My surprising pregnancy symptoms

Just like labor, every pregnancy is very different. There’s no way to really know what to expect.

Going into this adventure, I didn’t really have any expectations except that I would be hunched over a toilet for the first three months and the thought of a leafy green would disgust me.

Turns out neither of those expectations came true! [Yay.]

Here are some of the more unexpected symptoms I’ve experienced:

-Constant nasal congestion. I now know what it feels like to have allergies, except it’s like I’m allergic to everything.

-Itchy eyes. See above. I have to limit my contact-wearing to every other day.

-Nosebleeds. Thankfully, this has subsided, but I would get light nosebleeds almost every morning during the first trimester.

-Sensitive gums. They bleed if I floss. There’s one particular spot that’s extra-sensitive. The nurse I get paid to talk to through my insurance company tried to tell me I wasn’t keeping up with my dental hygiene and I might have gum disease, which can cause pre-term labor. My dentist told me I have great hygiene and sensitive gums is a pregnancy side effect. My doctor concurred. Take that, nurse.

-Lack of appetite. I thought pregnant women were constantly hungry. I guess I am not one of those pregnant women. Instead of traditional hunger, my body tells me I need food by feeling weak or empty. I don’t really crave much. I rarely feel like cooking. It’s actually really sad! I used to get such joy out of good food, but now most of the time I just have to force myself to eat something palatable. This isn’t always the case, but it has been lately. And don’t worry, I am getting enough calories and paying attention to nutrition.

-Acne. This should be a post in itself. My skin has never been as bad as it has over the past seven months. I’ve overhauled my skincare routine, and that has helped maybe a little, but it pretty much just… sucks (for lack of a better word) and is really frustrating.

-Ridiculous gag reflex. I never threw up from morning sickness during the first trimester, when most women are bowing to the porcelain god. If you’re squeamish about barf, stop reading here. OK, I warned you. I have, however, thrown up from coughing too much when I was sick with a bad cold earlier in the summer and, unfortunately, right now. It’s pretty disgusting. I guess that’s what I get for not getting real morning sickness. I also have to be careful when brushing my teeth not to gag myself or I’ll say goodbye to my breakfast. Yeah, sick.

-Fatigue. OK, I expected this. But I never expected it to be this bad! It comes and goes, but some days I just cannot get enough sleep no matter how long I’m snuggled in bed. And I pretty much always get 8-9 hours a night these days.

-Nightmares. They say you have “vivid dreams” during pregnancy, but mine are definitely vivid nightmares, not dreams. And violent nightmares at that. Usually it’s something like I’m getting shot at or stalked or attacked. The other night was the absolute worst though – I dreamed I had the baby, a girl, but she was kidnapped and murdered! I don’t even like writing that. It was horrible. Go away, nightmares!

-Sore feet. If I’m on my feet all day, a foot massage from Peter is a necessity.

-Constantly being warm. This is a pretty predictable pregnancy symptom, and I admit I’ve kind of enjoyed it at times. I am normally cold everywhere I go – especially in the summer when buildings are overly air conditioned. This summer I was perfectly comfortable in those cold buildings though. It was great. At work, however, my desk is in an extra-warm area of the newsroom. Even before getting pregnant, I couldn’t wear sweaters in the winter because I’d get too warm. Now it feels like it’s 400 degrees every day.

-Forgetfulness/stupidity. I’m pretty sure my brain is not functioning at 100%. I have forgotten a couple meetings or written them down on the wrong days while pregnant. The crossword puzzle and word scramble games at my baby shower seemed absolutely impossible.

All of the above sound bad, but overall I think I’ve had it pretty easy during this pregnancy. I’m able to be active and pretty much function as my usual self. I’m definitely thankful that everything has gone smoothly so far and the baby’s heart is beating strong and looks healthy – that’s the most important thing.

I’d take clear skin if it were offered though 😉

Non-alcoholic beer: Clausthaler

Saturday night, after a long day of painting and yardwork, my parents, Peter and I hit up a new-to-us bar and grill in New Berlin. When we sat down at our table, nothing sounded better than a nice beer. Embarrassingly, I asked our server if they had any non-alcoholic beers. Thankfully they had a nice little selection: O’Doul’s, O’Doul’s Amber and Clausthaler. I was skeptical of the Clausthaler since I had never heard of it and no one knew anything about it, but decided to live on the edge and order it anyway.

I’m glad I did. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t tasted real beer in a good four or five months, but I thought this little guy had a really nice flavor. Not too light, but not bitter. Maybe like a Stella Artois? I think my taste buds may be too far removed for me to be confident in that comparison, though.

The only other non-alcoholic beer I’ve tried is O’Doul’s Amber. I remember being underwhelmed by it, but it wasn’t bad either.

Apparently I should seek out Kaliber, a non-alcoholic beer made by Guinness, should I crave beer again during pregnancy. This review says it tastes more like real beer than Miller Light (not hard to do, but still a positive reaction). A commenter on that blog post also suggests Erdinger. I wonder how well-stocked Wisconsin liquor stores are in non-alcoholic beer?

Pregnancy-safe wine

If I can’t drink it, at least I can eat it.

This cheese was an impulse buy at Pick ‘N’ Save – it’s some sort of award-winning reserve and it cost a little more than I’d normally spend on cheese – but it is SO good. I don’t really taste the Merlot in it, but along with a few grapes or a sliced apple, this is my pregnant version of a glass of wine after work.