Happy Halloween, everyone! Now that I’m 18 weeks pregnant and well into the second trimester, I wanted to make sure I shared my first trimester recap… mainly before I forget everything! Once I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to learn as much as I could, and I loved reading about the experiences of other women. I especially appreciated women who didn’t mince words and told it like it was, and I really appreciated the stories of women who did not have ~magical~, glowing first trimesters, since that was my experience as well. If I can do any good, I’d like to help de-glamorize pregnancy and show that there are a wide variety of experiences to be had out there!
As brutal as the first trimester was, I will say I’m amazed at the body’s ability to forget pain. I feel like a totally different person now that I’m in the second trimester, so hopefully that can lend hope to others who may be going through it. I have to remind myself sometimes how awful I felt just as recently as a month or two ago.
Also worth noting – we have the most healthy baby boy, with a strong heartbeat, all his limbs, chromosomes, and healthy body proportions, and today we got to see him squirming around like crazy at the anatomy ultrasound. So that has truly made this whole journey worth it.
Weeks 1-14 of Pregnancy
I thought getting pregnant would take us several months, so when I went off birth control after our honeymoon, I did start taking a prenatal (just in case), but I truly had no expectations. I had heard so many stories of people struggling for months and years to get pregnant, and (perhaps overcautiously) I did not have any illusions it was going to be an easy or quick process. I also didn’t want to get my hopes up. Little I did know… we would get pregnant literally right away 😳
Weeks 2-4(??): Weird cluster of symptoms – but the main ones were crazy fatigue (way beyond the scope of normal tiredness… I suddenly couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings and felt like I’d been drugged!), as well as dizziness and lightheadness. One morning I got so dizzy and lightheaded I passed out out of the shower. Ryan was so worried he took me to the Urgent Care after work. They tested for me iron deficiency, Lyme disease, thyroid deficiencies… literally everything under the sun (lol), plus pregnancy. At that point the pregnancy test (and everything else) came back negative.
Week 4.5: When I found out. The night before, my sister-in-law was over, we had a nice dinner, and we all took limoncello shots (brought back from our honeymoon in Italy) 😬 Yikes… That night in bed, I was looking at the calendar, adding up symptoms, and wondered if I should take another pregnancy test just to be sure. I rolled over, looked at my husband, and went, ‘Do you think I could be pregnant…?!” And I think he looked at me like I had two heads. But sure enough… the next day I got the positive result.
Week 7: All-encompassing nausea and fatigue begins. Still having enormous trouble getting out of bed in the mornings – early morning (my former 4:30-5:00 AM) wake-ups are no longer possible. Intense sense of smell also starts developing – as do the food aversions. Suddenly there are SO many foods I never want to smell, touch, see, eat, or be anywhere near. If Ryan makes or eats any of these foods, he has to eat it from the other end of the living room 😷(Poor guy…) Carb cravings begin! Carbs = life, and I only want bread, bagels, and potatoes in all forms.
Week 8: First OB appointment. Baby has a viable heartbeat!
Week 9: All-encompassing vomiting begins. From this point on, I’m throwing up 1-4 times a day pretty much every day, and not able to get a lot of food (or water) in in between. It is a very miserable time, and these weeks feel like months with no guarantee of an end in sight. This was by far the lowest point (to date) of the pregnancy – it was extremely isolating, mentally and emotionally trying, and if it had lasted a little bit longer I would have tried to see a mental health counselor, because I think I was starting to get clinically depressed. I was hospitalized once with dehydration and had to get IV fluids, plus intravenous nausea meds. No over-the-counter remedies OR combo of meds worked for me, which was enormously frustrating. I think the only that helped was time and just waiting for this to pass. Thankfully I was able to work remotely from my couch at this point, and working actually helped, as it gave me something to keep my mind off how terrible I felt.
Things I tried to stop the nausea (that didn’t work):
- Ginger – ginger tea, ginger tablets, ginger-flavored food
- Eating small meals throughout the day
- Plain, starchy foods, like crackers and dry toast
- Exercise – didn’t help, but also not even possible after a certain point, since I was so weak from all the vomiting
- B6 + half a Unisom tablet (an over-the-counter sub for the prescription med Diclegis)
- Reglan via IV
Week 10: We opted to have genetic testing done. Baby came back low risk for all chromosomal abnormalities, and we found out ‘it’ is a HE!
Weeks 11-12: I got a brief respite from the nausea for a few days around this time – when I was able to go to the Lift Run Perform Rise.Run.Retreat! But afterwards the nausea and vomiting came back in full force.
Week 14: (Officially a week into my second trimester): Vomiting finally ends! 🙌🏻Truly feels like emerging from the dead, and my energy starts slowly coming back as well.
Food cravings and aversions in the first trimester: Food aversions = literally everything. I didn’t pressure myself to stick to my normal, healthy diet, because I figured anything was better than nothing for the baby. Also, things like smoothies, veggies, and big salads were all 🤢😷at the time. I was so desperate to get *anything* into my body, that I would eat donuts, gummies… anything with calories that actually sounded appetizing and that I could keep down for more than a few hours.
Exercising in the first trimester: Very little. I was getting back into my running and lifting routine after our honeymoon (which I had purposefully planned as a downtime from running). But the weird cluster of symptoms starting at Weeks 2-4 make things a little more irregular as I worked to figure out what was going on. Once I found out I was *just* pregnant, I took that as the green light to start (cautiously) ramping things back up. But later I would be sidelined by the nonstop nausea and vomiting. During my first trimester, my motto was just ‘do the best you can, when you can, and for as long as you can.’ So that meant very sporadic running, minimal lifting, and I never really ran above the 3-6 mile range.