Here I sit at 16w6d pregnant (how did that happen?) and I officially have “a bump.” It feels too early to have such a pronounced belly, and I can’t help but compare myself to others who are around the same stage as me and just look like they’ve eaten a big meal.
No, this is a bump. It’s round, it’s firm (especially after I eat), it’s a bump. I’m pregnant. And from a physical point of view, I’ve had some trouble accepting that. I’ve always had some chub around my midsection, even at my thinnest. It’s the part of me that will always be pudgy. I thought getting pregnant would be liberating. I thought it’d be like I could finally bare my chubby belly without shame. I thought I’d have an easier time adjusting compared to some skinny girl who wasn’t used to seeing anything but a flat tummy and her toes when she looked down.
It’s sort of been the opposite. I’ve denied the belly. I’ve tried to hide the belly. I’ve been ashamed by the size of it. But somehow, as it’s gotten bigger, I’ve gotten more comfortable showing it a little more. The more “really pregnant and not just chubby” I look, the more comfortable I feel.
And this bump has needs I never anticipated! It gets itchy and flaky. It needs frequent moisturizing. Not just to avoid stretch marks (I’ll get to that topic in a minute), but just purely because the skin is drying out as it rapidly expands. Thankfully a fellow blogger just posted a great review of some belly treatments yesterday, so I promptly ordered the DreamBelly Butter she mentioned. I also have some nice refreshing Aveeno lotion (fragrance free!) that my mom got me while I was home that I plan to use as well.
I started getting stretch marks about a week ago. Nothing major, just some on my sides and a few on my bum. It seems too early to be getting them but I’ve always been prone to them, even had them as a child. I’m trying not to stress too much about them, especially now. I’ll probably have a few but I’ll also do what I can to avoid getting too many. I don’t normally post many personal pictures here but I’ll try to get a photo of said burgeoning bump up soon. Right now I’m in a sweatshirt and comfy pants and don’t feel like changing.
And as for what’s going on INSIDE the bump? Well, I’ve had a few moments of “Wait, was that movement?” lately but just a few and nothing for the past few days. I’m not even sure if what I felt WAS movement, but it definitely felt like something I had not felt before. I’m hoping to get some more activity going soon.
As it is, I’ve spent most of this pregnancy just dealing with all the symptoms. It was easy to forget that there’s actually a baby in there. It feels like we go see the baby when we go get ultrasounds. As if Turtle lives in a flat screen TV downtown. It may sounds weird but that’s how I felt. It seems like somehow, more movement will marry the two, reminding me that Turtle’s always in there, squirming and growing, sleeping and peeing in me and doing all the things fetuses enjoy doing.
Speaking of symptoms, the nausea and vomiting STILL has not abated. I’m beyond tired and frustrated by it. Now I’m just resigned to it. If you don’t know what it is to wake up every day feeling the simultaneous need to eat and barf, for three and half months on end, then you won’t sympathize. But I’m not going to sugar coat it, though some of you may hate me for saying this, I’ve felt at times like being pregnant was harder than dealing with infertility, just because at least back then I could still be myself.
I haven’t done anything, literally, since getting pregnant. I don’t cook, clean, shop (except online), exercise or care for my pets. I barely see friends. This feeling ill all day every day has taken over my life. Courtney wrote a post yesterday about missing exercise that I so sympathized with (though jeez, I was never one tenth of the athlete she was!). I could kick myself for all the times I didn’t roll out of bed because I was too tired to go to the gym. Fool! I could cry to my former self. One day you won’t be able to! My plan was to swim and do yoga and walk while pregnant but of course those things haven’t been possible. I still hold out hope that I’ll feel better one day soon and can start moving again, can start living again really, but I’m also telling myself that this may just be how I feel this entire pregnancy.
Some of you may be thinking, boo hoo. You can’t exercise and you may throw up and feel nauseous for nine months. Would you like some cheese with that whine? And you know what? Fair enough. I said the same things when I was in those shoes. But this just is what it is. And I won’t sit here and pretend like it doesn’t suck. I sincerely hope you all get to experience this one day! And when you do, I don’t want you to feel alone in feeling like pregnancy is a long hard road, like it’s a greater physical sacrifice than you ever imagined. I don’t want you to feel stuck between wanting to express yourself and worrying about hurting feelings. I want you to know that someone else has been there and has (hopefully, time will tell) survived. Really, isn’t that a big part of why we write?
So along with that belly butter, I ordered more Preggie Pops (hopefully my last order, though I say that every order) and a wedge pillow to support the growing belly while I’m sleeping. Like I said, this bump is growing and it has needs.