Today India is back with the next instalment of her pregnancy diary. You can read all about how they decided they were ready for a baby here if you missed before and today she is talking all about that exciting first trimester. If you want to follow along with her journey more regularly then India is sharing her pregnancy details here.
The first trimester of pregnancy was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. In general I was very lucky and sailed through it but in the interests of honesty I think it’s important to say there were a few hard points along the way. We knew this was something we really wanted (you can read about how we decided and our journey to getting pregnant here) but I was surprised by how protective I immediately felt of this little one growing inside. Maybe that should have been something I expected, but I think if the first trimester taught me anything it was to abandon all expectation and just deal with things as and when they happen. Oh and also I learned that I should always carry an emergency snack because the preggo hunger is real.
I think the strange thing about the first trimester is that you’re hyper aware of this massive change happening in your body and your life, but for the most part people around you have no idea that anything is different. Even the most innocent of conversations become a minefield that can be quite tricky to navigate. Hopefully I’m not alone in having to duck out of seemingly simple conversations or be deliberately vague whilst trying my hardest to hold back a smile and avoid screaming ‘we won’t be going to New York in the summer because we will be having a baby’!
I always thought I would find it hard to keep news this big a secret, but in actual fact I immediately felt as though it was self preservation to not tell anyone, especially as I was already anxious about whether everything was going ok. I know everyone has different approaches to who they tell and when, and there isn’t a right answer. I was over the moon to be able to tell my sister just a couple of weeks after we found out, as it meant I had someone other than my husband to talk to about everything, and if things went horribly wrong I knew I would want her to know anyway.
Now I do just want to say that I know I have been very fortunate in that my symptoms have been very minor, and although I found the adjustment hard at times, overall I have been exceptionally lucky. This isn’t me trying to gloat, but I thought I should mention that I don’t want you all to think I am just over hear moaning my head off when lots of people have much, much harder experiences than I have! I didn’t have a single sniff of morning sickness, and although I felt a little nauseous here and there it was nothing more serious than feeling a bit car sick.
I don’t know if I am alone in this, or just hypersensitive, but it felt like I started to notice changes in my body almost immediately after finding out I was pregnant. Some of these were subtle and some…not so much. I definitely needed the loo a lot more almost immediately, my sense of smell went completely off the charts, and I became weirdly very interested in eating pork.
The tiredness hit immediately and has never fully gone, but around week ten I finally started to emerge from the major first trimester fog, and started to feel much more normal and almost human again. And then of course I immediately worried that I wasn’t feeling quite so achey/tired and started panicking that everything wasn’t ok! That is representative of what a rollercoaster I found this stage – I didn’t want to feel grotty but when I felt well I questioned every single little symptom.
Hunger was also ever-present for those first three months. The only way I can describe it is like the feeling you get if you skip breakfast and then lunch, apart from it’s every two hours. I looked up the NHS list of things I should definitely avoid eating, and found the RMF post plus all the comments on this topic really helpful. I have taken all the advice with a pinch of salt, I had a few pieces of brie over Christmas (anybody else feel like there are just so many cheeseboards, so little time?) and also had some prosciutto as well on a couple of occasions, but in general I try to stick to the guidance because I figure it’s there for a reason. On the recommendation of an old ‘Rock My Style’ post I also read the ‘Expecting Better’ book which goes into the reasoning and research behind the list of ‘unsafe’ foods, and I felt like that equipped me to make good decisions if I ever needed to stray from the approved list.
Although it was generally a pretty smooth trimester, in my seventh week we were reminded how fragile the whole process is when I had a very small bleed. Those days when we didn’t know what was happening were some of the scariest of my life. We were lucky to get a doctor’s appointment the day after I found blood, followed by an early reassurance scan the following day. I was basically a wreck at this point and convinced I was either having an ectopic pregnancy or a missed miscarriage after some worrying words from the GP. We are so thankful that we were amongst the lucky ones, the technician at the early scan announced that everything looked to be progressing well. It definitely reminded us just how much we wanted this, in case I was in any danger of forgetting that in the haze of tired and hungriness.
The positive thing about that scary experience was how lovely the team on the gynaecology unit at Sheffield’s Hallamshire hospital were. That’s not to diss the team on the maternity unit, but the gynaecology team were our first encounter with the hospital during the pregnancy, and they were so caring, welcoming and friendly. At the end of the appointment the nurse gently said to me to try not to worry and to do my best to enjoy being pregnant, as you can’t go back and re-do it, and worrying won’t change anything. I really needed to hear those words at that stage, and although it didn’t magically evaporate all of my worries I have kept her words with me. When I have anxious moments it can be really helpful to remind myself to try my best to enjoy and make the most of every minute of this amazing process, even when it is tough sometimes.
In terms of body confidence I started having wobbles here and there from pretty early on and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was very worried about how I would feel once things start ‘filling out’. As much as I wanted to embrace all the changes, sometimes it’s hard to get your head around and I have definitely struggled at points. Again I hope I’m not alone in having this feeling that none of the usual rules apply and the goalposts have somehow shifted – normally if I feel a bit podgy I will eat a few more salads and add an extra gym session or some walking in. It’s been quite a change in mindset to try and accept that these changes are natural, not to be resisted, and key to helping to grow my baby. It’s a complex set of feelings, really, because we’re also told by all angles (midwifes, doctors, friends) that we shouldn’t be putting on too much weight, yet some weight gain is a normal and important part of pregnancy so it’s a fine line to walk.
To add to the confusion, in another way I feel like my body is finally doing what it was always meant for and is coming into its own. It is an amazing feeling, that my body just seemed to know what to do in this situation from the beginning, from my period not arriving to feeling nauseous at 5pm on the dot for the first nine weeks. I remember feeling so proud that my body is able to do this, because I really did have my doubts before being pregnant.
Despite all the little niggles above, the overwhelming thing I have been since the very beginning is happy, and desperate to do everything within my control to grow a healthy baby. I feel content in a way I haven’t before, knowing that wherever I am the little one is with me, and all of a sudden everything I do is about something bigger, better and greater than just me. I did breathe a big sigh of relief when we entered the second trimester, surprised at how fast the weeks were flying, keen to leave some of the first trimester symptoms behind, and excited to see what was next in what seems to be badged as the ‘honeymoon period’ of pregnancy.
Image via Coco & Wolf.