Despite my growing belly, I still find myself in disbelief when I think about being a mom in a few months. After such a long struggle, it just feels surreal and, not going to lie, a little overwhelming. After 31 years of only caring for myself (and my husband and puppies, obviously), the thought of bringing two helpless children into such a harsh world is scary! Our lives are about to change more than I can even fathom at this point but words cannot describe how excited I am. Two little miracles, just in time for the holiday season, are such a blessing.
I was extremely fortunate to have a (mostly) smooth first trimester with these two rascals. I’ve seen and heard so many stories about moms-to-be with horrendous first trimesters so I set my expectations rather low and was pleasantly surprised. My symptoms of pregnancy have been mild but I did have a few other scares throughout the first 12 weeks. Being in the medical field did not help the situation because I understand and research too much but, ultimately, what made me feel better was reading blogs and forums from other moms-to-be. I found a lot of comfort in knowing I was not the only one to experience bumps (no pun intended) along the first trimester road and am sharing my experience in hopes of offering the same virtual hug to anyone reading and going through a similar path.
Alright, let’s get into it, shall we?
- Fatigue: Pregnancy is tiring! Maybe this is nature’s way of preparing us for what is to come (i.e. sleepless nights and eternal exhaustion) but I definitely started feeling very tired all. the. time. after around week 6. I have always been a morning person but found it more and more difficult to drag myself out of bed as the weeks progressed and like a herculean task to even contemplate exercising (more on this below).
- Nausea: I never had “morning” sickness, but from about weeks 8-12 I had afternoon and evening nausea that was pretty miserable. Thankfully, I never vomited and was still able to go about my normal routines but the nausea came every day and I am SO thankful that has passed. There aren’t many worse feelings than nausea that just won’t go away.
- Changes in exercise routine: When I first began IVF treatments my body didn’t feel all that different, however, as the months and years went by the hormones definitely caught up to me. But despite the hormones and my body not feeling like normal for so long, I was still always able to lift or do CrossFit style workouts 5ish days a week… until this pregnancy. Most days, my body felt too exhausted to even think about a workout, never mind actually do it. Add on the pressure of people telling me to “take it easy” because twins are high risk combined with all my worries of miscarriage early on and my workouts came to a screeching halt. This has probably been the hardest part of pregnancy for me. Exercise was always my outlet for stress and lifting weights made me feel strong and unafraid. When I envisioned my pregnancy years ago, I always admired a few friends who were able to continue CrossFit until the very end and told myself I’d be like them one day. Life, however had other plans for me. There I was, FINALLY pregnant with high risk twins after a couple miscarriages and years of struggle and I didn’t want to jeopardize anything. I knew I needed to listen to my body and my goals of being a super fit pregnant lady dissipated, however, it has been a mental struggle. This was as huge lifestyle change for me but I am finally feeling more content with my daily walks, low impact Peloton rides, and a body or light weight workout once in a blue moon. One day soon, I’ll be raising two little babies and then I can safely get back to more vigorous exercise.
- Changes in diet: One of the first things people like to ask (after wondering if we know the genders) is if I’ve had any weird cravings or food aversions. The short answer is, not really. Overall, I’ve been eating mostly the same as pre-pregnancy, however, it’s sometimes a struggle to finish meat and vegetables. If I could eat carbs, cheese and sweets for every meal, I 100% would.
- Bleeding: On two occasions during my first trimester I started randomly bleeding a lot. Blood doesn’t bother me at all (I work in an ICU and deal with it daily) and I know the different between “spotting” and “bleeding” but these episodes were too much. I thought for sure the first time it happened I was having a miscarriage. I called the doctor who told me that was a major concern but there was really nothing that could be done to prevent a miscarriage if that was indeed what was happening. I was instructed to stay off my feet for the night and come in for an ultrasound the next day. My ultrasound was completely normal with two tiny beating hearts and the bleeding stopped within 24 hours. About a week later the exact same situation occurred again. This time, I wasn’t as nervous, decided to hold off on calling the doctor, and once again the bleeding stopped the following morning. If you google “bleeding during first trimester” you will be convinced you’re losing your baby… I pray to God this never happens to you, however, if it does just remember it COULD be nothing at all and try not to panic before getting checked out!
- Abnormal nuchal translucency test: This is a screening test done during the first trimester of pregnancy that measures the thickness of the baby’s neck. Increased thickness can be a sign of genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, heart defects, etc. One of our twins had a completely normal screen while the other was border elevated. We had to go for another, more in-depth ultrasound and meet with a genetics counselor regarding our results. Ultimately, we were told the chances of our baby having a genetic abnormality or heart defect are 7%. 7% seems high and super scary, but 7% chance of defect also means 93% change of a healthy baby and I like the sound of that much better. We were offered multiple other more invasive tests which we decided to decline because they weren’t planning on terminating the pregnancy regardless. Modern medicine is amazing, but sometimes it just gives us reasons to worry for absolutely no reason at all. Everything happens for a reason and instead of stressing about the worst, we are just praying every day to be blessed with two healthy babies come November.
Although I really can’t complain about my first trimester, I’m also glad it’s over. The risk of miscarriage is significantly reduced, we are that much closer to meeting our little ones, and keeping such a big secret from family and friends was SO HARD! But I haven’t minded living in these Vuori joggers or the extra cuddles from my furry girl (who doesn’t let me out of her sight).