Becoming Pregnant – Shift in Mindset and Body and Letting God Lead the Way

Written: 2/13/2018

On December 24th 2017, Christmas Eve, my life changed. The day before, I had a fitful night’s sleep because I was both anxious and excited for the morning to come. I’m normally one to laze around in bed for at least 30 minutes after I wake up if I have nowhere in particular to be, but on the morning of the 24th I was awake by 6am while Brendan lay sleeping beside me. I quietly crawled out of bed and snuck into the bathroom, trying not to wake Brendan. And then, for the first time in my life, I took a pregnancy test. And ever so faintly on that little stick, two little pink lines slowly began to appear, and I knew that Christmas would be a memorable one.

I debated on whether or not to take the test, since it was still days before my period was supposed to start. But I just had this internal feeling that something had shifted inside of my body, that something was beginning to form itself in my womb. Call me crazy, but I believe in being in touch with our bodies and learning to listen to the subtle signals our bodies whisper to us. I could have waited another week or so to take the test, but I really wanted to know if I was pregnant, and if the results came back positive I wanted to tell Brendan that evening. I thought it would be a cute early Christmas gift.

I kept quiet all day long and didn’t tell Brendan until later that night after our Christmas Eve service at church. I felt so happy and giddy all day and wondered if he could tell that I was keeping a little secret. Turns out he really had no clue. I wrapped the pregnancy test in a little tissue paper and had him open it that night. He looked so confused when he opened it, and the lines were so faint he thought I was telling him that I wasn’t pregnant. It was a sweet little moment we shared together – realizing that it was still so very early to be sure, but also knowing that we very well might be parents in the making.

* * * * * * * * *

Ever since I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to get married and have a family of my own some day. However, I never considered myself a baby person or someone who liked working with kids. Sure, some of them were cute, but for the most part all I could see were snotty noses and sticky little germ-y fingers. I loved hanging out with Brendan’s 6 year-old niece when we were dating and I didn’t mind being around and playing with kids of family friends. But in general, kids just made me nervous. And as much as I knew I wanted to have children of my own some day, I just didn’t feel ready.

When Brendan and I got married (I was 22 years-old at the time) I said that, ideally, I wanted to start having kids by the time I was 25. (Of course, we both agreed that if I got pregnant right away then it was God’s will for us to have a baby.) I’ve always had the desire to be a younger mom – the thought of being 30 years-old and having my first child just did not appeal to me in anyway. But For the first year of our marriage, I was more than happy for it to be just me, Brendan, and our kitty Cheetah. And up until last summer, these were my honest feelings. And I honored that and didn’t rush into anything that I wasn’t ready for.

But last summer, I felt something shift inside of me. More and more I found myself being drawn to books about pregnancy and natural birth and following moms on Instagram and bloggers who were around my age and pregnant. I found myself feeling excited for the day that I would become pregnant and be able to carry a wee babe of my own in my womb. This desire led me to really focus on hormone balance and trying to naturally enhance my fertility.

I spent the last half of the summer focusing on preparing my body for pregnancy, whenever we decided the time was right. At that point, Brendan and I hadn’t really talked about trying to get pregnant anytime soon. I had mentioned it here and there, but we both felt that we weren’t ready yet. And then as autumn approached, something completely changed inside of me. My mindset shifted and suddenly I was thinking about becoming pregnant every day. My body also felt ready. I guess this is the sensation that some call “baby fever”. As if overnight, doubt gave way to faith and certainty. Brendan and I started talking about trying to get pregnant and praying that God would let us know when the time was right.

It can be scary transitioning from maiden to mother. To know that you no longer are just responsible for your own health and your own life, but that of your unborn baby’s. There were times before I actually became pregnant that I got a little nervous, even though it was what I knew I wanted. And it was at times like this that Brendan gently reminded me that I needed to let go of that anxiousness, and trust that if God meant for us to get pregnant that He would take care of us and provide us with what we needed and equip us to be good parents.

These first few weeks of pregnancy have almost felt like a hazy dream. There are days when I feel an overwhelming excitement at the thought of being pregnant and carrying a little one in my womb. And then there are days when I feel a little nervous and wonder if I am ready to be a mother. Both of these are very natural feelings. But on the days when I feel doubt, I remind myself of how blessed I am to be carrying a baby. I think about how there are some women out there that want nothing more than to become pregnant. I don’t want to take one moment of this pregnancy for granted, because every day with this baby growing in my womb is a blessing and a gift from God.

I hope to share more about my pregnancy journey with you all in the weeks to come. I want to be raw, open, and honest when sharing about this pregnancy with you all. I think it’s so important for us mothers and mothers-to-be to be able to share about the highs and lows of pregnancy, and to know that we are not alone during this beautiful journey.

Weeks 5-8 Pregnancy Update

Written: 2/18/2018

Time for another pregnancy update! If you hadn’t noticed the pattern already, I plan on updating you guys on how my pregnancy is progressing in 4 week increments on each of these “pregnancy Update” blog posts. So, updating you as each month passes.

By the time week 5 rolled around I started feeling a bit more tired throughout the day and my breasts had become swollen and constantly sore. I read that this was completely normal and often the first signs that a woman is pregnant, so I gladly welcomed these changes to my body.

We decided that we would tell both sets of parents that we were expecting once I hit the 5 week mark. We had originally thought about waiting until we were a bit further along, because that tends to be the “normal” thing to do. But I really wanted to share my joy with somebody else, and I wanted to be able to have someone to talk to, like my mom. So we decided that we would visit my parents over the weekend (January 6th) and give them the big news. We FaceTimed Brendan’s family the next evening and told them. Seeing both of our parents’ and siblings reactions was so sweet and definitely a moment I will remember for the rest of my life ❤

We could have easily waited a bit longer to tell our families, in fact most people do wait to tell their families until they are at least 7-10 weeks along. And the main reason for that is because it is still such an early and fragile time, anything can happen at that point. But, regardless of whether I continued to carry my baby or not, I wanted our families to know and I wanted to have that extra support and prayers from them. So we told them, and had them promise us they would keep it to themselves for the time being.

It was actually right around the time I was nearing the end of my 5th week that things took a turn. The day that we told Brendan’s parents I was pregnant, we had gone to the gym for a workout. While at the gym, I started feeling dizzy and a bit nauseous. And by the time we got home that evening I was so worn out and tired. And just like that, the fatigue and nauseousness hit and became an everyday thing. That week I also started experiencing some of my first food aversions.

For the past few months I had really been into Thai food and my go-to dinner was a homemade Coconut Curry Bangkok Noodle bowl. I made it earlier that week and just the thought of the leftovers in the fridge made me feel sick. Salads and steamed veggies also sounded like the last thing that I wanted to eat. I was still able to eat most things, but cooking was not something I wanted to think about doing anymore.

The nauseousness that morning sickness brings continued on pretty strongly as I approached week 6. I’d say that weeks 6-7 of this pregnancy have been the hardest on my body. It felt like overnight a switch was flipped and all of a sudden I started experiencing fatigue, nausea, and food aversions.

I no longer felt like drinking coffee in the mornings, raw veggies were off the menu, and all of my normal go-to dishes sounded so unappetizing to me. I felt bad for not wanting to drink green juices or eat salads, but at this point I knew I needed to eat what I could so my baby could get the nutrients he or she needed. Crackers, rice cakes, and toast became some of my go-to snack and breakfast foods. I was also drinking lots of ice cold lemon water and bringing ginger tea with lemon with me to work to help keep nausea at bay.

I’m normally a pretty energetic person, but fatigue hit me and lasted throughout the entire day. I also started experiencing heartburn regularly, whether I ate spicy food or not, which was such a strange sensation for someone who has only ever experienced it twice before. When I’d come home from work I’d be ready to make a cozy spot for myself on the couch and stay there until it was time to go to bed. Honestly, I started feeling like a different person. I simply couldn’t imagine how people put up with fatigue and heartburn regularly.

It was during these weeks that I became tired and spacey feeling at work. Throw in the nausea and I was just not my normal self at work. I was worried that there would be days when I’d have to call out and tell my manager what was going on (because I never call out of work). But thankfully I always had enough energy to get me through the work day. And I quickly learned that as long as I ate small snacks throughout the day, even if I didn’t feel like eating, it helped make the nausea go away.

At the start of January I set some fitness goals for myself – I wanted to workout/go to the gym 3 times a week and I wanted to do yoga daily. Well, once the nausea and fatigue kicked in, I quickly realized that the gym was not going to happen. I felt really defeated, and felt as if I was letting myself and my baby down. I knew that exercise was important for me, but I also realized that I was going to have to take a step back and listen to my body and rest when I needed it. Thankfully, I did continue doing yoga daily, which helped tremendously.

As week 7 came to a close, I noticed I had one day where I felt I had a bit more energy and didn’t really feel nauseous. Then, another day passed and there was no nausea. I wondered why all of a sudden the feeling had subsided, but knew that my hormones were all over the place and each day could look different.

Up until the end of my 7th week, I hadn’t been taking a prenatal supplement. I had recently bought a plant based natural prenatal supplement from my favorite health food store in Lynchburg called Health Nut Nutrition, but I hadn’t taken it yet because I hadn’t seen a midwife to confirm it was okay, and I was also afraid it might make me feel sick. But, I decided to do my own research and came to the conclusion that it would be fine to take the supplement.

And it seemed almost as if by magic that my nausea completely subsided and I had more energy. I honestly think the prenatal supplement is to thank for this! I’ve read that B vitamins help with nausea, and since there are several B vitamins in my supplement I truly believe it helped. Makes me wish that I had started taking the supplement sooner, but I’m thankful I am feeling better now. And I’m truly grateful for the fact that I never actually threw up, just experienced some slight nausea. I’ve heard horror stories about some women experiencing severe morning sickness throughout their pregnancy. Whether it was the fact that I try to eat a pretty clean healthy diet for the most part, or because of the prenatal supplement, I’m beyond grateful that the morning sickness phase wasn’t any worse.

Besides the fatigue, nausea, and heartburn, I feel like I have been constantly bloated. No matter what I eat, even if it’s a light salad, my stomach swells to an uncomfortable size. This is the only symptom that continued on through week 7-8, thankfully. I’ve read that eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can help with bloating, so I might need to try that and see if that helps. There are some days when I feel and look 6 months pregnant from the bloating. But in reality I’ve only gained about 2 pounds so far, right on track for a healthy first trimester weight gain.

Mentally and emotionally I’ve been feeling pretty positive and upbeat. I’m excited to be pregnant and looking forward to the whole birthing process. Some days it still doesn’t feel real, but I feel like the further along I get and the more people we tell, the more real this babe I’m carrying in my womb feels to me.

Me at 7 Weeks Pregnant 

Weeks 9-12 Pregnancy Update

Written: 3/4/2018

Here we are, coming to the close of the first trimester! It seems surreal that 12 weeks has gone by so quickly. When I first found out I was pregnant it felt like 12 weeks was many moons away and there were days when I didn’t think I would be able to keep my little secret for that long.

Week 9 started with a blazing Super Blue Blood Moon in the sky – truly a beautiful thing to behold. At this point I was still experiencing fatigue, bloating, and just the slightest bit of nausea. But overall I was feeling better. Brendan and I even made a weekend trip to Charlotte, NC to celebrate our 5 year dating anniversary.

What I’m Eating

My normal go-to foods have slowly started to become appealing to me again, and I’ve been able to get back in the kitchen to do some cooking. Motivation and inspiration to meal prep and try new recipes is still at an all time low though.

I haven’t really experienced any food cravings thus far, but I have found a few go-to’s that leave me feeling nourished and happy. I’ve been drinking plenty of natural high pulp orange juice in the mornings to make sure I’m getting enough folate and also to get some extra vitamin C. Avocado toast with black pepper, sea salt, and greens is one of my favorite breakfasts at the moment. And I have been eating plenty of almond milk and dairy-free yogurts that are packed with plant-based protein for lunches. I usually top my granola with ground flax seeds (a great source of Omega-3s), walnuts, and fresh organic berries.

How I’m Feeling Physically

This last month of the first trimester had been great for me. While I still find myself tired in the evenings after work, I’ve had more energy and motivation to get things done throughout the day. My nausea has completely subsided and heartburn seems to have subsided for the time being as well.

I’m still feeling bloated about 95 percent of the time, but I’m hoping and praying that this will ease as time goes on and my body continues to adjust to all of these changes. There is definitely a small little bump visible now and my pants are starting to get slightly more snug, but I don’t think it’s really noticeable to anyone else.

And a huge victory for me this month is that I am finally feeling well enough to go to the gym again. I’m taking it easy and not pushing myself too hard, but it felt so great to really move my body again. I also went for a 4 mile walk on the greenway when we had a very mild 80 degree day at the end of February. The fresh air, sunshine, and exercise gave me new life and energy.

Keeping My Immune System Strong

When I first found out I was pregnant and had to give up most of my go-to herbal teas and supplements, I was worried about how I was going to keep my immune system strong enough to fight off all of the illnesses that are going around this time of year. The germaphobe that I am became paranoid when my co-workers started getting sick and then Brendan came home one weekend with a slight cold.

Thankfully, I have found ways to continue to build my immune system naturally during this time. I am currently taking my prenatal supplement, which has plenty of immune boosting vitamins that are important, and I’m still taking a daily probiotic to keep my gut happy and balanced. In addition to that I’ve been eating citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin c, Brendan and I are still drinking our weekly ginger shots, and I’ve also been taking a few drops of elderberry elixir in my water when I’ve been around people that are sick or I feel a bit run down. And of course, I still take a shot of apple cider vinegar diluted in water every day.

And so far so good. Brendan got over his little cold pretty quickly and I never caught it (thank goodness). There are still natural immune boosters out there that are perfectly safe for me to take during pregnancy, it’s just taken a bit more research to find what options are safe.

That’s all of the updates I have for now! How were you feeling during the end of your first trimester?

Not the most flattering picture, but here I am at 11 weeks pregnant. Starting to see a slight bump. 
11 Weeks Pregnant
12 Weeks Pregnant