I’m almost 15 weeks pregnant now. My belly is growing. Elastic waistbands, and high-waisted dresses are the fashion trend for fall (you haven’t heard?), and I have successfully survived the first trimester. It’s no small feat. Let me tell you my truth.
Let me start by this disclaimer: Everyone’s pregnancy is different. Lots of people breeze through their first trimester. Not me. Now that I’ve gone through it twice (the first time planning a wedding, and the second planning a move), I can rightfully say that I turn into some evil and miserable version of Nicole whose husband wonders what happened to the sweet woman he married. Thank God we’ve survived. All of us.
Mixed Emotions: Who me? No. Olympic commercials did not make me cry, and no, I haven’t lost it at the smallest of things. Never. Of course the first trimester should be filled with pure joy and excitement. There is joy, of course, and excitement, but there are also a lot of other feelings. Fear: Of loosing the baby, of things going wrong, of not being able to cope with two when you can hardly handle two, of transforming your life, of what the future brings. There is worry: what about work? the plans you’ve made, the plans you will have to break, if something goes wrong, if everything goes right.
Exhaustion: This goes hand in hand with the mixed emotions. When I’m tired, I am emotional, when I am emotional, I am tired. I read once, and I wish I could find it again, that in the first trimester, the energy that goes into growing your placenta is the equivalent of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro back to back 8 times (warning if you try to google placenta + kilimanjaro there are some rather weird things that pop up). I’ve spent sometime in the mountains, and I think this is a fairly accurate comparison. 12 stairs feel like Mt. Everest. I struggled to stay awake until 7:30. I struggled to get out of bed at 6. I remember thinking the first time I was pregnant that I might not be able to stay up for my wedding, which was at 3 months. I remember thinking that I would feel tired forever, and not believing people when they told me it wouldn’t last. They were right of course. I was wrong, thankfully.
Queen of the Rage Did I mention mixed emotions? Let’s raise that one level. How about mixed rage? Aimed at anyone who dares cross my pregnant path. Sorry.
Appetite: I’m hungry in the morning (after I throw up a few times), hungry through the day, and by the time dinner comes around I’m nibbling. Don’t ask me what I feel like. I don’t know. Put chips or chocolate in front of me, I’ll likely eat it. Chicken, beef? it depends on the day. You’ll have to cook it before I decide if I actually feel like it. I hate being a picky eater, but the second I’m pregnant I turn up my nose at one thing, and devour the next. Both pregnancies, avocados and cinnamon toast crunch seem to be my food of choice (don’t worry not at the same time). The other strange thing that happens is I go off coffee. I normally love the taste, and I think a touch of caffine is ok, but it’s not that. When I am pregnant, I just can’t stand the taste. It is the weirdest thing to wake up one morning and not want to drink the very thing that gets you going every day.
Nausea: With Max, save a few runs to the toilet on my honeymoon…oh and using the barf bag during a landing at the Toronto airport, I wasn’t too nauseous. This pregnancy has been different. Since the day I found out I was pregnant its taken the littlest thing to send me running. A whiff of the compost, Max’s dirty diaper, something that has sat in the fridge longer than it should have. When Rob went away for the a week I had to hold my breath just to change a diaper. Now, I might keep up the facade as my diaper changing duties have been reduced considerably.
Exercise – or lack thereof: One of the most frustrating things I find about the first trimester is my inability to exercise. Normally, exercise is a part of my life. It relaxes me, it keeps me sane, it makes me feel healthy, and it gives me a little me time. When you don’t get home from work until 6, have dinner to make, a 15 month old to play with, and dishes to do, all before you collapse into bed at 7:30, exercise is no longer an option. This brings on the “I’m fat, I look awful, I’m so out of shape” self talk. The last thing anyone needs. I’ve been easing back into it this week, and I’d say it feels good, but the reality is, it’s hard work! Oh, and note to all the partners out there, if your wife goes for a run, and is only gone 15 minutes, don’t you dare say “You’re back already” when she comes through the door huffing and puffing, drenched in sweat (see “queen of the evil rage” above).
Baby Brain: It’s true what they say. All that blood is going somewhere, and coming from somewhere, and brain power seems to diminish as a result. What is that? I had a deadline? oops! An appointment? Really? You kind of feel like you are walking around in a fog or a distorted version of reality where you are one step behind.
Keeping Secrets: One hard thing about the first semester, is that hardly anyone knows. I had a boss once who wore the strongest, most horrendous perfume. She’d come in to speak with me, standing close, and give me details about something I’d messed up, likely as a result of baby brain. I would nod incessantly, not listening to a word she said, concentrating every ounce of my limited energy on not throwing up. It would have been easier to say “I am pregnant and sensitive, do you mind if I open the window?” (like i’d actually say that though) You’re out with your friends, and you choose water, a red wine gal, they wonder what the heck is wrong with you. Those skinny jeans that you worked so hard to fit into, look like they’ll never fit again and if you could wear Lululemons to work you would. Not telling, makes everything just a tad bit harder, and makes me feel like I’m hiding a big secret from the world.
There is, let me promise you, as I promised me every day through the last few months, an end in sight. As much as it feels like these feelings will last forever, they don’t. This weekend I woke up, and I just felt different. I had a sip of coffee and didn’t shudder at the taste. I didn’t walk up the stairs, I ran. I felt like blogging, and I even thought, hey, I might be able to do just a tad bit of exercise.
What’s that? You just read this post and decided that you might just stay on birth control the rest of your life? You can blame me for the stagnant birth rate in 2013. Like I said…everyone is different….but this is my reality of the first trimester, and just in case I ever forget what it was really like, or, if I ever say to any of you, it was nothing, just point me in the direction of this post.
Max is 15 months – 178 days to go to baby numero dos!