3 Ways Pregnancy Changes Your Body

I had heard the horror stories, trust me. I knew what pregnancy would do to my body. It’s impossible to go through a nearly 40 week process where one of your organs multiplies to 500 times its normal size (and effectively moves everything in your body to a new position), where you grow an entirely new organ as well as a very small human being, brain and all, without feeling some shock waves. 

But I was not entirely prepared for the scope and breadth of just how my body would change. What am I talking about? Well, let’s address 3 major changes that literally no one told me about. 

1. I became allergic to contacts. 

At a certain point in pregnancy, you have so much extra fluid that your vision can become blurry. It’s incredibly common. What else is common? Becoming allergic to contacts after you give birth. Thanks, Forrest! 

I’ve worn contacts since I was 14. I almost never wore my glasses out in public. And yet, after I had Forrest, every time I put in my contacts, my eyes burned, my vision blurred, and I felt generally miserable. After a few eye doctor visits, I found out the truth: my eyes were rejecting contacts. It’s all glasses all the time for me now. 

2. Some pregnancy symptoms become semi-permanent.

I developed really severe carpal tunnel when I was pregnant. This is because, again, you have so much extra fluid in your body that it puts pressure on all of your joints (this is also why your ankles and knees and hips and just about everything else hurts). My carpal tunnel was so bad towards the end of my pregnancy that my hands would go numb and I wouldn’t be able to move them until I held them up for several minutes. Cool!

For about 8 months after I had Forrest, I had pretty several wrist pain. I couldn’t pick up anything heavy with my left hand or put any pressure on that wrist. It was the worst when it came to my carpal tunnel, so it made sense. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized I also now have a gigantic bone spur on my left wrist; it is so sharp you can see it through the skin. Cool! I also have near permanent carpal tunnel; some mornings, my left hand is still numb. 

3. Everything you thought you knew about your cycle is now wrong. 

So, I bet you thought that once you were 28 and a mom, you’d have the whole menstrual cycle thing down pat. Well, guess what? WRONG. Pregnancy does this super fun thing to your body where it basically changes everything you ever thought you knew about your cycle. Never used to get cramps? Surprise! Cramp town! Used to be incredibly regular? Psych! Never had cravings? Boom, welcome to chocolate-covered-pretzel-town! You’ll look back in fondness at those pre-pregnancy days of having at least a moderate understanding of your cycle. For the lucky few, maybe things haven’t changed that much. For the rest of us, wave goodbye. 

Hey! This isn’t to say that everything about pregnancy is bad. All these things happen—the terrible skin, the cowboy walk (yikes), the saggy boobs—but you also get a baby. And that’s pretty great.

My Pre-Baby Wishlist

Are wish list blog posts annoying? Maybe. But I've always liked them. It's kind of fun to see the other things that people search for on the Internet, or what they want for their birthday or just because. Doing them too often can be annoying because at a certain point, coveting stuff all the time is kind of concerning. But once and a while, a wish list blog post is fun. 

And this one is one really, long pointed stare at my husband. I've never been really obsessive about trying to get him to get me specific things for my birthday or our anniversary, but I've been making a really big deal about the things I want for the last months of my pregnancy. These aren't necessarily things I want for my birthday, because my birthday is October 20 and my due date is October 23. Waiting until potentially 3 days before giving birth to enjoy some new stuff seems like a recipe for disaster. 

Here are my (super duper basic) wishes for the last few months of my pregnancy. 

1. Striped Top

Guys, we need to talk about how much I want a black and white striped top. (I have an image in my head of it being majority white with thin, wide set black stripes.) Ideally, it wouldn't be maternity so that I could hopefully wash and shrink it down to post-bump status. If you're wondering why I'm jonesing for a relatively basic top so much, see my Maternity Style Pinterest board. It's the perfect Fall wardrobe addition (and it won't be too small like the striped top I own currently). 

2. Knee High Boots

For the past few years, I've operated under the assumption that I have "wide calves." But I actually, kind of don't? My calves have a circumference of 14 inches. Which, sounds huge, but is actually fairly typical. The average size 8 pair of boots has a circumference of 15-17 inches. Should work out, right? Wrong! Because I've never worn a size 8 boot in my life! I've always worn children's boots (size 4-ish and they have a calf circumference of... about 10-12 inches) or a size 6 (that typically has a calf circumference of about 12-13 inches). The size of the boot is correlated to the circumference of the calf... so if you're like me and have fairly standard size calves (or perhaps even muscular for your body type), but have always worn an itty bitty shoe size, you've never been able to find knee high boots that fit. 

With this knowledge, and puffy feet, I feel like the time has arrived: I can buy size 8 or 8.5 size boots and have them fit my calves and my feet (with thick socks). I've been scoping out boots for the last two months and I'm still undecided. I want to see them in person, I decide, and then I'll find a great pair of Mukluks on Zulily or something. 

3. A Knit Scarf

It's warm. It's cozy. It doubles as a nursing cover. It goes with every outfit. This year, I want a blanket scarf pre-Fall (so I avoid the massive sell out run on them!) and a really nice, knitted infinity scarf. 

4. Naked Smoky Palette

When I heard that Urban Decay was releasing a third (!!!) Naked palette, I had the immediate thought that they were jumping the shark. And I was wrong because the Naked Smokey palette is gorgeous. (I actually really love the Naked 3 palette as well because I loooove rose gold eye shadows, but I always look like I've got a bad case of pink eye when I pair pink-y eyeshadows with my hazel eyes.) 

5. An iMac

This is the most "dream worthy" gift I want. Someone needs to get me an iMac though. My trusty MacBook is starting to slow down and gets a little bit more laggy everyday. I've had it since my senior year of college--that's 5 years of use! I'm ready to graduate to a desktop computer and use my MacBook as a "use around the house" device. 

All the Things I Just Can't Wait For

Sometimes, I worry that I sound too disappointed when I talk about having a boy. As I've written before, my disappointment is not really "this is a disappointment" and more "that was not what I expected." I'm less disappointed, actually, and more sad. When my friend from college, Bek, was visiting, I managed to convey just why I wanted a little girl so bad: I love my mom. That's it, pure and simple. I love my mom; I talk to hear at least once a day by text and visit her as much as I can. I love our relationship. I love that when I was 14 and just about to go into high school, she took me shopping and told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was beautiful and would always be successful because I was smart and that I would really enjoy high school. (That last bit was wishful thinking for both of us.) I love going to Portland with her, running errands, looking through old photos. I love my mom. And I wanted a little girl so I could have the same kind of relationship, because the relationship between mothers and daughters is vastly different from that between mothers and sons. 

I realize now, after a lot of time having passed between finding out little Forrest's gender and now, that that kind of expectation can be really damaging. By trying to force a certain kind of relationship on my child and I, I would undoubtedly be disappointed over and over again. I don't know what Forrest will be like and, even if he was a girl, I have no idea if we would connect and bond the exact same way my mother and I do. 

Thanks to the relationship between my mother and I, I know exactly how to be a great mother to a daughter: I know the things I want to say and the things I don't want to say; I know what to do, how to act, how to talk. What I don't know is how to be a mother to a son because, well, that's just not my experience. 

For now, all I can do is focus on the things I'm excited to do with Forrest and hope that he enjoys them to... and that I learn, somewhere along the way, how to be the best mommy I can be. 

Here's a short list of all the things Forrest can be assured I will drag him to: 

  1. Disneyland. Thanks to my friend, Meghan, I have a set of Mickey Mouse ears for him already. Several people have asked me what I'll do if Forrest doesn't like Disneyland. But really, does anyone not like Disneyland? It all depends on your experience. And I'm going to make sure he has the best time. Mainly because we'll go in the off season. 
  2. Halloweentown. Did you know the classic Disney Channel Original Halloweentown was filmed in St. Helens, Oregon? And did you know that every year they recreate the set of the movie in St. Helens, Oregon? Did you know I grew up obsessed with Halloweentown and did not know this fact until just two days ago? Did you know that literally nothing will stop me from dragging Forrest there next year and maybe this year?  
  3. Countless posed portrait shoots. Gotta capture the cute... while forcing him to wear a tiny suit. 
  4. The Newport Aquarium. And I will make him take a picture with the shark jaw, of course. 
  5. The High Desert Museum. One of my favorite places around Bend, I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about it. It's not as exciting as an aquarium or drive through safari, but I loved visiting as a kid and teenager. They have foxes, owls, and more, plus a replica of a central Oregon pioneer town. It's a mix of natural history and Oregon history, all wrapped up in one. 
  6. A million different pumpkin patches. You will love Fall, Forrest. You will love it!