We’ve been keeping a secret! We are having a baby, and it just so happens to be the BEST and much needed light in the crazy year that has been 2020. Oh, and I am DONE with the lovely first trimester (ha!) so I can finally share my experience with you!
We are pregnant and expecting our newest little family member to arrive in May 2021! Although I am a completely newbie to this process (ahem, first time mom just wrapping up the first trimester), I am over-the-moon excited for what’s to come and cannot wait to share a portion of my journey with you!
Below is a recap of my first trimester with a brief couple of notes on my recommendations during the TTC period. I will say this at least 2 more times but I can’t stress enough that my journey is unique and I understand everyone has different opinions.
Although I do not plan on getting into the TTC journey, I did want to share a few quick links to products, apps and other helpful items during that process.
The TTC journey looks different for every single woman just like pregnancy doesn’t look the same for every woman either. That being said, take what my experience has been with a ‘grain of salt’ because these are just things that worked well for me.
Recommendation #1: Find a doctor that works with YOU
First and foremost, my number one recommendation is to find a doctor who will work with you from preconception all the way through. In my case, I had the best luck with my local integrative health practice, CentreSpring MD located in Brookhaven, GA. I’ve mentioned this practice before because they truly have been a lifesaver over the last 3 years as I have navigated anxiety, mood swings, hormonal acne, irregular cycles, and so on.
Many gynecologists will tell you to try to conceive for a full year, unless you are > 35 years old or high risk for another reason BEFORE ever pursuing any sort of tests. Personally, I don’t 100% agree with this approach. Each to their own, but I knew that I had hormonal imbalance given everything I had been dealing with for 2+ years so I went ahead and was proactive getting my hormone blood work panel taken before TTC.
As I would have predicted based on prior blood work and symptoms, my progesterone levels were extremely low. In other words, it would be awfully hard to get pregnant, yet alone stay pregnant. My doctor helped me get on the right track with a low progesterone supplementation and a few other vitamins to support my overall health. Within a few months of this new ‘protocol’, I found out the life-altering news that we were in fact pregnant!
Recommendation #2: Start taking a quality prenatal before you start TTC
Once again, I will preface this that every single recommendation I am providing is personal opinion and advice from my experience. I started taking a prenatal well over 6 months before we started trying for a family. I experimented with several and tried to learn which ones provided me with the most comprehensive nutrients.
Not only do I feel like it helps my body to prepare for this new journey ahead of time; but I also feel like it was nice to know that when the 1st trimester nausea hit (and all I craved were jalapeno kettle chips, pickles and pizza.. yup!), I had already been been building these nutrients up for months.
Once you are pregnant (at a minimum), you should make sure you are adding in a DHA supplement. I personally love my Nordic Naturals DHA (contains 480 mg DHA and 400 IU Vitamin D). It is a highly trusted company and all of my doctors have had nothing but good things to say about the brand.
Other Recommendations (from various sources + ones I tried myself)
- Vitamin Code Prenatal
- Ritual – personally, I don’t feel that this one had all of the nutrients I was looking for in a prenatal. However, I know a ton of people who use and love these. Also, I have to admit they do taste much better than most pills with a subtle minty lemon flavor. This would come in handy especially if you are dealing with bad nausea.
Recommendation #3: Start tracking your cycle and ovulation months before you TTC
Last but not least, I was so thankful that I had downloaded and used 2 specific apps on my phone for months leading up to TTC. There are SO many wonderful apps out there so find what one suits your needs and preferences the most.
Personally, I loved Ovia and I used it for over a year tracking symptoms, food, workouts, medications, etc. Another bonus was that I was able to transition straight over to the Ovia pregnancy version once I found out which I am LOVING).
Secondly, I ended up downloading the Modern Fertility app since I used their ovulation tests every month. You can take a photo of the ovulation test and it automatically logs what your LH levels are (surge, no surge, peak). I had a really good experience with Modern Fertility ovulation tests and they also have pregnancy tests that I never used.
OK – last thing, for real. I don’t think I am alone when I say that it is near impossible to not take pregnancy tests every single month when you are trying. Although this is really not the best thing for your mental health… it is what it is, and I was still taking them so I had to get some more ‘financially smart’ options at home. I found these tests on Amazon and they worked wonders (100 for $19.95!).
As I am typing this, I have to pinch myself that I am already to the end of my first trimester. There were so many sleepless nights and anxiety filled days where I never thought the end of the first trimester would get here. What’s that saying? The days feel long but the weeks are short? Something like that… but it’s very true in this case. All of a sudden I’m waking up to 14 weeks! The first trimester is over just like that and the “beginning” feels so long ago.
I’ve been extremely lucky through the entirety of my first trimester. After hearing horror stories of severe morning sickness, I suffered from very mild, yet constant waves of nausea for about 3-4 weeks. One day I would wake up and feel so good (to the point where I would google it and freak myself out that “I felt so good so something MUST be wrong”). The next day I would feel like absolute crap, for lack of a better term and that would be my friendly reminder that a baby was in fact, growing inside there.
After several months of negative pregnancy tests, I didn’t think too much of it when I got a negative test while at the beach with Mike. “Better luck next month” I thought! As the week went on, I couldn’t help but wonder, “maybe there’s still a chance?” Mike flew home to Atlanta and I stayed at the beach with my family.
Finally, two days before flying home I decided, what the heck, I will take one more test. I left the room to allow the impatient 3 minutes to pass. The moment that I saw the 2 lines, I thought I must be imagining things. My heart was racing, tears filled my eyes and I continuously thanked God for this miracle. I then proceeded to take four more tests before accepting that this prayer had been answered. (obviously I needed a little reassurance)
The hardest part of it all was having to wait to tell Mike until I got home. On top of that, I had to act completely normal as I hung out with my family. For 48 hours I had to act like my entire world wasn’t completely flipped upside down (in all the best ways).
After what felt like an eternity, I finally arrived home from the beach and got to share the news with Mike. To say that he was in utter shock is an understatement. At first I don’t think he really believed me and then I watched as this massive bit of life-altering news soaked in. I found these fun Daddy Hops Ale IPA beer labels on Etsy and couldn’t resist along with Hooper’s big brother handkerchief.
Although I am a first time mom and don’t have a lot to compare to, I feel fortunate with my first trimester symptoms. I’ve heard horror stories of severe nausea, throwing up, and more. However, there were plenty of days that I felt like absolute crap – for lack of a better word. My nausea started around weeks 6-7 and continued through week 9-10. Even still, the feelings of nausea came in waves throughout the day and were never too strong to handle.
Insomnia, Disrupted Sleep and Vivid Dreams
During the first 3 weeks after I found out, I struggled with really bad insomnia. I blame it on the amount of anxiety I felt as I waited for my first doctors appointment. Those 3 weeks felt like an eternity. My mind was racing to all the worst case scenarios.
Not only did I have the usual worries, but this waiting period just so happened to be during miscarriage awareness month. This meant lots of social media posts shedding light on miscarriage which is SO wonderful that there is support and awareness. But BOY does it make you feel concerned on the other side. I was lucky if I fell asleep by 3:00 or 4:00AM. Thankfully, this passed and now I get pretty decent, albeit disrupted sleep. On top of that, I have noticed that I have tons of extremely vivid dreams.
One more word on anxiety. If you are newly pregnant and feel anxious all the time, you are not alone! I felt like no one ever talked about the waiting period between when you find get a positive pregnancy test and you get a doctor confirmation. It’s a strange time filled with excitement, anticipation and “what ifs”. I wish I could say after that first appointment the worry went away. Although it got better as soon as I saw the heart beat, I still feel myself getting anxious leading up to every appointment thereafter.
When I feel good, I am worried about why I feel so good. On the other hand, I have symptoms, I am thankful but also, many of them are zero fun.
Bloating, Heartburn, and Beyond
Lastly, some fun body changes, bloating and extremely sore breasts (sorry guys). It was my first “symptom” and hasn’t went away one bit since. Luckily I finally found these great nursing/maternity bras at Target; two for $20, very comfy and no underwire (yay!). I am more tired than normal but haven’t had that “hit by a train of exhaustion” feeling. We shall see what’s in store for the next 3 months?!
Cravings & Aversions:
Salty, salty, salty (and carbs)! Give me all the pizza, jalapeno kettle chips, Chick-Fil-A french fries, and pickles. Not to say that I don’t still have a bit of a sweet tooth but that is not what I am craving. Smoothies were my go-to way to fill up on all the healthy ingredients without having to taste any of them specifically. On top of my new love for salty foods, I also am drawn in by acidic / tart foods i.e. grapefruit juice, lemon juice, fruit in general [every single morning].
I am not sure if my cravings are truly ‘pregnancy cravings’ or just cravings I always had but ignored. Now when I see a bag of cheddar sour cream or jalapeno chips at the check-out line, I can’t resist. Although I am trying to break that habit now that I am feeling back to ‘normal’.
It will be interesting to see which of these cravings stick around and what new ones come about.
As far as aversions go, luckily I didn’t have any super strong ones. The idea of plain black coffee was a no-go for me but I would occasionally crave a latte. Basically I barely drank any coffee for the entirety of the first trimester. The strangest aversion for me would have to be nut butters (besides Peanut Butter). Normally I would enjoy a spoonful of almond or cashew butter but the idea eating any of these sounded awful. The only way I could get these in was in a smoothie. Same with certain vegetables… As long as I wasn’t prepping them; I was fine… so hello healthy take out!
Go-to 1st Trimester “Life Savers”
- Earth Mama Morning Wellness Tea: If you know me, you know I am a big time tea girl. I drink multiple types of tea daily and it gets me through the day. Since finding out I was pregnant, most of my tea falls into the “possibly unsafe for pregnancy” category. Luckily there are brands like Earth Mama Organics that create teas specifically formulated for moms. Even when I could only take a few sips, this tea was super helpful during times of nausea.
- Pregnancy Flakes: There is nothing like a warm bath after a long day of forcing yourself to stay awake and work (amidst nausea and exhaustion)! I have loved the brand Pink Stork every since we began the TTC journey and all of their products are specifically created for women, by women. Whether it is sleepy tea, fertility sweets, pregnancy tea or this magnesium bath soak; they have it all. Every product is prayed over and the customer service is 10/10.
- Tummy Drops: These little drops were life savers on so many occasions. I bought both the peppermint and ginger flavors on Amazon but much preferred the peppermint. It helped on road trips, plane rides, and really just about anytime that my stomach was just feeling off. Having something to suck on throughout the day helped distract me from the waves of nausea.
- Sea Sickness Bands: Not only do these bands work great for those prone to sea or motion sickness, but they also work wonders for mild pregnancy nausea. I’d usually wear them for the first half of the day until I started to feel better.
Sharing the News with Others
Here comes the fun part! Mike and I are not the best ‘secret keepers’ of our own secret so it didn’t take long before we were sharing with friends and family. From these cute wine labels on etsy (and this one), to sweet onesies and coffee mugs; one-by-one we spread the news.
12 weeks & beyond:
I am finally past the hump of the first trimester and I couldn’t be more thankful. The first trimester no-fun symptoms have began to subside substantially. I can finally eat (and crave) healthy food again! Now that vegetables and other old meal staples don’t make me feel disgusted, I have been hitting up all my favorite healthy ATL spots.