Welp, this is the first official post in my pregnancy diary! It’s Week 11 – I feel bloated and nauseous, which I guess is normal with the first trimester. It’s also the first week I’ve felt far enough along in this pregnancy (fingers crossed) to start documenting the bizarre changes happening to my body. Anyone who says pregnancy is beautiful has obviously already made it past the first trimester, or else they’re just delusional! 😀
But first, a recap of my first trimester so far:
Trying to Conceive #ttc
It’s definitely a weird paradigm shift when you spend literal decades of your life trying NOT to get pregnant and then you decide to start trying to have kids. Baby-making sex is way different than sexy-sex. In fact, I would go so far as to say baby-making takes all the fun out of sex. When my husband and I decided to start trying, it wasn’t a casual “let’s stop the pill and see what happens.” We’re both in our mid-thirties, so taking a results-oriented approach was the name of the game. I started taking pre-natal vitamins a month before going off the pill. We bought a $250 Ava bracelet to track my ovulation cycle (you can read my review of the Ava bracelet here). As soon as I entered the ovulation window, I peed twice daily on ovulation sticks until a happy face popped up to confirm I was ovulating, at which point my husband would promptly deposit his sperm inside me. Sounds romantic, right?
I was super concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, which is why we took such an aggressive and un-fun approach to baby-making. One of my worries was that I had been on the birth control pill for almost 15 years straight, and surely that had to have an impact on my fertility or at least a long adjustment period after I stopped taking them. Another factor I was worried about was our age – I’m 33 and my hubby is 36, so we’re not exactly spring chickens. After decades of being told by popular media that a woman’s fertility falls off a cliff at 35 (which is actually not true, according to science), I was pretty fearful. And lastly, I was going through a traumatizing and stressful situation at work while trying to conceive and stress is supposed to impact your success at getting pregnant. Turned out all those worries were for nothing, as my husband and I were lucky to get pregnant within the first couple months of trying.
The first trimester so far
We were in Thailand over Christmas vacation when I missed my period by a few days. We went out and bought a Thai pregnancy test and even though I couldn’t read the instructions on the box, the result of two dark lines were pretty universal. Still, I didn’t want to get my hopes up because at that point it was still really early days and miscarriage is more common we’re led to believe (though highly dependent on many factors). Looking back, I already began to feel some signs of early pregnancy even though it would have only been Week 5 at that point. I had a weird metallic taste in my mouth the whole trip and I felt a little nauseous, but I just assumed it was a reaction to travel rather than pregnancy.
When we got back to NYC, I took an American pregnancy test to confirm my results just in case. Then, I scheduled an appointment with my OB during Week 6. For whatever reason, I thought the first appointment with my OB would just be a blood test to confirm that I was indeed pregnant so I went without my husband. Turned out, they did the whole shebang so I saw the baby on the ultrasound for the first time … without the hubby. Oops. I was completely ignorant of the process before getting pregnant, so I was taken by surprise when the ultrasound was transvaginal! My OB also stuck his finger up my butt with no warning or lube, so that was highly unpleasant. Anyway. Be prepared for your holes to be penetrated. 😀
Incidentally, Week 6 was also the week where my morning sickness started getting more pronounced. I went to American Cut one night to treat myself to some delicious Wagyu steak only to find that I could not stomach meat AT ALL. My poor husband had to finish both his steak and mine hehehe. I thought it was a fluke, so I tried to have Korean BBQ with friends a week later and couldn’t even swallow the delicious galbi – my favorite! In fact, all I’ve really wanted to eat in the first trimester so far has been kimchi and cranapple juice. Weird, huh.
Anyway, a couple weeks later (Week 8), I got my second ultrasound, this time with the hubby. It’s hard to picture this little bean turning into an actual human! I also got my blood test results. Everything looked good, except my TSH levels were a little high (4.81 when the normal range is supposed to be 0.270-4.20). My OB sent me to an endocrinologist who put me on a very low dose of levothyroxin that makes my hair fall out at an alarming rate. Ugh. So much for that beautiful thick hair you’re supposed to get while you’re pregnant. Hopefully, if my levels go back to normal and I don’t test positive for any autoimmune thyroid diseases, I can stop taking the medicine. Apparently, some women just have have TSH during pregnancy and it fixes itself eventually. The human body is weird.
Now that it’s Week 11 and I’m nearing the end of the first trimester, I have to say unequivocally that THE FIRST TRIMESTER SUCKS. Morning sickness has been relentless – luckily, I’ve only actually thrown up three or four times, but I’ve definitely felt nauseous 24/7 for the past two months. I don’t even know how women deal with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (that thing that Kate Middleton famously had during her pregnancies) where they just puke nonstop for the whole pregnancy. I’m just thankful I don’t have that! My most embarrassing puke incident so far was outside of Barn Joo, where I went to meet some friends for dinner and ended up puking in a trash can outside on the street. Sadly, I’m not even showing a bump yet, so every passerby probably thought I was some wasted girl who got too drunk at happy hour!
The first trimester is truly a miserable time. Because you don’t really “look” pregnant yet, no one has any sympathy for you. A lot of women, including myself, don’t even tell people they’re pregnant yet for fear that something will go wrong in the first trimester. So, you’re basically suffering in silence the whole time. During my first trimester, not only did I have morning sickness, but I also had zero energy to do anything. Some days, I slept for 18 hours and refused to leave the bed. I would start reading a book or an article and fall asleep in a matter of minutes, even if it was the middle of the day. But, since I had to get up and pee every hour or so, no amount of sleep I got felt satisfying. Emotionally, I felt way out of whack. Granted I was dealing with a lot of change at the time (aside from being pregnant), but I didn’t feel like I was in control of my life OR my body. It was so bad I started googling if there was such thing as pregnancy-induced depression.
And of course, my husband wasn’t very understanding initially – he comes from the “just suck it up” school of hard knocks. I think it’s hard for men to really grasp the universe of change going on in a woman’s body when she gets pregnant, especially before any physical manifestations (like a bump) become visible. I spent a lot of my first trimester reading articles from other women that validated what I felt and communicated my feelings way more effectively and eloquently than I could have to my husband. One of my favorites was this article, “No One Tells You About the Gut-Wrenching Loneliness of the First Trimester.” When I shared with my husband, I think it helped him gain a better appreciation for what I was going through. Here’s the thing that really resonated with me in the article:
Contrary to the proliferation of cursive-scripted, Earth toned “Mama Blogs” you have likely come across whether or not you too are pregnant, my experience has clearly been nothing in the remote vicinity of blissful, magical, or earth-goddess-like. The first third was an astonishingly lonely, wholly isolating, and quite literally nauseating experience. I regret not writing this essay when I was still in my first trimester, but there was no room for anything remotely creative or thoughtful in those dark 10 weeks, the darkest physically and psychologically that I’ve ever experienced.
My husband has learned to have a little more empathy for what I’m going through now. I always knew he loved me, but you know when you have one of those moments when you’re like, “OMG he REALLY loves me”? That was a couple weeks ago, when I texted him that I had a horrible craving for pancakes and he came home and made them for me without even taking off his coat and scarf first. It was a big deal because my husband works super hard and really long hours, and for him to just be like … 12 hours at work, then pick up pancake ingredients on the way home, and go straight to the pancake making … it meant a lot to me. He could have easily ordered pancakes delivered to our apartment (we ARE in NYC after all, and you can get anything delivered at any time), but he took the time to show me how much he cared. Sometimes he can be pretty OK 😛
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