Friday, May 30, 2014

First TriMONSTER...a beginers guide to the perils of the first three months

Since I waited until the second trimester to announce that I am pregnant I wanted to go back to not so long ago and recount the not-so-joyous first trimester.

First of all....everything they say is true. It absolutely sucks.

My husband likes to say that when people would ask me how I was feeling I would say "not too bad", but then at home the reality was that I felt like I was dying. He is just about right. I did feel awful. I was nauseous constantly, or at least I was nauseous when I wasn't hungry. I pretty much bounced from starvation to feeling like I was going to throw up for about three weeks (from week 6-about week 10).

I also felt more tired than I have ever felt in my entire life. I have never been a napper, and I found myself in bed from the hours of 1pm-4pm almost every day.

I never threw up, which is why I always responded to questions about my well-being with a "not too bad". I know a lot of women have it worse than me. In fact, a friend of my sisters who is pregnant has not stopped throwing up since her first trimester and she is now almost in her third! Yikes! So in solidarity to those women who have had it far worse than me, I always told people I was doing a-okay.

Although I never actually vomited, I did feel like I had to vomit most days. I'm not sure if that is worse or better than actually throwing up. On one side I feel like if I just pulled the trigger I would feel better...but on the other hand, there is no amount of throwing up that can make a pregnant lady feel any better so it's better to keep down as many calories as you can.

Another myth that was quickly debunked is the bump. This magical baby bump that you believe is your right to wear from the moment of conception. Nope. Not even close. In your first trimester, you not only feel like garbage, but most women aren't telling people that they're pregnant yet and don't look pregnant at all. So you are simply suffering in silence, hoping no one notices that you're sluggish and look like crap and perhaps have gained a few. In my case, I am 14 weeks and 6 days pregnant now and I not only don't have that cute baby bump I was promised, but I just look kinda bloated in the tummy area, like I overindulged in a Chipotle burrito for lunch.

Smells will become your worst enemy. I could, and still can smell EVERYTHING. Things that used to smell good, like gingery asian stir fry, now make me gag. Forget about being able to take the trash out, you will be lucky if you can stand to be in the same room as a full garbage can. This was worse in my first trimester than it is now, thank god but be prepared to be a super-human smeller, kind of like a drug-sniffing dog or a blind person. I swear yesterday I smelled the rain coming well before the first crack of thunder came rolling through.

CARBS! forget about your low-carb, paleo, vegetarian diet...you eat whatever you can stomach to put in your mouth. I have always been a carbohydrate lover but that went into overdrive in my first few months of pregnancy. Carbs and red meat were the only things I could eat, and eat them I did. I felt bad for a little while. I had all these grand plans of being super organic and healthy when I got pregnant and all that went right out the window pretty quickly when I realized the idea of chicken and vegetables made my stomach turn. When you hit this stage of pregnancy it is best to let go and eat whatever sounds good at the time. Everything, including your appetite levels out by the second trimester anyway and your baby will be just fine as long as mommy stays happy and fed.

Speaking of being happy in the first trimester, this is also the time that you deal with your first pangs of fear and the first real decisions you have to make for your future little one. You go to the doctor and get to see your little peanut, just a little speck that looks like nothing and all of a sudden you are aware that it's not just the two of you anymore. You are bombarded with statistics for down syndrome and things called Trisomy 18 and 21. Everyone pretty much knows what down syndrome is already and maybe has even known a neighbor or cousin who has it. The Trisomy's are different. These are chromosomal abnormalities that cause the baby to die pretty much directly after birth. The odds of having one of these chromosomal abnomalities goes up or down depending on certain risk factors, the biggest one being age of the mother, but they also are a product of dumb luck.

The doctor will do his or her best to explain the risks and then you are given the option of testing early. This early testing is the scary part. They specifically do this testing early enough for you to terminate your pregnancy if you get a positive test result. A positive result mind you, is a percentage of probability somewhere around 90%. You are then given the biggest decision of your life...play the odds, or terminate.

My husband and I originally did not even want to do the testing, which only about half of couples decide to do for various reasons. We had decided that nothing would make us terminate so why spend 9 months worrying rather than enjoying the process of being pregnant. We slept on it and then changed our mind, the first noticeable parental thing we've done. We went ahead and tested, wanting to know early if we had to learn up on some sort of disability our child might have. Luckily, the tests came back with a 1/10,000 chance of down syndrome or the Trisomy's. But be prepared that you will be faced with the fear of this possibility and the choice of testing at around 12 weeks pregnant.

My best advice now that I am on the other side of the dreaded first trimester is to remember that it is all temporary. Sleep when you're tired, eat when you're hungry, demand some extra TLC from your hubby or significant other and just breathe and get through it. There really is no other way. I remember thinking around week 7 that I can't imagine doing this more than once...a thought I am sure runs through every first time mom's mind at some point, but now that I am feeling better, eating better and have my energy back I can't imagine only having one kid!

probably the best advice I an give on the first trimester:
Be brave...this too shall pass

XOXO
Lisa

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