The first part of the story is sort of funny. My husband and I decided to start trying to conceive. So I made a doctor's appointment with my new doctor (we had just moved) for my annual check up and for pre-conception information. The most important preconception information that my doctor gave me was to start taking folic acid before I got pregnant.
At that appointment, my doctor also recommended that since I hadn't had a Tetanus/Pertussis booster in the past 10 years, that I should get that. However, there was the most minute chance that I could have been pregnant, so they wanted to wait until I had cycled, or to come back in a few weeks for a pregnancy test before they gave me the booster. As it turned out, that "minute" chance was actually a pregnancy, which was quite a surprise to my husband and I, because it was less than a month since we'd decided to try conceiving. Good thing I went right out and started folic acid right after my appointment with the doctor!
My pregnancy itself was about as "textbook" as you could get, really. I had morning sickness from about 1 month in until nearly 4 months. It wasn't until I was nearing the end of that phase that I finally found the best ways to alleviate the sickness; keeping freshly cut lemons next to the bedstand at night, and constantly wearing Sea-Bands. When I was feeling particularly nauseated in the middle of the night, I would bite into a lemon, but for the most part, the scent of the lemons kept the sickness at bay. I don't even know how many lemons I went through keeping away the morning sickness, since we cut up about half of a lemon every night so that the smell would be strong enough. I slept for at least 12-14 hours a night, and even then, I would sometimes need to fight falling asleep at the desk at work.
Once the morning sickness abated, I spent much of the 2nd trimester with evening heartburn. The only cure for this was lots and lots of milk, ice cream, and late in the evening, sometimes Tums.
We had our anatomy scan at 18 weeks, and at that point found out that we were having a boy. Prior to this, we had already discussed circumcision, and were in absolute agreement that we were going to leave any sons intact and that that was their choice to make.
I felt at my best during the 3rd trimester. Aside from slightly swollen ankles, which I made sure to keep propped up as much as possible, I was energetic - despite not always getting great sleep.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had a midwife from the hospital that I was going to be delivering at. This hospital uses a team of midwives; each midwife works at different health centers in the area for prenatal and postnatal appointments, so I had a set midwife for that care (my midwife did change once during this time, but that was because the midwife I started with had a shift in her responsibilities - I could have opted to keep her, but would have had to go to another location). However, in the hospital, the midwife who would be at the delivery depended on who was on call at the hospital.
My birth preferences were that I would do a vaginal delivery with no medical interventions. However, I did realize that in the moment, I may want pain management alternatives, and so I did my research about the different types of medications. We discussed my desire to not have an induction and to carry as long as possible until natural labor set in, since due dates can be wrong, and generally babies will come when they are fully ready to handle life outside the womb. We wanted to delay cord cutting, and I absolutely wanted to avoid both a c-section and an episiotomy.
My prenatal appointments were super easy. I went in, peed in a cup, they took my blood pressure and weight, my midwife would do my fundal height and we'd listen to the heartbeat, and then we'd do questions and answers. In the later stages, my midwife would feel for my son's positioning, but this was always done externally. At no point did we do any cervical checks - you know why? Because they aren't necessary, and aren't reliable predictors of when you're going to go into labor.
What I learned from my pregnancy:
- Decide on your birth preferences
- Educate yourself about the alternatives
- Lemons & Sea-Bands are fantastic
- The drink you have to drink for the gestational diabetes test is not gross like most people say it is; it tastes like Orange Crush
- I am no longer afraid of needles (amazing how a prenatal panel of bloodwork will do that for you)