How Pregnancy Was Different When It Wasn’t “Normal”

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I’ve had two normal pregnancies. Other than gaining more weight than I wanted to and having some third trimester hip/pelvic pain, they were mostly textbook, uneventful experiences. Both ended in relatively smooth, scheduled c-sections so even the deliveries were nothing out of the ordinary.

By the time the third pregnancy rolled around, it was hard to imagine anything other than a normal pregnancy. We did the nuchal scan at 12 weeks to check for any chromosomal abnormalities and everything came back low risk.

So when we went for our 20 weeks scan I wasn’t expecting anything other than news about the gender and a final reassurance that everything was developing well.

I WASN’T expecting to hear terms I had never even heard of, like “single umbilical artery” and “perinatal specialist” and “intrauterine growth restriction”.

We soon learned that “Single Umbilical Artery” (SUA) is the condition in which there is only one umbilical artery in the umbilical cord rather than the normal two. It is also sometimes know as having a “two-vessel cord”because there are typically three vessels in the umbilical cord–two umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein.

We also learned that, even though I had never heard of it before, it’s not entirely uncommon. In the case of SUA, it can either be an indicator of a greater problem, such as a chromosomal abnormality, or it can be “isolated”, meaning it occurs for no known reason and usually has no other associated abnormalities.

The first step was to see a perinatal specialist who would do a high-resolution ultrasound to check for other abnormalities. This would determine if it was an isolated case or related to something bigger. Since the specialist only took appointments in my OB office once a month, I had to wait a month for my appointment.

Most human beings, but especially pregnant women who are waiting for answers to unknowns, would probably agree with me when I say: waiting is the worst.

But that month of waiting was an interesting experience for me. Both of my previous pregnancies had been without complication, so I was in new territory. And I was surprised to find that it changed a few things for me.

I stopped worrying about weight and worried more about nutrition. I don’t love that we live in a society where the numbers on the scale feel like a loaded topic for women, but we do. Pregnancy is a complicated time in this regard because you inevitably gain weight (and you are supposed to). But with my past pregnancies I was startled by how much weight I had gained. To top it off, I started this third pregnancy weighing more than I wanted to. So I was determined to keep my weight gain within a reasonable limit. I wasn’t being hyper-disciplined or anything–just doing my best to be conscious about my eating and exercising.

But then the baby started measuring smaller than what she should be. And I started getting monthly ultrasounds to monitor her growth. Needless to say, the way I thought about food changed. It wasn’t about my body anymore, it was about hers. So I started paying more attention to protein and making sure I was eating enough calories and fruits and vegetables. And I stopped looking at the scale. Because if making sure she got the nutrition she needed meant the scale betrayed me yet again, then so be it. I have the rest of my life to worry about getting my body back in shape. This time right now is about her.

I stopped complaining about being pregnant. Ok, so I didn’t totally stop complaining. People expect you to have feelings about your third trimester landing in July and August in the midwest. So I did the “Ug, the heat!” thing when people asked how I was. And the heat does suck, but my heart wasn’t in my complaining anymore. When there is a chance that your baby could stop growing (intrauterine growth restriction) and have to be taken out prematurely, every day that you are still pregnant with a growing baby is a blessing.

I bonded with baby sooner. I’ve always felt a bond with my children before they are born to some degree. As a mother I worried about them and was excited to meet them and all that. But I never had any reason to worry that they wouldn’t come out perfectly healthy at the end of my pregnancy. However, when pregnancy gets complicated, you worry more. What if she is born too early and has to be in the NICU? What if there’s something wrong that could affect her quality of life? What if it is severe enough to be fatal? Somehow worrying about her more than I had the other two brought out the protective mama bear in me sooner.

I stopped worrying about my c-section. Both of my previous c-sections were fairly routine. Obviously with my first I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. With my second, I was TERRIFIED. I already had a child at home, what if something happened to me and she lost her mother? What if I never saw my little girl again? I honestly don’t know how I actually went to the hospital and willingly went through with the c-section without having to be drugged. That’s how scared I was. So when I found out I was pregnant with this child, I immediately began to dread the anxiety that I knew would come. After all, now I had to say goodbye to TWO children before I went into surgery.

But somehow, when I started worrying about her, I didn’t have any room left to worry about myself. Knock on wood, I’m not nervous at all. In fact, I’m almost excited for the day I will finally get to meet her and hold her in my arms and know that she is ok.

Gratitude. Quite simply, things that I might have taken for granted on a third baby became really big. Every time she kicks, I feel a rush of gratitude and relief. Because it means she is still doing okay in there. My ever-expanding belly means she is growing. Every day that I’m swollen and achey means a little more time for her to prepare to enter the world. By the third pregnancy it would be easy to take for granted how precious and fragile this time is. But I don’t now.

The month passed and we met with the specialist who determined there were no signs of other abnormalities; therefore, SUA in our case is an isolated event. We will have monthly ultrasounds to monitor her growth, but if everything goes well we will deliver a healthy baby girl at the end of all this.

That’s when the adventure really begins.




Irrational Mommy: Insane Things That Have Pissed Me Off During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is a complicated time. Frankly, it has never been one of my most dignified phases in life. From what I’ve been told, hormones make most people irritable and irrational (always a fun combination). Since I’ve never experienced anyone else’s hormones, I can’t know this for sure. But what I can tell you for certain is that hormones make me cranky. And not just normal cranky, crazy cranky. Which isn’t always fun. But it can be entertaining.

Here are just a few of the crazy things that have made me crabby this pregnancy:

Taking My Vitamins. Yep. It’s as simple as that. Throughout this particular pregnancy, I’ve taken a prenatal vitamin, a probiotic, a fish oil supplement and a vitamin D supplement. Not an insane amount of pills but still a pretty good pile. And every night I feel IRRATIONALLY ANGRY when I have to take these pills. I dread it. Sometimes I take turns skipping one of them just so I can take one less pill. It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.

The sound of silverware on plates/bowls while people are eating. This may not seem like a totally crazy one. It could possibly maybe be considered a normal pet peeve to hear the “tink tink tink” of metal on porcelain. But was makes it especially crazy is that it also makes me crazy WHEN IT IS ME EATING. Who gets annoyed by a sound they are making themselves!? Apparently I do.

Noise. Yep, all noise. It’s like having a migraine without the migraine. If the child talks to loudly, if the TV volume is up to high–you name it, it makes me crazy.

Being touched. For some reason my space bubble in this pregnancy is ridiculously sensitive. Even with my own children I sometimes have to say “STOP TOUCHING ME”. My 6 year old is in a phase where she is extra clingy and she likes to “pet” me… my arm or my leg or my stomach. And it makes me insane. INSANE. I can’t even describe the level of insanity.

Actually, even having someone stand too close to me. If someone in line behind me at the grocery store gets too close or a fellow parent watching swimming lessons moves their chair too close, my skin starts to crawl and it’s all I can do not to stare at them until they get the hint and move back. WHY DOES EVERYONE FEEL THE NEED TO STAND SO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER?

Being hungry when nothing sounds good to eat. This was especially frustrating in the first trimester because if I went too long without something in my stomach I would get sick. I was STARVING but NOTHING sounded good to eat. I literally had to force feed myself just so I wouldn’t throw up. Which made me feel like throwing up. It was infuriating and made me angry cry more than once.

Also, one million other little things including but not limited to:

  • having to refill my glass of water
  • the baby gate
  • bending over
  • putting on pants
  • shaving my armpits
  • opening jars, sippy cups, and anything else with a twist lid
  • mushrooms on pizza
  • hold music
  • Hulu
  • all bugs
  • sweating
  • air fresheners
  • the Internet
  • the fact that our second fridge is all the way out in the garage
  • having to plug things in
  • heartburn

And last but not least,

  • trying to remember all the things that have pissed me off lately to include in a list.


I have the rest of my life to look good! (Lol!!!)


Snot. On my shoulder.

Today it was one billion degrees outside. And I was pregnancy-swollen as usual.

A friend was offering her condolences at my third-trimester-in-this-weather condition and, after agreeing that pregnancy had certainly never been the most dignified period in my life, I said (and I quote), “I have the rest of my life to look good.”

And then we laughed and laughed and laughed.

And laughed.

(Mostly I laughed. But she laughed with me. Or laughed at how hard I was laughing. Either way.)

Because mom life sometimes means you are sitting at swimming lessons when you realize that, in addition to having that end-of-the-day worn out mom look, you have snot all over your shoulder from your teething toddler. To think that the end of pregnancy will be the end of my struggles to look like I showered this week or that I know what foundation is is comically delusional.

And you know what? That’s ok with me. I’ll take the puffiness if it means a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I’ll take the snot if it means a sweet toddler rested her head on my shoulder for a moment that day. I’ll take the circles under my eyes and the yoga pants covered in crumbs because they mean moments and memories and so much love. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Plus snot makes a way better story than having time to put on mascara does.

Special Moments. Or Boogers. 

When we hang out and snuggle, she likes to rub my belly. Today she was doing it and I let myself entertain a little fantasy that maybe on some level she is already bonding with her baby sister. And how they’re going to be best buds and we won’t be able to imagine our lives without this new baby as soon as she is here. And how magical children are that they just “know” things even before they can really know them, you know?

And then I realized that, with her other hand, she is picking her nose. 

So there’s that. 


Did you know that carpal tunnel syndrome is an actual side effect of pregnancy? Apparently about 25% of people get it, says the Internet. Most likely it’s because of how swollen my hands/wrists have been. Sigh.

So now, in addition to being a blimp, being swollen, being sore, being tired, and having heartburn from hell, I wake up every morning with my wrists/hands on fire. 

I love my kids and I appreciate the miracle of pregnancy but


Third trimester is its own special brand of shit sandwich. 

Why I’m Not Sorry For Being Selfish This Pregnancy

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It could be that it’s my third rodeo. It could be that I have two other little people demanding my attention all day in addition to the one kicking me in the bladder and wreaking havoc on my sleep habits. Or it could just be pregnancy as usual. For whatever reason, I’ve never been more aware of my limited gas tank than I am right now.

At just over six months pregnant, I’m in full-blown selfish mode. I’ve put my notice in at my part time job so I won’t be working outside my home anymore. Sure the extra income would be nice, and I wasn’t really working that many hours anyway. But I don’t care. I’m done.

The housework has entered a state of suspense. Sometimes it gets done. Sometimes it doesn’t. Gone are the days where I need everything picked up before I crawl into bed. And things like dusting? Ha. Why bother?

Oh and cooking? Don’t get me started. Unless it’s down the bulk Mac and cheese aisle at Sam’s Club.

Even cuddling. Yep, that’s right. I have reached the point where I have actually turned down requests to cuddle from my children. Before you get fired up, they basically are snuggled all day long so there is no shortage of displays of affection in our household. But there comes a point where my gas tank is empty. I can’t be snuggled, groped, kissed or petted anymore. So instead I politely explain that Mommy is having her recharge time, just like we have to do with the iPad, and she would be happy to snuggle in a little while when she is recharged.

My poor sweet husband comes home from a long day and is handed a toddler to feed and a phone so he can call in take out as soon as he walks in the door while I collapse on my face.

There are even times I have excused myself from joining the family for breakfast in favor of retreating to eat alone for a few minutes while watching any show that isn’t on Kids Netflix.

I normally chalk it up to hormones. Even though I’m usually exhausted by the end of the day, I love being a stay-at-home mama to my littles. I enjoy the endless snuggles and can handle the cooking and the housework (mostly) and put off my recharge time until everyone is in bed so that I can be super mom when they are awake.

But that was when there were two.

I’m very aware of the approaching deadline that will bring yet another human that will need fed, snuggled, changed, and bathed. And I’m also aware that there will still only be one of me. My heart may expand to make room for a new little person but the hours in the day won’t. And it hasn’t been long enough since my last baby for me to forget the wrenching absence of sleep and energy. It was hard. And now I will do it all over again with a toddler and a first grader in tow.

So the truth is, I’m being selfish. On purpose. I’m choosing to make the time to choose myself. I’m intentionally hoarding alone time and personal space and quiet and rest. I’m saving up. And I’m not sorry.

Because this time, these snuggles, they won’t last forever. Time is already moving too quickly. There are already days where I don’t have the energy to fully appreciate this sacred time. I don’t want to simply care for these three beautiful, fierce, energetic little girls. I want to actually savor the experience of being their mother. And in order to do that, I need to save up all the energy I can, whenever I can.

Sometimes that means being a little selfish.