Well, I’m now 7 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I still feel a bit on the rough side but the slight upside of this weekend’s less-than-summery weather is that my hayfever appears to have died down. I still have problems breathing which is quite disconcerting, and I have read that apparently pregnancy seems to have an effect on the mucus and whatnot (giving you a runny nose, so maybe it wasn’t the hayfever, although my eyes were also bad and the sneezing… gosh, the sneezing… ugh) and also that it can exacerbate any asthma you might have.
I’m that sort of awkward person who has always refused to believe I could possibly have asthma. I mean, I really don’t. I do however have a little collection of inhalers which I was given when my hayfever got really bad a few years ago. I did that breathing test (where you have to huff-puff into a tube, which isn’t easy I think… or perhaps I’m just making up excuses for why I was so bad at it) and it turns out my lung capacity was pretty poor. There is definitely some sort of breathing thing going on because I do get relief from taking the blue inhaler (salbutamol). But it’s something that only seems to affect me in summer / hayfever season. Anyway, thankfully the itchy eyes and snotty nose and compulsive sneezing has died down, leaving me only with shortness of breath. I’m just taking the inhaler everywhere and hoping for the best.
The weirdest thing now is that I definitely now feel like my stomach has got bigger, and I can’t really believe it could just be down to me being greedy. (Refer to my many posts about pizza… and the little Pizza Baby as I have christened T-to-be.) I sort of feel like there is something swelling under the flab. So this weekend I decided I needed to go and buy a new pair of jeans.
I have these pairs of jeans that I’ve been wearing for the past year or two, and they were miraculously in a size 6 UK. I mean, this is ludicrous for starters because there’s no way I’m a size 6… I pinky promise you it’s not a humblebrag – Marks and Spencer in the UK is known for the vanity sizing. However I am very short, which does mean that overall I’m smaller and can actually get away now and again with buying things in smaller sizes. It doesn’t mean I’m skinny. I’m what could definitely be termed… umm… flabby. I realised this weekend I needed to go and buy a new pair of jeans because the old ones wouldn’t do up without cutting off circulation, and I still want to be able to wear jeans, and I tried on a pair of ASOS maternity jeans and they were utterly horrendous on me. (Not at all like the model on the website who clearly is neither preggers or flabby.) So I thought I’ll just go and buy a pair of M&S jeans in the size up. Anyway… I needed to get a size 10! Which is really good for a UK size, I mean it’s a perfectly acceptable size and all, it’s just not so good when it’s 2 sizes larger than my existing jeans and they are still a bit tight to do up!
Anyway, I bought them. I decided I’m not comfortable buying anything “maternity” until we make it to Week 12 at least and anyway I will always wear the size 10 jeans as “fat jeans”, even if I’m not pregnant. I am hoping that the flab-belly turns into an actual bump at some point so I can feasibly get something pregnancy related like maternity jeans, although I’ve not much hope for the stuff I’ve seen on offer so far. None of the stuff I’ve tried seems to fit in a decent way and is all made for people whose legs are about a foot longer than mine are. (I hasten to add, the only reason these jeans fit is they’re meant to be “ankle grazers”, ie shorter than usual… They aren’t on me!) I’m telling myself the size 6 jeans I bought several pairs of were some sort of sizing anomaly and I haven’t really porked up 2 dress sizes. Eek.
In terms of body image, it has to be said I’m at an all time low. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been. The problem is… pizza… and happiness in relationship… and then the fertility drugs… and pizza. So although I’ve given up drinking I still seem to be porking out. I’m telling myself I don’t mind because it’s more important that Pizza Baby is happy and healthy and gosh, we never even expected to make it to this stage. But part of me still has this kind of “Agh” moment when I happen to catch sight of myself in the mirror and I resemble a beached whale. (Again, I am not humblebragging at all – I’m very short so anything over a size 8 and I start to resemble a chunky monkey, and now I’m a size 10 pushing a 12 I’m beginning to resemble Violet Beauregarde in full on blueberry phase.)
Also, perhaps this is TMI but I’m starting to worry that I’m not very attractive to T. I already started worrying about this about a stone ago, but we were focusing on the injections and everything and trying to get pregnant, and now I think that I’m just ugh fat and minging and it makes me feel a bit sad. I’m not beating myself up about it unduly, I mean it won’t stress PB, but I definitely notice that I feel completely different about my body image than I did before. Like I don’t even want to get undressed in front of him any more. (I used to be the kind of person to parade around in my undies and dance about a bit.) I know this is just a bit of messed up female body image stuff, but it makes me feel worried. I do kind of half think that if the bump works out then that will kind of suck up some of the excess stomach flab, and at least I’ll have an excuse to look fatter, but right now I’m feeling very sensitive about it.
Another thing is that I don’t even want to meet up with people I haven’t seen for a while as I’m conscious that I’ve put on so much weight. This is really screwed up, I know, but then again we’ve all thought to ourselves “Well she’s porked out a bit” or somesuch when we haven’t seen people for a while. I think I just feel very sensitive about it because even before we went through IVF, I put on quite a lot of weight over a couple of years. I was definitely underweight / on the thin side when I met T, having just come out of a long term relationship/marriage and gone through a really tough time. So I had a bit of growing room. But then I kind of grew right through normal and now I’ve headed into porky. I actually now class as overweight on the BMI scale when I used to be at the low end of normal.
This wasn’t meant to be an introspective post but there you go. I think I’ve had a bit of a complex relationship with food and body image before… I’ve never been anorexic as such, but people close to me have, so I’ve always had this kind of complicated relationship with food. I’m more of a functioning fussy eater, although the things I like to be fussy about are junk food (pizza!) and chocolate. I’m one of those people who is sort of all or nothing, and I think being happy in the relationship with T kind of gave me permission to eat what I liked – because I felt secure and loved. T is not thin at all – he’s a normal kind of guy who doesn’t really care if he has a bit of a belly. Whereas I’ve always been on the small side and I’ve fluctuated wildly – I think in total my fluctuation in the past has been 16 kg, which is massive. Weirdly I don’t think people notice much in between although if I go down to a low weight they do start to comment.
The thing is, I don’t want to get back to being underweight / skinny again – I wasn’t healthy then. I was just existing on cigarettes and alcohol (in the wake of my marriage breakup) so it’s not like that’s a sustainable lifestyle. I don’t even like smoking any more. It was just part of my sort of nihilistic phase. I’m actually coping okay without alcohol – I don’t find that I crave it – I just miss the social aspect as not drinking in the UK leads to social awkwardness. But I really don’t feel comfortable being this fat. I think if I get to the stage where I have a bump, I’ll feel more secure that I am pregnant rather than fat. Right now I just keep thinking, what happens if I lose the baby – then I’ll just be fat.
I realise this all sounds rather messed up. But I’m trying to give an accurate and honest reflection of my entire infertility journey and all the feelings that go with it. I hope that in a few months I’ll be a glowing big-bumped pregnant woman and I’ll be able to look back and think “What on earth was I thinking?” – I hope this is just a temporary madness.
Another thing is, I am invited to a work related (ex work) do this week, and it’s someone who I would always support and I feel really bad because I don’t know whether I feel up to going. First of all I don’t feel comfortable in public due to all the reasons above about body image. The last time the people from my previous work saw me (most of them who I haven’t seen since I left, or not recently) I would have been a lot thinner. So I feel like they’ll all be thinking “Omigosh she’s gotten so fat”. Which isn’t a nice idea. The other reason is that I still haven’t got to grips with the idea of going out and not drinking at a drinks reception. I have done the one (daytime) work event where I picked up a glass of champagne and wandered around with it and put it down again, but I’ve not yet braved an evening event. I’ve just avoided them all so far. All my friends know I’m busy at work, and I think when/if I manage to reach 12 weeks then I’ll be able to go out and tell them why I’m not drinking. Anyway I feel bad about this event because I know if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d be really upset if this person didn’t attend my event – we were very close. I don’t know what to do. I think the person will be really upset / offended if I don’t attend but I don’t know if I can really face all my ex colleagues and a not drinking / drunk situation when I am not ready to announce the pregnancy yet.
Sorry this has turned out to be a bit of a pity party! I’m not really sitting around feeling sorry for myself as such. The change in body (putting on weight) without yet having a bump is taking a bit of getting used to. And I just don’t know what to do about social situations.
Do you have any advice if you’ve been at this stage before?
If you’re at this stage or coming up to it, what are you planning to do in these situations?
Answers on a postcard…!