Pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions, feelings and wondering what in the world is happening inside your body. Especially the first trimester! Reading a few books and blogs helped me to stay at ease with symptoms I was feeling, knowing someone else had experienced them too. I’m so thankful for this online community where we can share our stories and experiences and know that while pregnancy is different for everyone, we aren’t alone in it.
When I’d wake up in the middle of the night feeling nauseous, with throbbing boobs and a craving for watermelon, I knew that someone out there likely had some whacky version of feeling crappy and wanting to eat random things too. There’s comfort in that!
I’m sharing my first trimester recap in hopes that it can help others on this journey and be a way for us to connect and share our experiences as we walk down this pregnancy path.
We first found out we were pregnant right at four weeks (read that story and lots of other details here) and I didn’t feel like anything was different. At the time I was going for blood work frequently to check HCG and progesterone levels but didn’t notice much else going on. In our last pregnancy (back in December) my boobs were really sore at 5 weeks and my sense of smell was super heightened. It made me nervous that I didn’t feel those things this time, but every pregnancy is different. Mike and I were both pretty nervous during since we miscarried at just under 6 weeks last time.
We went for an early ultrasound at 6 weeks 4 days because my doctor wanted to confirm this was a viable pregnancy (usually you don’t have your first visit until 8-10 weeks). We got to see our tiny little babe (which really looked nothing like a baby at all!) and even saw the flicker of the heart beat, all great news. This was the first time we actually took a deep breath and allowed ourselves to feel a little bit more excited rather than nervous.
By this time I was really tired all throughout the day, noticed my energy was much less than usual, sense of smell increased and I was mildly nauseous some mornings.
My mother-in-law came to visit during week 7 and it was really fun to tell her the news. Nausea crept in more throughout the day and I was craving cheese. I have a dairy sensitivity and usually avoid it but I had some on a burger and my stomach didn’t bother me after! For whatever reason, it seems while pregnant my body is able to tolerate cheese better. I am NOT complaining 🙂
Food aversions started picking up a bit but weren’t awful yet, I really tried to get a lot of nutrients in while still feeling up for it. This book is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to optimal prenatal nutrition. (I’ll have more of my favorite pregnancy books in a future blog post).
During our 6 week ultrasound I had told my doctor I have a major fear of vomiting (called emetophobia) and she gave me a prescription for pills that are specifically for women to take during pregnancy for nausea. She said they’re totally safe to take. By 7.5 weeks the nausea was all day every day but I was SO lucky not to vomit at all (I’m knocking on wood as I type this). I’ll admit I was pretty miserable but I didn’t fill that prescription because honestly, it just freaks me out to take any medication, even if it is deemed safe. In my mind I don’t think the long term effects have been studied long enough and you never know if something you take could end up contributing to an allergy or auto immune disease or anything of the sort for your child. (I know this is something we all have our own opinions on but as someone who is really passionate about living a clean lifestyle, using safer products in our home and minimizing toxic exposure whenever possible, I just wasn’t comfortable taking the meds).
For the next few weeks I tried to stay off of pregnancy apps and forums because I couldn’t handle reading about nausea anymore. Some women said theirs ended by week 9, others said week 14, some said it lasted the ENTIRE pregnancy. Yikes. That really freaked me out and I found that doing research about this made me more anxious so I stayed away from information overload.
We got to see babe again at week 9 and hear the heartbeat which was really amazing and again made us a little more excited and less nervous (let’s face it though, once you have a miscarriage do the nerves ever 100% go away? I’m guessing no as I’m writing this at 16 weeks and still have a little sliver of “what if” in my mind).
I was exhausted, living off of gluten free carbs and trying to add in veggies, eggs, other protein and bone broth when I felt I could stomach it. I had cravings for pickles, sea salt and vinegar chips (I ate half a bag while we were walking around Publix, Mike found that very amusing) and watermelon. I wanted nothing to do with chocolate which was VERY weird for me!
At 10.5 weeks I flew to NY for one of my best friend’s baby showers and I was really nervous about traveling while feeling sick. Luckily both flights were very early in the morning and my nausea was pretty consistent with rearing it’s little head around 10am and sticking around until bedtime, so I was ok on the planes! I noticed that one day in NY I didn’t feel sick at all and thought “hmm, maybe it’s coming to an end!”
Weeks 11 and 12 were ok, nausea was there more often than not but there were some days or afternoons that it was gone and I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My energy was still low and I was feeling like a major slacker in regard to getting things done around the house, writing blog posts, staying active on Instagram etc.
I did the NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) which is just blood work at 11 weeks and we had another appointment at 12 weeks where we heard the heart beat and reviewed our test results.
By week 13 I was feeling pretty good, eating better, higher quality foods and nauseous only every once in a while.
I do want to take a moment to express how grateful I am for my first trimester. I hope the above does indeed sound like I’m just recapping my feelings rather than complaining. I said to Mike several times a week that I was SO thankful for 1. not vomiting and 2. having a job where I work from home and can just lay on the couch with my laptop. I do not know how women who work in an office setting or have other children to take care of do it and I admire you all greatly. Although there were times when it was a bit of a struggle for me, I frequently reminded myself that it could be worse and it would all be worth it once I get our sweet baby in my arms.
Another thing to note around not feeling well and food aversions: If you’re currently pregnant and in the same boat, do not beat yourself up about only being able to handle carbs. I started reading about pregnancy nutrition way before I was pregnant and really, really want to give this baby the best of everything. When I couldn’t imagine eating eggs and spinach (or when I tried and gagged), I was angry with myself. My thought process was that baby needs real, whole foods, not just the goodies from my prenatal vitamin, and I felt like I was failing him/her.
I had to have a good little pep talk with myself and say that it was normal to feel this way, it would get better and right when it did I’d start eating all of the amazing foods to fuel this pregnancy. In the meantime, grilled cheese on gluten free bread, gluten free crackers (a lot of them), GF chicken nuggets and GF waffles were on repeat. No guilt no shame, just doing the best I could at that time. Which I think will be my motto for motherhood going forward 😉