Pregnancy Diaries: The First-Time Mom Who’s Always Exhausted

Lauren Caruso
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Pregnancy Diaries: The First-Time Mom Who’s Always Exhausted

In our new series Pregnancy Diaries, we ask expecting women to jot down every pregnancy-related detail of their lives for a week. (Special thanks to New York mag and Refinery29 for the inspo.) Work-related conundrums, struggles with IVF, and a whole lot of nausea, ahead. This week, we have a 35-year-old New Yorker who’s 33 weeks pregnant with her first child. She was on birth control for about five years, and it took her and her husband about a year to conceive.

Day 1

6 a.m. — Wide awake! I haven’t had a doctor’s appointment in four weeks and today is the next one. I have strong fetal movement but still continue to be in total panic right before a dr. apt in case there’s anything but good news.

9 a.m. — At work dealing with calls, but focused on the doctor’s appointment. I had a diabetes scare when initial glucose test came back with sketchy results (too close of a number to the threshold for diabetes). I had to take a 4-hour glucose test which was difficult because I had to fast all night and during the test, and then there’s the anxiety of results. But it came back completely perfect and now I’m just keeping an eye on sugar intake and exercise (walking, mostly) even more than before.

12 p.m. — At the doctor’s and everything is progressing well. He let us hear the heartbeat which helped to settle some fears, although I remain on high alert for any problems. He came back out to the waiting room after appointment to let me know I am anemic and have to add iron and vitamin C supplements in addition to daily multi-vitamin, and from here forward the appointments will be more frequent. The next one is in three weeks, then two weeks then every week. The doctor is very competent and scientific, but doesn’t offer much in the compassion department. Often, I’m the one driving the conversation with my list of questions. It’s almost as if I don’t come prepared, he won’t offer any info on his own other than to share the heartbeat rate and that nothing seems out of place.

3 p.m. — I’m back at work. There’s very little acknowledgement from most co-workers (especially my team) on third trimester symptoms like fatigue. They don’t ask how I’m doing or offer any support on my work load.

6 p.m. — I’m home and celebrating a good appointment. My husband is so attentive and takes care of everything. Had a fun meal including small bowl of ice cream, and now the baby’s kicking like crazy. I think he likes ice cream too!

10 p.m. – Getting comfortable in bed is getting much more difficult. I wake up on my back and panic, and still need to train myself to sleep on one side. Falling asleep isn’t as easy as it was in the first trimester—that’s when I was dead asleep for 10 hours every night.  

Day 2

9 a.m. — I woke up completely exhausted and after reviewing my work schedule, I decide to work from home. I sent a message to team and my boss never acknowledged it, but one team member (who has 2 small kids) wrote back asking if I needed any help with work tasks and that she would add dial-in numbers so that I can join meetings.

12 p.m. — I ordered lunch from nearby diner. I’m focused on getting fruits in since I’m at home today; a smoothie should cover it. I inhale it and the baby kicks. I notice I have less swelling in my hands and feet today, probably because I’m not running around Manhattan.

3 p.m. — Got harsh message from boss about not being on a call—never mind that I didn’t know about the call—but instead of giving me the benefit of the doubt she assumed the worst and was further frustrated because I was at home and not in the office. I explained the situation and she was forced to admit I had done nothing wrong, but didn’t acknowledge much and just moved on.

6 p.m. — My husband is home and being wonderful as usual. He talks to my belly when he comes home—and baby responds with fetal movement most of the time. Super cute!

9:30 p.m. — Going to bed early because I have an all-day strategy meeting tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to a 9-hour meeting. I hope they have lots of snacks and bathroom breaks! Feeling guilty about taking care of yourself when pregnant is a waste of time, but it’s the reality of working full-time. I was upset that making the call to work from home was not fully appreciated by my boss and team, but I actually did to ensure productivity this week and knew the commute and running around would actually make me very low-energy for our team strategy meeting on Friday. I was trying to take care to allow for a more productive work day on both days. Ugh. 

MORE: The Easiest (and Safest!) Way to Get Rid of Pregnancy Acne

Day 3

7 a.m. – Working from home helped: I woke up fresh—well, you always wake up tired, but I was less tired than previous days this week—and put on a maternity suit for work. Yes, they make those!

12 p.m. — Long morning of work but feeling myself and have high energy to contribute. As a note, I get out of breath when I speak too long, and I and needed to sit down several times during “standing” parts of the workshop. I’m grateful for my lunch break, but it’s a working lunch so not much of a break. Maternity suit is feeling a little snug.

6 p.m. – That was way too long of a day for a mom to be; I’m really exhausted. And my friends from work are going for drinks across the street and are giving me shit that I always bail. I end up going for 30 mins just to have a little social time to myself (it has been a while) and order a Shirley Temple. It’s actually delicious! Now I’m ready for the weekend.

Even though I didn’t leave the apartment and my husband did most of the cooking, I’m super exhausted and not able to move from couch.

Day 4

7 a.m. — I didn’t sleep much at all. I woke up several times during the night and then finally just got up.

9 a.m. — I’m super tired, but my husband made healthy breakfast. Now I’m getting sleepy.

3 p.m. — Slept for 3.5 hours! I was exhausted from the week and can’t leave the apartment today or do any of my to-do list. Ugh

6 p.m. – Measured the nursery for curtains! My husband is going to put them up, but I wanted to make sure it’s the right color and matching all the other stuff in the nursery. I could see him getting slightly bugged by details like shades of blue but he’s being very patient.

8 p.m. — I made burgers with a side of veggies for dinner at home, then watched a movie and kept lounging.

10 p.m. — My in-laws are coming tomorrow. I’ll need to clean the apartment since I did nothing today! I’m also taking new supplements: So far, I’m not feeling any side effects, and considering I now need to take three pills everyday instead of one, it’s a little annoying.

Day 5

9 a.m. – I’m up early to clean and prepare for my in-laws coming. They want to see the new nursery, which is almost set-up. It looks clean, but that’s probably because it’s still mostly empty. My shower is in a month so that’ll fill the room up, and some gifts have already started to arrive.

3 p.m. – Had a nice time with the family, but I’m very tired. Even though I didn’t leave the apartment and my husband did most of the cooking, I’m super exhausted and not able to move from couch. A little overwhelming to talk about all the planning—we talked about getting a new car and although that sounds fun to me, it requires planning and has financial implications that we could do without given all the other costs that are piling up. I have an “everything is worth it for my baby” attitude but the wallet has a limit. Now I’m in Sunday night depression mode because work has been so intense and tomorrow’s Monday.

Day 6

7 a.m. — I have to sit through a three-hour train to D.C. today, so I’m headed to Penn Station in a car. I’m usually excited about day trips so I can be home at night, but I’m worried that this might be too long of a day for me.

12 p.m. — I head straight to a café to get lunch and snacks for later. I have to moderate a 10-person meeting with senior people.

6 p.m. — Meetings went well and back on the train to New York—with a co-worker who has two small children. I’m grateful to talk about something other than work and hear her experience on babies! She summarized her various tips: “The first week is the most crazy, and your own mother is really the only person you want there. In-laws, siblings, and friends should really visit later on and leave you to adjust and get things under control—or at least move on from sheer panic and a hard first week.”

Nobody ever gets up to offer seats on the subway—it’s really alarming.

Day 7

8 a.m. — Took all three supplements with a light breakfast and definitely regretted it as soon as I got on the subway. I was super dizzy and about to fall, but nobody ever gets up to offer seats on the subway—it’s really alarming, actually. Finally I ask someone if they would mind that I take their seat, and they get up.

12 p.m. — Crazy busy work day already and I’m tired and swollen. No rest at work at all.

6 p.m. — Stopped for a chai latte which has less caffeine then all the other choices, and it tastes great.

8 p.m. — I had work calls from home through 8:30pm, and I’m finally sitting down for dinner with my husband.

10 p.m. — I’m super tired but so grateful to lie down and just have a chance to unwind and talk to the baby—he’s kicking like crazy—which I’m excited about. I’m also slightly nervous that he’s much more active at night. I wonder if that will be the same when he finally arrives! I finally stop and think: If you let it, work and other life demands can suck up all of your energy. And if you can’t do it for yourself- be mindful for your unborn child that you need to slow down, stand up for yourself, and rest as much as possible. Yes, you can do everything, but it’s so important to do everything for your baby, too.

MORE: What It’s Like To Have a Difficult Pregnancy

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