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SALT LAKE CITY — Now that you're pregnant, eating for two seems super fun — until the very thought of food makes you double over. And that Pinterest-inspired nursery you've been planning to recreate probably won't happen when you realize you only have enough energy to brush your teeth and go back to bed.
While every woman vies for the picture-perfect pregnancy, here's a more realistic look at the highs and lows of the best/worst 10 months of your life — starting with the fact that pregnancies are indeed 10 months (don't let anyone tell you otherwise).
The first-trimester stinks — literally
You know the scene: Your husband decides he wants to cook a hot dog on the stove in your stuffy two-bedroom apartment. He suggests you go in the other room because it’s probably going to smell, but you’re already two steps ahead of him as you dart off the couch. The problem is, your central air conditioning is three steps ahead and within seconds the very air you breathe is dense with Oscar Mayer poison.
There’s no turning back. With your face parallel to the floor and (hopefully) over your closest ceramic friend, you let the world and your husband know just what you thought of that hot dog — and really anything edible. “I hate food! I hate you and this will be our only baby.”
Because, really, who wants to throw up for 20 weeks?
Those first kicks
With a handful of “cute” maternity clothes and a baby bump that no longer looks like you over-ate that last holiday weekend, hot dogs and hormones are looking pretty good right now. Then "cloud nine" escalates into "cloud 1,000" when you feel that little miracle move inside of you for the first time. “This time I know it wasn’t gas. The baby is moving.”
Overwhelmed with joy, you retract your previous declaration and assure your husband this babe can have a few more siblings.
The home stretch(mark)
Soon the fluttering kicks turn into nudges, acrobatics and eventually a CrossFit tournament you did not sign up for. Getting comfortable sleep is a thing of the past as you spend hours loathing your snoozing husband and his totally easy life. Stretch marks decide to show up late in the game, just when you thought there was a chance of looking like those svelte pregnant bloggers you follow on Instagram (you know who I’m talking about). Suddenly Bella’s birthing scene in the Twilight saga doesn’t seem all that bad if it means the baby could just get the heck out of you.
“He will be an only child,” you mutter repeatedly at 3 a.m.
If you’re anything like me, you drew the lucky number on the day of your delivery. The Sochi Winter Olympics downhill skiing serenaded you through two hours of contractions. You progressed quickly and got your epidural. You rested, became friends with the nurses, wrote in your journal and called your sisters and parents on FaceTime. Around 4 a.m. the nurse tells you it’s go time, and two pushes later — bam. Your son is here.
“A dozen more!” you exclaim.
Those first six weeks of you-know-what
It doesn’t matter how many books you read, what fads are in right now or what Facebook moms swear by — nothing can prepare you for those first six weeks. You better buckle up tight. Hormones trump the world’s largest roller coaster, sleeping in 30-minute increments is suddenly normal — as is catching spit up with your bare hands — and that belly you came to love now looks and feels like Sunday's leftover dough. Oh, and let's not get started on the nursing (a.k.a. midcentury torture brought to you by a 9-pound barracuda named Griffin).
But then …
Before long he’s figured out his days and nights, and three-hour stretches of sleep make you feel like you could conquer the world. And then one day he smiles. He finds your eyes and follows you when you leave the room. He hears your voice while your friend is holding him and he swivels that fuzzy head till he finds you. He laughs at that high-pitched "mom voice" you swore you’d never do, and his tiny fingers squeeze your pinkie when you feed him. You quietly lay your sleeping angel in his crib only to feel him grab your shirt collar as if to say, “Snuggle me a little longer, please.”
OK. You win. I’ll take a million more.
Brooke Willardson Porter is a California native, a mom, writer, editor and wife to a busy pediatric resident. Join her exaggerated life perspectives at atleastitsnotasingle.blogspot.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.