This morning, I felt sympathy for fire-breathing dragons. As little chalky Tum after little chalky Tum made its way down my throat with no relief for my pregnancy-induced heartburn, I decided fire-breathing dragons need to be given a little credit. I’d snatch up some flighty, singing princess if she wandered near my dragon lair too. And I’d even give her a taste to see if her fair skin and golden hair was the right recipe for quelling the burning that surely must always be present in a fire-breathing dragon’s chest and throat. And then, when the handsome prince arrived on the scene, I’d mos’ def’ breathe all that fire right onto him. Because gosh darn it — it hurts. So get your sword out of my face, you puny prince.
During my first pregnancy, I looked up every symptom so science could tell me how it possibly relates to pregnancy. I remember there’s a scientific reason for heartburn, just as there is a scientific reason for the bloody nose I get every morning. The acne (As Tina Fey says, “Not to brag, but I have the chin of a teenager”), the swelling ankles, the mood swings, even the cravings — there is a scientific explanation for it all.
But then there are even stranger things that happen, and the only explanation given from the doctor is, “Well, you’re pregnant.” Itchy ankles, with the itch stopping exactly at the middle of your calves? Well, you’re pregnant. Lips that are wind-burnt ALL THE TIME, even when you haven’t been out in wind for weeks? Well, you’re pregnant. Sudden blurry vision? Well, you’re pregnant. Leg hair that stops growing? Well, you’re pregnant. And that’s actually nothing to complain about.
I’ve given up asking my doctor about any new weird symptom that pops up because the blank stare and the vacant “there-there” smile I receive in return is maddening.
I also don’t ask any more because even when there’s a scientific explanation for whatever crazy thing is happening to my body, I don’t believe it when it doesn’t seem to directly correlate to pregnancy.
Sure, it’s possible that the placenta is producing more hormones which are relaxing the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, opening the door for gastric acids to stake their claim (I just looked that up). But really, I think somebody’s just making this stuff up.
Pregnancy symptoms are the same as breaking a nail while you have a cold, and then saying those two are somehow related. “Well, you see, the cold created a weakened immune system, which… uh… led to weakened fingernails that were ripe for breaking. Yeah, yeah. That’s it.”
Thankfully, I only have 12 more weeks for crazy symptoms to pop up. And if this goes like my last deliveries, the stuffy nose, heartburn and every other crazy symptom will stop almost as immediately as the baby makes its exit from my body.
But then there’s the weird breast-feeding symptoms to contend with. Just make sure to stay away from me if you’re a sword-wielding prince. I’m not accountable for my fire-breathing habits when under the influence of pregnancy and breast-feeding. Science says so. Or it doesn’t. But it should. I’d believe that.