After finding out we are expecting (Read how we found out HERE), things started to change.
There were a lot of things I didn’t know about being pregnant until I became pregnant. Of course, I’d heard of cravings, aversions, morning sickness and stretch marks but the rest came as surprises along the way.
Like hair, growing in places I didn’t want it to grow. Oh, hello random neck hair, that looks like one of my fiancé’s beard hairs. Oh, you’re attached, wonderful. How long have you been growing there? How many people have seen you before I did? And the regular body hair, that grows much faster, I guess shaving twice a week won’t cut it anymore, eh? On the plus side, the hair on my head has grown noticeably faster too!
My nails are so strong now and grow long quickly. Pre-pregnancy I would have loved long nails, but something about it grosses me out now. It’s like I have an aversion to my own nails. While it seems like the perfect time to let them shine or gloss them up with paint, now is not the time to put chemical laden lacquer on them! Have you ever read about the hidden ingredients in nail varnish?
My skin has cleared up so much, which makes me think it’s a boy, on typing this I still don’t know which gender the baby (eek!) I’m thoroughly enjoying having no breakouts, although I do look like a zombie from feeling sick all the time and I honestly can’t be bothered wearing makeup much anymore.
Ah, the breasts of pregnancy. Yes, I was looking forward to a fuller bosom. Time to get some beautiful brassieres to make them look extra perky. Ah, why do my boobs feel bruised every which way? Yeah, underwire is not your friend anymore. Enter non-sexy soft bras, that offer less support, but much needed soft padding to hide nipples that could be used as coat hangers in this cold weather. Oh and speaking of nipples, the areola that DARKENS and spreads farther over your lovely full mammary gland pillows was a bit of a shocker. Lying on my sides at night is a mission of lifting the offending sliding boob out of my armpit.
My morning sickness had already started before I found out I was pregnant. It hit around 5 weeks and 3 days and it was a slap of reality about what pregnancy was going to be like. In those beautiful day dreams of becoming a mother, the not so pleasant symptoms weren’t at the forefront of the mind.
Functioning as a human seemed impossible for about 5-6 weeks as I tried every natural remedy for sickness without success. I read 7 books in those 6 weeks, glued to any fictional realm that gave an ounce of relief to my fragile physical self. I say fragile because this body could barely handle any food and the muscle mass lost from staying away from the gym from lack of energy (aka food sources of sustenance) was undeniable. The sickness definitely took a toll on my mental well-being and it definitely humbled me. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for people living with an illness that leaves them bedridden and sick. I had to remind myself that pregnancy is not an illness, this sickness was a blessing, a beautiful opportunity. Still, I was positive I never wanted to feel like this, ever again.
The morning sickness changed patterns throughout weeks 5-11. At first it was lingering in the morning and getting worse between 12pm – 5pm and eased off a little in the evening. I got sick 3 times in the first 3 weeks, but since then have not. For a while the intense nausea started as soon as I woke up at 6.30am and dissipated as much as it could by 6pm. That’s about the time I was hit by mother of all constipation. After 3 days of nothing, I awoke in the early hours of the morning to excruciating IBS pains. If you’ve suffered from bowel pain you’ll know how agonizing it can be, if not check out this poop website for funny stories, just cos sometimes you need to laugh at bodily functions (Poop stories)
So I’m sitting on the toilet, not knowing whether I’m going to explosively vomit or s#@! My head is reaching for the sink while I’m stuck to the toilet, rocking back and forth as my stomach and bowels contract to the point of “If I don’t release something, the build up of pressure is going to make my organs explode.” and after 5 minutes of writhing pain I accepted my fate of dying a crippling death, right on this toilet seat. The door was locked, I’m the only one awake, if I did shout nobody would hear anyway or be able to get in. I’m wondering why my face is wet. Sweating profusely, tears bucketing down my face without permission to escape, my body is ice cold and I start to black out. Losing control of my body I jolted just as I was falling face first towards the floor and oh yes, explosively crap. The longest 20 minutes of hell and now the release has come. FINALLY! What a beautiful feeling… just gonna clean myself up and go back to b….. “AH!” *pressure, pressure – explosion, explosion* This cycle repeated every time I got up for another 15 minutes until eventually I felt almost human. Thankfully it has only happened once during pregnancy (touch wood it won’t happen again) Rest assured that while constipation is a pregnancy symptom, IBS is not!
Anyway, back to the the sickness, as it began easing off I got an extra 5 minutes of relief everyday until about 2-3pm. It seemed to be evening sickness in week 8-9 until it gradually (luckily!) faded away at 10.5 weeks. I’d still get nauseous when I went more than 2 hours without food but once fed, I felt okay. By 11 weeks I thankfully no longer felt sick and that perked my mood right up. Eating and enjoying food never felt so good! I felt like myself again.
Sometimes, I got an hour or two of feeling yuck if I ate a “big” meal (by big, I mean half of what I used to eat) and I still had aversions to the dreaded avocado and leafy greens. For the first trimester I ate whatever I could keep down, or swallow. I couldn’t eat my favourite healthy foods; like oat bran or green smoothies. For a few weeks, I ate dry crackers, when they didn’t agree with me anymore I ate toast with jam or marmite and bowls of museli throughout the day. Lenny and Larry’s peanut butter Complete Cookies definitely helped pack in more calories on days when I was barely getting 1,000 calories. Fruit got me through the 6 weeks of nausea. Bananas, oranges, juicy plums, pears, strawberries and blueberries. I drank cranberry juice almost every day because drinking water made me queasy but I was so thirsty. Tea was off the cards, even herbal tea. Brushing my teeth was difficult and brushing my tongue was a big no-no during the first trimester. Just when you really need a fresh breath!
Trying to feed my dog his food was awful. I’d have to pinch my nose, not look at the food and run out of the room while he ate. Dishing out kale for my rabbit’s dinner was barely do-able either. Thankfully my extremely sensitive sense of smell started leaving near the end of the first trimester.
My healthy vision of how pregnancy would go was non existent and my prior 2,500 calories for my fast metabolism was unattainable. I ended up losing nearly a stone in weight, some of that I gained back on my small bump towards the end of the first trimester but I could tell the rest of my body was underweight. Thank goodness for my love of roast sweet potatoes with sriracha, which returned to my list of edible foods around 10 weeks. It helped me feel slightly sane.By the time we had our first scan, I was a healthy weight again, albeit a few pounds less than pre-pregnancy.
My bump began growing very low, most of my belly was bloated all the time but under the belt line there was a firmness. Other people began noticing my bump at around 12 weeks.
Other symptoms I had during the first trimester were vivid dreams, and non stop dreaming throughout the night, I almost felt exhausted from them after a full nights sleep. Getting up to pee twice a night in the beginning was a bit annoying, especially when I was finally sleeping soundly! My advice is don’t turn on any lights when you get up to go toilet or have dull fairy lights in the bathroom as bright lights stop your melatonin production at night!
It’s crazy, after 6 weeks of feeling like a churning pit out at sea, saying I never wanted to do this again and then feeling the beauty that is a settled, well fed stomach I immediately thought, “well maybe we’ll have two children”. During the worst weeks of nausea my projected thoughts toward my fiancé were more along the lines of “Don’t ever try and make a baby with me again.” While the best part of the first trimester did have a lot of negative side effects for me, it’s not like that for everyone. Knowing there is a life growing inside makes every ounce of yuck worth it anyway.
After the nausea disappeared I felt a little less pregnant and quite a bit paranoid that something was wrong. Although it is completely normal to not have any sickness in pregnancy or get relief a little early, my mind was put to rest at 12 weeks and 3 days, a week after the morning sickness ended, when we had our first scan.
Up until this point I really tried to reign in my excitement and plans for fear of things not working out. I think although the sickness is really testing, trying not to be emotionally caught up in the first trimester of pregnancy is the most difficult. I wanted to be happy and excited but I was also fighting back nerves and fears. I found that staying away from online forums is best, because there is so much divided information and experiences that it can leave you feeling even more anxious. In my opinion it’s much better, to seek advice and guidance from your doctor or midwife if you are worried about anything rather than being filled with unnecessary worry from stories online.
Our first scan was an incredible moment. I’ll never forget seeing our little baby for the first time. We were both a bag of nerves. I’m generally someone who internalizes my fears and my fiance someone who conquers his by speaking them aloud. Well, on the car journey to the hospital it seemed all I wanted to do was talk, about everything, and all he wanted was silence. My checkup with the midwife lasted an hour in which she took notes of my medical and family history. Afterwards my blood samples were drawn, which was quick and eventually we got to have our first ultrasound. In our nervousness we waited. My fiance made a run for the toilet as the nerves kept racking up. Isn’t it funny what you find adorable in long term relationships? After what seems like the longest 10 minutes of life, we get called into the room, and…
What did we see? A little baby dancing, flailing their long arms and legs around. Immediately we smiled and laughed! After all the nerves, we were smiling with relief and excitement. We saw the heart beating but did not get to hear the sound. We were given print offs of the scan and booked our next scan and appointment. We plan to have a private scan in the meantime, since our 2nd scan seems like an eternity away!
Telling family after the scan was exciting and nerve wrecking too, simply because I didn’t know how people would react. It was nice to share the news and not hide our wonderful little secret anymore. It’s been exciting because it’s not just us that are looking forward to meeting this little baby next year.
Overall, the first trimester, although challenging, once you get past the morning sickness, pregnancy is actually quite nice and very exciting.
The following our some books I recommend reading, if anything it might take your mind of the morning sickness for a while!
- Christine Hill’s Pregnancy Guide
- A Perfect Start by Christine Hill
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting