3 things I wish I'd done differently when I was pregnant

February 7 | Guest post by SaraBeth
By: joncoxphoto.com - CC BY 2.0
By: joncoxphoto.comCC BY 2.0

This weekend we decided to return to the scene of the crime. Okay, maybe more like the precursor to the scene of the crime. We went to dinner at a chain seafood restaurant. You see, we calculated when the minions were conceived and the numbers don't lie: at least Molly (twin A) and possibly Jack (twin B) was conceived after a post-Christmas shopping seafood dinner.

I know what you're thinking: a family seafood restaurant is not exactly the pinnacle of romance. But desperate times call for desperate measures. In December one of our close friends was living with us post-break-up and we arrived home, for the first time in nearly six weeks, with the house to ourselves — so we took advantage of our rare found moment of privacy. This ironically led to a situation where we will rarely be alone together at home for many many years.

Since conception we have often joked about the magical powers of the iconic seafood restaurant chain. So this weekend we returned, which got me thinking about pregnancy, specifically my pregnancy and that a year ago I was just two months pregnant, blissfully unaware that I was having two babies rather than one. There are so many things about my pregnancy that I wouldn't change, but there are others that I wish that I could do over again.

I resisted morning sickness medication

For the first 4-5 months of pregnancy I couldn't keep anything down. Morning sickness was constant and aggravated by fresh air. There wasn't a snow bank in the entire city of Toronto that hadn't been christened with my vomit. I tried acupressure bands for sea sickness (this helped a bit, but was suspicious to fellow co-workers who did not know I was pregnant yet considering that I do not work on a ship or anywhere near the sea), chomping on saltine crackers, sucking on ginger or mints, massage and yoga. Nothing worked. It was incredibly difficult to hide my pregnancy during the first trimester when I was constantly throwing up in a garbage bin under my desk. Fueled by news articles about birth defects caused by anti-nausea medication from the past I was determined not to take any anti-nausea medication no matter what.

When I went to the doctor just over four months pregnant, with twins, ten pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy self, we discussed my options. The bottom line was that I needed to keep food down for the babies to be able to grow. She wrote me an anti-nausea prescription. I filled it and then researched like crazy. Despite reassurances that it was perfectly safe and widely tested, I was scared. I finally gave in and took the medication and almost instantly felt better. I only ended up taking it for a month before the symptoms finally subsided on their own, but I wasted so much time berating myself and the babies for feeling so awful. If I hadn't been so paranoid I would have enjoyed the first half of my pregnancy so much more.

I worked too hard and too far into my pregnancy

Because I was so ill during the first half of pregnancy I treated it more like a disease I had to fight than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now that the kids are here, I'm sorry that I didn't embrace my pregnancy more. I faced it like a boxing match and in turn it beat the crap out of me. I was determined to work for as long as I could in pregnancy, but for all of the wrong reasons. It wasn't because we needed the money, it wasn't because my work wasn't supportive of my needs with high-risk twin pregnancy — it was because I am stubborn. I'd subway into work, very pregnant, where I was rarely offered a seat, but too proud and too timid to ask for one, and come home exhausted and swollen, taking a two hour nap and falling asleep at 10pm while my husband picked up the slack at home.

As the pregnancy progressed I worked from home more, and with shorter hours transiting downtown when it was less crowded. I even purchased a maternity belt to support my belly, which helped, minimally. I finally submitted to stop work at 35 weeks pregnant and finally began to rest in my last three weeks of pregnancy. For some unknown reason, I thought that if I didn't remain tough in my pregnancy people would think I was weak and incapable of being a good mother.

I figured if a picture happened to be taken of me pregnant then it would be on record. The only problem with that when you feel sick most of the time you aren't in a lot of situations where you get your picture snapped.

I didn't keep a record of my pregnancy

I didn't want to keep one of those flip book week by week pregnancy albums, posing with my pregnant belly each week, and it wouldn't have worked anyway as I went from not looking pregnant at all to being mega-pregnant. I also didn't want posed studio pictures of my pregnant belly because that just isn't me. I figured if a picture happened to be taken of me pregnant then it would be on record. The only problem with that when you feel sick most of the time you aren't in a lot of situations where you get your picture snapped. Luckily there are some great photos of me pregnant that are going into both Molly & Jack's baby books — thanks to my mom's insistence and some great shots from a spring wedding.

Although I kept a pregnancy journal it was sparse at best and read more like a manifesto imploring people to never procreate peppered with a few exciting moments, first kicks, first ultrasounds and records of my kids spooning in utero (Molly was the big spoon and Jack was the little spoon). It is also one of the things that has inspired me to keep a good record of their lives, so maybe it doesn't count as a regret after all. Hopefully this will be something they can both look back on and read fondly. We are lucky and have two wonderful and healthy babies and that is something I wouldn't change for anything.

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  1. Oh how I feel you. This line, ""For some unknown reason, I thought that if I didn't remain tough in my pregnancy people would think I was weak and incapable of being a good mother," is exactly how I felt. I have the same regrets. I have 2 pictures of me pregnant (1 of which is out of focus) and I worked 2 jobs right up until I delivered.

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    • I did this too! I worked until my water broke… but I was glad I did! Now I'm off work and missing it like crazy.

      I also wanted to appear tough and went on an 8.5 k hike with my friends the day before I went into labour. I'm also glad I did this! Although I did it to appear tough, the side benefit was that I felt tough, too. I went into labour and thought, heck, I can do this.

      If I'm pregnant again, I'll do it again.

      3 agree
  2. I wish I had more photos too. I wanted professional pics taken. Hell, Sears would have sufficed, but my husband vetoed it as an unnecessary expense. I only have a few mirror shots, and some baby shower shots.

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  3. "I treated it more like a disease I had to fight than a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

    This! I was struggling really badly with what felt like EVERY negative pregnancy symptom so I emailed my best friend for support and she told me not to "struggle against it." It's something that I keep in mind every day, but I'm still working on thinking of my pregnancy as "magical" not "medical" (I'm due in June). I'm glad to hear someone else had these feelings too. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. "Although I kept a pregnancy journal it was sparse at best and read more like a manifesto imploring people to never procreate peppered with a few exciting moments" – so funny. Love that.

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  5. I started my blog as a pregnancy record, because I'm terrible at putting actual pen to actual paper, and I'm so glad it exists now. I often read through old entires and remember awesome and horrible things with a certain nostalgia. Except for the birth itself… That still haunts me.

    I'm so with you, re: morning sickness though. I was horrifically ill until 28 weeks, and lost weight, and refused to take anything. I wish now I had, and I'd spent that time connecting with my bulging stomach/parasite more, as opposed to moaning and feeling awful all the time!

  6. Thanks for this post! My almost 7 weeks pregnant self could do with a little reminder that my baby won't sprout horns just because I take the anti-nausea medication.
    I found out I was expecting 3 weeks ago. I started a journal and never wrote on it again. Is this how it's going to be? I sure hope not. At least I want to record all these freak symptoms so the next time around I remember how I felt and I have a beautiful child to prove that not every single twinge was a bad sign.

  7. I relate on the photo issue. Only my lack of photos is more due to feeling self-conscious than anything. I have a belly at the best of times, and no one ever really seemed to get that I was pregnant. I would mention that I was 7 months pregnant, and people would squwak "I didn't know you were pregnant!" It gave me a complex and I was rarely in the mood to get my picture taken. I so wish I could have just gotten over it.

    2 agree
    • I am a big girl, and no one ever knew I was pregnant until I told them. That went till 9 months. People kept commenting that my belly wasn't very big. I knew differently. I took photos, and I can tell the difference between pregnant me and not pregnant me. Even in the face shots, I still have that glow. There are subtle differences that you will certainly appreciate seeing later, no matter your size or shape. Whether you think you show or not, it will show in photos.

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    • awwww honestly it doesn't just pertain to bigger girls. I'm tiny and 9 monthsand 1 week preggers and people are just now coming to realize it, now I get oh my god I didn't know you were pregnant from people who saw me atleast once a week (whole foods and organic farmers market people) for the entire pregnancy. I don't know if its what I wore but I'm certainly not a big girl, and can def. tell the difference so next time don't have a complex about it. I'm sure you were gorgeous.

  8. oh man, i did the same thing–twice! i had my first one young, and didnt know what i was doing day to day enough to enjoy the experience OR document it much. i swore if i ever had another one, it would be so much different! i had my next one 14 years later, and i hate to say, i did almost the same thing. for different reasons, this time, tho–i had complications, i was sick, i was "advanced maternal age", etc, etc. of course i regret it slightly now, but after looking through my scrapbooks, my boxes of pictures, my computers, my phone, i can see that i've more than made up for the lack of preggo documentation with probably wayyy too many pictures of my kids. but that's the important part, anyway, isn't it?!

  9. The anti-nausea medication is classic. As parents or preggos, it's so easy to get caught up in The Fear, yet the whole experience is about letting yourself go on this wild journey where you can't control everything. I did a similar thing with breastfeeding because I couldn't let go of the idea even though it completely didn't work for my son and me, and I never produced more than 4 ounces a day. But sometimes you have to hit your head against a wall for a few months — or barf on the wall as the case may be.

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  10. This is so perfectly timed! I'm 17 weeks along with my first, and I recently realized I'm actually enjoying pregnancy.

    The first trimester was just hell, and I repeatedly asked my partner why anyone has babies ever. Now that I feel relatively more like myself, I've found myself just reveling in pregnancy – but, I still suck at documenting. Now I feel very inspired to journal more and take more photos! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. I feel exactly the same way on all three counts! I, too, was stubborn about medicating my horrible morning sickness, and that majorly impacted the first half of my pregnancy…also making it really hard to want to document in photos! We did opt for some pro photos at the very end, just so there was any evidence that I'd been pregnant (other than our son!), because I kept myself so busy trying to "stay active" and working my butt off that we basically didn't have time for any social engagements that would have yielded photos! It was comforting to read someone else's story that was so similar to mine, with similar happiness at the end!

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