You know how you always hear about the first trimester of pregnancy being the one where you feel sick all the time, you’re exhausted and constantly worried something is going wrong? Well, that’s almost exactly how it goes!
I count my lucky stars, because my pregnancy was mostly a textbook-perfect pregnancy. Fortunately for me, I only had morning sickness for one week! One whole week of feeling awful. I don’t know if it was because, due to pre-preggo tummy troubles, I was used to being nauseous all the time, but I was so blessed to not get a terrible case of morning sickness! When I did feel sick, the best thing for me to curb the nausea, was cinnamon jolly ranchers or the spearmint lifesaver mints and they worked much better than the preggo pops, which are designed for morning sickness! I had a lot of hormones headaches, but they were mostly bareable. The exhaustion though…oh my. I would sleep for 10+ hours a night, only to wake up feeling like I was going to fall asleep standing up. I would be at the computer at work and practically fall asleep, only to forget what I was doing! Your body is putting in a lot of work to make a human, so it only makes sense that you want to nap all of the time! Who would have thought that getting a good workout in was the only thing that made me feel energized?!
Pregnancy cravings and food aversions are REAL people! Through my entire pregnancy, I consumed more chocolate milk that I have in my entire life. But not just any brand, I was a chocolate milk snob! TruMoo hit on a whole other level. Other brands would do, but if I could get my hands on a gallon of TruMoo, watch out. The other crazy craving I had was Jimboys bean and cheese burritos, with extra onions! Two of our closest friends, Austin and Alyssa, were the real MVPs and constantly supplied me with the goods. I also attempted to be healthy at times and ate my weight in watermelon once the season came. We made trips to Costco at least once a week, because they were the best ones we could find! These cravings aren’t just like a normal craving, where it sounds good, but you could have it anytime in the next few weeks and feel satisfied. They are the “I need this right now and nothing else matters until I have them” kind of feeling! Luckily for Lauren, I was never the pregnant wife that woke up at 2am to need ice cream or a snack and made her go get it for me! I liked my sleep too much!
The aversions were strong! Cold cheeses, like blocks of cheddar cheese, were repulsive to me. Just the sight of it made me want to vomit. I’ve never been much of a meat eater, but all meats were completely foul, particularly if they were raw. And the worst one was that coffee no longer had the same taste, which was devastating, but my budget for coffee went to burritos instead! I swear that a pregnant nose can smell something from three miles away, particularly from an aversion!
I tried my hardest to eat clean with the exceptions of my cravings. I incorporated a ton of vegetables into my diet and tried to minimize extra sugar. I had already started to cut out caffeine when we were going through our IUIs, so bye bye diet Cokes! Whole foods are super important when you’re pregnant so that the baby is able to receive good nutrition, particularly in the first trimester when everything is developing at a rapid pace. I tried to minimize processed foods as much as possible and I tried to take the least amount of medicine as possible and would only take two Tylenol for extreme headaches. My mindset changed so much as soon as we started trying to get pregnant, because it was no longer just my body that I was sustaining and I wanted to give my baby the healthiest and safest place to grow.
One thing that isn’t talked about often in the first trimester is how quickly the anxiety creeps in and how you just buckled up on the wildest hormone rollercoaster of your life! I have never been an anxious person, but as soon as I got pregnant that changed. I was always worried something was going to happen and my perfect little bean was going to be compromised. I think most parents feel this during their pregnancies, whether you are the one carrying or not. Every appointment, I was nervous that there wasn’t going to be a heartbeat. The genetic testing terrified me, mainly that something was going to be detected that was going to make the baby not be viable, and all of the hormones raging through your body makes you an emotional mess without you realizing it. Pregnancy is a lot like playing a really high stakes game of Russian Roulette. EVERY single part of it is out of your control, and for me, that is very hard. I like to feel in control, and not being able to control the outcomes of situations was very hard for me. Lauren was a good sounding board for me, and always had on her positive pants, reassuring me that everything was okay and that I would know when something was wrong. Mom intuition is real and only gets stronger when the baby comes out! If you are feeling these emotions, know that you are not alone!
During the first trimester, the baby is still so small that most people are unable to feel their movements, which can trigger the anxiety. When you are able to feel the baby moving, its a reassuring feeling knowing that they are still doing okay. After I was able to feel the movement start, I felt more confident that things were progressing ok!
The best part of the first trimester was all the firsts. The first time you see the positive pregnancy test, the first time you see the baby on an ultrasound, the first time you hear the heartbeat, and the first time you actually tell people you’re pregnant, to name a few! Those are the memories that stick with you and overshadow the fears. It is completely indescribable when you hear the quick paced sound of your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. We were going in for our first ultrasound and as soon as we heard the fast paced thuds, our hearts exploded with love! It is a sound that is so comforting and soothing, and never gets old. It truly is one of the best sounds in the world, and every time you hear it, a rush of relief and happiness floods your body. When you first see that little bean on the screen, you almost can’t believe it’s happening. To be honest, for a good majority of my pregnancy, I felt like Rachel on the episode of Friends, when she couldn’t see her baby on the ultrasound screen! It looks like a little blob that somehow turns into the cutest little peanut you’ve ever seen!
I would recommend for any new parents to download the What to Expect app to follow along on your pregnancy journey! It was so helpful to read the updates each week, and see not only what was happening with the development of the baby, but also what symptoms you may feel! A lot of the time with pregnancy and postpartum, the baby becomes the center of everyones world (obviously!), and the moms are left in the dust! It was extremely helpful for me to see that the symptoms I was feeling were normal. Lauren and I both had the app, and every Saturday when the new week would begin, we would lay in bed first thing in the morning and read them! This became such a special routine for us, and allowed us both to be involved and educate ourselves. The baby updates were fascinating; to see how big they grow each week and how much changes from week to week!
When we went in for our ten week ultrasound, which is the normal first ultrasound for those who did not use fertility treatments, the little pea sized babe had somehow turned into a little human! Granted, it still had a LOT of changes to make, but for the first time, you could see an actual little baby, that also looked a lot like an alien! Our amazing doctors first words were “you guys are for sure, for sure pregnant!” and we both were so relieved! The heartbeat was a strong 176, and I automatically said it was a girl, because wives tales say that girls have faster heartbeats! The baby started waving at us, and wiggling all around, and within seconds of seeing it, we both started crying! It was the moment that dreams are made of. To see your dream baby become a reality was so overwhelming in the best way possible. We were able to take videos of our ultrasounds, and it is so special now to be able to go back and watch them and just hear the pure happiness in our voices.
One thing that I tried to always make an effort at during my pregnancy, was to always remain grateful. Through all the worry and annoying tiredness, I was grateful to feel these things. I was happy to feel sick, and every time a new symptom would come on with each trimester, I would remind myself how lucky we were to be able to have this baby. I would remind myself that there are people that I love greatly that would make amazing parents, who cannot have children. Couples who should be parents, but the cost of sperm is equivalent to buying a car and not a reality for them. People who would give anything to be a parent, but their body cannot withstand or support a healthy pregnancy. Couples who have experienced many losses. Through it all, I would always remind myself to take everything in stride, and remember this pregnancy is a gift, and that it could be taken from us at any second. Lauren and I were always very aware of the fact that we were so blessed to have been able to conceive, much less in a few short IUIs. The process as a whole took a while, but miracles take time!
Pregnancy is the most thrilling and terrifying thing we have ever been through. It is challenging and wonderful all in the same breath, but worth every single second of it. Each trimester comes with its challenges, but knowing that you are growing a healthy, amazing human is the most rewarding feeling!
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