One of the signs no one warned me about was the nosebleed. I woke up one morning with first nosebleed of my life. It was quite a puzzle for me at the time as to why my nose was hemorrhaging. I had not yet taken the pregnancy test, so I didn’t connect it to pregnancy. I looked up nosebleeds in one of my medical reference books and saw that a surge of estrogen can cause vessels to break in the nose. Women’s blood volume and blood pressure both increase with pregnancy, so this made sense to me. I wondered if I was pregnant, but afraid of the disappointment of another negative test. After my positive home test and doctor’s office test, I had yet another nosebleed.
The nausea didn’t start until a week or so after the positive pregnancy test. I thought that perhaps I would escape the dreaded plague of morning sickness. Boy was I wrong!
I very rarely threw-up, but it seemed as if I spent all day feeling as if I was just one wrong food or even smell away from a trip to the bathroom. I ate a ton of saltine crackers, but soon tired of them. I mixed it up with some Ritz and Graham crackers, but those got old too. My tastes changed throughout the pregnancy. I craved fish for the first few weeks, but by the second trimester, the very thought of it made me sick. I loved lasagna until the ricotta cheese in it sent me flying into the bathroom before dinner was even over.
Some smells were even unbearable. Our neighbors were Indian and loved to cook with curry. Every time I passed by their apartment and caught a whiff of their dinner, I nearly hurled right there in the hallway. I had to hold my breath and dash by their door in order to avoid making any messes. Our weekly shopping trips to Wal-Mart were even dangerous for a while there. At the peak of my all-day sickness, I couldn’t get through the aisles of the store with out choking back some vomit. My husband once offered to get me a bucket from the shelf nearby. I closed my eyes, took in several deep breaths, and told him that I didn’t think I needed it. I suggested we hurry up with shopping though, just in case I succumbed to the wave of nausea next time and actually got sick.
During the first trimester, I actually dropped a few pounds. Before I got pregnant, I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I was trying to lose weight and get in shape again, but I was having a difficult time shedding the unwanted baggage. I’d started taking cardio kickboxing lessons from a local martial arts teacher and was taking yoga once a week still. It didn’t seem to put a dent in my dress size.
Since graduating from Graduate School, I no longer had access to their gym and that affected my exercise routine greatly. I couldn’t afford to join another gym. In fact, I could barely afford my lessons. My yoga instructor understood about my lack of finances and let me what I could, when I could. My kickboxing instructor was also lenient about my payments and didn’t mind me making small payments when I could either. Most Ys and Gyms weren’t so considerate. What I missed most about my University’s Recreation Center was their pool. I loved swimming. It was easy on my tendonitis-ridden knees.
As a teen, I was on the thin side, but curvy. During a bout of depression, I dropped down under 100 pounds. After being too thin for a year or two, I steadily gained weight. The pill and growing older made it easy to pack on the pounds until I was simply just average for my short stature. I was edging toward being over weight when signed up for my dream adventure of hiking in the Andes Mountains in Peru. In order to be ready for the intensity of the hike, I used the school Recreation Center several times a week after classes. Then on Saturdays, I would use the school pool. My clothes were looser on me and I felt incredibly healthy. I was ready to take on the world. Then I sprained my foot. I still went on the hike, but was slower than I would have been without the pain and the limping. After the two-week trip, my exercise routine slowed to a stop. Classes consumed my time and my stress levels spiked. When the stress spiked my clothes started becoming tight on me again. Soon I had to buy a bigger size. Then pregnancy came along before I could go down in sizes again. I worried about being able to drop the pregnancy pounds afterward. Would I ever be thin again I wondered?
Then there was the tiredness. I couldn’t function it was so bad. All I wanted to do all day was sleep. I sleep in, go to work, come home and go back to sleep. My sides ached. My back ached. My feet ached. Staying off my feet was necessary, which is why I was thankful when I was able to switch from a job at the bookstore, where I was on my feet primarily, to a job tutoring, where I sat most of the time. The hours were shorter and the pay was better at The Sylvan Learning Center. I was still teaching two days a week on top of this.