Although I’m already 19 weeks pregnant I thought I would share some of my experiences from my first trimester. Looking back now it feels so good to be past this period of my pregnancy. I really had no idea what I was in for, but it was still worth it, even if it didn’t feel so much at the time.
Just before I found out I was pregnant I was going through a major transition in my life. After my father’s death I decided I needed a fresh start. I applied for post graduate studies and finally worked up the courage to quit my job. I had also convinced my darling Marco that yes I was going to get an amazing new job to help pay our home loan and renovating costs for our new dream kitchen. I still wanted to have a baby, but I thought I could get a jump start on making these changes and then I would be ready. At the time I had also been told by my doctor, psychologist and naturopath that I should wait a little longer till I tried to get pregnant. They were worried that it wasn’t a good time for me and were all convinced that I wouldn’t be able to fall pregnant anyway due to the stress I had been under the past few months. So I took their advice… Well by the time I did there was already a little person growing inside me.
Three days after quitting my job, Marco suggested that I take a pregnancy test (5th August). I didn’t think I could be pregnant, but he thought something strange was going on with me. I started smelling foods in the house that weren’t there. Fairy floss, fish and chips, spaghetti bolognese. I didn’t realise at the time but these phantom smells were my childhood favourites foods. Something else that also convinced Marco that I could be pregnant was my increasingly large breasts. I didn’t think much off it. Yes my period was late and my breasts were enlarged, but I had a really irregular cycle that I had only just started tracking for my doctor in recent months. Was it always this irregular? I’m not really sure but we just assumed it was due to stress. I usually tracked my period by the increased size of my breasts a couple of days before it was due. The only really strange thing was that my nipples were so sore that I felt like had been breast feeding. This was not a sensation that I had ever felt before. Anyway so after breakfast and delicious coffee we took a trip to the chemist and bought a test.
In preparation for the pregnancy tests I had to drink a lot of water. I usually have a pretty weak bladder, but for some reason after 2 litres of water nothing was happening. It was like my bladder was too scared to tell me the answer. After an hour of waiting it finally happened. After taking so many pregnancy tests in the months before the last thing I expected was to see two purple lines. I flew down the stairs and told Marco the good news. To my surprise he was really, really happy. He just couldn’t stop smiling and neither could I. So after we calmed down a little from all the excitement I booked myself a doctors appointment and messaged my naturopath.
About a week later we got the confirmation that we really were pregnant. The doctor assumed we were six weeks, but I needed an ultrasound to confirm the age of the fetus. So next we were off to the radiologist and got to see our little baby for the first time. We couldn’t believe how tiny it was, only about as big as a sesame seed. At the date of the scan our little baby was 7 weeks and 3 days.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I made a few changes straight away. I stopped taking my happy herbal tonic and gave up coffee. I also began monitoring what I was eating, so that I made sure I was getting a good combination of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Within the week I began taking a new lot of special supplements for the baby’s nutrition.
First trimester symptoms started pretty much as soon I as found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. On top of terrible coffee withdrawal migraines, I began having all day morning sickness. This led to severe food aversion. The only thing I could really eat was bread and avocado. The thought of anything else made me want to throw up. The smell of coffee or the thought of a healthy green juice also turned my stomach. I also couldn’t cook. Just chopping a vegetable made me sick. Unfortunately being the only person in this house that can cook I was forced to suck it up and made lunches and dinner for Marco and his father. Other first trimester symptoms included falling asleep by midday, feeling dizzy when I got up from sitting down, getting fatigued from walking up the stairs, headaches, waking up 5 times per night, going to the toilet every 20 minutes, terrible constipation and a strange rash on my back. Feeling so terrible really took the excitement out of being pregnant. I didn’t realise that the first trimester comes at you so hard and fast. On the upside my skin looked amazing. I stopped wearing make up all together.
By week 11 I started to feel a little bit better. I had began eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and I could last until about 2pm before going for a nap. Most of my extended family found out I was pregnant by this stage as well. My mother was so excited that it just kept ‘slipping out’. I busting to tell people as well but I was scared of an early miscarriage so I tried to hold my tongue.
On week 12 I took a trip down to Melbourne for a couple of family birthdays. It was there that I finally cracks and ate animal products. I had previously spoken to my naturopath about my limited diet and she suggested that I include a few clean animal products in my diet so that my baby would get some protein. I was completely off beans and grains so I was scared off the effect my diet had on my baby. My family also didn’t know what to make for me and I could tell they found my diet a little bit annoying. I bought some hummus and tofu, which I was eating at just about every meal with some bread and avocado. Anyway it was the slow cooked lamb shanks and cannoli that made me give me. I had been craving meat like crazy for weeks, probably due to the lack of iron in my diet. So as bad as I felt I also felt a lot better. I didn’t give in to the home-made chicken schnitzel though, which was hard watching everyone enjoy it.
While I was down there, mum and I did go a bit crazy on baby clothes. I discovered the Purebaby factory outlet and tried to buy as much unisex baby clothes as I could. Purebaby is an organic baby clothing brand that also don’t use any harsh chemicals or dye. The clothes are so adorable, well made and affordable.
By week 13 I had arrived back from Melbourne. So Marco and I got some baby announcement photos taken by my mother’s partner, Ted. It felt so good to finally announce to the world that I was pregnant. Although I wasn’t showing too much I still felt the need to tell even strangers that I was pregnant. I was also on a high because I found out I had been accepted by Brisbane’s only mid-wife led birthing centres. It is still in the hospital, but is designed for women who want to have completely natural births with only a midwife present. I was considering a home birth since I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital. But this was a good compromise that made Marco and my mother feel a lot better.
As much as the first trimester felt like it was going to last forever it has gone past really quick. I was scared that I was going to be one of the few that continue morning sickness throughout the pregnancy but by week 13 everything changed. I still had food aversion but the nausea was completely gone. When I did start to feel better I was a little sad that I didn’t feel so pregnant anymore.
During this period I was also at university doing Post-grad Museum Studies. Studying was really hard with baby brain and headaches. I found it hard to focus on what my lecture was saying or retain much information. Luckily I had only enrolled into one subject, so I was able to take my time for all of the assignments. In the end I was really happy in what I achieved. I got really good grades and successful put together an extensive museum exhibition proposal. So all in all I really enjoyed this short period of my life.