The 12 Week Wait: A Guide to Surviving the First Trimester

The joy of finding out you’re expecting is like nothing else.  My husband and I were delighted at the news of adding a third edition to the family. After all, the youngest will be four this November and the timing just seemed right. As this was not the first or second pregnancy, I felt like this first trimester would be a breeze.  I was very fortunate to have little to no pregnancy symptoms with either one of the girls and so I felt it was safe to assume this time would be no different.  I assumed wrong!  

Almost immediately I started experiencing fatigue, followed by daily nausea, food aversions, mood swings and if that wasn’t enough: lack of restful sleep due to heartburn.  When I wasn’t trying to stay awake at work or thinking of something that remotely sounded good to eat, I was searching for the right midwifery practice and a 3rd row seat vehicle for our growing family. I am exhausted now just thinking about the last couple months! But like anything, there is always something wonderful that comes from difficult times and light at the end of the tunnel.  Here are some of the things that I have learned about my own inner strength I hope will inspire you or someone you know to hang in there through your 12-week wait or even a tumultuous time.

Patience

We decided to wait the full first trimester before sharing the news of our growing family and it felt like the longest 12 weeks of my life.  When you don’t feel like yourself and yet you can’t tell anyone why and are basically trying to keep face, it is an internal uphill battle.  It is also a personal choice every women has to make deciding when to share the news but we both felt waiting until 12 weeks was the right time frame from a career aspect as well as the best time for our little loves to know.

I learned to celebrate each week with my husband (downloaded some fun apps), got a lot of sleep and put a lot of thought in how I wanted to do things this time around. When I did have the motivation I spent time researching care options, how we would announce the pregnancy, birthing classes and the even the best whole food pre-natal vitamins. (A lot has changed in the last couple years and I had to try two different ones to get it right.)

My Relationship with my Body

I started to feel changes in my body a lot more quickly with this pregnancy and as previously mentioned they weren’t welcomed changes in any way!  I found myself frustrated for a variety of reasons.  Here I was in the best shape of my life and felt the worst during pregnancy!  I couldn’t bring myself to exercise and subsequently was feeling the effects of that as well.

I finally set a plan of doing whatever I could do even if it wasn’t the fitness routine which I had grown accustomed.  I got up many mornings during the first trimester and would do some light stretching and if I was feeling o.k. maybe a plank and/or push-ups.  If I wasn’t feeling well I would lay in bed cuddled up with my 3 year old while she fed me “mommy crackers”  (She probably ate more than I did but it was absolutely precious.)  As a result of doing what I could, when I could, the first couple times I was able to exercise again my body was forgiving and grateful.

My Relationship with Food

I actually lost a few pounds in the first trimester as hardly anything sounded good for weeks. Honestly, I was much more interested in sleep than food.  I ate what I could, when I could, even if it was just plain toast.  It seemed like everything, including water, gave me indigestion and that in turn made me even more apprehensive to eat. It was a daily battle figuring out the best time to take my vitamins and pro-biotic.

Smoothies were a life saver as was the occasional ginger candy.  My midwife also recommended taking my vitamins at night and that seemed to help somewhat as well. Smaller meals and more frequent consumption of what sounded good at the time was also very helpful.  Our bodies are very intuitive as I craved things (and still do) like oranges, mangoes, oatmeal and beef jerky. As a result, my body was kinder to me with lack of symptoms when I just listened to my own intuition.

As I am now into the second trimester, I am trying to find ways to pamper myself and keep my body in balance.  I am back to exercise classes at least once a week, back to visiting the chiropractor regularly, back to my blog (Woot!) and working on scheduling the occasional pampering such as a nail, massage or hair appointment. It was a rough twelve weeks almost to the day and I’m told those are all “good signs” of a healthy pregnancy. I am continuing to understand that we didn’t have it all figured out with the first two births, we can grow in new ways and we are excited to learn new things together, like Hypnobirthing with a Doula.   Nevertheless, my lesson out of all of this can be summed up by a repeating theme of “doing what you can, when you can and just be patient.”  I plan to take this lesson as I move forward in the subsequent trimesters and into the birth of child number three.




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