Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pregnancy Part II: Symptoms

This post is pretty much about all the 'symptoms' I had during pregnancy. I put quotes around symptoms because I am using the word loosely; it is pretty much going to encompass the "meat" of my pregnancy... so it's going to be a long one!

If you haven't read part one, check it out here: Pregnancy Part I


Unlike most preggos, my first symptom was not nausea; it was my blood sugar change. There are two main reasons I had been terrified to get pregnant. The first being the pain I would have to endure with the actual birth process (explained previously here) and second being how my body would react to being pregnant. To say my body is very sensitive to change is a HUGE understatement. Most of my troubles started when I was 13 years old. I will spare you the details of my complicated, never-ending, puzzling "disease" that I have had on and off for the last 14 years and just say that it is some sort of strange combination of hypoglycemia and generalized anxiety disorder. Before becoming pregnant, I had been feeling good for about 7 months. I naively thought that I could get pregnant and everything would be okay... Literally the day after finding out I woke up in the middle of the night with low blood sugar symptoms; at which point the anxiety set in because of past experiences (elevated blood pressure, shaking, fainting, etc). It pretty much turned into a viscous cycle of mixed symptoms and no cure, followed by a completely frustrated, broken-down Julia. And so began my pregnancy. 

            On top of my anxiety about my physical well-being and if I would be able to create a healthy baby, while staying healthy myself, I had the added stress of my job. Now don't get me wrong, I love the idea of teaching. I have always had a passion for kids. I will say that I did try my best everyday and I know I had a positive impact on some (as I still keep in touch with them); however as an exhausted, irritable, anxiety-laden pregnant woman, I was in no condition to really be all I needed to be for my students. The daily stress and overall helplessness I felt dealing with some of those kids really stole a lot of joy and happiness I should have felt during my pregnancy. Some of my students totally made it all worth it; and well... for the others, I don't think a traditional high school setting is the best place for 3 time felons that just got out of prison.... I had a few of those and let me just say their bad days were something out of an exorcism. My life was threatened on several occasions and by the end of most days I didn't know how I had survived.
Sums it up perfectly

         Moral of the story: I pretty much felt like crap the entire first seven months of my pregnancy. Strangely as soon as summer break started my anxiety/stress level dropped drastically and in the last two months I felt better than I had all pregnancy. Also there was this...
I mean who doesn't instantly feel better after looking at this (celebrity crush since forever)
 *Side note.. I have been taking Zoloft on and off for the last 14 years as well, but decided to stop when I found out I was pregnant. It was a catch 22 for me; I knew that the anxiety wasn't good for my growing baby, but on the other hand, I would never be able to forgive myself if something were to have happened to Myles because I took medicine while pregnant.

Our first time seeing our little one :) 8 weeks!

     My first normal pregnancy symptom was exhaustion. I'm not talking about just being tired; I'm talking about the zombie-style-sleep-while-standing-and-eyes-open thing. Only women who have been pregnant know this feeling. I was this way for about the first 25 weeks and the last 5. It really wouldn't have been that bad could I have actually slept. Another thing that happens when my anxiety runs high is that I have problems sleeping. I would always try to go to bed by 9:30 as I had to get up around 7:30.. There were nights that I would literally lay there for the WHOLE 10 hours never once falling asleep. I have always been the type to never be able to fall asleep quickly (usually it takes about an hour), but with my anxiety I usually only end up sleeping just a couple hours a night. It also wouldn't have been that bad if I could have taken naps. But that is yet another thing my anxiety does not allow me to do. If I fall asleep during the daytime, I wake up in an panic attack (heart racing, rapid breathing, sweating, etc). 
    Funny thing is I could almost always fall asleep when Mark and I would watch a movie before bed. I would try so hard but almost instantly I would be out. I learned to lay in such a way that Mark couldn't see my eyes so he didn't know I was sleeping and as long as I mumbled something every 10 minutes when he asked if I was sleeping, he never knew. On Valentine's Day, Mark brought me to dinner and a movie. It was perfect because a Denzel movie happened to be out. You would never have guessed what happened if you knew how obsessed I am with that man... I am quite embarrassed to admit this but.. I fell asleep.. during the movie... in the theater... to a DENZEL movie (granted it was Safe House.. I don't know what he is thinking with some of his movie choices lately)... now that's what I call exhaustion.

      I only threw up a couple of times and never in the morning. I threw up twice from food and a couple other times from an empty stomach. My work schedule was stucky for a preggo lady: I had planning from 8:15 to 10:20, then class for an hour, then lunch at 11:15, then no more breaks until school was out at 3:30. I would eat breakfast at 8:30 and have a little snack before class started, so at lunch I wasn't very hungry. I did make myself eat though because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat until I got home at 4:30. By the time I got home, I was so hungry that I was nauseous and would throw-up. I also would get really bad headaches. So I decided to start having a snack before my last class. That helped a lot and the nausea and headaches got better.

This is the yearbook page dedicated to Kham
     I did suffer my first migraine ever while pregnant. It came on a Friday after a VERY long week. At the beginning of the week, I got the worst news a teacher could ever receive: one of my students had passed away. Over a year later, and I still have a hard time writing this without having a breakdown moment. He was the first student I had made a connection with; the first one I had invested myself in; the first one I was going to make a difference in. I was determined to see him graduate on time. I would help him with math after school and EVERY Friday that I saw him I told him "be safe, I want to see you back here Monday..." I still get mad at myself thinking that I should have done more; I should have been able to save him. I had heard about a really bad car accident that weekend where three kids died, but of course I never would have thought... until I got the condolences email. I was in utter disbelief and shock. That day and week was something I had never wanted to experience as a teacher and although it's something that I knew was possible, it happened way too soon into my career. Friday was the visitation/funeral and since I soon would be becoming a mother, it was completely heartbreaking to watch as his mother had to say her last goodbyes; something no mother should ever have to do. That night when I got off work was when the migraine started. Since I rarely ever take medicine, I always just eat and go to bed if I ever get a headache. I tried to do that and it did nothing. Every time I woke up it seemed to just be worse. Luckily though by the morning it had finally gone away. (Sorry for the seemingly irrelevant story, just something I want to always remember).
       I never really had any food cravings or a aversions. I did have a taste for certain things here and there but I never had a Mark-go-to-the-store-right-now-before-I-break-your-balls kind of craving. I did always have bowl of cereal in the morning and frozen fruit at night, but that is something I may often do as a non-preggo. I did crave cheese popcorn once, but the bag sat there half full for the duration of my pregnancy as that craving lasted all of one day.

      I was very sensitive to smells. Even not pregnant, I can't take strong smells for longer than a couple minutes. I typically get nausea and a headache. Very early on I had to stop wearing perfume because it made me really sick. At work, I was blessed with a classroom that had no windows and EXTREMELY poor ventilation. It was always Sahara Desert style hot and muggy in the room. The climate in the room in and of itself was bad enough; then put 30 pubescent students in there (some just coming from gym class!)... I want to vomit just thinking about it now (I'm pretty sure I will be haunted by that feeling and smell for the rest of my life). Being equipped with extra strength Febreze and my desk fan couldn't even save me. There really are no words to describe the feeling and odor in my room EVERY single day. On top of that, I had several girls who thought they were at Macy's everyday straying their perfume ALL over the place. I may have had a crazy pregnant lady freak out once telling a girl (in not the nicest tone) that she HAD to stop putting her perfume on in my classroom because it was making me sick.   

My hair art; this was from just one shower.
   Oh and the glowing-skin-beautiful-thick-hair pregnant fairy....well I guess she forgot about me! For about the first 6 months of my pregnancy, my hair was coming out in handfuls. It was quite upsetting as I was not prepared for that. I was always under the impression that during pregnancy you stopped shedding and then post-pardum you lost all the hair you had kept while being pregnant. Yeah, not me! Pregnancy also had an atypical effect on my face. For about a year leading up to me getting pregnant, I had a horrible re-occurrence of acne. I tried EVERY product out there and nothing helped. Then I got pregnant and.... it went away... I always thought acne was brought on during pregnancy by changes in hormones. Yeah, not me again!

Okay, well I think I have reached the max allowance to hold an adults attention in the blog reading world, so I will continue with a Part II to the symptoms on a new post coming soon!


  1. Julia I absolutely LOVE this blog of yours. The honesty that pours out is refreshing. Not everyone can be so honest about how they feel. Love it!!!

    1. Thank you soo much for reading! It really has been so helpful for me to just get it all out on here. PS hope I get to see you soon!


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