When I discovered I was pregnant for the first time, I was shocked. My partner and I hadn't planned on becoming parents so soon into our relationship. Turns out, if you're on birth control and are taking a short-term antibiotic, they cancel each other out. Surprise! Of course, we're grateful for the mishap that turned into our now 10-year-old daughter, but back then I didn't know all the things that definitely happen the first time you get pregnant (oh, how I wish I had). While pregnancy is different for every woman — filled with different experiences and bodily reactions — we do share some common, often unpleasant threads.
If you've yet to experience the joys of pregnancy, you're in for a treat. I still remember feeling as if an alien invaded my body when those first flutters happened. It's both surreal and grounding all at once and yet, I don't completely miss those days. Between all the people who want to touch your growing belly and the declining interest and avoidance of foods I once loved was the worst, but it's not all bad. There are some great experiences that I truly enjoyed during these nine months. The first kick, the first ultrasound, the first time you realize you can't wait for the baby to get the hell out of your body; all incredible. Rest assured, the time goes faster than you think so enjoy every "first," no matter how difficult or annoying.
With that, here are some things that'll happen the first time you're pregnant that may never happen (that you'll notice) after.
After my initial onset of morning sickness (aka the alert something was "off"), I left work early and purchased a pack of three tests. The first was positive. The second, also positive. The third? You guessed! Positive! Because no matter how many times you pee on a stick, if you're pregnant you'll likely get the same result on each.
Of course I know in taking more than one, as many women do, I was in utter disbelief I could actually be pregnant at such a directionless time in my life. Alas, I was and looking back, all the signs were there. I just wasn't ready to accept them.
You think you know your body until there's a person growing inside of you. Seriously. I had every menstrual cycle mapped out and still got pregnant (damn antibiotics). Once pregnancy set in, I didn't know how to differentiate between "I'm dying!" and heartburn. Your body takes on a mind of its own to serve the baby but don't worry — you're not alone if it freaks you out.
Much like the above, when the first small movements happen, you might not know if it's the moment. I remember lying as still as possible for an hour to make sure that's what I felt (and not more heartburn on the rise). This is all new so if you miss it, or aren't sure if that was it, don't worry. It'll happen again and that time, you'll be ready.
In the very beginning of the pregnancy, you'll likely just have an OB-GYN visit at the milestones such as the first appointment and once a month thereafter (unless your pregnancy is considered high-risk, like mine). But once you're deep into this thing, you'll start going every two weeks, then every week until delivery. It feels like a lot because, well, it is. It's all totally normal and in some cases, a nice little vacation from regular life (hello, quiet 30-minute drive by myself)!
The advice can be your best friend or worst freakin' enemy. It really swings both ways, but one thing's certain; you'll receive it whether you ask for it or not. Some advice, such as how to swaddle a newborn, was really helpful (and we asked for it). It contributed to more restful sleep for our baby. Other advice, such as "why you have to breastfeed" or "how to raise the smartest baby in the world," aren't exactly helpful and more likely to annoy you and your hormones. It comes with the territory.
When you're pregnant for the first time, friends and family can't wait to put their hands all over your growing belly bump. I hated it, and not just because of my previous body image issues. While it's polite to be asked first, there will be a majority who literally just can't help themselves. It's not necessarily fun but it is a good reminder not to do this to other pregnant women (without asking).
You're pregnant for the first time and the last thing you want to hear about is how wretched labor and delivery will be from everyone you know. However, people won't care. They will tell you every little detail, hoping it will maybe prepare you. Or something. I can say, without a doubt, all the things I heard didn't prepare me for anything except to fear what should've been a wonderful, memorable experience.
This new journey you're on with a first pregnancy really is a beautiful time. Despite the really awful parts, all the amazing ones make up for it. Plus, pretty soon you'll have this gorgeous little human staring up at you with big eyes, and everything else will be a distant memory. #Perspective