I am so friggin’ pregnant.
I’ve not written in, oh, about 14 weeks now because I’ve been busy serving as host to a human parasite, more commonly (and acceptably) known as a baby. We’re calling this baby “Diego,” until s/he exits the womb and assumes a legal name that’s not, to our knowledge, associated with any Nick Jr. cartoons. You can thank the two year-old for the moniker. He’s convinced that’s going to be the baby’s real name, though, so things should get interesting when we tell him otherwise.
All of this sounds adorable and exciting and just as wonderful as pie. Except, pretend that pie is actually poisoned — or that you’re allergic to it — and that it’s done awful things to your brain and body and, even though you love pie (who doesn’t?), you have to keep eating it and you kind of wish the pie would just run its course and be digested already because it’s making you absolutely miserable.
I don’t love pregnancy. I just don’t.
For starters, I’m off my anxiety meds. My daily anti-anxiety pill and the as-needed one I’d keep on hand for panic attacks. To say it’s been tough is an understatement.
I have hypochondriasis, or health anxiety. Most of my panic and consuming thoughts are about illness and worrying that I’ve got something that’s silently killing me. It’s been in overdrive since I learned I was pregnant. This is not something I’d ever experienced in my previous two pregnancies, and it’s borderline debilitating, at least socially so.
I’m afraid to leave our house. I haven’t taken my children to the library in months. I refuse to take them to bounce house places or group playdates. When we absolutely have to go to the grocery store, I pack a Ziploc bag of hospital grade germicidal wipes which I’ll use to wipe down the shopping cart. I don’t let them touch anything. I hold my breath when I pass someone in the aisle so that I don’t inhale in case they sneeze or cough unexpectedly. I wear gloves inside the store the entire time I’m there. Last week, I had trouble getting money out of my wallet with the gloves on and had to temporarily remove one so that I could hand it to the cashier. I doused myself in hand sanitizer immediately afterwards.
I panic about the flu. I study the CDC’s weekly influenza report when it’s released every Friday, trying to get a handle on the numbers and statistics.
I panic about norovirus and needing to be hospitalized for dehydration.
I panic about regular colds and influenza-like-illnesses, and the adverse effects that running a fever (and/or having to take acetaminophen) will have on my baby.
I am currently panicked about Fifth Disease, which my daughter actually has and which can be dangerous to a fetus if a non-immune mother is exposed. I’m still waiting on blood work to see if I am or not.
All of this seems kind of silly when a normal person reads it. But the illness paranoia has consumed my every thought, every day, for months, and it’s not silly to me. It’s very real and very scary and yes, I know I’m crazy but there’s not much I can do about that right now since I have to grow this baby. Klonopin’s a big no-no for pregnant women and lemme tell you: skullcap and lavender do squat to quiet my manic thoughts the way that stuff can.
I joke to friends (many of whom I haven’t seen since before Christmas) that I “can’t wait for spring!” and I’m “counting down the days!” I make jokes. I keep it light. I’m crazy, but I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by knowing how off the rails I am lately.
And let’s chat for a second about body image while we’re on the subject of Why I Hate Being Pregnant. As you know (it’s kind of the whole point of this blog), I lost 70 pounds over the course of a year, two years ago. Then maintained the weight loss for a year. I worked out six days a week because it made me feel awesome. I trained for, and completed, a triathlon. I ran 25 miles a week. I weight lifted, swam, rode my gorgeous bike Grizelda, did PiYo and HIIT workouts. I was in the best shape of my life and was planning to train for a sprint and possibly a Half Ironman triathlon for 2015. I was going to pursue certifications to become a personal trainer and RRCA running coach. I was so, so happy.
And now? Not happy. Not fit. I gained 10 pounds in my first trimester already (you’re really not supposed to do that) because I’ve eaten crap. Because I’m nauseous all the time and have such potent food aversions that all I eat is bread and cereal and sweets. I’m like the Old Suzanne again. The one who didn’t give a damn about what she put into her body. I hate my “bump.” I hate the excess skin on my lower abdomen from the weight loss that’s just getting smooshed down by my “bump” and how lumpy and ugly I look. I am not embracing my changing pregnant body, and not just for aesthetic reasons — I hate that I can’t DO stuff.
I can’t run (due to a subchorionic hematoma), or ride my bike or swim (because winter). I kept up with some cardio and weightlifting workouts for the first few weeks but I became much too pukey and exhausted after week 7. I actually resumed the program I’d been doing earlier today, but it was a hot mess. I’m weak. Six weeks of no exercise (not to mention the weight gain, increased blood volume and heart rate, and decreased lung capacity thanks to that “bump”) has really killed the endurance I’d worked my ass off in the last two years to work up to. And I’m mad about it.
So yeah, I don’t like being pregnant. My mental health is suffering. My social life, my ability to parent, my health and fitness, and my self esteem are all suffering, too. I just want it to be over. I want to fast forward through the remaining 26-ish weeks (and the days-long labor, too, please) and just have my baby here, now.
Because that’s the thing. I HATE being pregnant, but I love my babies. I mean, I love them beyond words. I love being a mother. I love nursing and cuddling and teaching them. Cooking for them, playing with them, watching them grow to become smart little people. I love my children. With every cell in my body I love them.
So I’m kind of excited to meet this one and to see what life will be like with three littles running the show. I imagine s/he will be a carbon copy of the older siblings for the first few weeks of life since my son and daughter could’ve been twins in their respective newbornhoods. I imagine s/he will be a vampire at the breast, just like the other two, and that I’ll be tied to the couch with a nursing pillow for the first two months. I imagine that I won’t get much sleep. I imagine I’ll get postpartum depression and anxiety again. I imagine I’ll be pretty well-equipped to deal with it this time, though. I imagine life will go on and that it will be very good. I imagine we’ll all be pretty happy.
But seriously, I really f#*%ing hate being pregnant.