The First Trimester (again)
It’s back again. The first trimester of pregnancy. I did not enjoy this at all the last time and it has more than exceeded my expectations of misery second time round! The repeat experience has only proven that I am definitely not a member of that lucky group of women who love being pregnant. I didn’t write about my first pregnancy before, and I’ll spare you the full 3+ months of moaning about what life was like being pregnant while looking after a 3 year old this time round. Here’s a brief skim through the ‘highlights’ of this first trimester instead.
Those phantom weeks of pregnancy. The ones that the medical profession count as part of your pregnancy. An immaculate conception, if you will. Thus extending a 9 month gestation period into 40+ weeks and generally confusing the heck out of people.
By the time I take a pregnancy test I already know what the result will be thanks to the debilitating tiredness and crippling trapped wind I’ve been experiencing for a few days.
Yay, two pink lines. Swiftly followed by faint horror rising at the thought of some of what I know lies ahead.
My husband points out dubiously that the second pink line on the test is a lot more faded than the first. I remind him (just like last time) that there are no grey areas on this particular issue. You can’t be ‘a bit’ pregnant. You are, or you’re not.
I stop doing any exercise at all because I just can’t summon up the energy. I sleep whenever I can, and still feel exhausted. Constant waves of nausea make me feel endlessly ill, not pregnant. Even if I manage to eat, I don’t enjoy any of my favourite meals. The trapped wind keeps me squirming all night. Yep, the first trimester has definitely kicked off.
I went into this pregnancy with the expectation of 4 months of misery-inducing nausea based on the last time. My second pregnancy comes with the added bonus of a couple of weeks where the exhaustion and nausea cranks up to previously unimaginable levels of torture. Can’t face food at all. I spend these weeks unable to get off the couch for more than a few minutes at a time, abandoning my firstborn to whatever games his imagination can come up with. Two days into it and myself and the husband are in firm agreement – ‘Never again’. I am terrified that there’s potentially another 3 months of this ahead. I’m a lightweight. I don’t know how women with hyperemesis gravidarum manage to cope, or to even contemplate further pregnancies.
The nausea drops slowly down to the ‘normal’ level of general ickiness I’m familiar with. The relief is immense. The arrival of the expected heartburn doesn’t seem too bad a trade. A massive bottle of Gaviscon purchased in preparation for this very pregnancy symptom comes out of the medicine cabinet. I add it in to the weekly shopping list for the remainder of the pregnancy.
We settle into first trimester life. Nights of insomnia, days of wanting to do nothing but sleep. My weight is slowly dropping along with my food intake. There’s the background noise of nausea that I can barely remember not having anymore. Feeling inflated to full capacity. No bump yet, just the “been eating too much chocolate recently” look which is ironic, given my lack of interest in food other than to try and settle my stomach.
The winter months are endless, dark and cold. Rain is ever-present. My firstborn is running out of patience with a parent who doesn’t want to do anything anymore. It’s too miserable to get out of the house. All I want to do is curl up and hibernate in peace until this is all over. Not an option, unfortunately. The worst cabin fever sets in for us both as we watch the rain-swept landscape outside the window.
The First Trimester, it eventually does end:
There was dating scan somewhere in amongst the tail end of the first trimester blur. Other than the initial positive pregnancy test result, this is the only other significant milestone of the entire trimester. Actually seeing for yourself that there really is something busy growing inside your poor body. A good reason for feeling this terrible for so long. And hopefully there’s the massive relief of a qualified medical professional confirming that this tiny creature is growing well and looking healthy. Your body is doing its job even if it feels like it’s been failing.
The midwives weren’t impressed at all when I didn’t “know my dates” for my first pregnancy. I thought that was supposed to be what they figured out. Apparently not. This time I was better prepared and made a point of keeping track of dates so that I could confidently answer the LMP questions. Now they constantly ask me if I’m really sure of my dates. I am. No matter, the dating scan disagrees, so they’re overruling my carefully noted dates anyway. So glad I bothered.
I happily wave goodbye to the end of the first trimester. I don’t expect to feel any better for at least a couple of weeks because that infamous second trimester burst of ‘health and energy’ showed up late last time too. And it certainly didn’t restore me to feeling normal. But at least there’s the hope of improvement around the corner. I can look forward to the placenta coming fully online and taking over the brunt of providing a suitably baby-friendly environment. 3 months down, 6 or so to go…