Pregnancy Recap: The First Trimester

I know, I know, I’ve been painfully slow at posting pregnancy updates since making the big announcement. Frankly, life just happens. Right after announcing our news to the world we headed up to Canada to visit my family for two glorious weeks. Upon arriving back home, I was inundated with appointments (which is one of the joys of pregnancy). Then our little Katie-dog needed to have surgery. No worries, she’s fine, but she required quite a bit of post-op TLC.

Currently, I’m 18 weeks pregnant. To be exact, as I write this I’m 18 weeks + 5 days pregnant. BUT – I like to start at the very beginning. I’ll get to more current updates at a later point in time. Today I’m going to focus on everything first trimester. Thankfully I wrote some notes to help myself remember, and it wasn’t that long ago so my memory is still pretty fresh.

Finding Out: The Positive Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy Test

Many of our close friends were surprised when they found out we were expecting. “I didn’t know you were trying!” was the phrase I heard on more than one occasion. Well, it’s true, we didn’t go shouting “hey, we’re trying to have a kid!” from the rooftop. Other than just being kind of private about these things, one of the main reasons we didn’t tell anyone was because we never really started “trying.” We just stopped “not trying.” These days it feels like every other couple suffers from infertility. It’s probably not that many, but it’s fairly common. Common enough that we almost expected to struggle to get pregnant, even though we didn’t really have much reason to suspect we might have trouble. Turns out we’re lucky, I guess.

I’m probably pretty normal in the fact that I was convinced I would get pregnant immediately, even though we were simply “not trying.” That was just not the case. After about two months of this, Dave was tired of me throwing money away on pregnancy tests. So when I asked him to pick me up a new box of tests, he rolled his eyes, told me just to wait another day or two, because surely I would get my period and we would have confirmation that I was indeed still not pregnant. I asked him to grab it anyway, and told him I would hold off and we could have them sitting around for the next month or two. I really did intend to wait at least one more day to see if good ole Aunt Flo showed up, but I’m impatient. Very impatient. I couldn’t even wait until morning, you know, when the concentration of hCG is supposed to be the highest in your urine, making it more likely that a pregnancy test that should be positive actually shows up as positive. We were enjoying an early summer night on the lanai when I stole off, grabbed a test, and headed to the bathroom. That second pink line showed up IMMEDIATELY. There was no turning up the lights, getting out a magnifying glass, or anything like that. It was very obvious from the very start. I don’t even know how to describe my emotions. I thought I would be excited, and I was excited, but immediately after thinking “yay!” came the “ohhhhh my goodness, what have we done?” Assuming everything goes ok, and you want it to go ok, there’s no going back. I’m growing a kid for the next 9 months whether I like it or not, and that kid has to come out of me. Yes, one of my first thoughts was “I’m not ready for childbirth.” Thankfully you get time to wrap your head around that one, and now I can safely say that while I don’t yet feel “ready” I’m confident that I will be as ready as I can be when the moment comes.

Of course I immediately went back out on to the lanai, sat down on the end of Dave’s lounge chair, and showed him the positive test. Dave stared at it for a few seconds, didn’t say a word, then went back (I kid you not) to checking his Twitter feed. He’ll kill me for putting that on the blog. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed. I totally understood the shock and fear, but a little shared excitement would have been nice. I could probably write an entire post on how each of us has responded to this new development in our lives. Maybe I will one of these days. Let’s just say I’m hoping for a better reaction the next time around!

Early Pregnancy (Weeks 0 – 8)

I explained in our announcement post about how my dating was all off early in the pregnancy, so I’m not going to explain it again. If you missed it, you can read about it here. The long story short is that I thought I was about 5 weeks pregnant when I found out and instead I was….just past 3 weeks. During those first few weeks I only had a couple of pregnancy symptoms: my boobs hurt (a lot) and I started craving everything tomato. Fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, and especially tomato juice. Some people figure out they’re pregnant when the morning sickness hits, but I was blissfully free of morning sickness until about week 8. I was naive and started to think that I wouldn’t get any morning sickness, and was pretty excited about that idea….and then the morning sickness hit and it stunk. More on that in a bit.

My main issue early in the pregnancy was wanting to scream the news out to the world, but also the fear of doing so before getting past the riskiest part of the pregnancy. Dave and I initially decided to wait until Father’s Day to tell our parents. That idea lasted less than a day. Again, I was a tad too impatient. I spilled the beans to my mom the next afternoon, and she said she couldn’t keep the secret so I had to tell my dad, and then we decided I should tell my grandparents….so yeah, the cat didn’t stay in the bag for my family for very long at all. My parents (and by my parents I mainly mean my dad) was so excited that he told pretty much everyone he knew the second he saw them. After Dave’s lackluster reaction it was nice to have some other people excited. It ended up taking a while for the news to sink in for Dave and he didn’t want to tell anyone until he felt excited, so….yeah. I tried to convince him that everyone else would be excited and it would help make him feel better, and I think my logic was good but he didn’t listen to me. So we ended up waiting a couple weeks to tell his parents in person on Father’s Day. Week 7 was when we started spilling the beans to extended family (aunts, uncles, and cousins) and a couple of very close friends.

I think the most shocking part of the early pregnancy was my lack of contact with any healthcare provider. My old OBGYN had moved, so I decided to switch practices to one closer to our house that is located at the hospital where I want to deliver. Of course I called the morning after finding out I was pregnant and was told that they would book me for an ultrasound at 8 weeks, an appointment with my new nurse practitioner at 10 weeks, and I would get to meet my new OBGYN at my 12 week appointment. Ummmmm…..what!? Don’t you want to confirm that these tests I bought at the grocery store are telling the truth, that I’m actually pregnant? Nope. Don’t you want to tell me to stop drinking, and start taking a prenatal vitamin (I mean, I am, but don’t you want to officially tell me)?!? Nope. Apparently, this is pretty standard practice, unless you’ve had fertility issues in which case you get a lot more TLC. If this was my second pregnancy I probably would be ok with this approach, but for my first I kind of wanted someone to hold my hand, tell me what the heck was about to happen with my body, and walk me through all my (million) questions at some point prior to the 10 week mark.

The End of the First Trimester (Weeks 8 – 13)

Depending on your source, the first trimester ends at either 12 weeks or 13 weeks. No one ever gave me a clear answer on that one, so I considered it finished at 12 weeks because I was so ready to say I was in the second trimester…but for the way things worked out I’m grouping week 13 in with this update.

Morning sickness (aka all day every day nausea) hit me right at the 8 week mark. I know I was lucky that it didn’t hit sooner for me, but it felt like it lasted forever. My OBGYN told me that I would probably start feeling better by week 12, but unfortunately it continued straight through to the end of week 13 (and when you’re talking about unrelenting nausea, two weeks feels like an eternity). What helped? At first I was eating crackers in the morning, but it didn’t take long to figure out that two pieces of cinnamon raisin toast first thing after waking up was the best thing to help stave off the worst of the early morning nausea. Crackers and sucking on hard candy (especially lemon-flavored ones) got me through the rest of the day. I couldn’t bear to look in the fridge, and cooking dinner was a definite no-go. I thought it would be tough to give up my morning coffee, but even the thought of it made me gag so it wasn’t hard to give up at all. My craving for tomato juice went out the window and was replaced by a desire to eat almost nothing but carbs. Potatoes, pasta, and popcorn were about all I wanted to eat. I also didn’t lose my love of cheese, and wanted to top all three of those items with cheddar or mozzarella. I also craved everything I couldn’t have….Caesar salads (couldn’t have the raw egg in the dressing), margaritas (hey, it was the middle of summer!), and feta cheese. Of course I figured out ways of cheating around most of my cravings. I found pasteurized feta cheese, which is ok to eat, and threw it on top of Greek salads (made with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden!). Dave got me some non-alcoholic margarita mix and blended it with ice for an oh-so-tasty treat, albeit not quite as satisfying as the kind with tequila. Finally I’ve had to settle of Caesar salad’s with dressing from a bottle, and therefore without the raw eggs. No, it’s not nearly as good as the homemade kind, but it works to satisfy the craving.

This later part of the first trimester was definitely when I began to feel pregnant. In addition to the morning sickness, I started to get bloated, and it just wasn’t fun. I think the hardest part is knowing that you look like you have more of a burrito belly than a baby belly, and yet your clothes, especially your pants, just don’t fit the same anymore. No one tells you that you turn to maternity clothes before your baby belly appears simply because your bloat is making you feel like a hippopotamus. The “crazy pregnancy hormones” kind of kicked in around week 10 or 11 but still haven’t made me too nutty. So far it’s just been things like “I know I should laugh but I just want to cry” situations, and I end up doing both. I know it weird, but whatever.

Absolutely the BEST part this period was the appointments. Our original 8 week ultrasound ended up actually being at 6 weeks + 5 days, so the baby was still pretty much a blob. That, combined with the fact that the ultrasound tech was just really quick with everything made it kind of a lackluster experience. We were SO excited to see it, and then to find out I was measuring 9 days behind and not being able to see much of anything…it was just a huge letdown. We got to hear or see the flicker of the heartbeat on a portable ultrasound at the 10 and 12 week appointments, and those are always thrilling moments. That said, none of it compared to our 12 week ultrasound, which to this day has been the absolute highlight of the pregnancy. We had a different tech, who was much more willing to slow things down and point things out to us – in part because the kid would not get into a position where the tech could get all the necessary measurements. It was the first time we really got a good look at a form that actually resembles a little tiny human being, and it was beyond amazing. I got a huge kick (no pun intended) out of watching it move its little arms and legs around everywhere.

Ultrasound

That’s a HUGE update so I’ll leave things there for now – stay tuned for the next update – Weeks 14 – 18!

Until later,
Ashlen