So, it all started at my 10-week checkup.
Well, I guess it started a few weeks before that, when we started having to tell people around us about the pregnancy earlier than people usually do, because I was showing so much that it was impossible for people not to figure it out. And then they'd give me the side eye and say "You're sure you're only that far along?" That was about the point when my pants were also not really fitting anymore, and I started having pain that was best described by my pregnancy book as round ligament pain (but that stuff's only supposed to happen when you're in your second trimester). Some days it felt like I could almost watch my belly grow. Which I knew was weird, but I also kind of ignored it.
And then I went for my 10-week checkup, with the GP who did my initial pregnancy test at the university's health services. Our original plan was for me to stay with health services until we moved, at which point I'd be handed over to an OB/GYN. But, at the checkup, the doctor freaked out, and was convinced that I was at least 20 weeks along, or that I was having twins and was about 14 weeks along. Either way, the doctor was beginning to make me feel like those ladies on that TLC show. The doctor kept using the doppler on me, to try to find the baby's heartbeat (because it ought to be easy to find at 20 weeks), but couldn't find anything. But the long time of using the doppler hurt my belly.
And this all is how I got rushed in for an ultrasound, and how I got a "maternal health specialist" instead of a health services doctor.
(Oh, and all of this happened while Chris was out of town, chaperoning his school's graduating class.)
So, a few days (and many medical appointments) later, Chris and I went for my ultrasound (and what really did feel like a moment of truth). We nervously chatted about the possibility of twins, as we sat in the waiting room.
When the ultrasound began, the tech began asking me weird questions about whether I'd ever had an ultrasound before, and started looking at my kidneys as well. He then said that I had one baby, with a healthy heart rate, who was 10 weeks along. I may have cheered and said "Take that, Dr. [Health Services Doctor]!" in response. And then I thought to ask why I was so big and had all these weird symptoms. And he showed me the image, saying, "So, up here on top is your baby. And allllll this below it? They're called fibroids, and they're a significant size. Have you been uncomfortable lately?"
Okay, first weird part: I already knew all about fibroids, because a good friend had a big one when she was pregnant. But she also had all the symptoms before that, and so I knew all the symptoms and didn't have any. And I may have recently said to her, "Well, at least I know that my pregnancy will be easier than yours, because I've never had fibroids." FAMOUS LAST WORDS, PEOPLE.
And that's set the tone for the last few months: extra specialist appointments, where I'm reassured that there is very little risk for the baby, but that I'll have a lot of pain (mostly ligament pain, but also pinched nerves, and pain associated with my various squashed innards). The main "complication" is that it's likely/almost guaranteed (and veering towards "it'll take a miracle to avoid") that I'll need a C-Section. I've had a number of health professionals say that they've never seen a case this extreme before, my GP tell me that I'm too complicated for her to handle until after the baby's born, and my chiropractor tell me that I'm almost too complicated for him. I can only walk short distances, and can only stand for a few minutes at a time, and lately I've only been able to sleep in a recliner. Also, I recently had someone ask me if my due date has arrived yet (I'm only half-way there, people!). Also? Apparently there's an intermediate stage of maternity pants, where you have extra elastics and no belly band. I wish I'd known of its existence when I was at 8 weeks, because I've skipped straight to third trimester pants (okay, and muumuus around the house).
Mostly, though? It's made life funny and weird. Chris and I make jokes about the fibroids being our baby's weird, angry companions (or couches, waterbeds, soccer balls to kick...). I've become That Woman Who Always Talks About Bodily Functions, because fibroids interfere with them and make them weird. Because the baby's up by my ribs now, and pushed far forward, I got to feel the kicks early (especially when he/she kicks me right in the ribs!). Actually, because the kid has holed up right under (and sometimes in) my left rib cage, it's always tricky finding the heartbeat, because it's so close to my own heart that my own heartbeat drowns everything out.
Oh, and if you look closely, I never have so much "cute pregnant belly" as "why does that pregnant lady have extra lumps on the bottom of her belly?" or sometimes "Is it possible that she's only pregnant on the left half of her body? And now is it visibly shifting?"
Oh, and my bellybutton is already and outie, and I forced far too many people to look at my bellybutton as it progressed from innie to outie. Because I'm a giver.
So, that brings you up to date with my life: trying to stay comfortable, trying to sleep, trying not to overshare all of my medical detail to EVERY stranger, trying to write a dissertation chapter, and trying to shift my focus away from the painful lumps and toward the child that's going to be part of our lives sometime around Christmas.
For a while, I was a little bitter that I didn't get to have a "normal" pregnancy. Now I'm finding the hilarity in being weird.