Trimester, that is. Today marks the official beginning of my second trimester, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in many of my symptoms already – thank goodness! In honor of this momentous occasion (and because I made the choice to keep it mostly private for the first trimester but kept thinking about how much of this would make a good blog post), I thought I’d write about my experience thus far.
Warning: some of this is TMI.
- How did you know you were pregnant? This is a question I’ve wanted the answer to since I got on birth control. Being a paranoid person, it never put my mind at ease that pregnancy symptoms are eerily close to PMS. I asked every woman I ever knew who got pregnant and the best answers were vague ones, such as: “I felt like I was coming down with something.” Not very helpful! I had two methods of being able to tell before I ever took a test:
- I charted my basal body temperature. This is an extremely useful way of trying to conceive, and it’s also a hormone-free method of birth control. I knew that I might be pregnant because my temperature wasn’t falling when it normally did.
- I’ve always been in touch with my body. When my “PMS” got worse and worse and I felt like I was going to get the world’s worst period (I even had a mega-cramp that woke me in the middle of the night), I knew something was up. For someone who hardly ever has severe or even mild PMS, something felt very off. And for someone who consistently spots before her period, the absence of any blood was peculiar.
- Can I brag for a second? I ran my first half-marathon this fall – and I was pregnant! I hadn’t taken the test yet, but I knew. And Lord was I tired, and emotional, and felt like death at the end of it, but I did it. Here’s a photo of me crossing the finish line with my invisible passenger:
Interesting side note: Runners get weirdly competitive about dumb things. See that Forrest Gump girl behind me in the yellow? At the beginning of the race I decided I didn’t like her for whatever reason and was determined to beat her. After the numerous walking – staggering – breaks I took, I was sure she beat me. Imagine my surprise when several weeks later I downloaded my race photos and saw that I STILL beat her! Pregnant lady 1, Forrest Gump lady 0.
- It shouldn’t be called morning sickness. At least, not for me. I called it queasiness. It was real, and it was all day and all night. It was hard to find food that would be enjoyable, yet as soon as my stomach emptied, I’d feel miserably sick. All I wanted was junk food. Vegetables? Pfftt. Fruit? No way. Pizza rolls? Yeah! Pepperoni? Fo’ sho’! One of the hardest parts of the first trimester was adjusting my food schedule and intake. Normally I write my meals on a chalkboard and grocery shop each week accordingly. Well, that all went out the window with queasiness and food aversions. Slowly I’m getting back into it.
- Speaking of going out the window… exercise? Yeah right. Try exercising when your body insists that you go to bed at 6:30pm. One of the ways I knew the first trimester was coming to an end was that I stopped waking up drunk-tired. I’ve even gone on some walks and “runs!” The fatigue was by far the most miserable symptom.
- You count everything in days and weeks. Each week becomes a countdown to the next week. You are like a child proclaiming he is four-and-three-quarters-years-old. All you want is for each week to roll into the next one and get further into your pregnancy without complications.
- Vivid dreams are real, and some are really terrible. I had a dream last night that I miscarried and birthed my deceased child into the toilet. I was terrified for the rest of the night and wouldn’t get up to pee in case it really happened.
- Speaking of being terrified… peeing. Every time you pee, you obsessively check the paper (and your panties) for blood. I’m starting to relax a little on this, but only very little.
- Lady Gaga should be off limits. Just kidding, Mother Monster! I used to tear up when I listened to Lady Gaga, simply because her music gives me all the feels. Now I sob, tears rolling down my cheeks, and can’t sing along because I’m crying. I just went to the Hallmark store to buy an anniversary card for my husband and nearly started crying in the store because the cards were JUST. SO. TOUCHING. I cried all through The Peanuts Movie when we went to see it. In fact, I started crying before the movie because a preview for The Good Dinosaur came on. Are you sensing a pattern? Me neither. There is no rhyme or reason, just many, many tears.
- I want my bump! I still weigh in multiple times a week – don’t want to be surprised at the doctor’s office if they scold me for gaining too much weight. And I’m happy to report I’ve only gained between 3-4 pounds, and I’m still wearing my normal clothes (sometimes the fly is unbuttoned, but still wearing ‘em!). But I really want my baby bump. I can’t wait until it pops! I can’t wait to tell people to keep their hands off! I can’t wait to actually look pregnant and not just like I’ve had too many Hot Pockets.
I’m sure there’s more but… pregnancy brain. It’s a real thing. The best advice I’ve heard so far is, “Don’t make any major life decisions when you’re pregnant.” Being pregnant makes you don rose-colored glasses. It’s like drinking after a break-up. Actually, being pregnant is a lot like being miserably hungover. That’s how I’ve described it to several friends now.
Onto the second trimester! Bring on the bump, new energy and a 20-week anatomy scan (for lo, in my small and rural town, doctors prefer to do things the old-fashioned way unless there’s a problem… no 6-week confirmation ultrasounds for me)!