Baby boy clearly has not gotten the message that it's time to move out. He is very warm, comfy and continuously held & fed inside thank you very much and he would like to extend his stay beyond his estimated day of eviction.
In waiting for baby boy to decide he wants to come out, I've been trying to constantly monitor my own "symptoms" to see if labor is imminent. Apparently, sometimes you can feel sick beforehand with flu-like symptoms. You can have a "bloody show" when the mucus plug comes out. You can have increasing Braxton-Hicks (practice) contractions. But it is more likely that you will have none of these! Anecdotal evidence from friends suggests that sometimes you feel more tired the day before - or that your face and fingers swell more in the week before. But that doesn't seem like much to go on since fatigue and swelling is common in all of late pregnancy.
In a nice parallel symmetry, this symptom-checking reminds me very much of the very first two weeks of this pregnancy - that period commonly know as the "two-week wait," when you could possibly be pregnant but can't yet get a positive pregnancy test result and every little abnormality is questioned and re-questioned. The problem with the 2 week wait is that it happens to also be that period of time when you get PMS if you aren't pregnant... and early pregnancy symptoms and PMS are remarkably alike. Go figure.
Given that, I thought I'd take a look back on the past 9 months. In particular, comparing what was I expecting and what was I questioning at the beginning, and how things actually panned out.
Early pregnancy symptoms
I am one of these lucky ones who doesn't really get any PMS, no cramps or anything. I do tend to get a tad weepy and crave sweet, chocolatey things more than normal. So OF COURSE my early pregnancy symptoms included feeling a tad weepy and craving sweet, chocolatey things. But three things that I did have which I normally don't have (but which - again - some women will count among normal PMS symptoms) is feeling very tired, sore & tender breasts, and slight pain & pressure in my lower abdomen. I also, all of a sudden, had a strong aversion to tea & coffee in the morning, and beer & wine tasted so... weird and bad! (You will be happy to know that said aversions disappeared entirely by the third trimester. I chalk this up to my body's incredible ability to steer me away from substances that would have harmed baby boy's developing organs in the first and second trimesters - but I don't think this is such a common aversion to develop, so it probably won't happen to you.)
Basically, my advice for the two week wait is to just try not to symptom-check while waiting, and avoid all alcohol and reduce your caffeine consumption - just in case. First trimester is the most important time to not drink!
First of all, forget about the name. This is ALL DAY sickness. Well, for me it was all day. For others it strikes at particular times. But in no way delude yourself into thinking that it only happens in the morning. I suffered from almost constant nausea, and occasional bouts of actually being sick, from week 6 to week 18. I was unable to stomach most foods and particularly revolted by vegetables (go figure) and meat products (especially chicken - I couldn't walk by a KFC without wanting to vomit). My nausea was worse in the morning, and the only thing that made it better was if I ate something (cereal, crackers, or dried fruit) before getting up out of bed. And I mean, the only way it worked was if I ate something while still lying down, no getting up at all. Which means you need a co-operative husband, or the foresight to stack your nightstand.
If you also happen to suffer from nausea and sickness during your first trimester you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that your chances of having a miscarriage are lower than those who don't. Apparently the nausea is from all those good pregnancy hormones, and the creation of the placenta and your little guy or gal's major internal organs.
Given that, I've spoken with many other women who never suffered from any nausea at all. And no food aversions. At all. All I can say to them is GO AWAY, DON'T TALK TO ME, I DISLIKE YOU. If you think that is an extreme response then you clearly haven't ever had constant all-day nausea for 12 weeks in a row.
Other fun symptoms
Extreme fatigue and exhaustion in the first trimester. Really. Sleeping 10 hours at night AND taking a 2 hour nap. And then at week 16 when you're like, oh the pregnancy books say I should be energized since I'm in the fun second trimester stage, but oh I still feel like I got hit by a train, I must be iron-deficient! You're not! (Or at least I wasn't.) Your body is just beat from creating all major internal organs of a human being from scratch.
SPD or PGP - I won't talk about this here because it is NOT that common. The funny thing about pregnancy symptoms is, other than fatigue and weight gain, everyone's symptoms and experiences are going to be completely different and you will end up suffering from things no one's told you about. For example, I know a woman who has this extreme pregnancy rash that is so painful she has to take steroids to block the pain. And another who had such bad swelling her entire pregnancy that she won't get pregnant again. These are not "normal" but then again, nothing really is! The truth is, you can't know what to expect from your body until you've done it once. Not even your own mother's experience is a good indicator of what to expect. Expect the unexpected. But read that pregnancy bible "what to expect when you're expecting" anyway. At least that will give you a barometer of what KIND OF to expect.
They say not to expect almost any gain in the first trimester, and then 1-2 lbs a week in the second and third trimesters. I gained a lot in the sixth and seventh months because I was SO HUNGRY, all the time. And I was kind of paranoid about not giving my baby the nutrients he needed. So I probably ate too much. Hmmm, scratch that, I DID eat too much. Add to that the fact that I couldn't exercise because of my SPD, and hello! you get a 50-lb pregnancy weight gain! But my friend gained 45 lbs, she gave birth in August, and she's already lost all of it except 5 lbs. SO. I have FAITH.
When will I show?? I must have googled that a milion times. The fact of the matter is that you most certainly will think you are showing long before you actually are showing. I thought I was showing at 17 weeks. I was kind of showing. I thought I was HUGE at 20 weeks. I was not. I was for sure showing at that point though. Although, I think most first-time women are not. I think the combination of my very short and narrow torso and loose abdominal muscles made me show earlier. For subsequent pregnancies you show much earlier.
See weight gain. Don't over-buy. Don't buy anything at all in your first trimester. Trust me. Just take a hair tie and loop it through your jean button and wear them AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. You will miss them. Also what fits you in the second trimester almost certainly will NOT still fit you in the third. Your belly, the same one that is swimming in this "so huge!" maternity top at 24 weeks, will be busting out of it by 34. Trust me on this one. Luckily, by 34 weeks you kind of stop caring what you look like anyway. You also stop caring about the condition of those shirts that are not maternity but "I don't want to stretch them out so I'm going to not wear them". You wear them. And dream about what clothing you will buy to replace them once you no longer resemble a beached whale.
So as you can see, pregnancy is FUN! And totally different for everyone.
But I am so ready to not be pregnant anymore. Just for the record.