Pregnancy pt 1: Finding out & symptoms
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
I want to start by saying that I was very lucky and am very grateful that we were able to conceive quickly and that I had a healthy pregnancy. It makes me a little sad to have to include a disclaimer here, but I know that many people go through things much harder than what I experienced and I never want to come off as ignorant that I have been lucky in many ways. I’m writing this to share my experience, and to help me process and remember how crazy and special this time was for me.
Finding out we were pregnant: Travis and I knew we wanted to start our family in the first couple years of our marriage and once we bought and moved into our house in spring 2019 we took the “we’re not trying, but we’re not not trying” approach and I had already been off of the pill for awhile. In July we decided to really start trying and tracking cycles. Since we had recently moved I needed to find a new OBGYN so I found someone and made a preconception appointment. Thankfully I found a doctor I really liked on the first try and I knew Travis would like her too. She told me to be patient and not put too much pressure on timing, because it can be stressful and defeating when it doesn't happen right away which I really appreciated.
I know it's common to surprise your partner, and I'm sure some people love that but I wanted to make sure that Travis was included however he wanted to be and we were a team through all of this so when we first started trying I asked Travis if he wanted to be with me when I took the test and he said he did. On September 14th we had a housewarming barbecue at our house with our friends and that night I told Travis my boobs had been really hurting, which may have just been because I was supposed to get my period that next week but could also be an early symptom. We decided to wait until the next morning to take a pregnancy test since it’s best to do first thing in the morning. So I woke up Sunday morning, September 15th, and woke him up. I took the test, we set a timer, and sat in bed waiting. I was telling myself it would be negative because I didn’t want to get ahead of myself and excited. When the timer went off I gave him the test because I was too nervous to look and as he likes to remind me, he knew before me for about 5 seconds that the test was positive. I was so shocked and started crying right away. That week I called to make my first appointment and took three more tests before we told our parents. I was only about 5 weeks at that point, so I had to wait a few weeks to go in for my appointment and we didn’t tell anyone else until after that. Over the next couple of months we told many of our friends in person as we saw them, and made plans to see certain friends that we knew we wanted to tell in person. Then in December we did a post on social media to let the whole world know!
First trimester: As I said my very first symptom was that my boobs hurt and that didn’t let up for my whole first trimester. They constantly felt huge and uncomfortable, like I couldn’t get them out of my way! I told Travis at one point that you should be able to remove them to sleep at night, like taking off your glasses or something. The other big thing that hit for me in the first trimester was the “morning sickness”. If no one has told you yet, the morning part of that is BS. I felt nauseous most of every day in the first couple of months, and there’s almost nothing that would help. At one of my early appointments a nurse said the first trimester felt like being slightly hungover all the time and that clicked with me so much. Slight headache, body aches, exhausted, and constant nausea. Except if you’re hungover you can usually throw up or eat something to help the nausea, and that was not the case at all. The only things that helped were chewing gum, sour candies, and Trader Joe’s lemon and ginger seltzer water. None of those things would get rid of it completely but they were temporary reliefs. I also kept a sleeve of Ritz crackers on me at all times because it was the only thing I knew I’d be able to eat without feeling worse. Even with a constant blanket of nausea I thankfully didn’t end up throwing up at all through my first trimester.
Second trimester: Everyone says things get better in the second trimester… well, not here. My constant nausea let up but my heartburn and acid reflux got so bad that I did start throwing up. And I didn’t feel nauseous, I would just have heartburn and sometimes it would get so intense that I’d throw up out of nowhere. My low point is tied between throwing up in my front yard the second I parked in the driveway or into my hands while sitting on the couch - so fun! On the note of heartburn, I went through multiple Costco sized containers of Tums and I drank La Croix constantly trying to make myself burp for any kind of relief. I also felt more tired in my second trimester and it was so frustrating because everyone told me their energy levels went way up after the first trimester.
Third trimester: Right at the beginning of my third trimester I ended up finding out I was anemic (really common in pregnancy) and after I started taking iron supplements it made a big difference in my energy level. I started feeling a lot better because of that. I also started having pretty bad sciatica pain, which runs from your low back down your leg. I was commuting pretty far for work which included riding the train and about 20 minutes of walking and it was starting to get brutal. Walking hurt and it was impossible to get comfortable on the train. A few weeks into my third trimester COVID really hit our state and Travis and I both started working exclusively from home. COVID has caused a lot of heartbreak for me, which I’ll write about in part 2 of this, but one thing I’m grateful for is that I was able to work right up until my due date because I wasn’t having to commute anymore. I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise because I was already having a pretty hard time at 30 weeks. My heart burn stayed throughout my whole pregnancy and I had to start being more particular about the things I was eating, which I hated. I didn’t really have pregnancy cravings but in general I love spicy food, garlic, tomato-based things (ie. pizza, chili) – basically everything that gives you heartburn and it sucked knowing that if I had a bowl of chili I’d be woken up in the night with awful heartburn, even if I took Tums. This was by far my worst pregnancy symptom and I felt like it was never going to go away, but as soon as I gave birth, I was completely fine. I don’t think I’ve taken Tums once since giving birth three months ago. While my energy levels were better thanks to the iron supplements, in the last month of pregnancy I felt so big that the idea of comfort basically went out the window. Between that and the heartburn I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep.
A couple things I was surprise not to experience were cravings – I was kind of hoping I’d have some big cravings and I think Travis was fully prepared to run out and get me anything but that almost never happened! There were a couple times where I was like, I need French fries NOW… but I do that pretty regularly when I’m not pregnant. I also don’t think there was ever a time when I had to pee constantly, which seems like one of the most common things I hear about from pregnant women. Maybe he was just positioned in a way that pushed on my stomach way more than my bladder, so I got the heart burn instead of needing to pee? But who knows, I’m no doctor!
There were a few crazy life things that happened during my pregnancy that made my symptoms a lot more difficult to handle, especially in my first trimester, but I think I’ll get into all of that in a part two where I want to focus on the emotional and mental parts of pregnancy that I went through. It’s been a lot for me to process, including the actual labor and delivery which I wrote about here, so that follow up may take longer for me to write but I think it will actually help me with processing. Thanks for reading! xx