First Trimester Survival: Making It Work the Second Time Around

If you are in or entering your first trimester, you may be experiencing total internal chaos. It’s not a pretty sight. You’re excited and happy (hopefully) but also feeling any sort of degree of terrible and terrified.

I’m coming to the end of my first trimester with my second pregnancy and honestly, it’s a totally different experience.

Morning Sickness

Last time around, the first trimester just felt like a constant mild hangover. My head hurt, I was tired and I was queasy. But my queasiness could always be settled with a few crackers or a banana. It wasn’t much of an issue.

I’m still lucky in that my nausea is mild compared to many, but damn it’s worse. We’re on our fifth bag of jolly ranchers (although in fairness Tyler has been helping me) at our house and I keep other candies in my purse, car, desk drawer and anywhere else I think I could need it. Same with crackers. I’ve started taking Unisom and B6 to help but I feel like it’s mainly a placebo effect. Regardless I’m very unnaturally attached to it.

Survival tools:

  • Sour skittles
  • Jolly ranchers- watermelon preferred
  • Lemonheads
  • Saltines
  • Unisom (at night)
  • B6 (in the morning)
  • Tic tacs/ice breakers mints
  • A lot of other weird new habits like breathing solely through my mouth and mentally waving away bad smells
  • Be physical, be social, do something even for a few minutes. There’s nothing that helps like breaking away from your funk.
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A 20 minute bike ride two weeks ago gave me so much energy!

 

Fatigue

When I was pregnant with Haines I just wanted to sleep my life away. I came home from work and laid on the couch. During dinner I would often eat with my head laying on the table and then immediately go to sleep.

Now I just have to keep moving, which isn’t hard as Haines is always moving. 100% of the time. But at work the moment I sit at my desk, I almost immediately start to slump down. It takes no time at all before I am borderline horizontal. The same happens at Haines’ bed time.

Pregnancy Brain

The first time around I did not believe in pregnancy brain. I was a doubter, I’ll admit it. But after I thought Tyler still spent time in Alaska and I tried to find a dresser that we’d left in Austin I admitted it was a thing.

I thought I was starting off strong but this weekend I left my laptop at work which was the most important thing I needed. I had spent 15 minutes carefully packing my workbag to make sure I had everything and completely missed the mark. I’ve also done some other dumb things but I just blame those on Tyler, which I think is fair.

Peeing all the time

Expectations are everything! Since I didn’t know about peeing all the time in the first trimester last time I thought it was extreme and complained about it constantly.

Now I feel like it’s not even a factor. It’s all about expectations. Sure, I got up 3 times last night but that seems totally fine. Right? That’s just the same for everyone?

Emotional State

With Haines, I was completely terrified from the moment we knew we were pregnant. Even though we were pregnant on purpose, the moment we found out I started questioning the decision. Panic set in. What were we doing? Did we really want to change our lives like this?

Now, I don’t feel any of that. I’m much more terrified of the logistics of having two small children, not of the decision. It doesn’t mean this hasn’t had its emotionally scary moments but the sense of calm, internally, is greater this time around. I know what to expect from myself, from Tyler, at least on some level. I know our strength a little bit more.

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Family!

 

Physical Changes

I was shocked at the changes my body went through in the first trimester last time around. Everything seemed to happen so quickly! I vividly remember laying in bed and thinking, “Are those my organs moving?”

Now I look down and think, “Oh, I remember you.” It’s like welcoming an old friend back. It was only a few months ago that the skinny, tan line on my stomach disappeared. Now, it’s still gone but I’m already showing. I already want to rest my hands on my belly although there’s hardly anything to rest on.

May 2016

2016: pregnant but still a secret!

 

And there’s the feeling grateful and excited part. Every day we get closer to the second trimester, I think we’re getting closer to feeling safe, that we can start talking about logistics and other practical things. There’s no such safe zone, anything could happen but I am glad to be here whatever happens.

How Did I Get Here?

I cannot believe we are in the third trimester. This year has been a total whirlwind. There has been zero crafting, little baking, minimal biking, and many of the other things I normally strive to do. This year has been just straight up pregnancy. How did we get here?

 

First Trimester:

Having few friends who are parents I did not understand what the first trimester would be like. Disclaimer: it’s different for everyone. For me, it was exhausting. I got on the couch as soon as I got home from work. Staying upright during dinner was asking a lot. I got put to bed almost as soon as I stopped eating, which was never at the end of the meal. Eating a full plate of food was out of the question.

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I don’t know this baby but we are kindred spirits.

Luckily though, I didn’t have morning sickness. Queasiness, yes. Overwhelming nausea or vomiting, no. To those who have to deal with this, I bow down to you.

What I’ve learned:

  • Sleep, sleep, sleep. Don’t fight it. Just embrace it. This trimester drags on but the others do not.
  • Carry food everywhere. Do not leave the room without a snack in hand. Keep a snack next to the bed for when you wake up.
  • People don’t know what they’re talking about. Everyone starting telling me all sort of bullshit about exercise and whatnot but if your pregnancy is straightforward (high risk people, do not listen to me) you are fine. Your baby is the size of a grape. You can still pretty much do what all your activities. No freaking out necessary.

Learning I was pregnant also gave me an incredible amount of empathy. In addition to being exciting, it has also been scary and overwhelming. To every woman doing this alone, I wish I could offer you my support. To every teenager facing this, I wish I could talk you through this. To everyone who doesn’t speak the language where they are, trying to navigate medical care, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Once I get on the other side of my own pregnancy I want to find an organization that to work with to offer support for women making reproductive decisions- whichever route they choose.

Second Trimester:

It was around 15 weeks that I started feeling fairly normal. Someone falsely advertised to me that I would feel like superwoman but I really just felt normal. Not exhausted, not queasy- just regular. The baby started kicking during this time which has been really weird and incredible. This is my favorite part of being pregnant, although I don’t think I’m going to miss watching my stomach move back and forth.

What I’ve learned:

  • The Internet is awesome. There aren’t nearly as many pregnancy or mom blogs that strike me as “real” where women talk about their concerns about parenthood but there are some and it is a huge relief. Between Twitter, Instagram and blogs I have felt much less alone when I don’t feel like a glowy, Stepford wife (which is not a thing that has ever happened to me). Start here-
  • I should have started looking for daycare the moment we peed on a stick. We are now on 3 waitlists, only one of which we have a reasonable chance of getting into around the time I go back to work. Yay.
  • Picking out childbirth classes or a pediatrician should also not be delayed. We have gotten the last available spot for a December baby at the pediatrician of our choice and barely got into childbirth classes. We arranged these somewhere around 27 weeks. Apparently we’re slackers.
  • What I am still learning is that my emotions are overwhelming and that is totally okay. At times I felt incredible fear, confusion and despair at being pregnant. That doesn’t make me a bad person. This is scary. This is overwhelming. Life is changing and chances are I will never regret that but doesn’t mean I can’t look at the parts of life that stay behind with mixed emotions.

Third Trimester:

Oh, my. How did I get to third trimester so quickly? How do I get all the millions of things I think I should do done in the next 11 weeks?

I’m hoping to learn to ease up but… no guarantees.

You Are Clearly Not a Drinker

Pregnancy in the early months is sort of strange. A lot is happening but you don’t feel any fun stuff, just weird things like your organs being in new places or your uterus growing. It is pretty much just uncomfortable.

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As soon as I shared the big news, several women (mostly with grown children) got a little misty eyed over memories of their pregnancies and tiny babies. They immediately told me about baby’s first kick and talked of loving the life growing inside. Women with smaller children still seemed excited for me but wary eyes held back their true feelings. Each congratulations came with a bit of “Oh girl, you have no idea what’s coming.”

I have been so lucky thus far. I did not have morning sickness, just a queasiness that I could squelch with a handful of trail mix or a banana.  To date not a lot of heartburn or other forms of indigestion common in pregnancies. I have the upmost admiration for women who experience this and still manage to function like a human being. The first trimester I laid on the couch so much it practically molded to my body. I would quit eating dinner to slowly slump onto the table. Tyler would put away the unfinished food and put me straight to bed.

I haven’t gotten that burst of energy I am told comes in the second trimester. Phrases like “superwoman” and “nonstop nesting” have been thrown in my direction but haven’t taken root. Regardless I am glad to just feel like myself. I haven’t given up on naps but going to bed after dark no longer makes me feel hungover.

Now that I don’t go to bed at 7 pm I am faced more often with the reminder that I am living an alcohol free existence. For those who say abstaining from alcohol isn’t that bad, I say YOU ARE CLEARLY NOT A REGULAR DRINKER. (Imagine a really loud voice there, not necessarily me shouting.) Yes, it is easy to make the decision not to drink but that doesn’t mean I stop salivating over the smell of my husband’s hoppy IPA. I have to wipe the drool away when I see friends sipping a chilled glass of vino verde. I do indulge in a “taste” of their drinks as there is much evidence pointing to occasional drinking being safe but I haven’t felt comfortable making the choice to go beyond the rare sip.

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I’ve spent the last 13 weeks trying to find fun replacements for my sober drinks. Where once I scoffed at mocktails, now I’m scouring the internet to find them. So far I’ve replaced an evening libation with:

La Croix– It’s an obvious choice. It’s bubbly and has just enough flavor to make you feel like a person who is actually choosing to drink this voluntarily.

Martinelli’s Sparking Apple Cider– This must be served in a wine glass or you will not feel fancy and that defeats the purpose. As a child sparking grape juice was what children were served at Thanksgiving. Always in a wine glass! Even as an adult apple cider is delish and the bubbly takes it to a new level. There came a point where this became a little sweet for me to drink regularly but it made the transition into sober living very helpful.

Izze Sodas– This is another choice on the sweet side but it comes in a glass bottle and in a million yummy flavors. Cover it up with a Freaker and you can pretend you’re drinking a beer like everyone else.

Whole Foods Italian Sodas– Get the blood orange one! It is delicious! It is not as sweet as an Izze but enough that it feels like a good treat.

Flavored waters- I always make flavored waters in the summer to help me increase my water intake but this summer it is especially helpful. Right now I’ve got one small cut up cucumber floating in a large mason jar of water in my fridge. I’ll also be making water with mint, watermelon, lemon, lime and who knows what else! The choices are endless! I can make as many as I want because I’m sober and have a ridiculous amount of time for this kind of thing!

I was drinking kombucha in the early days of my pregnancy but unfortunately the smell puts me off a bit now. I’ve had to take a hiatus from making it. Next time I’ve got a backyard party of some kind I’m going to make a pitcher of one of these drinks I’ve recently discovered. Recently I went to a porch party where they had horchata and kept the booze separate because that’s what the best people every do!

(If you think this was post was sponsored because I am making product recommendations- bless you. Go ahead and believe that. )

Oh tiny, insignificant pregnancy woes! In other news we have a sonogram this week which I’m really looking forward to. We have an app that tells us what size produce the baby is and it is nice to have evidence that our baby is not actually an avocado or a turnip or a sweet potato (current produce size status). I’m having a hard time this week not imagining a Mr. or Mrs Potato Head floating around in there. Also, I felt my very first baby movement which is really strange to wrap your head around but also pretty cool.

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18 weeks bathroom selfie. I apologize if you can tell that I haven’t cleaned the mirror.

If anyone has a pregnancy blog to share with me, I’d appreciate it! Only slightly dysfunctional moms please. I need to be able to relate.