I am pregnant. I am pregnant and unable to move off the couch. I am pregnant and a newlywed and instead of wearing cute, slinky things for my new husband, I live in bathrobes and don’t shower for days. I am pregnant and it sucks. I am excited, don’t get me wrong, but only as excited as one can be in between bouts of barfing.
This baby is due exactly 9 months and 2 days after our wedding date which is cute and efficient, but it was not my plan to be pregnant so soon. My husband and I had plans to spend the better part of our first year of marriage here in Kentucky near my family and our friends, getting our affairs in order before moving to Canada in June. Now instead of June it looks like we will be moving up to B.C. much earlier than planned and probably while it is still snowing- so much for easing into my new surroundings starting with the perfect Canadian summer. Oh how plans change.
I wanted to be in Canada before starting the baby-making because Kristan’s family farm in B.C. is the quietest, cleanest, most serene place I have ever been. I envisioned myself having a beautiful, calm pregnancy surrounded by gorgeous wilderness way out in the middle of nowhere. Instead, Anthem kicked me off my birth control months before my wedding (See: Baby by Anthem), and while they did not technically impregnate me, I blame them for the fact that I am here in Louisville, pregnant, and far from the serene wilderness I had imagined.
The city, while fun, is not my idea of peaceful. We live downtown and it is noisy all day and night with cars and airplanes and sirens and music screaming from stereos. It is so bright at night that you can practically read without a lamp on and I often need to sleep with an eye mask on to get any rest at all, though the stupid mask falls off all night and keeps me up anyway. The city is crowded and people are irritating and scary- particularly on the roads where everyone turns into Stupidicus from Goofy’s driving videos. Instead of resting on a porch in a rocking chair high up in the Rocky Mountains, I am tossing and turning at night and cursing at people cutting me off in traffic and putting in ear plugs just so I can read peacefully on my couch. Here we are, my little Lump and me, in the noisy city, doing this thing despite my visions to the contrary.
I am excited to be pregnant, like I said. I waffled back and forth most of my life about wanting children until I met Kristan and then there was no question- from the moment I met him I knew this man would be a great partner and a great father. In fact, I started taking prenatal vitamins less than 6 months into our relationship- I was that sure about this one. While motherhood was not always a definite in my mind, I always coveted a cute pregnant belly in the same way I wished for my little boobies to sprout when I was a pre-teen. I was wrong about the boobies: they are far more trouble than they are worth, and even though I am far from having that cute, classic, pregnant-girl silhouette, I know already that I was poorly mistaken about this too.
This pregnancy thing is not fun, not glowing, and certainly not peaceful. I would like to rename it “pregnan-sucky,” because that is how it feels. I anticipated morning sickness and nausea, but those were just words that I thought I knew the meaning of and, as it turns out, I was very, very wrong. Nausea to me implies an upset stomach and an achy body, which I have, but this is not a nausea that I have ever known. Being a person who is prone to motion sickness, I am used to nausea and find it is usually tolerable and treatable with a short nap. THIS thing is not just nausea, and it’s not just morning either. This thing is the worst headache of my life all day, every day, and I was totally unprepared for the crushing, head-splitting, brain pain that accompanies this “beautiful event.” I feel like Peter from the movie The Office Space, when he tells the hypnotist that every day is the worst day of his life, to which the hypnotist replies “that’s messed up.” Yes, yes it is messed up.
I’m sure that my sickness is also exacerbated by the fact that I am a total wimp and complain all the time about how bad I feel. I am sure that if I simply switched my attention to something else I could possibly distract myself from my misery, but so far I have been unsuccessful with any strategy besides just wallowing in it. “It’ll be over soon,” and “it’ll all be worth it in the end,” are common, infuriating mantras that people spew at me all the time- words that are not comforting in the least because it’s not later I am worried about- it’s right now and the fact that my head’s about to explode like one of Gallagher’s watermelons. Saying these things to me while I am so pathetically miserable is like saying “I know how you feel,” when someone you love dies. It’s inappropriate people.
Another completely unhelpful bit of advice: “eat some crackers before you get out of bed to help control the nausea.” There is no amount nor type of food or beverage that prevents or even relieves this a tiny bit. A delicious pizza can distract me for a minute, but there are still a whole lot of non-pizza minutes in a day that must be tolerated. So the best thing I can do so far is to stay horizontal. I lay on the couch or in bed for 22 hours of the day right now because standing up escalates the pain exponentially and makes me 100% more prone to barfing. With Kristan home over the weekends it is much easier because he cooks for me when I am hungry and brings me what I need so I can rest. He is all about me and this baby eating homemade, unprocessed foods and he bakes fresh bread and makes casseroles and whole turkeys and all kinds of other delicious things nightly, which, unfortunately, I can barely eat any of because this baby seems to tolerate only foods with yellow #7 and red #40. It’s a travesty. I have the best husband in the world cooking for me and instead I hide Cheetos and Big Red in my car to sustain myself. This child is going to look like it was fathered by an oompa loompa.
While I already feel like an unfit mother, it is at least a little comforting to know that I am not the only one feeling duped and hating those smiling, lying women on the cover of books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting. There are actual books out there written by women like me – books based on the true reality and misery of this pregnancy thing, such as Pregnancy Sucks by Joanne Kimes who writes the blog Sucks and the City, and It Sucked Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong, author of the blog Dooce. At least I know I am not alone in being unable to lie and tell people that this is fun and I feel great when in reality I want to roll up in a ball and cry. I haven’t read either book but I definitely will while I’m stuck here, glued to my couch, feeling pregnan-sucky.