Hi everyone! So since we have announced that Baby Bradley will be joining us in December (!), I wanted to share what my experience with the first trimester was like.
First let me start by saying that if you are thinking you want to get pregnant, it is worth putting in a little effort to be prepared. No, you don’t have to go on a cleanse and avoid everything plastic (good luck with that in this day and age), but doing some research to really understand the mechanics of how conception works is very helpful in moving the process forward. I read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and I cannot recommend it enough, if you are trying to conceive. The art of knowing when is the “perfect time” is tricky, but there are multiple ways that you can increase your odds of timing everything right. The book also goes into trouble shooting, if you will, when you have not been successful after a few months. Pick yourself up a copy. It doesn’t hurt to know enough about your body to give nature a little boost.
Since we were well educated, so to speak, Isaac and I were intentional in our plan to try to conceive, and I was prepared with pregnancy tests before I even missed my cycle. About two days before my cycle was supposed to start, I took a digital test that read “Yes” or “No” on a screen. I was very happy I didn’t have to scrutinize a pee stick to see if there were in fact two pink lines or not. I highly recommend a digital test, and also not testing TOO early. If you are eager beaver like I am, I wanted to know as soon as possible, but you have to be as patient as possible (up to three days after your cycle is supposed to start) to get enough pregnancy hormone built up to have an accurate result. I took a second test when my cycle was three days late, just to be sure, haha.
When I first found out, I was THRILLED!! I’d been wanting to start a family for some time, and I was concerned that we might have a hard time concieving, just because it happens so often (and you only remember the bad stories you hear!). We actually had a very easy go of it, which I credit to the research I did beforehand to prepare and “time” everything right.
But of course, I couldn’t just celebrate that I was pregnant. Who would I be if I didn’t set lofty goals? I wanted to cap my weight gain at 25 pounds (I felt like I started out with 5 extra bonus pounds anyway), exercise 4 times a week, eat super clean and heaven forbid any sugar crosses my lips.
I did really well for about a week.
And then reality kicked in. Now luckily, I really didn’t feel nauseous at all (except for that one time we made shrimp… no go), and I never felt the urge to vomit. I know a lot of women struggle with that majorly, so I was sooo happy I was able to avoid those symptoms. I was however, totally ZONKED. I would sneak in naps whenever I could and go to bed at 8:00 or 8:30, which is much earlier than my normal bedtime of 10:00 or 10:30. It just seemed like my brain was in a fog and I couldn’t get over the hump to be engaged in life. I felt the most tired from about 6 weeks to 13 weeks. I didn’t really rebound in terms of energy until I was closer to 15 weeks. But overall, since I didn’t feel like I needed to throw up all the time, I was pretty happy! I will take fatigue over nausea any day.
However, my exercise fell off the rails when the true fatigue set in. The month of May I only exercised 4 times total! So much for my “fit pregnancy” plans. But to be honest, I didn’t even feel guilty about it- I was that tired. I figured I would get back into it when I felt more normal, and all my friends with kids promised me that yes, I would feel normal again. Also, I’ve been trying to show myself more grace, and not busting it out at the gym during the first trimester was not the end of the world to me.
I think my fatigue was also coupled with the fact that I wasn’t really drinking any coffee. I have not sworn off coffee during this pregnancy, despite the midwives telling me “just drink some bone broth instead!” (yeah no way and barf inducing first trimester). I have been very consistently enjoying my one cup of coffee per day, or half caff at Starbucks because those folks are crazy. (Before you start telling me I am poisoning my baby, according to #science, up to 200 mg of caffiene a day is acceptable. The average k-cup, which is what we have at the office, has 100-140 mg of caffeine. Plus, my sister told me that if I drink it now, Baby will tolerate caffeine better when she is out of the womb and breastfeeding, which is when I will really need the boost.) But the first trimester, I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t want coffee, so I didn’t have any, and I had nothing to help me through the fatigue. Just sweet sweet naps. But, as the first trimester was winding down, my energy picked back up and I started feeling like a citizen of the world again.
In terms of weight, I swear to you that as soon as I took a positive pregnancy test, my weight shot up 5 pounds. I freaked because of course if I were gaining at a rate of 5 pounds a week I would gain 10,000,000 pounds (actual math). I felt super bloated immediately too, and could barely fit into my jeans pretty quickly. I ended up buying a belly band pretty early on just because I had so much bloat, and my pants weren’t comfortable, but I didn’t have enough size to transition to maternity. Also, I was ashamed of the idea of having to wear maternity clothes in the first trimester, so I refused lol. I bought two BellaBands from Nordstrom, one in black and one in white, which just looked like camisoles if anyone every saw the hem underneath my shirt.
My initial 5 pound gain was blessedly not a weekly occurence, and I actually didn’t gain any more weight the rest of the trimester. It was just water/bloat that got readjusted as time went on. But the belly bands were soo necessary and I just regret not getting them sooner. Let me tell you, that silly hair tie/rubberband trick did not work for me. The only thing that held my pants up were those bands.
I only had one doctor appointment during that time, a 10-week visit, so medical care was very minimal and I tried to be as zen as possible throughout the whole thing. At the 10-week appointment, I heard Baby’s heartbeat, and finally took a sigh of relief. My first thought when I heard the heartbeat? “It sounds like the dogs!” Because yes, I listen to my dogs’ heartbeats because I love them and I am obsessed with them. It was a little nerve wracking before I heard the heartbeat, just because miscarriage is so common. But I honestly just tried not to think about it and let time unfold.
So by the end of the first trimester I was feeling good because I had heard Baby’s heartbeat, I had kept my weight gain within the recommended limit (1-5 pounds is recommended), and I didn’t really struggle with nausea.
So that about sums up my first trimester experience! Stay tuned to second trimester!