belly support band. It helps distribute the weight of the 90 pound baby that you’re carrying.
- A birth ball. A “birth ball” is just a yoga ball, only when you sit on it when you’re pregnant you can call it a birth ball. Sitting on this thing doing figure eights with your hips helps get the baby into the right position and opens your pelvis. It also forces you to have good posture, which relieves back pressure, and it is a great tool for relief positions when you’re actually in labor. I took mine to work the last few days of my pregnancy.
- Horseshoe Pillow. You will not believe the amount of space and support that you need to sleep when you’re pregnant, especially towards the end. The horseshoe pillow is like sleeping in a hug. Even my dog thought so.
- An Approved Medicine List. This is the list that my first OBGYN gave me. I kept it on hand and referred to it frequently. This list is meant strictly as a reference, so always check with your doctor before taking anything at all, ever.
- Leg Massager. Until I was pregnant, I thought restless leg syndrome was something made up by pharmaceutical companies. Let me assure you, it is not. It feels like 83,000 ants crawling on the inside of your skin and there is no way to make it stop. Lane got me this fabulous leg massager and that is the only thing that helped. *DISCLAIMER that if you are further along in your pregnancy, there are tidbits floating around out there to suggest that massaging a certain place on your ankle can send you in to labor. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Carpal Tunnel brace. Apparently Carpal Tunnel is pretty common in pregnancy. When I got it, my entire right arm would go numb. The brace helped, but actually having the baby was the only cure. Has something to do with the swelling and a certain nerve being squished I think?
- SKIMMIES. This discovery was life-changing. Ladies, underwear becomes a real problem when you’re pregnant. If you just take a moment to think about the logistics, it really is mind boggling. When I got big and my normal undies became a tourniquet, I resorted to Lane’s boxer briefs for sleeping. After a few weeks of this, it occurred to me that they might make a lady’s version of boxer briefs. They do. And they are fabulous. They simultaneously prevent chub rub (a.k.a. thigh chaffing), AND allow you to maintain feeling in your legs since they are not restricting blood flow to your lower extremities. The kind that I have linked here are also “cooling”. Do I really need to say more?
- Sketchers Airwalk shoes. Your feet will become the Shrek version of themselves, and the extra weight will flatten them out. Yes, seriously. On day three of my prodromal labor journey (to be recounted in the ‘labor’ post portion of this series), I bought these shoes. I was only a few days away from delivering and I so wish that I’d discovered them sooner. If the horseshoe pillow is sleeping in a hug, these shoes are walking in one. They are so soft and supportive, and most importantly, stretchy.
- A Doula. I hate to be dramatic (not really), but LADIES THIS COULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU EVER READ IN YOUR PREGNANT LIFE. If you want to survive pregnancy effectively, get a Doula. Get a Doula. Get a Doula. And do it right now. What is a doula? The actual “definition” is a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born. My personal definition is an angel sent from heaven to hold your hand and comfort you and teach you all of the amazing things you need to know about pregnancy and childbirth. She will give you courage to change doctors at 32 weeks pregnant when you finally realize that your doctor is a pompous a-hole who does not deserve to be the first person to lay eyes on your daughter. She is the voice of reason and will tell you exactly what to do when you think your water has broken. She will also tell you it’s completely normal when it turns out that you just peed your pants. She is there when you’re in labor, she will guide you on when to go to the hospital, she will be your advocate, she will do whatever it takes – including but not limited to getting in the shower with you fully clothed – to help relieve your pain, she is a reassuring presence for your husband, and she will help you have the birth experience you envision. I can not, can not, can not say enough good things about having a doula. Don’t waste another second being pregnant without one on your team. Seriously.
While these secret weapons will help, there will still be days that are really hard. If someone figures out a cure-all for the batch of emotional crazy that comes along with pregnancy hormones, please let me know. When you’re about to breakdown, remember that everything that you hear about all of the hard stuff disappearing the second you see your precious baby’s face is absolutely true. Granted, you
may will definitely still want to punch someone in the face when you’re 38 weeks pregnant and have just sneezed/peed and someone tells you that, but it IS actually true.
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p.s. this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on any of these items and then buy them, I will get a small commission that will go towards supporting LC’s Baby Einstein habit.