From late December.
4 hours later:
From late December.
Me: “Soooo…what’s this stuck to your homework? Looks like a chewed up snack of some sort?”
Kid: “Ewwwww no!”
Me: “Ok, phew.”
Kid: “It’s a booger.”
Our first OB appointment was at 8 weeks (Jan 16th), and it is an understatement to say we went in pretty clueless.
When the doctor approached me with a HUGE dildo-looking instrument to perform the transvaginal (re: up-the-hooha) ultrasound, we did not realize that was a thing (doctor-dildos OR transvaginal ultrasounds). Movies always show the ultrasound with goo on the belly, and it’s safe to say that everything we know about the medical side of pregnancy comes from movies. (But like, well-researched movies such as Knocked Up.)
When the doctor asked me to scoot down and spread my legs wide, Eric, who had been standing near my belly, quickly scurried toward the safety of my head like a frightened crab.
Everything in that gif is on point because I swear the sonogram tool was the size of that truck (and from what I hear, my vagina, at the end of all this, will resemble that tire).
Me: “I just have one request– please please only find ONE baby in there.”
Eric: “And I’ll take a Bitcoin if you see one!”
So yeah our doctor hates us.
We’re pregnant! With a girl! (Which is great, as long as she is nothing like me).
We’re definitely starting to feel the excitement now that we are entering the second trimester and I no longer want to Linda Blair vomit all over town and have stopped drooling like Homer Simpson at a pig roast (oh, you didn’t know involuntary drooling was a pregnancy symptom? Well, neither did I until I got up to pee for the 47th time one night and essentially slipped in a pool of my own saliva).
So on that note, hey, here’s something no one tells you: the first trimester fucking blows. No, I’m kidding. Tons of people DO tell you that, minus those goddess-moms who feel great and glowy from day 1, but let’s be real, I’m not friends with those people. Because ew.
So yeah, most people say the first trimester is tough but guess who sort of secretly thought she’d be different, based on absolutely zero evidence?
In fact, not only did I have zippity do dah ZILCH reason to think I’d have an easy first trimester, every thing I’ve experienced in life up to this point perfectly illustrated that I would be literally THE WORST. My run-of-the-mill non-pregnant existence– like, a day I’d describe as “feeling pretty good”– is essentially already a mild version of pregnancy (exhaustion, stomach issues, headaches, irritability, anxiety, moodiness, profuse sweating, overactive bladder….). So I told myself, based on whatever the opposite of logic is, that because I feel pregnant NORMALLY, when I actually AM pregnant I will feel BETTER. It’s similar to the kind of logic one uses when they’ve had 18 too many tequila shots or are Forrest Gump.
It was just hopeful optimism– something I don’t usually partake in, so I’m not sure why I chose THIS particular circumstance to start lying to myself.
Here’s the logical conclusion that a rational person would come to, and perhaps then wisely prepare herself for– If you feel sort of physically crappy in your day-to-day regular life, in no circumstance are you going to feel LESS crappy when you add a nutrient-sucking fetus into that equation (and by “into that equation” I mean “into YOUR UTERUS.” The uterus that is INSIDE YOUR BODY, GUYS! I will never get over this. The “What’s Happening to My Body Book For Girls” Mom gave me at age 14 did NOT adequately prepare me for understanding how this is a thing humans can and should be doing. It’s fucking Animal Planet over here, except I have to go to a job every day and politely respond to people without vomiting on their face).
So anyway, yeah: “Feel Semi-Crappy Normally + Fetus Monster in Belly = Feel Crappier” is not exactly as obvious, concrete and indisputable as “1 +1 =2” but it’s pretty damn close, Forrest.
So weeks 5-12 were miserable. And I don’t say that to sound ungrateful, because believe me, I know how lucky Eric and I are that this happened for us, and happened so easily (more on that in a future post entitled “My Geriatric Uterus is Wearing a Catcher’s Mitt”). We are of course thankful for that, this is something we very much wanted, and we are both beyond looking forward to being parents (in that terrified-excited kind of way you look forward to riding a super-rickety, still-in-the-test-phase roller coaster that you heard many people have died on).
But I’m not going to sit here and say this early part is magical. If you’re looking for that sentiment, I’m not entirely sure why you read this blog. Maybe this is your first time here and you know nothing about me, so if that’s the case, let me catch you up: My name is Emily. I don’t do whimsy.
So that leads us to the texts below. I was too tired, nauseous, and, quite frankly, sad to do any real writing these past two months, but I did somehow find the time to annoy/harass/alarm/frighten/disgust Eric with every single feeling I experienced as I experienced it. There was no emergency-bathroom situation that he was not a part of because A) THAT’S HOW LOVE WORKS and B) the late Steve Jobs definitely invented iMessage for the purpose of toilet updates in real time, so what am I going to do, NOT honor him?
So below is a chronicle of highlights (and I use that term VERY loosely, because I know of no society that would list “violent dry heave” as a highlight) of the first trimester, through text.
I’ll admit that reading through these was hard because, now that I am in a better place, my assessment is that I sound pretty damn whiny in a lot of these exchanges (and by “exchanges,” I mean me texting novels of complaints and Eric not knowing what to say because there is literally nothing TO say, but I just needed someone to listen and also not divorce me after listening. God bless his soul).
I imagine his face while reading was a mix of this , this and this , but he never let me know it, and that’s all that counts. 90% of marriage is knowing how to swallow your feelings and lie convincingly when your partner needs you to.
I actually ended up removing the majority of the sad, exasperated texts because they were just far too frequent, don’t make for great reading, and I think you can get the gist of my mental state by just perusing a few. And the texts aren’t ALL misery– there’s humor sprinkled throughout, because I’ve done my best to try to laugh when I can, which is SUPER hard when you feel like death, but becomes possible when you have a partner with the temperament, light-heartedness and excitability of a newborn corgi.
But bottom line– this shit is hard. For ANYONE. Is it harder for someone with mental health issues? I’m honestly not sure. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t had some seriously depressive thoughts these past couple months, but I think early pregnancy can do that to anyone– veteran mental-health-sufferer or not– because the hormone surges are nothing short of batshit insanity. Sprinkle in some isolation (not sharing this HUGE thing going on in your life straight up sucks), the removal of your usual get-through-the-day crutches (coffee, wine, Advil, vigorous exercise, writing, openly venting to anyone who will listen including the internet) and add some persistent anxiety over not having that possible miscarriage that Google (and every Jew) loves to warn you about, and you have a perfect shitstorm for needing emotional life support. I legit don’t know how anyone keeps it together in the first few months (but if you’re one of those people, no judgement at ALL. Just a lot of jealousy and maybe also a touch of spiteful resentment and hatred).
And so if one struggling woman reads this and can relate and feel a bit better about the fact that her early pregnancy is/was no walk in the park either, then I’ve done the job I always set out to do– reach someone with the ugly, vomit-ridden truth.
So here’s what you missed– enjoy!….?
(note: Days refer to when we found out– so Day 2 is the 2nd day we knew we were pregnant)
“She put me on hold. Whatever, I guess I should consider myself lucky she even picked up the phone for once.”
— My mom, to my dad, thinking I put her on hold but really she was just on mute while I peed.
Discussing the (later proven to be false) Emergency Missile Alert experience my parents had during their trip to Hawaii…
Dad: “So they corralled our whole hotel into the ballroom, about 500 people.”
Eric: “Was everyone panicked?”
Dad: “Oh, yeah. People were on their phones, everyone was calling their children.”
Me: “Funny, I don’t remember getting a call.”
Dad: “Oh, please.”
Me: “I’m just saying…”
Dad: “I’ll tell you what I was worried about…”
Dad: “Our tee time. Kept checking my watch to make sure we weren’t going to miss it. Thank god we didn’t.”
Yes. Thank god.
I recently had blood work done that showed low thyroid levels, so my doctor referred me to an endocrinologist.
Endocrinologist: “Your thyroid is inflamed and operating at about 60%. You’ve likely had chronic hypothyroidism your entire life, but sometimes stress can really bring it to the surface. It likely runs in your family. Is anyone in your family ‘high-energy?'”
Endocrinologist: “So no?”
Me: “To quote my brother-in-law– ‘The Lermans are a tired, dehydrated people.'”
Endocrinologist: “You said you have 3 siblings. All low energy?”
Me: “My sister has one setting and it’s this: . Jeremy is essentially a bear living in eternal winter. There are times on family vacation, during his 3rd or 4th nap of the day, when I have actually leaned over and checked his pulse. Zack has spurts of energetic enthusiasm when motivated, but then needs a 16 hour slumber to recover from his efforts. He also….like….talks…..like…..this…..”
Endocrinologist: “And your parents?”
Me: “My mother moves at the pace of a snail on Valium and has the voice of a soft bird. If you’re not sitting DIRECTLY next to her, or better yet, on her lap, forget about being able to hear or understand a word she whisper-mumbles. That being said, she IS active, like socially and activity-wise. It’s just, like, a slow-motion active.”
Endocrinologist: “And your Dad?”
Me: “Can’t sit still. The one exception.”
Endocrinologist: “Your husband?”
Me: “Like a corgi puppy lapping up a dish of Red Bull. Is that even important?”
Endocrinologist: “No I’m just enjoying your descriptions. None of this matters. Your thyroid’s broken, here are some pills.”
My therapist calls and I pick up to begin our phone session…
Me (sniffling): “Hello?”
Therapist: “Are you ok?”
Me: “Yes, sorry, I just made the mistake of watching This is Us on DVR and of course now I’m ugly choke-sobbing.”
Therapist: “What is This is Us?”
And then I got a new therapist.