I wanted to start off by acknowledging that everyone’s pregnancy journey is so different. I cannot even imagine how hard it must be to go through months of negative tests, fertility treatments, and also miscarriages. My heart seriously goes out to all the women out there who are dealing with that. I truly feel for you. Then just like fertility, everyone’s pregnancies are different too. Some people are sick, some are not, some tell friends and family early, some do not, some show early and some do not. The list goes on and on. I just wanted to write down a recap of MY first trimester mainly for myself to be able to go back and read, but also to share for perhaps the few women who do experience what I experienced, to know you’re not alone!
How We Found Out:
It was New Year’s Eve and I had gotten off of work at 2:00 that day so we were packing the car to head to my family’s river house for the weekend. I was only a day late to start, felt completely fine, but something in me said take a pregnancy test before you go have champagne tonight. I have only taken one other pregnant test in my entire life but it had come in a box of 3 so I had two left in the cabinet. I went to the bathroom sooooo casually, and peed on the stick, stuck on the cap, and walked away to wash my hands and continue packing. I walked back (almost forgetting about it) later to grab the stick and there was absolutely nothing faint about it. There were two dark lines. So dark, I was like wait “maybe one line is pregnant” so I grabbed the box, and sure enough… pregnant.
Now, I had always imagined myself telling Cody in a cute way. With like a tiny pair of shoes or I don’t know, something touching, but instead, I sprinted out the door with the pee stick and found Cody under his car where he was changing his oil and showed him with tears in my eyes and a shaky hand. “We’re going to have a baby” is all I could get out. It may not be a movie perfect moment but seeing the look in his eyes is one I’ll never forget and always cherish. No tiny shoes needed (yet).
I was apparently already on week 4 at this point. I didn’t know that you start counting from the date of your last period, not the date of conception (I’m new at this whole mom thing!) My only pregnancy symptom until about week 7 was that I was EXTREMELY cold. Like, could NOT get myself warm. I would stack layers and layers on, turn the thermostat up to 70, and sometimes on my lunch break I’d go lay under the blankets just to warm up. I, at the time, had no clue this was pregnancy-related and just thought it was the cold winter getting to me. I now know that it was my body trying to figure out how to regulate itself with the newly added work and hormones.
From week 7 to week 14 is when I felt the most first trimester symptoms. Unlike a lot of people though, I was extremely hungry and could pretty much eat all day, every day, and still be hungry. I decided to list out some of the first trimester symptoms and speak to them one by one starting with the ones I experienced the most, down to the least.
Exhaustion– This was so so very intense for me. It’s hard to describe just what “exhaustion” means but imagine not having the energy to do anything! It was god awful to try to work 9 hour days (from home) during this time and not be able to tell anyone at work why I wasn’t functioning correctly. I have always been a to-do list, accomplishment-driven, get-it-done kind of person so this killed me. I felt like I lost part of myself during this time because I was so mad I couldn’t do things I wanted to do. It took daily positive self-talk to tell myself “I am working hard you just can’t see it right now” but man oh man I seriously feel for anyone going through first-trimester exhaustion. I had a follower reach out and ask if I felt it worst because of my hypothyroidism and the truth is that I really don’t know because I’ve never had another pregnancy without it to give a comparison. And I’ve heard mamas without thyroid issues complain about this too so perhaps no or perhaps it was worst because of this? I guess I’ll never truly know.
Migraines- The pregnancy migraines were the hardest part of the first trimester for me. Up until this point, I had really only had two bad migraines in my life. But now I couldn’t keep headaches away, and they quickly escalated to a migraine if I wasn’t careful. There was one particular day when I had a terrible headache and was hungry but couldn’t get myself to eat lunch and from there I spiraled downhill really quickly. I had to “call” into work mid-day (the only time I’ve EVER called into work) and spent the day managing the pain of the migraine combined with migraine-induced vomiting. I would put it under the top 5 worst days of my life. It was so so bad. I called the doctor the next day (this was still before my first appointment) and ask what I could do about these. They recommended tylenol and drinking a small coke to settle my stomach and give a small boost of caffeine. PS- I know every doctor is different so talk to yours.
Pregnancy Insomnia- This was such a shocker to me because I’ve always been a great sleeper. The second my head hits the pillow, I’m out and I sleep through the night like a champ. So when I started finding myself up at 3:00 in the morning and wide awake for hours at a time, I knew it had to be because of the pregnancy. This is something I’m still dealing with, not just the first trimester.
Tailbone Pain– This is so weird and I know it is on the rarer side to have pain this early on but OMG sometimes my tailbone hurts so bad it’s a struggle to stand up or sit down. This hasn’t gone away for me and probably won’t for a while so my tailbone pillow is here to stay! Haha
Tender Breasts- Yep! My boobs doubled in size and they were so sore. I had to sleep in a bra because just the movement from rolling would wake me from the soreness. This luckily has gone away (thank goodness!)
Food Cravings– The only real thing I’ve craved is cheeseburgers! This is funny because was never a cheeseburger type of person in the past. I don’t think I’ve EVER ordered a fast-food cheeseburger (I always go for chicken fingers) but now they sound sooo good I could eat one every day. I do have to eat pretty regularly to avoid feeling sick. If I go too long in between meals/snacks, I’ll get headaches and nausea quickly.
Food Aversions– Yes food aversions were (and still are) real for me! But they’re not consistent. One day brussel sprouts sounded like a good vegetable to make for a side at dinner until they came out of the oven and smelled so terrible I could barely force myself to put one in my mouth before spitting it out lol. But what sounds bad one day, doesn’t sound bad the next so it varies day to day for me.
Morning Sickness– Other than the vomiting from the migraines, no vomiting from nausea! There were definitely times I felt nauseous but only to the point of being uncomfortable, not the point of physically getting sick.
Increased Urination– No! And anyone who knows me, knows how many trips I take to the restroom on a regular day so I was sure this would be bad, but it wasn’t at all! Fingers crossed I stay at my normal self (which let’s be honest is already bad)!
Constipation– No! And I was so scared of this! But my normal stomach is still here. Hoping I can keep this symptom away!
Heart Burn- This is another one I’ve been so lucky to not have! I have never had heartburn and hoping I never will.
If there are any symptoms that I missed on here that you have questions about, just ask!
Actions I took/Wish I took:
After New Years weekend at the river house of fake drinking and giving Cody the “I’m excited” smile room, I decided I needed to learn a thing or two about pregnancy. I’m telling you guys I knew nothing. I heard something about not eating sushi and lunch meats, but was there anything else? How do people learn these things? And also thank goodness for google because I don’t know what pregnant people did before that.
Download an app– I think downloading a pregnancy app is so helpful. It gives you updates of what your body is doing, what you might be feeling, and has links to tons of helpful articles, like what foods and products you should avoid.
Get an appointment with your ObGyn ASAP- I was imagining that the business day following New Years’ when I called, they’d get me in the same week. But haha I was so wrong. You kind of just starting your pregnancy journey on your own without any professional guidance. They scheduled my appointment at their first available spot which was basically my 8-week mark with meant I had another month on my own.
Start Applying Stretch Mark Cream ASAP– I read some blogs from a few of my favorite bloggers and went with an all-natural belly butter that I’ve been loving. I was applying it all over my stomach area but at week 12 I discovered stretch marks all over my outer hips (almost cried) so now I’ve been applying it all over my hips, upper thighs, butt, boobs, and of course stomach. I wish someone would have told me that “belly butter” needs to go other places than just your belly!
Re-Evaluate Your Skin Care Products– I had to remove the retinol cream I was using, acne cream I was using, and few other products. I basically spent an hour researching natural and safe skincare and if it wasn’t recommended for pregnancy, cut it out or replaced it with another item. I also chose to make the switch to natural deodorant after reading quite a few articles on it and have been loving this Kopari one.
Start Taking a Prenatal Vitamin- From what my doctor told me, any prenatal will work that doesn’t make you feel queasy so just go with what works for you. I have only tried 3 different ones but I’ve been loving the Pink Stork and, maybe it’s in my mind, but I think it has helped my energy and I just feel better since switching over to this one. I like that it includes DHA, folate, and I also like that it is a Christian based company with good morals and values.
Buy a Comfy Bra to Fit Your new Cup Size– This is something that I didn’t do until the second trimester that I regret! I was so sore and squeezing into my existing bras. It wasn’t until week 16 that I caved and bought a properly sized bra for my new size and my only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner. I’ve been loving this one from Victoria’s Secret because it’s soft and flexible but yet still supportive.
Have Conversations with your Husband- there are so many decisions to be made within the next few months. When will you tell your family? When do you feel comfortable announcing to more than just family? Do you want to know the gender? Will you want to do the chromosome testing? Do you have any names you’ve had in mind? Trust me, people will ask you all of these questions (and more) and it’s nice to be able to answer confidently together, even if the confidant answer is “we’re still deciding on this.”
Take Weekly Bump Pictures– this sounded like a ton of work under first-trimester exhaustion, but take. the. picture. You can’t go back ever and see what your bump looked like at that point in time unless you take the photo. I’ve set a reminder on my phone to take a photo every Sunday. I go put on the same dress (less to think about) and stand sideways and take a bump update photo. It’s been so cool to look back on. Just do it! And if you don’t like the photos, you don’t have to share them with anyone but yourself.
I know there are probably a million other things on google that you “should do” your first trimester, but these seemed like the absolute “musts” for me. As I mentioned as my #1 symptom, I was so exhausted I truly did not have the energy for much else. In your second trimester, you’ll feel so much better and be able to tackle a lot more.
The Truth About My First Trimester:
So here is my honest, no sugar coating review of my first trimester: it was a tough couple of months in my life. I had absolutely no energy. Because of my accomplishment-driven personality, I began to feel terrible about myself not getting anything done. I’d get on google to read “first trimester tips” or anything to make myself not feel so alone at this time of life. And it would suggest I cook us a healthy meal and do a workout and also start a baby budget that same night. I was like “who is writing this?” Are there not any blogs out there about how awful this is?
So here’s my blog about the truth: I barely worked out. If I had the energy which was maybe 1 day a week, sometimes none, I did a very low-impact 30-minute workout. I aimed to eat healthily but I also knew that letting myself get hungry would lead to migraines and sickness, so if chips were faster, I grabbed chips. I gave into my cravings. If I wanted a cheeseburger, I got a cheeseburger. listened to my body and ate when I was hungry and stopped when I wasn’t. I gained a lot of weight. It says 2-4 pounds is a good first-trimester weight gain. I gained 12. Oh, and I wanted to tell my coworkers the exciting news but instead cried every day at work. As I said, it was a very tough couple of months.
Tips to Get Through a Hard First Trimester:
As I said, I didn’t do anything above the minimum. I decided to focus on my “3 to survive”
1- keeping myself from getting sick (eating, drinking water, and hot tea- this calm stomach tea saved my life)
2- working incredibly hard at my job. I didn’t want to give anyone a reason to say I was slacking. I put in so much effort. Wrote down everything. Accomplished every task, even on weekends, nights, etc. I didn’t want to give anyone reason to suspect anything. And when I announced, I didn’t want them to say “oh that’s why.”
3- keeping the house afloat. What I mean by that is do we have groceries? Do we have at least some clean clothes? Are the dogs taken care of? I’m talking about the bare minimum here.
And that’s about it. There was no energy left to learn how to cook a healthy meal, do workouts, budget, start a registry, dream up a nursery. Nothing. And you know what, it’s okay! I’m living proof that taking those two months “off” was fine and is exactly what my body needed.
It annoyed me every time I read “you’ll feel better in your second trimester” because that did nothing for me at the moment. So I’m here to say to first trimester me… yes it in fact DOES get better, but I agree, it doesn’t make it any better at the moment. Everything I shamed myself for, is already okay and easily forgotten. I had a friend say that trimesters are weird in that you forget what the trimester before felt like. And it really is true. This too shall pass, and when you look back, it won’t seem as bad as it was.
So cheers to all the mamas pushing through the first. Give yourself a ton of grace. You’re accomplishing more than you know.
Now for the fun part for all the mamas, one day mamas, aunties, besties, godmothers, and more. I paired up with some girls to give away an Amazon gift card. See below for more on how to enter:
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