Confounding Newsletters

When I first found out I was pregnant... Ok, maybe not when I FIRST found out, as we were in a cabin on the beach pretty far from technology... but once I was back home and pregnant, I signed up for all the mom-to-be newsletters. I thought it'd be a great opportunity to learn what was awaiting me in the months to come, hear stories from other moms, see pictures. I don't think I've ever been so wrong about anything in my life!

First, there's the confounding due dates. Even the doctors get me all confused as far as when this baby should come. According to my Last Menstrual Period (April 13), the baby should be making his or her grand debut sometime near January 18. According to the Emergency Room ultrasound, baby will be best to come around the 21st. According to the OB I saw at the Naval Hospital a week later, baby will definitely be on his or her way down the vagina path on or around January 27. So of course, I've had quite the time charting exactly how far along I am. At my last visit to my midwife, LCDR S. told me the baby looked about a week ahead, developmentally, than what the due date we're sticking with (Jan 27) would show. So that leaves me to wonder, am I really 15 weeks pregnant? Am I 16? 17? If the baby comes two weeks "early" is that going to be early, or in actuality, on time? This brings me back to the newsletters. I get newsletters once a week letting me know I'm so-and-so weeks along and such-and-such should be happening. This week alone I got ones saying, "Here's what's happening now that you're 19 weeks!" "What You Can Expect at Week 16," and the oh-so-accurate, "Welcome to Week 15."

In addition to the confusing dates, there are the ever changing symptoms and expectations. One newsletter tells me that I should expect movement by week 17 even though I may have already felt it. Another says I won't feel it for a few weeks after week 16 (so... 19??). Now, I thought I felt it once, but was it really? Or was it gas, as it is described to be confused with in yet another newsletter?

And of course, there are the images. The images of other moms. The "I'm 15 weeks and my belly already looks like a watermelon" photo. I look down, see my (still jiggly) "bump" and begin to stress even more. Is my baby too small? Is my uterus too small for the baby? Did my jumping around the other day scramble the baby??

The important thing to remember, however, is that every pregnancy is different. This pregnancy is going to be different from my next. Certainly my pregnancy is different from Jane Doe's, and even my mom's. Just as every baby and every child is different, every pregnancy is different. These are just guides to help you along the road of pregnancy. They are not the be-all-end-all of being pregnant and not every thing they say will apply to every woman who reads. It's just that keeping the anxiety down long enough to remember those few things is not always an easy task!

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