By: Lexie of Lexsentials
I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing my pregnancy journey here on The Chirping Moms. For more about me and more posts, visit my blog: Lexsentials. Today I’m sharing all about my first trimester. But first: we’re having a baby girl and she’s expected to arrive April 2019!
We are so thankful and in love with baby A already. It’s been quite the journey over the last 13 weeks. We’ve been given a gift and I’m here to share our story, details about my experience trying to conceive and going through pregnancy so far and answer any questions to help future mamas to be ! This is a long post, broken up into two parts, one for those who aren’t pregnant yet but are interested in the getting pregnant process and another for those who are recently pregnant or want to know more about my first trimester experience.
For those interested in the getting pregnant process:
The most common question I’ve been asked so far is “how long were you trying”? This is the same question that I asked people in the past. I wanted to know around how long it was going to take and also how to know when exactly you’re ovulating, how many times you need to “try”, etc.
There is no one answer fits all in terms of how long it will take. We decided to start trying knowing that it could take months or years to happen. Of course, after trying once, you start obsessing over whether you are pregnant or not (the two week wait feels like two years) and all of a sudden want it to happen right away. We tried for the first time during my July cycle and although we weren’t expecting it to happen on the first time, we were pleasantly surprised. I had been religiously tracking my cycle for over a year at this point, using two apps, MyFlo and Glow, to monitor my symptoms and which phase I was in. I’ve been off the pill for 3 years after being on it for around 8 or so years, and we used these apps + monitoring my basal body temperature in the morning as our form of birth control. I do recommend the BBT tracking but I bought a cheap thermometer off of Amazon so this wasn’t the most reliable source for me. If doing it again, I would invest in one that was more accurate such as the Daisy Fertility Tracker (if you have any questions on this process just let me know!). Using the two apps instead of one was helpful for comparison because they would sometimes be a few days off in terms of my predicted ovulation or period start date. I liked monitoring my physical symptoms compared to what it said in the app and then seeing which one was accurate based on my period start date.
So as you can see, by the time we were ready to start trying, I was very familiar with my flow. This sounds strange to those who haven’t experienced it but I could usually tell when I was ovulating because I felt some pinching/cramping mostly on the right side. On the month we were ready to start trying, one app predicted I would be ovulating that Wednesday and the other that Friday but I actually think I felt ovulation a few days before on Sunday. In order to conceive, you want to prioritize having during your fertile window which is 2-3 days before you ovulate and of course on the day of ovulation, but not as much after ovulation. While the egg can only be fertilized for up to 24 hours after being released, the sperm can live inside you for up to 5 days. Because I’m crazy, I took notes in my phone starting from the first day of my last period, taking my temperature every morning and then writing down any type of symptom such as “felt potential ovulation this day”, the days we had sex, etc. I’m 90% positive that I know “the day” it happened because immediately after I felt something that pretty quickly turned into pain, kept me up all night in pain and lasted through the next 24 hours. I don’t think this is common, but it was something I’ve never felt before which makes me think it had something to do with the process. After that, it became a waiting game, that will drive most crazy. (*I’m happy to share more personal details about how many times we tried, etc. for anyone that wants to know…I know that these were the questions I had before, so feel free to contact me if you have those questions too).
I continued my notes in my phone, monitoring things such as being moody and anxiety. The first symptom that made me think there was a possibility was that my boobs started to hurt on the sides about a week later. It’s hard to differentiate the other symptoms from PMS such as being moody, craving sweets and cramping, but the swollen boobs were never a PMS symptom for me. To this day, they still hurt but it’s become my new normal. I knew there was a chance but also didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I told myself that it could just be a new PMS symptom for me. I would say if you’ve never had this with PMS, this could be a good first indicator!
I asked Bryan every day if I should take a test but knew it was too early to even detect. All of a sudden I felt SO ready to be pregnant and was hoping so bad that it was happening. I made myself wait until 8.20, when I was a few days late, to take the test. I strategically did this because it was our engagement anniversary. I bought the test that says either “pregnant” or “not pregnant” and after 3 long minutes, saw the word. I couldn’t believe it. As much as I knew there was a chance I was still in so much shock. I looked in the mirror and said “omg I’m pregnant.” I was overwhelmed with excitement which quickly turned into anxiety, worrying about drinking, eating sushi and all the other things you can’t do that I had done in the last two weeks. Also about how I had SO much to research and learn. I put my anxiety on pause, and wrapped up the pregnancy test in a bag that I wrote on “just a little something for our anniversary.” When Bry got home from work, he saw the bag and mentioned that he felt bad because he didn’t get me anything. I told him it was for both of us 🙂 And just like that, our lives completely changed.
For those interested in the first trimester pregnancy journey:
At the time you find out, you are already around 4-5 weeks pregnant because you technically start counting from the first day of your last period even though it has only been 2ish weeks from conceiving. From there, we set up our first prenatal doctors appt. which they usually make you wait until around 8-9 weeks for. During this month in between, I had a lot of anxiety about whether I actually was pregnant! All I really had to tell me I was was the test (I ended up taking 2 to double check). I would worry on the days where I didn’t feel any pinching or cramping, or if my boobs didn’t hurt as much, or I wasn’t tired or nauseous. But after the first visit, I felt a LOT of relief. I was very confused about how the first visit would go. For me, they did a trans-vaginal ultrasound, where you may be able to hear the most precious sound – the baby’s heartbeat!, we saw the baby moving around on the ultrasound (she looked like an actual baby and was moving her arms and legs like crazy!) and got our first pictures, they took my vitals (weight, blood pressure, etc.), a urine test and also did a prenatal blood test.
Jumping back to my symptoms though. Here is a breakdown (I made a video below talking about my symptoms through week 9. It’s basically the same info. but in a vlog format. Feel free to read or watch but if you do prefer video, make sure to let me know in the comments! This will help me decide how to share my future updates).
- week 5 (the week I found out) & before: sore boobs. We went to Maine the weekend after we found out and the smell of seafood was overbearing. I wanted lobster on the trip, so I ate it but I’ve had an aversion to most seafood since…(crazy because I used to love it!). I recently, at 13 weeks have been craving salmon (usually not my favorite) and sometimes crave tuna fish wraps (which you have to limit because of the high mercury). Hoping this aversion will pass!
- weeks 5-7:
- nausea (mostly in the morning but some random waves throughout the day – nothing too extreme, never threw up). Also some nausea during workouts.
- NEED to eat every 2ish hours and my hunger wakes me up in the morning. The tough part is that when your nauseas, nothing really sounds good to eat, but you have to get something in your stomach. I kept rice cakes in my car and bag at all times to munch on whenever needed. I barely had an appetite these weeks. The only things that sounded good were cereal (+ some other carby carbs), smoothies and CHEESE. I even had an aversion to my absolute fave, matcha, so I stopped caffeine completely until 2nd trimester. I wanted specific things randomly but didn’t have any “I NEED THIS NOW” cravings.
- fatigue – needing naps and going to bed as soon as I got home from work
- heartburn & burping
- shortness of breath when running and talking
- mood swings (aka getting irrationally mad at Bryan for things like eating my leftovers, although in my defense, you should not mess with a pregnant girls cravings!)
- sore/growing! boobs
- anxiety (about the unknown of the pregnancy in general)
- weeks 8-9 (started taking iron and DHA supplements in addition to my prenatal and folate which I think is why I started feeling better here – recommended by Dr. Kyle, the Pregnancy Specialist at Integrative Wellness Group after expressing some of my symptoms to him):
- some fatigue but not as much
- nausea but not as frequently
- boobs somewhat less sore
- hot flashes while sleeping + lots of dreams
- no longer enjoy grocery shopping because nothing sounds good (VERY unlike me)
- having to get up to pee once a night (not something I normally do)
- weeks 10-13
- FINALLY got my appetite back around week 11ish. I now enjoy grocery shopping again 🙂 I no longer feel the “starving” feeling every 2 hours but I do still wake up to it sometimes and am consciously eating a little more, making sure to get enough protein and nutrients, etc. My body wants dairy (which I normally don’t eat much of) so I am letting myself have it as wanted.
- Nausea is barely there. I get some random waves and for some reason I still get it when I drink water (mostly in the morning) but nothing severe and it passes pretty quickly.
- Migraines – had my first week 11 and my second week 12. I started supplementing with 2 magnesium pills every other day as recommended by Dr. Kyle at Integrative Wellness Group and I haven’t had one since.
- Sinuses – I normally have sinus issues in the fall so I’m not sure if this is my normal or because of my suppressed immune system but I’ve had sinus pressure, headaches, stuffy nose, ears, etc. on and off. I’m coping with 1-2 tablespoons Alkalol in my neti pot and Restore Nasal Spray, and head over a pot hot steams with tee tree oil.
- Less moody, less anxiety. One of the biggest things I’ve learned so far from this pregnancy is that I am not fully in control and that there is a LOT of unknown. I’ve settled into taking it day by day and have accepted that this “unknown” will be there through the rest of the pregnancy, after she is born, and for the rest of my life. Of course, I still worry and stress about things but have also found a sense of peace in knowing that all I can do right now is focus on being as healthy as I can to create a loving and nurturing environment for her to grow. I focus on de-stressing and connecting with the baby through meditation, journaling about my experience, sipping on soothing maternal teas (I’m currently loving The Republic of Tea – Get Maternal), and taking naps whenever possible. I had a LOT of fear and worries in the first few weeks. If my symptoms weren’t as extreme one day as they were they day before, I worried about whether I was still pregnant). I worried about the health of the baby and if my irregular breathing was affecting her. These are all normal fears and I had to accept that some days you will feel pretty good and not have symptoms and that is OK. We chose to do the cell-free DNA test (ours was called the Claritest) to test for genetic chromosomal abnormalities as as well as determine the babies gender (this is the earliest way to find out the gender – if you don’t do this test then you find out around 18-20 weeks with the ultrasound). Somehow this was magically covered by our insurance but it usually isn’t so make sure to double check. It wasn’t until getting these results around week 12 and having my NT scan the same week that I really felt a sense of relief. Bryan has been extremely supportive throughout the entire experience and always encourages me not to worry until we have a reason too which has helped me focus on the present. And it’s also a HUGE help that my best friend from college, Doree, happens to be pregnant and we are due 2 days apart! We literally talk about every little symptom, worry, craving, etc.
- I felt a lot of pinching/stretching/not really sure what exactly in week 13. I know that my uterus is growing and the doctor said it is probably that. Sometimes it is only on one side. I started feeling it in the earlier weeks too but felt it a lot more this week.
- Felt light headed on my runs – had to stop and walk. Also felt light headed when getting out of bed in the AM.
First Trimester Workouts
Workouts: my workouts have pretty much been the same for the whole first trimester. I stopped going to megaformer once I found out and also stopped hot yoga (you’re supposed to avoid heated studios, saunas, etc.) My favorites have been pilates reformer and barre. I like that both are somewhat slower paced and lower intensity but my body is still very responsive to them (booty with barre and core with pilates). I was also running when it was warm out and have to figure out a new way to get my cardio in now that it’s colder. I do think that cardio is very important to help regulate my breathing, especially with the shortness of breath symptom. I’m not working out as much as I used to but am still doing it a few days a week. I felt better on the days I worked out (especially when the nausea was more intense weeks 5-8ish) but always make sure to prioritize sleep and rest when I know my body needs it. I didn’t really have to do any modifying in class this trimester but stopped doing some movements on the stomach during the last few weeks if they didn’t feel right (on the reformer) and did cat/cow instead of cobra stretch during barre.
First Trimester Bump
Bump Size: I had some bloating right away. I started to notice a very small bump around week 10ish but it comes and goes. At 13 weeks now, some days I will wake up with a bump and some days it will be flat again. One thing that is very obvious is that even if your belly is flat in the morning, it will be double or triple the size by the time you go to bed. I’m still waiting for my real bump to appear but for now, I mostly just have a small bump a few inches below the belly button and the whole area feels a lot harder (you can’t suck it in!). It’s uncomfortable to button my jeans but I’ve been able to get away with the hair tie trick (loop a thin hair tie around the button and through the button hole instead of buttoning the jeans). I also got a few soft and affordable pieces from the Ingrid & Isabel Maternity line at Target to get started with and feel more comfortable with the little bump. My mom tells me to stop “sticking my bump out” because it will be here soon enough.
Supplements I’m Taking:
- Thorne Prenatal (I love this because it has folate which is more easily absorbable by the body especially for those with the MTHFR gene than folic acid which is the synthetic form)
- Thorne Folate (additional folate to help support the MTHFR gene)
- Nordic Naturals Unflavored DHA (support brain & nervous system development)
- Standard Process Ferro Food (iron)
- Standard Process Magnesium Lactate (for the migraines)
- I will be adding in a probiotic now that I’m in the second trimester and also Vitamin D now that I’m not getting it naturally. Will share in my second trimester recap.
Overall, I would say that first trimester went pretty smoothly, mostly because I never threw up and my symptoms all started to ease up around week 9. I do think that the major detoxing I did with the Dr. Nicole and the Functional Medicine program at Integrative Wellness Group for the 6 months prior to getting pregnant helped clear a lot out of my body (mold exposure, toxins, chemicals etc.) and also helped replenish my nutrients (many of which I wasn’t previously absorbing). It also taught me a lot about my body and what I could and could not tolerate (no gluten!). My body needed this time to clear things out before I could let the most amazing gift of all in <3. I also do not think that my first trimester would have gone as smoothly as it did if I wasn’t working with Dr. Kyle and the amazing team of support at Integrative Wellness Group. Through the Pregnancy Program, he’s been there to educate me, answer all of my 1MM questions, test for any deficiencies that I wasn’t getting from my basic prenatal and address symptoms with additional supplement recommendations and provide both chiropractic and craniosacral care to keep me feeling my best and prepare my body for birth.More than anything, I feel so grateful every morning that I get to wake up to this little bundle of joy growing inside of me.