Friday, October 17, 2008

Top Three Pregnancy Surprises

I was musing this morning about things that I've found kind of amazing about being pregnant. They basically fall into three categories: 1) the on-going wonderment that I'm even pregnant to begin with; 2) teeth (you'll see why in a minute) and 3) clothing (and, more specifically, how many of my non-maternity clothes still fit just fine even though I am as big as a battleship!).

First up, I do just have to pinch myself often that I am pregnant in the first place and, with the exception of a couple worrying weeks back in the first trimester, I am doing great. Putting this in perspective, I was under the assumption much of my life that even if I wanted to get pregnant, it wouldn't be easy. My periods were always totally erratic and I'd often go six months or more without having one. A doctor once told me that I just didn't ovulate very often. Hence my conclusion that getting pregnant would be problematic. Add to this that my husband and I didn't even start trying 'til I was almost 43 AND I'm a plus size lady to begin with and the convoluted pregnancy equation seems to get even more complex and unlikely.

When I hear all the stories of random people and family members who are much younger than me, thinner than me, who have tried for years without success to get pregnant, it really reiterates what a miracle the whole thing is. We tried for five months and BINGO! It's really quite astonishing.

OK, amazing thing about being pregnant number two: teeth. "Teeth?" you say? Yes, indeed my friend, teeth. All my life, I've had one baby tooth that never fell out. When I was seventeen, the dentist was sure it was coming out and said I'd get braces after my new tooth came in, but it never happened. Just a couple of years ago, my former dentist would routinely warn me that I needed to have my now 40-year-old baby tooth removed and cough up $6,000+ for a dental implant or one day I'd be sorry (i.e. after eating pizza, caramel or something else, the tooth would fall out and this young, urban professional would end up looking like a gap-toothed hillbilly for a while). I never followed his advice because I thought the whole process sounded really painful and way too expensive.

Fast forward to a pregnant Maggie sitting on the sofa watching TV after dinner a couple of months ago. I thought I had something stuck between my teeth, got up and went to the bathroom to floss, looked in the mirror and saw the unbelievable. Rather than finding the remnants of a stringy nectarine, I instead found the tiny tip of a brand new tooth poking through my gum line! Yes, people, at 43, I'm getting my grown up teeth!

I went to the dentist who said he's never seen anything like it. My baby tooth is still holding on for dear life, but may get pushed aside in the coming months as my adult tooth has finally decided to make an appearance. Oh, yeah. . .and after I deliver the baby, the dentist has advised me that I'm still gonna have to get those braces as my new tooth is coming in sideways. Oh, hurray. . . 44 years old with a new-born baby and braces. Oh brother. . .

Finally, in getting dressed on this unusually cold Fall morning (in the 30's here in Chicago!), I realized how amazing it is that so many of my pre-pregnancy clothes still fit my more than seven-months-pregnant frame. Underwear? Still good. Long-sleeved winter t-shirts? Yep, A-OK. Black polyester dress pants I bought for last year's job interviews? Their stretchiness seems to know no bounds.

Now, as a larger woman, I've always enjoyed well-fitting clothes with a tasteful touch of spandex. The kind that help you look slimmer and sleeker without revealing every lump and bump or making you look like some woefully under-dressed Jerry Springer hoochie mama.

That said, I'm amazed and somewhat delighted that these clothes still fit and I haven't had to fork out big bucks to replace everything in my wardrobe for only nine months. Conversely, it has also made me realize that just because something still fits doesn't mean I'm not getting fatter. This is a key learning that I need to keep in mind once I'm back in my non-pregnant state. No relying on these clothes as an indicator of my healthfulness or weight loss. I'll need to stick to the scale and my jeans (which stopped fitting me at least four or five months ago) for a real barometer of my shifting (and hopefully down-shifting) size.

All in all, this whole pregnancy thing has been sort of surreal so far. I can't say I've really enjoyed being pregnant but I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to the outcome. I'm excited to meet this new little person who is half me, half Craze and 100% himself.

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