Nor did I read about them in any of those pregnancy books people have given to me (note that I have not bought a single pregnancy book, I figure it's a waste of money and people will give them to me anyway. The only book I bought was The Baby Owner's Manual and that was for Sean, but it's a great read for anyone with a sense of humor). If you are the slightest bit squeamish or anything like my guy friends who put their hands to their ears and start going "EWWWW" when I talk about my pregnancy to the interested parties in the room, please ignore this post, or at least the last half of it.
The first thing no one told me about is Braxton Hicks contractions. Of course I've heard about false labor before but nothing in those books really said anything about it. When I did look it up (after calling my poor doctor at 2 am to find out if I needed to go to the emergency room), all the resources I could find described these contractions as "painless". Painless my ass. Those contractions HURT! It feels like somebody's got a part of my uterus in a vice and tightens it every time I move. I had an OB appointment the day after the first time this happened (around 20 weeks), so when I asked Dr. about it he told me not to worry unless it was accompanied by bleeding, discharge, nausea, etc. For the pain? Take some Tylenol. Gee, thanks.
I understand that apparently most women do not even feel these contractions until they are close to their delivery date, or if they do it's just uncomfortable. Good for them. Dr. says they can occur as early as 9 weeks. I guess I was blessed with 11 weeks of no pain (just morning sickness and not being able to fit into my clothes). But now it's every other week (twice this week)! A friend told me that she heard women who have heavy and painful menstrual cycles tend to have the most painful labor. Now you tell me.
The resources that describe BH don't even hint at the possibility that it can hurt like hell. I figure that if "false" labor hurts this bad, I shall demand all the painkilling drugs available at the hospital as SOON as I go into real labor. As much as they can safely give me. Have I mentioned before that I don't do pain?
The second thing nobody told me about (and here is where the squeamish and guys should really stop reading unless they've experienced it) is leaking nipples. By leaking I mean I was sitting at my desk and couldn't figure out why my nightshirt was so cold over my breasts until I looked down and was horrified to see HUGE wet spots over each nipple. Now, I know that breastfeeding moms can leak and often do, but I read nowhere that they'd leak during pregnancy. My first errand the next day was to the nearest CVS to get nursing pads. When I looked online to see if this was normal, I learned that yes it does happen, but most women only experience it a little bit.
I am not normal. If I sit for any length of time without a shirt or bra on, I leak. If I go to bed without first putting on a sleep nursing bra (very comfy by the way), I leak. If I take a shower, I leak. I now have this constant fear that I'm going to be out someplace and develop these huge wet spots on the front of my shirt in public. It's like my girls are competing with Niagara Falls! Of course all the books say they'll get bigger, they'll be tender, they'll change color, etc., but absolutely none of those books informed me that my baby's source of nutrition would start tearing up at every inopportune time, waking or sleeping.
I know it may sound like I'm whining and complaining. While that is most likely true, I wouldn't trade this pregnancy for the world. I enjoy being pregnant, I like that I can feel my baby moving inside of me (although I wish sometimes he'd move off of my bladder), I like the expectation of "oooo, BABY'S COMING!", and I am definitely enjoying the positive attention (although I could do with a little less belly patting. I am not a zoo exhibit.). Perhaps these "discomforts" are just God's way of preparing me for motherhood, or perhaps it's payback for something. Whatever the case, I'll deal with things as they come and count my blessings.