11 Body Changes During Pregnancy | Girl Talk Tuesday
As women, we see bodily changes our whole lives. We see our first major change during being puberty and then the opposite at menopause… But what about pregnancy? Obviously we grow this tiny human inside of us, but what about all of the other crazy bodily changes we experience during that time?
Leave it to Miss tell-it-like-it-really-is over here to shed some light on the subject. If you’ve been listening to our podcast, Hello Bump, then you already know way too much about my body. You probably feel like we’re close, personal friends because of all you know about me at this point, lol!
I’ve really missed my Girl Talk Tuesday series and have been wanting to pick it back up for a while. I hopped on Instagram Stories today and asked if I should bring GTT back and 90% of you were a yes… So, here we go! I thought today’s topic would be a great way to fire it up again. Whether you already have babies, are currently expecting or want to have one someday, this post will have something that you can probably relate to.
The Truth About Your Body Changes During Pregnancy:
- Skin stretches, big time. Us girls are basically Stretch Armstrong. It’s amazing what our bodies can do. Our skin stretches beyond anything you think possible and it really doesn’t get enough credit for the hard work it’s doing. Knock on wood, I haven’t seen any stretch marks yet, but I’m super diligent about using my in-shower body lotion. I’m also pretty good about applying Bio-Oil or Honest Belly Balm daily. If I get a few stretch marks, it’s (obviously) not the end of the world or anything, but I am trying to prevent it. See more of my pregnancy favorites in this video.
- Boobs drastically change. I expected my breasts to get larger and more tender, but it’s so much more than that. Listen, I’m not complaining about a larger cup size, lol! What I didn’t realize is how vein-y and heavy they would become. I have more veins in my breasts than I ever knew possible. They’re so heavy that they just lay on my stomach. The biggest problem is bras are just so uncomfortable right now. Leave a comment below if you want me to do an updated undies and bra post for pregnancy.
- Nipples change too. Your nipples get larger and darker whether you like it or not. I’ve read it’s to allow your newborn to easily find your nipple to nurse, since their vision isn’t clear after birth. I think it’s incredible how God took care of little details like your nipple color to help with nursing.
- Leg cramps. “Cramps” doesn’t seem like a big enough word to describe the pain those stupid Charlie Horses cause. I’ve had leg cramps once a week for multiple weeks in a row and they always wake me up at 5:30am. The things I’ve found that help prevent the cramps (and they’re also not as bad lately) are doing calf stretches right before bed and taking Natural Calm with Calcium. My dr. was the one to suggest magnesium and calcium at bedtime and it seems to be helping. The nights that I get the cramps, I find that I’ve usually forgotten to do one of my two bedtime rituals.
- Pimples. I’ve heard about “the glow” forever… I personally don’t feel like I have a glow at all. Instead, I have zits all over my chin. My esthetician says that my pimples are under the skin and hormonal, so not much we can do for them without opening up my skin.
- Body acne. I’ve been lucky to not have a back acne flare-up with pregnancy like I’ve read about. But the weirdest thing I’ve noticed is that I have pimples for the first time ever under my breasts. I’m sure it has everything to do with their weight, but it wasn’t something I ever expected to experience.
- Pelvic and leg pain. I constantly have inner thigh pain. I’ve been told it’s because I’m carrying all of my weight in my belly and it’s putting extra pressure on my legs, especially my thighs. My chiropractor also said my belly is causing me to take shorter strides, which is also causing the pain.
- Back aches. This is because of the extra weight plus the fact that you should sleep in only one position: on your left side. In my case, it’s not just low back pain, it’s different areas of my back at different times.
- Discharge. TMI? Of course it’s TMI. The truth is, discharge is a big part of pregnancy that no one warned me about. In my case, I have a lot more than pre-pregnancy, and based on what I’ve read, that’s the general consensus.
- Swelling. I started noticing swelling in my feet around the 24 week mark. It’s not enough swelling that anyone other than me or Matt would notice. It only happens after a long day of standing, but I think it’s my body’s way of telling me to take breaks more often. I also noticed that I only get swelling in one foot at a time and it usually happens after a leg cramp episode.
- Hair. I’ve always heard that you don’t shed your hair like normal while pregnant. This hasn’t been the case for me whatsoever. My shedding has stayed the same and I haven’t noticed a difference. Nioxin has helped keep the thinning areas around my face fuller and my breakage/flyaways tamed, but overall, the shedding is the same.
We’re Pregnant… Baby Lanter on the Way!
I’ve never known if I would actually get to say the words, “we’re pregnant.” As you all know, I’ve battled with Endometriosis now for +10 years, so I never thought that getting pregnant would be a breeze for us. When that pregnancy test showed up positive, shocked doesn’t begin to explain my feelings. After a trip to my surgeon back in March, I was planning to have another laparoscopy this summer… That’s when God laughed and said He has other plans for us. The very next month I was pregnant!
Matt and I are overjoyed to be entering into parenthood. We’ve always dreamed of having our own family. This secret has been the hardest we’ve ever had to keep. I’ve been bursting at the seems with joy, wanting to tell my Gorgeous Family for so long, but we wanted to wait until the time was right. Now that we’re safely into the second trimester, I am thrilled to be able to share the news!
My first trimester was a little rough. I was sick before I even found out that I was pregnant! Every single symptom I’ve had has served as a reminder of the miracle God has given us. I’m now four months along and started feeling the baby move for the first time just a couple days ago. Hearing the heartbeat for the first time, seeing our first ultrasound and feeling the first movements have all been moments that we’ll never forget!
Now for the second big announcement… From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to share our journey with you, so we decided to document our thoughts, feelings and all (and I do mean ALL) of my symptoms with you through a podcast. Matt and I have been secretly working behind the scenes for over a year putting together a different podcast, but once we found out we were pregnant, we completely shifted gears and decided to share THIS journey instead. I’m being more open, honest and vulnerable in this podcast about my pregnancy than I ever have been before. If you want to know all the details (good, bad, and ugly!) and hear us tell it like it is, then click below and please subscribe. I think you’ll have a laugh or two with us as we dive into uncharted waters (for us).
If you want to hear the whole story about how it all went down… From me finding out, to telling Matt, to my first doctor’s appointment… Then subscribe to our new podcast and follow along on this journey with us. We’ve recorded an episode every week of our pregnancy, and will be sharing a new episode weekly. This way you can come along on this journey and learn right along with us.
Photography by Jon Volk.
My Endometriosis Story | Girl Talk Tuesday
I’ve been debating writing this post for a long time. I often talk about my battle with endometriosis, but I haven’t ever told my whole story. I was never sure if this was a blog post topic or if it was more of a YouTube video topic… Maybe it’s a bit of both? Either way, I think it’s time I tell my story since I just experienced yet another cyst just this past week. Also, because I’ve seen so many of you sweet girls comment that you’re living life with this nasty disease too. This post is to let you know, you are not alone!
A word of warning: I’m discussing my medical experience and giving details. If that’s not something you want to read about, keep it moving to another post.
Let’s back it up to a young and sprite Angela. I was a late bloomer and didn’t start my period until I was 15 years old. It was not long after that I began this monthly nightmarish cycle and the nasty cramps reared their ugly head. I would get cramps so gnarly I would be curled up in a ball on the floor sobbing. I remember one time they were so bad my mom almost took me to the ER. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but these cramps would knock me off my feet.
It wasn’t long after I got my first period that I experienced my first ovarian cyst. I walked around bent over holding my right side for days before my mom forced me to go to the doctor. I was terrified at the thought of seeing a gynecologist. I was young, immature and incredibly freaked out at the thought of a doctor examining my private parts. My doctor quickly sent me on to the hospital for testing and that’s where the real nightmare began. I had no idea what I was in for and the experience scarred me for years. The nurse explained I needed an emergency ultrasound and in order to do so, I would have to get a catheter. I freaked out of my head. The bad part wasn’t the catheter going in, the bad part was it coming out. It was awful. I’d never experienced anything like that and it was all done just to say I had an ovarian cyst that ruptured and you can go home. It was because of this experience (plus feeling like I had been manhandled) that I refused to see a gynecologist for a long time.
After that, I experienced years of bad cramps and irregular, heavy periods that would sometimes last for 10-15 days at a time. I had all the signs of endometriosis, but I just thought I was another teenage girl with bad periods. I mean you hear that from all your high school girlfriends, right? We all would complain about our cramps and compare our flows, so you just think that you’re experience is no different that anyone else’s.
Let’s speed ahead. The summer after my 23rd birthday, I noticed some irregular swelling down there. I figured it was yet another yeast infection (I would get a yeast infection any time I took antibiotics). The swelling quickly increased though. I went to my mom and she took one look and said, you’re going to the gynecologist. I probably stamped my feet and yelled no way… But I knew she was right. So off I went. I had my gynecological exam as an adult, and it was no where near as bad as I had psyched myself up for. She determined that my swelling was due to a Bartholin’s Gland cyst. She then gave me my first ultrasound in many years and found a massive cyst on my left ovary. Due to the size of the ovarian cyst, she sent me along to a specialist. I was referred to Dr. Stephen Mooney in Akron and he remains my best medical experience to this day. Dr. Mooney examined me and said we need to operate soon, so we scheduled my first laparoscopy surgery for the ovarian cyst plus removal of the Bartholin’s Gland Cyst.
The Saturday night before surgery (it was scheduled for Monday morning) I began vomiting uncontrollably. Dr. Mooney told my mom that if she took me to the ER, there was nothing they could do for me because my surgery was already on the books. My abdominal pain was so severe that I didn’t care, I forced my mom to take me to the ER. They ran a couple of tests and said that the cyst had not ruptured but instead became so large that it twisted itself and laid up against my stomach causing the pain and vomiting. They sent me home to wait it out.
Monday morning rolled around and it was show time. During the surgery, they removed a total of 7 cysts. One the size of a baby’s head on my left ovary, multiple on my right ovary and cysts in various places like my fallopian tubes. Dr. Mooney was able to diagnose me with endometriosis because of the type of cysts, which he called “chocolate cysts”. He said I was basically a mess on the inside. The Bartholin’s Gland cyst was removed and packed with cotton. Because I had three incisions on my abdomen along with the huge incision from the Bartholin’s Gland cyst, I couldn’t walk. My dad had to carry me around the house the first two days at least.
When I went back for my post-op appointment, Dr. Mooney removed the packing from my Bartholin’s Gland Cyst and the nurse had to hold me down to the table… The area became badly infected and the packing was horrific to remove. I wasn’t out of the woods yet, I needed a high dose of antibiotics to clear that infection before I could return to work. I think I missed a total of 8-10 weeks throughout the course of this first round with endo.
Dr. Mooney put me on birth control after that first surgery, saying that due to the severity of my endometriosis, I really didn’t have a choice but to start it. If you want to learn more about my birth control history, read this post.
After that, I returned to normal. My periods were less painful and I had normal cycles for the first time in my life.
Speed ahead to two summers later. I started having symptoms of IBS. By this time, Matt and I were dating long distance. We traveled to the Hamptons and I got terribly ill while there. We took a helicopter from the Hamptons to New Jersey to then fly home to Ohio. I was so sick prior to getting on the helicopter that I took a Phenergen for the nausea and slept on Matt’s lap the whole helicopter ride. What a waste of a once in a lifetime trip. As soon as we landed in Ohio, my mom took me to the ER and they hooked me up to an IV with Morphine because I was having horrible upper right quadrant pain. After running a ton of tests, they ruled out gall bladder and everything else under the sun. They sent me home with a diagnosis of IBS. I was referred to a gastrointestinal specialist and started down that road.
The gastro doctor prescribed new meds and completely changed my diet. Nothing would give. The abdominal pain was relentless. Finally I went back to Dr. Mooney and he said it was time to do another laparoscopy.
Welcome to endometriosis surgery #2. This time Dr. Mooney found that my ovaries had grown attached to the wall of my back. He advised that my IBS was most likely due to the endometriosis and he was so right. After that surgery, my intestinal symptoms were basically gone.
I always stayed up on my appointments with Dr. Mooney. When I moved to LA in 2011, I was so upset to leave my favorite doctor behind.
Since being in LA, I’ve been to three doctors for my endometriosis. I’ve never found the level of care or experience that I had with him. When I was home in Ohio back in March, I went in to see him for a check-up. I wish he would magically move his practice to LA!
I’ve been off birth control since February of 2016. I have experienced a lot of my old symptoms of irregular periods and cramping. Dr. Mooney is under the impression that another laparoscopy will be in my near future, and when/if that does happen, you better believe he’ll be doing my surgery. I have done more hours of research than any one person should, on the topic of endometriosis. I’ve tried so many supplements and life changes. I try my best to avoid soy, which is claimed to be a big culprit of the disease. I have been on folic acid for many years. But most recently, I started a supplement called MacaHarmony, which was referred to me by a woman working in the supplements department at Whole Foods. After researching the supplement, I started it and within the first month I had my first regular period in more months than I could remember.
If you think you are suffering from endometriosis, first off… I’m sorry. I know your pain and I know how helpless you can feel. Something I think a lot of people don’t realize, just because your mom didn’t have it doesn’t mean you don’t have it. My mom never had endometriosis or surgeries like this. My aunt and cousin both had it, but that was the only connection to the disease I had.
Do your research. Listen to your body. Find a great doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable with the doctor your seeing or the answers you’re getting, seek a second opinion.
One resource I would highly recommend for my endo sisters is Nancy’s Nook on Facebook. It’s a fantastic group of women who support each other through this journey.
My endometriosis journey is unique. We all have different symptoms, different treatments that are needed and different roads to recovery. I’m not a doctor and my story should not be taken as advice or direction for your treatment. Seek medical attention before taking any supplements.
Leave a comment below if you too have suffered from this nasty disease that too many of us women have. Please share what has worked for you and feel free to also share your journey. ❤️