Risky Baby Business: 5 Surprising Things About Pregnancy

Welcome back to Risky Baby Business! This is the 7th installment of this column, and I’m so excited about how well this series has been received. (Click here to see all the other Risky Baby Business posts.)

Huge thanks to all the people who comment on these posts – you are adding so much valuable information for all the moms-to-be, plus you are teaching me new things as we go along.

The other day, someone asked me an interesting question that really made me think… What were the top 5 things that surprised you the most about pregnancy?

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I loved being pregnant

Stop laughing, all you regular readers! I know there was insane worry and daily shots in the stomach. I know we didn’t know “for sure” whether we’d get to keep the baby until week 20.

Even with all that, I felt so blessed to have the chance to be pregnant. Yes, there was worry and discomfort but, after the doctors told me to give it up the dream of having a child, my husband and I felt very lucky to get the chance to have all those aches and pains.

Plus, pregnancy made me feel very powerful, like my body was doing what it was created to do. I don’t know how to describe it any bettr than that.

2. How much unsolicited advice people give pregnant women

We’ve discussed this a few times already in less than two months, but people really like to tell pregnant women (who can’t run away quickly) all about their own experiences. It’s wretched – you can read some of the horrific things that were said to me here.

3. How much bodily functions take over your life

Yep, I’m going there. Peeing and pooing become an entirely new experience when there’s a baby growing inside, taking up room. Pregnant mommies secrete hormones that play havoc with “the works.”

Your first trimester, there is an incredible urgency to pee ALL THE TIME. You find yourself running to the bathroom a lot, even though the baby doesn’t really have enough mass to be pressing on your bladder yet.

The second trimester, at least for me, was all about the lack of poo. I never really did figure out why. I just knew that being pregnant severely interrupted my clockwork colon which made me a little crabby.

Despite all this, I mostly remember the 2nd trimester as a good time on the pee-pee front. No so with the 3rd trimester. This is the time when that baby is growing and growing and the bladder is getting flattened by all the weight. The last trimester, for me, was characterized by some seriously unproductive peeing. All that “Oh-My-God-I’m-Dying” urge to pee would result in like a teaspoon.

Plus, you’re up at night, peeing some more. AND the third trimester is when you start practicing your contortionist exercises just to reach around your body and wipe. By the 8th month, the belly gets in the way of just about everything.

4. How much people LOVE being around pregnant women

This was the most interesting phenomenon to me. Everyone smiles at pregnant women. Most people are really nice to the new mommy. And it’s stunning how many people feel the need to touch the mom-to-be.

Grocery stores were the #1 hotbeds of belly groping. People seem to be waiting at the exits to lead with their hands and cop a feel of pregnant belly. Friends and strangers alike greet you with a laying on of hands to the tummy. It’s a bit invasive, but very sweet if you’re not in the middle of a raging-hormonal-bitch mood. At those times, you pretty much want everyone to back off.

5. How miserable the third trimester is

It’s not just the wadding, and the fact that you’re getting a bit low on extra space in the thoracic cavity. My shots went up to twice daily in the second and third trimester, but I’d been warned about it so it really didn’t fall over into the misery category.

Mostly for me, it was the discomfort when sleeping and having to wake up throughout the night to pee.

My favorite gift at this time was the Snoogle. Before that I had to use a TON of pillows just to be comfortable. Then I’d get tangled in them when it was time to throw off the covers and run to the bathroom. The Snoogle really freed me up to bolt for the potty.

The sleeping thing was exacerbated by the baby kicking so hard that she re-broke a rib from an old horseback riding injury. I had to wrap my ribs just right each night to make the sharp stabbing pain go away.

I also developed paralyzing carpal tunnel in the third trimester. I had no feeling in my left hand from the wrist down and all the fingers in my right hand were numb. EXCEPT for when I went to sleep. At about 1 am, my entire hand would light up like Natalie Hartford’s redneck Christmas tree and throb until I elevated it.

The third trimester also brings the mom-to-be closer to delivering a baby, which scares the hell out of a lot of women. I will devote a whole other post to the things that surprised me about end-of-pregnancy check-ups and the actual delivery.

You might be scratching your head, wondering if I lied about the loving pregnancy thing…Nope, I really loved about 90% of it. OK, 80%. But the positives outweighed the negatives by far, at least for me.

  • I was excited to get the chance to be pregnant.
  • It was thrilling to feel the baby kick.
  • Back to #4 – everyone treats you like a queen when you’re pregnant (and you better enjoy it cuz once you deliver, it’s all about the baby).
  • I didn’t have to go on bed rest
  • I didn’t get a blood clot
  • The baby developed normally and, because we were so high risk, we got sonograms every month. It was great to have baby pics before she was even born.

If it wasn’t so risky for me to be pregnant again, I’d jump right in with both feet. Surprising as that may sound.

What surprised you the most, either in being pregnant or watching those around you go through it? Do you have any topics you’d like to see covered in a Risky Baby Business post? Enquiring minds always want to know here at at More Cowbell. 🙂



About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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10 Responses to Risky Baby Business: 5 Surprising Things About Pregnancy

  1. Although men don’t get pregnant, I often been accused of looking like I was. Love the part about bodily functions being messed up. You’ll probably get even with your husband sometime after he turns 50 – or maybe 60. His will likely get messed up then, and it won’t end in nine months.

    I love this series, Jenny. You’re doing something important here.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nah, not you David, our sleek handsome friend. My husband was AMAZING when I was pregnant – rubbed my feet, back and belly almost daily. I’ve got no need to get back at him. 🙂


  2. K.B. Owen says:

    I’d read so much about pregnancy (that’s sort of the way I operate – look up as much as I can ahead of time) that the symptoms of the 2nd and 3rd trimester, labor and delivery, weren’t too much of a surprise. But the first trimester was kind of surprising for me. I expected the nausea, but not the dizziness and fatigue. Then someone explained to me that it’s the first trimester when a pregnant woman is doubling her blood volume for the placenta, and then it made a lot of sense, and I stopped pushing myself. It’s hard when you’re not obviously pregnant for people to take you seriously when you aren’t feeling well.

    Thanks for a great series, Jenny! Here it is, almost 11 years since my last pregnancy, and I’m commenting on your pregnancy posts every week – it’s like I can’t help myself, lol.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I read a lot too, but I was still surprised because the choking wake-me-up heartburn, blazing carpal tunnel, and broken rib were just unexpected. I was just sailing along with lots of worry, but the early part of the pregnancy was pretty textbook.


  3. I also loved being pregnant. Even though I was freaked out the first time, I loved delivering naturally with no drugs and at home. I loved the nursing once we got past chapped nipples 🙂

    You hit the nail on the head, “Plus, pregnancy made me feel very powerful, like my body was doing what it was created to do. I don’t know how to describe it any bettr than that.”

    One thing I was told, and since I didn’t have any peeing or pooing issues I guess there’s some truth, was to drink cranberry juice (8 oz a day) to avoid urinary track infections which some women suffer from, and to take a fiber supplement like Benefiber to keep the bowels regular. Mind you this doesn’t help the URGE to pee thing, LOL

    And where the heck was that Snoogle when I was pregnant! That looks awesome!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, dude…those blistered breastfeeding boobies – dang those hurt. I’ve got a friend writing a breastfeeding book and I’m thinking guest blog. 🙂

      Hmmmm, cranberry juice and Benefiber *adds to pregnancy must-have list*

      Raelyn, that Snoogle rocked the house. And you can use it afterward for sitting up baby and to help with breastfeeding.


    • I would love to have a home birth. Maybe next time around (fingers crossed for a next time :D)


  4. I loved being pregnant, even when I was terrified for the baby. I loved feeling another person growing inside me. I felt magical. Powerful. There are definite downsides. Peeing yourself when sneezing, for example. Heparin shots. Constipation. I was right there with you on carpal tunnel when I was pregnant with my son. It’s pretty darn cool, when you think about it, that we can grow all new human beings. 😀


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I agree, Sonia (and after Raelyn sailing, I’m happy to hear someone else was constipated…I feel kinda mean being happy about that)! There is a power and a magic in it, despite the aches and pains. And shots.

      Ugh…can’t believe you got the carpal tunnel. Did it go away after you delivered? Mine isn’t quite gone yet, so I’m wondering.


      • Mine’s pretty much gone away. I’ve had it a few times when I’ve slept on my back since then. I have no idea why back sleeping would do that though. My youngest is 6 so it’s kinda hard to remember whether I still had the cp when he was 2. I think I maybe did. Of course, we coslept and sometimes he would sleep on my arm. That didn’t help things at all. LOL


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