When I started to have intense night sweats I knew something was different about my body. As soon as I was able, I took a pregnancy test at home. My husband and I hovered over the little strip and waited in anticipation of those two lines to appear. And . . . there they were!
I was in week four of pregnancy and had already started experiencing interesting symptoms. With each new symptom I became more and more excited. I figured that everything was “progressing normally” and hormones were doing their job. Over the course of weeks four to eleven, my symptoms went something like this:
- Mild cramps
- Night sweats
- Slight bloating/ water retention
- More emotionally sensitive
- Food cravings / aversions
- Lightheadedness (upon standing)
- Headaches (dull to moderate)
- Mild-moderate nausea
- Intense fatigue
- Increased pulse
- Increased body temperature
- Increased thirst (cravings for ice cold water all the time)!!
I was pretty much experiencing every symptom in the book, but they were all on the mild side - thank goodness! I consider myself very fortunate to have still lived a “normal” day to day life while experiencing all of these changes. It was week eight in our first ultrasound that we could see and hear the baby’s heartbeat. It was the sweetest and most miraculous moment we’ve experienced!! I am still in shock that such a tiny heart can beat so strongly and quickly.
What I just couldn’t and still can't wrap my brain around is the miraculous ability the female body has to create new life from one measly cell, then to two, to four, to eight . . .etc. I am aware (and sometimes hyper aware) of all the processes, small and large, that need to take place with absolute perfection for an embryo to form into a fetus and a fully developed baby. The exact timing of hormone release, and in varying quantities, is truly the most delicate, precise and harmonious work of art I have ever experienced or witnessed. Every new day is a miracle. Every millimeter of growth is a miracle. The most shocking thing: this is all happening without conscious thought or effort. My own body has completely taken over the responsibilities, duties and tasks of creating and sustaining the life inside of me.
This is the reason why I feel I, personally, cannot take credit for growing my baby. I find it hard to buy into the empowerment statements of “you are growing a human being!” or “you are a superwoman, you grew a baby!” The processes of forming a baby are all happening behind closed doors, without conscious thought, without dropping everything in life and focusing on “growing a baby.” While I may have to adapt to being pregnant and deal with side effects, the actual development of my baby's body, vital organs, hair, toes and fingers, etc are taking place on auto-pilot. I cannot consciously grow a baby, my body can. There is a higher power and life force at play orchestrating all of these processes. I give all glory and honor to God who by this pregnancy displays his enormous waves of mercy, love, hope and blessings. My pregnancy is proof that He answers prayers and intelligently designed the female body to bear and birth children. He made my body capable of this, my body is not capable on its own. I thank Him, always.