After I learned I was pregnant and shared the good news with my husband, we wanted to keep this secret to ourselves for a little while until we could decide the best ways to tell our family and friends. Those first days of my pregnancy didn't feel very different, other than the fact that I knew I was pregnant.
I made my first doctor's appointment, stopped drinking the occasional glass of wine, continued to take my prenatal vitamins, and felt slightly more tired than normal (like, falling asleep on the couch in the afternoons because I couldn't keep my eyes open, tired), but I was still waiting for the "real" pregnancy symptoms to begin. That was one of my biggest fears leading up to pregnancy--the fear of being very sick and miserable the entire time, and the fear of the unknown. Thankfully, by the grace of God, this has not been the case for me.
My first doctor's appointment:
When I attended my first doctor's appointment, I was approximately 7 1/2 weeks pregnant. I did not know what to expect, so I downloaded a few pregnancy apps that I could hopefully learn from and asked a few friends who have had children what that first appointment would be like. They shared about education, giving a urine sample, a "female" exam, blood tests, and likely, a vaginal ultrasound. I'm so glad they shared this with me because I would have been so clueless otherwise!
Sadly, because of the pandemic, my husband could not attend the appointment with me. When I learned that I would have to experience all of this for the very first time without my husband there, I cried. I didn't want to go through this without him, especially because it is my first pregnancy, our first child, and such a special experience. He was so sweet and supportive, and offered to still take me to my appointment and wait for me, even though he couldn't go inside. When I arrived, I had to complete some paperwork about my pregnancy and current health status, then was asked to give a urine sample to confirm my pregnancy and check my overall health. The nurse took my weight, then brought me back to an exam room and began to walk me through my pregnancy handbook. After she covered the basics of pregnancy education, it was time to meet with my doctor for the first time.
I chose a doctor based on former colleague's and nurse's positive recommendations, so I was excited to meet her. She was very kind and asked questions to get to know me a little better. Then she performed my exam, and prepared me for the ultrasound. I wasn't nervous but was so curious about what I would be able to see or hear. All of the sudden, there on the screen was this tiny sac with an even tinier baby inside. It just looked like a tiny blob to me! She was able to detect baby's heartbeat and record the rhythm (but nothing audible) and took a few sonogram photos. She then asked if I had a regular cycle (which I didn't), and pushed my due date back about 10 days based on the size and development of my baby thus far, which also pushed my weeks of gestation back 6 weeks. After the ultrasound was complete, she asked me how I had been feeling and if I was taking a prenatal vitamin. I told her I was and had been taking them for about 4 months before I became pregnant, and that I felt good but a little more tired than usual. She asked if I had any nausea or vomiting, to which I responded I hadn't yet. She told me these things can typically occur between 7-8 weeks, but maybe I would be one of the lucky ones who didn't experience it. She then asked if I had any questions for her, asked to see me again in about 5 weeks, and completed my visit. Finally, it was time for my blood tests. I went down to the lab, checked in, and they drew 5 (!!) vials of blood. All standard procedure. Thankfully, the nurse was quick and it wasn't too bad--I just looked away until she was finished. Two hours from check in, bandaged up and pregnancy handbook and ultrasound photos in hand, it was time to go home. I was so excited to show my husband and share everything I had just learned with him.
Symptoms and remedies:
Over the next few days, I still felt relatively normal, until one day I didn't. I was working from home, and after a few hours that morning, I started to not feel well. I remembered my doctor saying eating can help keep the nausea away, so I stopped working and ate a late breakfast. I finished my meal, but even then, it didn't sit well. As the day went on, my appetite went away and I still didn't feel well. Dinner time rolled around, but I did not want to cook or eat anything. By about 8:30 that evening, I decided I should probably try to eat something light, so I had an apple with some peanut butter. Not long after, I was sick. And so began the nausea and vomiting.
The next few days were rough. I had no appetite, was nauseous, and continued to get sick occasionally. All that seemed to help was sleep, but I couldn't sleep all the time. I tried to eat plain toast and drink water and peppermint tea, but none of it sat well. I remember thinking, if this was going to last for weeks and weeks on end, I don't know if I could handle it.
Then one day, I remembered I had a pair of SeaBands in our medicine cabinet from our first anniversary cruise. I had never used them but bought them just in case for sea sickness. I was pretty desperate to feel better, so I read the directions and put them on. Even though I still felt sick, I kept reminding myself that it wasn't a normal stomach bug and I needed to keep eating and stay hydrated to feel better. So, I forced myself to eat anything mild that sounded appealing. At first, it was graham crackers, Gatorade, and an occasional ginger ale. When that did sit well, I tried some chicken noodle soup. When that worked, I tried something a little more substantial to keep me fuller longer and to try to keep the nausea at bay, so I graduated to chicken nuggets. Thus began my "cravings" for any mild foods from my childhood.
Other common pregnancy symptoms I experienced were fatigue, tenderness, and nasal congestion. One problem I did not expect and was NOT prepared for around 12 weeks was the development of a kidney stone. I had NO idea what was happening to me until it passed and the intense pain had finally stopped. I will spare you the graphic details, but it was NOT pleasant. Several people, including the NP, stated the passing of a kidney stone is comparable to labor pains. Heaven help me! I chalked the kidney stone up to prolonged dehydration during my early pregnancy, supplement changes, and a slight infection. Thankfully, after a round of antibiotics and a clear renal ultrasound, all was well.
Cravings and Aversions:
When I was finally able to keep food down, I learned that I needed to eat right when I woke up, and again every 2-3 hours to keep the nausea away, even if it was just a few graham crackers. I went through a box of graham crackers within the week, and the only other foods that sounded even remotely appetizing were those from my childhood. Example: foods like chicken nuggets, boxed mac n' cheese, quesadillas, turkey corn dogs, etc. I'm slightly ashamed to say that one day, I ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese by myself, and it was so satisfying.
On the other hand, I did not want any coffee, which is strange for someone who enjoyed a cup every morning. I couldn't even tolerate the smell of it, or anything else with intense flavors like chocolate and other sweets. Other aversions were red meat, peanut butter (because it never sat well), and vegetables, even salads.
A few of the resources I have used this pregnancy include the
What to Expect app and the Ovia app. I especially love watching the videos and looking over the suggested articles included in the What to Expect app each week.
The vitamins I took prior to becoming pregnant and during those early months were the "clean" Ritual essential prenatal vitamins. I was initially drawn to the transparency of their ingredient list and how they are sourced. Plus, the recurring monthly delivery is one less thing to worry about. However, even with their lemon infusing flavor capsule, I personally could not get past the fishy aftertaste of these vitamins. After my last bottle ran out, I did not continue my subscription and switched to a grocery store brand. I would still recommend these vitamins because I think the pros outweigh the cons, but beware of the fishy flavor!
In part two of my first trimester recap, I will cover more of the fun stuff--like when I heard baby's heartbeat the first time, and how we told our families!
A "little bitty" life and style blogger pursuing my passions and Jesus just outside Austin, Texas. Around here, you will find interior design and home decor inspiration, home renovation updates, style inspiration, favorite recipes, and more!
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