Friday, April 27, 2018

I Married My Two Passions—Baking and Fitness—To Change My Life

Baby: The First Trimester

I thought I didn’t have much to say about the first trimester, but as I sit down to try to put some of my thoughts into words, I have a million things to say! I think I’ve been bottling it all up and ignoring it and now that I’m feeling better and more assured in the second trimester, I feel the need to spit it all out.

Where to start? Maybe with a positive test. Some things never change, and there will be a lot of just like last time comments.


So just like last time when it was time to start trying to have a baby, I thought “I don’t want to mess with any of the tools and just want to wait and see what happens.” And just like last time that plan went out the window a day later. I am a data person and there is no denying it. So I started taking notes via the Fertility Friend app again and using ovulation strips so I could better predict what was going on in my body.


I told you guys that we got pregnant on the first try and then lost that pregnancy to an early miscarriage. That was my first cycle after removing my IUD, and so to fall pregnant right away was a huge surprise. I thought since I am older it might take a while – maybe years – this time around.

We had one cycle after the miscarriage that we didn’t conceive. My doctor had told me to wait a cycle before trying again, but because my miscarriage was so early (basically just a late period) and my HCG was back to 0, I didn’t think that was necessary in my own unprofessional opinion ( 🙂 ), so we didn’t do anything to prevent it from happening. But we didn’t conceive that cycle. I never felt like I was pregnant because I didn’t have many symptoms, so I wasn’t all that surprised when my period came, although it was a few days late which was puzzling!


Third time’s a charm just like last time. At the end of our third cycle I started taking tests ridiculously early. I do declare these OSOM tests the best on the market. They are inexpensive (compared to the gold standard First Response tests), better than the cheapest little sticks, and for me a positive showed up a whole DAY earlier than the other test brands (because obviously I was taking them all – haha!) Unlike other tests, when it’s very early sometimes the OSOM tests take a good hour to fully develop a line. On other tests if it’s positive outside of the 5 minute timer you aren’t supposed to consider that positive, but the OSOM tests are different. I went back to look at my test a while later at just 8 days past suspected ovulation, and I could see a faint line had appeared. I also love that the lines on these are super wide, so they are much easier to spot. No squinting necessary. I can’t recommend them enough!

Very faint first line!

Telling Thomas

The line got darker all day long (I think I took 4 tests!) and by evening I was sure enough it was positive to tell the dad-to-be. I put his Dad quote book on his pillow. He was excited, a little bit in disbelief, and nervous given our previous miscarriage experience. But we were both overjoyed. The next morning my test lines were dark enough to see clearly on all test brands.

Week 4

My early pregnancy symptoms this time were just like last time. Huge boobs, sore boobs, cold symptoms, headaches, a few waves of nausea, cramping, back aches. Each time I have been pregnant I have just known because my symptoms are just so extreme from a regular cycle. I was very much on alert for spotting and every trip to the bathroom had me on edge. I did have a tiny bit of spotting when my period was due, so I called the nurse and asked for bloodwork again. This time instead of dropping, my HCG more than doubled from 216 to 557 – a great sign. I kept taking tests like a crazy lady. After watching the line get lighter and lighter with the miscarriage I wanted to be prepared for that again in case it happened but instead the lines got darker and darker. 

So many tests!!! I finally stopped taking them on day 24 🙂 

Week 5

I went out and bought Unisom + B6 (checking with my doctor that this was still the protocol first) to have on hand if extreme nausea hit again. Last time it hit me at 6 weeks, 2 days, and this time I started to get waves of nausea and some food aversions at the end of week 5, so I started taking the meds at a light dose. It was great to re-read BERF for these kind of details!

Week 6

By week 6 I was feeling awful all the time. I was taking a whole Unisom at night and B6 and my prenatal three times a day, so I started taking half a Unisom in the morning too. It helped but not much. I remember thinking: I still have 6-8 more weeks of this. How will I survive? Thomas started to do most of the cooking, and I ate what I could. When I did eat, I felt better, so I was nibbling around the clock. Sometimes I’d get a strong craving for pizza or mac and cheese or whatever other comfort food you might imagine and I’d overeat it because it tasted soooooo good. When most foods taste bad and you stumble upon something that tastes good, you just don’t want to stop eating it. That would leave me uncomfortably full and sometimes sicker than when I started. I would also “ruin” foods by eating them when I was sick and then I couldn’t think about that particular food again. Normally I live on repurposed leftovers for lunch, but now I couldn’t stand the thought of them.

We had our first ultrasound this week and were able to see a heartbeat, which was amazing. I felt my first wave of relief that this baby would be around for the long haul. It was Thomas’s first ultrasound, and he loved seeing what was going on inside!

Pickle sandwich!

Week 7

Another week of terrible nausea. I was miserable, so sleepy, and in survival mode. I was up to half a Unisom and 25 mg of B6 plus my prenatal 3x a day, and on a whim I decided to take a whole Unisom at lunch. I felt SO much better by dinnertime, that I kept the increased dose going and started to feel a lot better moving forward. I guess my body just needed a little more than last time.

Week 7 was also the beginning of some spotting, which terrified me. It was all brown and very light and so my doctor was not worried. But it was persistent, which worried me so much. This lasted for TWO WEEKS – from 7-9 weeks. I know spotting can be normal, and I know brown is not worrisome like red, but gosh I was anxious. My doctor said it was likely leftover from my uterus trying to have a period but then being told to stop because it sensed the baby hormones. He said it was not a threat to the baby. But of course I was still so worried until it ended.

Weeks 8 and 9

My nausea got a bit better, but I was still having lots of food aversions. I didn’t eat a salad for 6 weeks. I did manage to eat cooked vegetables, however, so that was a pleasant change from last time. Maybe the only difference! We ate a LOT of pizza and Italian food. I wasn’t into seafood, beans, raw vegetables, or salads. All fruit tasted good, and I ate a lot of candy! I’m not a candy person in general – I much prefer chocolate. But the little candies that would trickle into our five-year-olds hands would end up in mine too – Starburst, Sour Patch Kids, lollipops. Sugar + sour tasted so good.

All the fruit!

Week 10

Our second ultrasound was at 10 weeks and 2 days, and I think I was holding my breath the entire pregnancy thus far waiting for this day. I had to go to the lab first, and they took about seven vials of blood from me. I hate needles, and knowing how much they were going to take had me very anxious. But let me tell you about this amazing trick I tried: I put some topical lidocaine I had leftover from when I had to have some moles removed last year on my arm an hour before the bloodwork and wrapped it up with a bandage. When it was time for the needle, I DID NOT FEEL IT. I do not understand why we all aren’t doing topical numbing creams before any uncomfortable procedure! It was a night and day difference.

Once the bloodwork was over, I met Thomas at the office for our ultrasound. We saw a strong heartbeat immediately and I felt so much relief. Our baby now had arms and legs and was wiggling around! I wish we could have had just 3 more minutes to stare at the screen <3

I started to feel really uncomfortable l in my regular clothes, and I bought some new maternity skinny jeans this week!

Weeks 11 and 12

I started feeling a lot better these two weeks. I was less tired, didn’t need as many naps or 9pm bedtimes, and I had a noticeable burst of energy around 12 weeks. I wanted to run and jump again. My doctor let me play soccer through 10 weeks, and it was SO sad to play my last game. Despite my nausea and fatigue, I was always happy to show up for a game, and pulled some miracle energy out of my back pocket to play a whole 75 minute game. I was extra careful about contact and didn’t put myself in as many competitive scuffles as usual, but the doctor assured me that the baby was well protected and tiny through the first trimester. As soon as I started to have a bump, I knew it was time to sit on the bench. I really hope I am able to play soccer again next year!

Also week 12 I started to tell everyone I ran into in person in Cville.


So here’s something that was different from last time! I have definitely started showing much earlier than with Mazen. Three reasons why:

  1. Due to winter and going through the miscarriage I was carrying around a bit more weight upon getting pregnant.
  2. I had a LOT of bloating this time around, which I didn’t have with Mazen
  3. Not my first rodeo. Everyone says your body’s muscle memory just knows what to do the second time around and the uterus grows faster and the abs relax sooner.

I found myself wishing for maternity wear between 9 and 10 weeks, and by 11 and 12 weeks, none of my old clothes fit. I tried on my loosest pair of summer shorts only to find them barely buttonable! Ack!

Mazen at 12 weeks (note the bell bottoms!)

This time at 12 weeks with good posture:

This time at 12 weeks pushing it all out!

I feel like I am a good 6 weeks bigger than where I was with Mazen at this point. At 12 weeks the bump is almost impossible to hide in tighter fitting clothing. After a run (when I guess my abs are tired) the bump is so relaxed I look like I did at 25 weeks with Mazen! I can feel the top of my uterus – which is almost to my belly button at the end of the first trimester! I’ve talked to a few people who say the second time it just remembers what to do and grows a lot faster than the first time. I’m happy to have a bump asap.

I did a closet overhaul a few weeks ago and packed up my entire wardrobe not to be touched until 2019.

I got out my old maternity clothing from the basement only to find that all of my jeans were FLARE leg!! I’m talking 70s bell bottoms. How times have changed! I felt like I was swimming in fabric, and I ran to buy a few pairs of maternity skinny jeans right away.


I think these past two weeks I’ve been feeling some movements! Instead of kicks, it has been more like a tightness or a roll. I know the baby is still small, so I’m wondering if maybe these are some kind of Braxton Hicks type contractions. I have also felt some fluttering kind of movements. I read my 13 week post with Mazen and described a hamster wheel feeling, and I’ve felt that a little too. Feeling the baby move is definitely my favorite part of being pregnant, so it’s what I’m looking forward to most.

I didn’t let myself get too excited during the first trimester. I just had much more of a guard up. I think it was probably a combination of having an early miscarriage, having friends who had gone through missed miscarriages, and being older (and perhaps less naive). But as I enter the second trimester, and as I’m starting to feel little movements, I have this huge ball of excitement that has been building up and I’m letting trickle out day by day.

My first little baby who I can now barely pick up!

from Kath Eats Real Food