I found out I was pregnant for the second time at three-and-a-half weeks, and was hit with awful morning sickness two weeks later. It persisted--I threw up multiple times a day throughout the first and second trimesters, and a few times a week until my daughter was born. I was exhausted and had intense pelvic girdle and sciatic pain that left me with a limp fairly early on. Let me tell you, it was a trying 40 weeks, and I certainly learned a lot about pregnancy. 

 

Here's what I can tell you.

Read more ¿Qué más?: The 10 craziest things that can happen during childbirth

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Don't Take an Easy Pregnancy for Granted 1

Don't Take an Easy Pregnancy for Granted

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Besides some early spotting, my first pregnancy was nearly textbook. My son arrived a week early and I was left well, sort of smug about how well my body had handled growing another human being. Going into my second pregnancy, I expected the same. I totally took for granted that a reasonably healthy and fit twenty-something should breeze through pregnancy, and found myself reeling in shock as I dashed to the toilet at 10 p.m. more than halfway through my pregnancy. Smug no more.

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It's Okay to Take it Easy 2

It's Okay to Take it Easy

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You might be wondering why it seems impossible to work, keep up your house and take care of your kids right now--after all your own abuela and mami didn't seem to have any trouble functioning while pregnant. But every woman's body and every pregnancy is different, so if you have to take a pass on dishes for the next couple of months, don't be too hard on yourself. Your body is running a marathon right now. It's okay to take it easy when you need to.

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Let Him Take Care of You 3

Let Him Take Care of You

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Hopefully your baby's daddy wants to be as involved as possible. You'll probably need more physical and emotional support than ever before, and that's okay.Let your partner be your support person both throughout your pregnancy and during labor and delivery. Daily massages, snacks when you're hangry, late night craving runs, it's all important. Heck, my husband actually had to call out of work a few times because I was too sick to care for my son alone. 

Eat What You Can..and Don't Feel Bad About It 4

Eat What You Can..and Don't Feel Bad About It

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I survived my first trimester on Cheerios, ice cream, frozen grapes, potato chips and frozen taquitos. I found almost nothing edible and I could only keep down the iciest water. I spent several weeks feeling terribly guilty about the awful start I was giving my baby, but after awhile I realized that I was honestly doing the best I could. Your baby will take what she needs, and eventually you'll be able to eat a little better. It is what it is.

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Exercise is Great...Until it's Not 5

Exercise is Great...Until it's Not

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I pushed through the morning sickness and exhaustion and worked out at the gym a couple of times a week until I was eight months pregnant, because I was convinced that it would help me have an even better pregnancy and delivery than I did the first time. But right around 32 weeks I lost all motivation. I was huge and working out was painful, so I stopped. Eventually I started pretty regular walks and I did some light stretching, but that was all I could handle towards the end, even though I had been working out the majority of my pregnancy. I did the best I could. I will say, I had no problem pushing out a nine-and-a-half pound baby--maybe it was the exercise.

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Every Pregnancy is Different 6

Every Pregnancy is Different

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My two pregnancies were very, very different from each other, including labor and delivery. And apparently, that's much more common than having identical pregnancies with each child. So if pregnancies can be so different for one woman, can you imagine how different the experience is from woman to woman? With that in mind, we should all remember not to judge each other, especially how another woman tolerates pregnancy. 

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You Don't Have to Love Being Pregnant 7

You Don't Have to Love Being Pregnant

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I know there's some taboo around this topic--women feel guilty complaining about their pregnancies knowing that other women are struggling with fertility. I understand, I've felt that guilt, many of my friends have felt that guilt, but another person's experience does not take away from your own. If your pregnancy sucks (or even if it doesn't) and you just flat out don't enjoy being pregnant, you don't have to be ashamed for admitting it. Pregnancy is one of the toughest physical experiences many women will ever go through, you don't have to love it, and not loving it doesn't mean you'll love your baby any less either.

You Won't Be Pregnant Forever 8

You Won't Be Pregnant Forever

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Pregnancy can seem to go on forever, especially the last few months which seem to drag on and on, but I promise you will not be pregnant forever. All babies come out at some point. I fully anticipated that my daugher would be born early like my son was, but she arrived on her due date and those last few weeks were torturous. The moment she was born though, none of the past 40 weeks mattered. I know it's cliche, but it's true--every agonizing moment of pregnancy was worth it.

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Drugs Fail 9

Drugs Fail

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I've birthed two children and have experienced two failed epidurals. When the first one completely wore off after a couple of hours, I figured it was a fluke. When I got pregnant the second time I thought I might be able to handle the pain since the first one didn't really work anyway. Well, I got pretty far into labor and once my contractions were less than a minute apart I was desparate for relief. Well, sure enough the epi never really took full effect and after about 40 minutes any relief it had initially provided was completely gone. My doctor agreed--epidurals just don't work for me.

Expect the Unexpected 10

Expect the Unexpected

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When it's time to have your baby, be prepared to throw out your birth plan. The day I had my daughter, I went in for my forty week check up and was already five centimeters dilated. My water broke on the exam table. I had been having what's called prodromal labor--ongoing productive contractions--for weeks. Ten hours later--only a few of which were intensely painful--my baby was born. I could not have predicted or planned for this scenario at all. Just know to expect the unexpected, and you'll save yourself a lot of shock and disappointment.