It’s true when they say every pregnancy is different. In a lot of ways, this pregnancy has progressed pretty similarly to my pregnancy with Ellis. But there are some stark differences this time around that have completely caught me off guard.
When I was pregnant with Ellis I did a month-by-month update on my pregnancy and talked about how I was feeling physically and emotionally. I didn’t feel led to share that often this time around, at least during the first trimester, so this post will be a re-cap of the entire first trimester all rolled into one post. Going forward, I might write some updates more often if the mood strikes me or if anyone shows interest in it.
Okay, lets dive into the first trimester and all the messy stuff that comes along with it!
The First Few Weeks
I was just 4 weeks along when I found out I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test on the day I was supposed to start my period and those two little lines on that stick saying “positive” were so bold there was no denying it. As I mentioned in my last post, I had a deep intuitive feeling that I was pregnant before I ever took a test. Intuition aside, there were plenty of signs that my body was sending to me to let me know a big shift was happening.
This is what I love about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) of tracking my cycle (if you don’t know what FAM is I highly encourage you to go look it up!), it has helped me learn more about my body and be so in tune with myself that I can detect when ovulation is, when my period is about to start, and when I am pregnant. I want to write a separate post on this topic in the future, especially because I have been using FAM for years and it is how I got pregnant with Ellis and this baby, and how I avoided pregnancy in-between without ever taking any kind of birth control.
Anyway, those first couple of weeks after finding out I was pregnant were pretty normal. At the time I was doing intermittent fasting, drinking coffee everyday, eating plant-based, and feeling very active and energetic. I was physically feeling the best I ever have in my life!
We had a beach trip planned with Brendan’s family the next week and I was a little nervous for how I would be feeling. It was around week 6 during my pregnancy with Ellis that I first started feeling nauseous and a bit lethargic, so I was hoping I could make it through this trip without feeling sick. I was definitely not ready to share the news with family yet, so I was praying that everything would go well during the trip.
Thankfully, I made it through that week feeling pretty normal. I did find myself exhausted in the evenings and couldn’t stay awake late, but besides that I was able to eat all the normal foods I usually do and wasn’t feeling sick at all. But on our way back home from the beach that Thursday, I started feeling lethargic and not up to eating a whole lot. I wasn’t sure if this was due to being pregnant or just being tired out from vacation.
The next week after vacation was week 6 of this pregnancy, and sure enough about halfway through the week I started feeling fatigued and a little nauseous. It’s such a strange feeling to go from feeling your very best, and the healthiest you have ever been, to zero energy or desire to eat normally.
When I was pregnant with Ellis I felt nauseous for about 2-3 weeks, and then that faded away. I never actually got sick which I’m extremely grateful for. This time around I feel like the nauseousness and fatigue dragged on and on throughout most of the first trimester.
How I’m Feeling Physically
During those early weeks, I found myself feeling tired in the afternoons and even took a couple of naps on the couch while Ellis watched some cartoons on certain days (if you know me, I despise naps and never take them). After dinner, I found myself beyond exhausted and most evenings I would just crash on the couch and doze until it was Ellis’ bedtime. This really threw me off of my normal day-to-day rhythm, and I forgot just how physically draining growing a tiny human can be.
In addition to feeling exhausted I felt extremely bloated from the start. I did feel this way during my first pregnancy, but again this time around it seemed that the bloating would never go away. As a result of the bloating, I felt like I already had a baby bump showing at just 8 weeks. At that point it really was just bloating, but I felt huge and was convinced that everyone was going to be able to tell that I was pregnant.
The fatigue, nauseousness, and bloating were the only main physical differences I noticed right off. I definitely felt different in my body and was able to pick up on the changes much sooner during this pregnancy.
When I was pregnant with Ellis I started experiencing a few food aversions right around week 7 or so. For the most part during my first pregnancy, I could eat savory/spicy foods for a couple weeks and coffee was replaced with ginger tea when I was feeling a bit nauseous. But besides that I was able to eat most all of my favorite foods during the entirety of my pregnancy.
This time around, things have been vastly different!
I have never been so disgusted by so many of my favorite foods. I think the food aversions started around week 6-7 and they hit hard! It was as if overnight I couldn’t tolerate foods such as cereal, crackers, tortilla chips, peanut butter, rice, spicy/savory foods, onions and garlic, and coffee. I found this so bizarre as a lot of these foods were plain and would normally have been easy on my stomach (such as the crackers and plain cereal).
My guess is that these foods were processed and fairly oily and thats why I felt so turned off by them. Just the smell of plain cooked rice, a saltine cracker, pretzel or tortilla chip would turn my stomach. It was as if I was smelling and tasting them for what they really were, overly processed and full of all kinds of additives the baby didn’t need.
The coffee is really what threw me off. When I was pregnant with Ellis, there was a couple weeks that I couldn’t drink it when I was feeling nauseous in the mornings, but that only lasted a few weeks at most. This coffee aversion has lasted well into the second trimester during this pregnancy. I have always been a coffee lover and its the one thing I have never wanted to give up know matter how healthy the rest of my diet is. But I could not stand smelling it, cafe drive-thrus turned my stomach, and drinking it tasted like burnt, bitter, oily water. It was the weirdest thing! But again, I feel like it was the baby’s way of protecting themselves from the caffeine and whatever other nasty stuff is in coffee.
When I got a bit further along into the first trimester I started fixing a cup of green tea when I wanted a little pick-me-up, or if I was out I would get an iced matcha green tea latte. Not the best because it still contains caffeine, but a heck of a lot better than coffee.
What I’m Eating and Craving
I try to listen to my body when it comes to what foods I eat. I was eating plant-based all through the month of April and up through the first week or so of May. I had been feeling great and thriving eating this way, but when the fatigue started to kick in my appetite also increased a bit (weird, I know). I started feeling like my body was craving more protein (which I don’t eat a whole lot of) and since I know I usually struggle with eating enough food period, I felt like I should start including some things back into my diet for the time being.
I started adding in some pasture raised eggs for breakfast in the mornings because I knew it would give me some protein first thing in the morning to start my day off with and it was one of the only foods during those first few weeks that actually sounded good to me. I also switched to using grass fed butter instead of the oil based plant versions I had been using. And I allowed myself to add some dairy back into my diet.
I felt extremely guilty and disappointed in myself at first for doing this, since I had been feeling so great eating plant-based. But I knew it was important to listen to my body and put the needs of my baby above my own for the time being.
My guilty pleasures in the very beginning were pasta and ice cream. I always wanted ice cream when I was pregnant with Ellis, which was pretty unlike me since I usually reach for a salty or savory snack over sweets. But alas, this pregnancy is no different in regards to the ice cream.
Pregnancy is Strange!
I’d say the weirdest thing about this pregnancy, besides the odd food aversions, is my heightened sense of awful smells and the fact that sweat/body odor smells like straight up onions to me! That’s right, when I sweat I smell like onions. My husband and my mom have assured me that they don’t think I smell like onions, so I guess (I hope) it’s just my nose that is interpreting it that way. But it’s actually the worst thing ever haha. The coffee aversion I can deal with, but this I am so over. I know that women tend to sweat more when pregnant and that their hormones can change and therefore change the smell of their body odor, but I’ve just never heard of this.
And then my heightened sense of bad smells this time around is killing me too. I feel like during those first couple months I was so sensitive to so many different smells. Even smells I usually really enjoy such as citrus fruits had a very off putting odor to me. Oh well, I can only hope that these things will disappear once the baby is born. Somebody please tell me these things will go away!!
Securing My Birth Team
During my first pregnancy, I had a difficult time finding the right prenatal care (I have written about that in another blog post if you care to read it). After a few hiccups, I finally met with my midwife for the first time and knew that she was the right fit for me. Trying to hunt down the right midwife really stressed me out last pregnancy, so I knew that right from the start one of the first things I wanted to do during this pregnancy was get my birth team secured.
I wasted no time at all and called my midwife just 3 days after I found out I was pregnant. I knew it was so early on, but I wanted to go ahead and make sure she was available to attend my birth, especially because I am due right around Christmas/New Years. I was so grateful to hear that she could take me on as a client again!
A few weeks later I reached out to a team of doulas in the local area. My doula from my first pregnancy has since moved to a different state, so sadly we could not have her attend this birth. But we have so many amazing birth workers in this area and I had heard wonderful things about this group of doulas, so I knew before I was pregnant I would want to meet with them to discuss their services.
I met with my doulas the first week of June and felt such peace in knowing they were the right women to have attend my birth. They were also available around my estimated due date, so we were able to secure their services right away. And then later that week I had my very first prenatal meeting with my midwife.
Both Brendan and Ellis were able to come to the prenatal meeting with me and we were all able to hear the baby’s heartbeat together for the first time. It was such a special moment and Ellis’ reaction and excitement were so sweet! He is thrilled to be a big brother. I absolutely love the midwifery model of care and how it gives the whole family the opportunity to be involved. There’s nothing like it!
Well, this turned into an extremely long post. But if you made it this far thanks for reading!! Hopefully I can get a few more posts written soon about the second trimester, what books I’m reading, and going through pregnancy after Postpartum Depression (PPD). If you are currently pregnant or have already had your baby, how was the first trimester for you?