Pregnancy #3 started off with a bang with crippling exhaustion and extreme cravings that leave me feeling like eating is all there is to live for.

I don’t know if it’s my age, or the fact that this is my third pregnancy, or just how things are working out this time around, but I don’t remember having such strong pregnancy symptoms this early on before. I remember feeling exhausted with both Michael and Cruz during the first trimester, but not this utter despair at the thought of walking the ten steps from my spot on the couch to the kitchen. I daydream about staying in bed all day watching old episodes of Matlock and periodically drifting off to sleep.

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If I had to describe first-trimester-exhaustion to someone that’s never been pregnant  (men, I’m talking to you), I’d say it’s like having bronchitis without the hacking cough. I’ve seen it described as feeling like having an extreme workout and then running a marathon, but I disagree. I’ve never run a marathon (and am pretty confident that I never will), but there was a time in my life when I was single and care-free when I used to work out. That feeling of exhaustion from expending all your energy is different than what I’ve felt while incubating a baby. It’s more like when your body is fighting a virus and you have no energy to begin with.

So I’m left on the couch thinking about the food that I want to eat. I don’t remember having specific cravings with Cruz, but I clearly remember craving Mexican food when I was pregnant with Michael. This is unusual for me because I’m not a big fan of Mexican food. It’s not even in my top 5, maybe even my top 10. But I got pregnant with Michael and obsessed over Tex Mex.

The Tex Mex craving has revisited me this time around. Also, spicy food, all manner of protein, and Chinese food. And when I say that I’m having cravings, it’s not like, “I could really go for some hot and sour soup. Maybe we’ll go eat Chinese this weekend.” It’s more like, “I shall move heaven and earth to get my hands on a bowl of hot and sour soup! GOD HELP THE HAPLESS SOUL THAT GETS IN MY WAY!”

Unfortunately, my cravings come with a couple of complications: lactose issues and heartburn. I put the hurt on a bowl of spicy queso the other day and paid for it all afternoon. Cheese is now dead to me, as are all dairy products. I bought almond milk for my coffee and cereal and asked my husband to knock some sense into me if he ever sees me anywhere near cheese or a cheese-like product.

And then there’s the heartburn. Oh, Heartburn, giver of nausea and asthma attacks, why must you visit me? But this time around I’m handling it like a boss. I’ve strategically placed Tums  throughout the house like an addict hiding her stash. Kitchen, foyer, bathroom, bedroom…pretty much anywhere I go I can lay my hands on antacid.

Once I satisfy my cravings and deal with the heartburn, I’m left feeling like I never want to see food again. The kitchen becomes No (Wo)Man’s Land and food odors are my kryptonite. I don’t even want to discuss how I’ve been affected by the intestinal issues that my youngest, diaper-wearing child has been dealing with this week or I may start crying.

So there you have it. I’m either obsessing over food cravings or avoiding all food-related sights/smells. My stomach, it’s a contradiction.

In other news, I’m already wearing maternity pants. And I’m sure that has nothing to do with anything else in this post.

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