Disclaimer: This post is chock full of TMI. So if that’s not your jam, I’d consider skipping this post.
I can’t even believe I’m writing this post. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but like, one day in the future. And that future time frame kept changing. I married Josh at 22, so at first I thought by 25. Then 28. Then 30. Apparently the magic number was 32! 😉
Josh and I started seriously talking about getting ready for kids right before the pandemic. I went off birth control to give my hormones time to regulate, we started planning finances, I started taking prenatals (you can’t take these too early), we even started chatting with a therapist about it. We both love our lives and I wanted to make sure we were fully committed to the idea of being parents. I honestly think there are a lot of people in this world who are parents because it’s what is expected of them and I didn’t want that to be us. I also know statistically marital satisfaction drops quite a bit in the years after becoming parents. I wanted to make sure it’s what we really wanted, and that we went into this decisions with our eyes as wide open as they possibly could be.
Then the pandemic hit, and we didn’t leave our house for a solid year. And then Josh’s parents moved to Omaha and in with us for a year while they built their new home. I also left my financial services job and started a new job in tech. So baby plans came to a screeching halt for a good two years.
Enter 2022. Between January to September we resumed normal life, Josh’s parents moved into their new home, and I successfully established myself at my new job and hit the year mark. (My company offers benefits day 1 but I felt better piece of mind knowing I would have the legal protection of FMLA while on leave.)
Also a lot of my friends started announcing pregnancies. And while in earlier years when friends announced their pregnancies I was just super excited and happy for them, these announcements started to make me emotional. There was a longing that was never there before. This deep inner feeling of, “I want that too.”
My childhood and teenage years were spent feeling like I was waiting for my life to start. And then I met Josh and my 20’s were the dream of what I always wanted my life to be. I was the main character of my story and so present and grateful for it all.
In 2022 we went on a lot of vacations to celebrate surviving the pandemic and not having roommates anymore. Traveling is one of my favorite things in the world and when I feel most alive. But I again started to feel that disconnected feeling. I noticed all the families traveling with babies and kids and again felt that out of body feeling of watching people live their life and feeling like I wasn’t fully living mine.
Everything inside of me seemed to be telling me it was time. For all of 2022 I tracked my period via Natural Cycles. It’s an amazing app that learns your patterns and tells you how long your cycles usually last, what the variation is, and whether or not you’re within normal ranges. I never tracked my periods before as my periods were always just regular and didn’t give me problems. So I learned A LOT during this time.
At this point I upgraded my Natural Cycles plan to the one that works with my Oura ring. I originally got my Oura ring for sleep tracking, but with the Natural Cycles app, it could accurately take my temperature each day to tell me the days I was ovulating. (And make my Natural Cycle app predictions that much more accurate.)
I also talked to my OBGYN who recommended having sex every other day from day 10 through day 20 of my cycle. I was/am 32 at the time so I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get pregnant or if I would struggle to conceive. I shared all this with Josh and we got his swimmers tested to ensure we wouldn’t run into any problems there.
When I started a new cycle at the end of November we officially started trying using the every other day method. I stopped drinking “just in case” and put off getting botox or my brows refilled. I flew to New Jersey for my cousin’s bridal shower in between days 20 and 27 (the end of my cycle) and remember excitedly telling my family. It was crazy to think that when I flew home it would be time to take my first ever pregnancy test! While I was there I remember my boobs started feeling a little sore towards the end of the trip but otherwise felt perfectly normal.
The day after I got home was the day I was supposed to get my period. And it didn’t come. So I went to Walgreens and bought two pregnancy tests. You could see the non digital one showed a line but the digital said not pregnant. I remember texting my friends like, “WTF does this mean?!” Long story short, digital readers require higher level of HCG present to display a positive and it can sometimes take a few days for levels to rise enough for it to register.
So the next day I took two more tests and they were both positive. I was in shock but also so happy. I just thought for sure it would take us a few months so having it happen on the first month at 32 kind of threw me for a loop.
I switched my Natural Cycles app from trying to conceive, to track pregnancy mode. I also downloaded some pregnancy apps to track baby’s growth. Let me tell you, a baby at 3 weeks does not look anything like a baby. I felt like I was tracking a blob. It was so weird to see it morph and change in those early weeks.
The day I got two positive pregnancy tests I called my OBGYN and went in for blood work the same day to confirm. Once they confirmed it, I went to Target and bought Josh the Dada book and a pair of gender neutral baby boots. I put them in a baking dish in the oven in the morning and told him to check the oven because I baked him something special. He was really surprised and happy and it was really sweet.
Then there was a whole freaking lot of waiting. Something they don’t really tell you about the first trimester is how much sitting around doing nothing there is. My doctor scheduled me for a six week ultrasound to confirm I wasn’t farther along than I thought I was. I went in expecting to have a belly ultrasound so I was pretty shocked to see a vaginal ultrasound wand. I was like, where is that going? Thankfully it didn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable. It was just very odd. haha
At first when they pulled the screen up my heart dropped because I couldn’t see anything. They were like, “Don’t worry, we have to zoom in a lot at this point because baby is so little.” They zoomed in, and sure enough, there was this weird cheerio looking thing with a strong, beating heart. They said it was measuring at exactly six weeks so my timing and estimates were exactly right.
After that ultrasound I did a Sneak Peek gender test. It’s not covered by insurance but so worth it if you’re inpatient like me and really want to know the gender. I was so excited I could learn at 6 weeks what I was having. I screamed when it said girl. Having a girl has been my dream my whole life.
At 10 weeks we did our genetic testing and were able to confirm through official blood work that we were having a girl. I was so happy and started ordering all the things. (Also everything looked good genetic wise which was a big relief.)
Side effect wise, I experienced the gamut in my first trimester. Burping, gas, headaches, everything smelling horrible, growing boobs, and all day, everyday constant nausea. We’re talking weeks 5-14 feeling like absolute shit. I wouldn’t often throw up, but I felt sick to my stomach absolutely exhausted. Thankfully it was winter time so I wasn’t missing out on a lot, but I remember feeling so depressed that I wasn’t going out and doing anything fun and basically laying on the couch all day.
The first time I threw up was actually when I was eight weeks along on a work trip in Seattle. I remember running to the bathroom as a coworker tried to talk to me. I could barely keep it in my hands. Ugh it was so gross.
The next time I threw up was on a nurse while she was drawing blood. It was always terrible timing.
Here’s a picture I took when I had to pull over on my way to a baby shower to throw up on the side of the road because I didn’t get food in my stomach quick enough that morning. Fun times.
While these side effects were not fun, they weren’t particularly scary. What was scary was the bleeding. I didn’t spot or bleed at all until around 8 weeks. It always happened after sex, so my OBGYN wasn’t too concerned, but one time it was really heavy, my stomach hurt really bad, and I had a really bad headache. I ended up going to the ER in the middle of the night to get checked out. I was so scared something was wrong but had the best care (shout out to Methodist!). It just terrified me that if I was losing the baby there wasn’t anything that could be done at that point as I wasn’t far enough along.
I had blood work done, an ultrasound, they even placed a catheter to check out my bladder. (Having that done with no anesthesia was an experience but made me feel like a badass.) Thankfully baby was completely fine. I was just dehydrated and bleeding from all the excess blood my body was carrying around.
My OBGYN called me the next day and let me know that based on all the tests this was just a case of bleeding after sex and that there was no harm to baby. She said this would likely stop as my body transitioned into the second trimester, and sure enough, I stopped experiencing any bleeding around week 14. Thank God!
At the end of my first trimester we got announcement photos done with the fabulous Ninety Six Oak at The Cottonwood Hotel. I’ll share more photos in another post but it was so much fun and such a great way to wrap up a long, boring, sick, scared, uncertain, joyous 12 weeks of my life.
So while this post is called the good, the bad, and the ugly of the first trimester of pregnancy, I feel like it should just be called what it’s really like in the first trimester of pregnancy. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it also wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I’ve got a healthy, growing baby girl inside of me and have been able to avoid any serious complications. For that I am so thankful.
Questions of the Day: If you’ve been pregnant: What was your first trimester like? How did you know when you were ready to have kids? If you haven’t been pregnant: Did any of my first trimester experiences shock you?