Finding out I was pregnant the first time was quite the surprise. That first time I held the news I was pregnant fiercely close to my heart, waiting until the doctor confirmed the result at my 8 week appointment before I told anyone other than Aaron. For 8 whole weeks I walked around knowing that my life was going to change forever. It’s was a surreal feeling knowing that that my body was making a baby and the forces of nature were carrying out the process of creation. I couldn’t stop it! Cells were dividing. I was no longer just one person, I was a woman with a life in my womb. I wasn’t alone. It was crazy!
This second time around I was planning for it. But both times I can still remember the silence while holding my breath and waiting for the result from the pregnancy test. This time I had the secret hope that it would be positive. This time I ran out the bathroom door and announced to the entire room (my parents were in town) “I’m pregnant!”. This time was so much different than the first time. I am excited. I’m confident in my ability to carry something so special, fully aware that I am growing a new life and that I am creating another human being. It’s a lot easier the second time to jump straight into this mindset. I remember with my first pregnancy my primary emotion was disbelief. I was terrified! What was I supposed to do? What was going to happen to my body? How was I going to feel? How will I tell my friends and family… and when? I spent a lot of time online reading and researching. I bought “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” and I asked the nurse at my doctor’s office a million questions. After having been through a pregnancy already, this time around I feel more mentally prepared. The pregnancy is the easy part- its the thought of having 2 kids that gives me an eye twitch!
Either way here’s the rundown of what happens during the first trimester:
The first trimester can effect every woman differently. Some get morning sickness, some get mood swings, some feel completely fine. These symptoms are a result of rapidly changing hormone levels so it really depends on your body’s unique chemistry. I didn’t have morning nausea but I definitely had a wacky appetite. I was not interested in eating fresh veggies or fruits and I often felt evening nausea. It would strike after I prepared an awesome dinner, I just wouldn’t feel like eating at all. Most women will feel more tired than usual in the first trimester. When I was pregnant with Everly I wasn’t chasing after a toddler so I was able to rest when I needed to, but this time around I was TIRED, like my eyes would start closing on me right after lunch. So, every day during Everly’s nap I took a nap too. It was non-negotiable, totally necessary to function. I also drank a full strength cup of coffee every morning. It’s perfectly ok to have a cup of regular coffee and most doctors will tell you the same. If you are a coffee fiend like me, try ordering your drinks “half caf” or switch to green tea. Another reason women are tired during the first trimester is because you pee ALOT! You will wake up in the middle of the night to pee once or twice or three times, so that will impact your sleep and therefore make you feel tired during the day. All of a sudden you are faced with all these food/beverage recommendations and restrictions. The most important ones are to limit your caffeine, stop drinking alcohol and avoid raw fish.
So you will probably look up your baby’s development week by week and find out what size fruit your kid resembles at each week (for example by week 6: a pomegranate seed, week 10: a kumquat). Its totally weird but just embrace it- there’s no escaping it! Lots of super important developments take place during these 12 weeks. You will visit your doctor usually around 8 weeks. If you have an OB that you see regularly this would be a good person to have your appointment with; but you will have time to change doctors if you find a doctor that you feel more comfortable with. I was new to the Denver area and didn’t have a regular doctor so I just made an appointment with the OB group that accepted my insurance. I found out that there was no guarantee that my first choice doc would be the one attending my birth since they all work different schedules and are on call at different times. For this reason I started thinking about hiring a doula so I could count on at least one familiar face! At your first appointment they will do bloodwork to test your hormone levels and confirm the pregnancy. You will most likely have a vaginal ultrasound and get to see your “gummy bear” sized baby. You can hear the heartbeat. They will confirm your due date.
You and your partner are probably super excited/anxious about becoming parents, but don’t worry! You have 9 months to prepare. Aaron’s good friend Daniel gave us this advice… “you can get your shit together in 9 months” and that is exactly what we did. When I found out I was pregnant with Everly we had just moved to Denver. In the following 9 months we both got jobs, bought a house, did renovations and moved in. You get to keep your pregnancy a secret for these next few weeks (most people wait until 8-12 weeks to announce that they have a bun in the oven) or not, maybe you want to shout it from the rooftops. But make sure you set some time to savor this precious secret with your sweetheart! As a newly pregnant woman I remember feeling weird out at the bars, sneaking a club soda with lime to make it look like I was still drinking. I also remember feeling weird at my office, like I was hiding something awful from my boss and co-workers. It’s an adjustment, but I reminded myself often that “pregnancy is a state of health” and this was natural and beautiful. Life will continue. Your friends will get used to you drinking water at the bar and being the DD and your boss and co-workers will be happy for your amazing news. I actually felt like pregnancy was the best thing for my anxiety- it was the ultimate detox. I wasn’t drinking alcohol or caffeine and I readily gave up trying to control everything because my priority was growing the baby! I would joke with Aaron when he asked what I did that day, “oh, today I grew a kidney… what did you do today honey?”. It’s your job to honor your body and your growing baby during this time and not worry about what other people will think or say. It is also important to spend time with your partner because once baby comes you are no longer a partnership… you become a family. What once was two becomes three. Embrace this time as a couple and communicate as often and as openly as possible. Life is about to get CRAZY when you become parents …(in a good way)!