So I’ve been M.I.A for the past three months, but I have a very exciting reason for that – we’re having a baby!
I’m in complete awe of the changes and journey so far; it’s been incredible. My leave of absence from here was a little sudden and unexpected – I woke up one morning feeling nauseous, so lay down on the couch to rest…and stayed there for the next couple of months (!!).
But I have emerged from that stage, and my energy levels are pretty much back to normal; I feel great! I’m looking forward to regular posts and writing. And to ease back into that, I thought I’d share some of the experiences I’ve had so far – we’re at the halfway mark now.
First trimester experiences.
I had a feeling I was pregnant before the test confirmed it – my body felt different. In the space of just a few days I suddenly felt so tired, even after a solid sleep the night before. I was having two naps a day and still going to sleep by nine! I felt like I could not get enough oxygen or water in my system, and had heartburn after meals. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much, but I was sure that these changes meant we were having a baby.
I woke up at 4am on the test morning and waited a full two minutes before I looked at it, and the dark lines were there – PREGNANT!
Even though I kinda ‘knew’ it was still a shock. I wasn’t sure whether to wake Shaun immediately or to let him sleep a while longer…I decided to be patient, and stared at him in the dark for three hours instead. We were so excited – this was it.
We had an early dating scan that put us at exactly 8 weeks. It was such an incredible moment, seeing our little gummy bear shaped baby and the fluttering heart. Shaun was surprised at how fast the heartbeat was – like a little bird. There have been so many moments where it felt ‘real’ all over again, and this was definitely one!
Food cravings and aversions.
In preparation of getting pregnant, I upped my intake of iron, folate, zinc and other minerals through whole foods (hello liver sandwiches!). I also had a blood test to see if I was low in anything I might not have considered, but everything came back great. I cut out processed sugar, tea and coffee and of course, alcohol. I naively assumed I would continue eating the fruits, veggies, homegrown meats and eggs that I had been, with a few small adjustments – (goodbye liver sandwiches!).
Annnd that did not happen.
I craved bread, burgers, potato chips, and not a lot else. I had other cravings that would last a day or two, then go completely. One day I woke up wanting a giant bowl of macaroni and cheese – I had to have it. I put together the best damn mac and cheese I’ve ever made, and it was amazing. The next day I pulled out the leftovers to heat for lunch – and gagged immediately. The same thing happened with a delicious soup that Shaun made; one day it was amazing, then next I felt sick even thinking about it. We got pretty creative with dinners, as I couldn’t stomach the same thing twice!
Maybe there’s something in the water, as five close friends are also pregnant – we’re all within six months of each other! It’s been so helpful sharing tips, stories, worries, questions and ideas. It’s also nice to share the secret with a couple of people if you’re otherwise keeping it quiet.
Although I was probably bloating as well, I had a little bump by 12/13 weeks. I love seeing my belly grow! I noticed a pattern of waking up feeling extra full, breathless and tight every 3-4 days. The next day Shaun and I would notice I seemed to be bigger again – it was like a day of stretching, then woah! Big bump! I’ve been rubbing almond oil on my stomach most days.
The nausea arrived all of a sudden at about six weeks, and settled in till week 14/15.
If you don’t want to hear about throwing up, skip this section! If you’d like some tips, read on…
So, the spewing. So much spewing. Because there was so much, I could do little experiments and work out the ‘best’ way to do what I had to do, without it actually being too bad!
I started off throwing up each morning. To give myself something to throw up (I made the mistake of throwing up on an empty stomach one morning – it brought tears to my eyes), I drank a large glass of water and had a piece of fruit. Pear was good! Within five minutes, it would all be up again. After a few mornings, I cut the fruit in half, and eventually skipped it altogether. It was just a waste of fruit, and the water did the trick. Warm water was easier to drink first thing in the morning, and a teaspoon of sugar made it taste ok on the way out. I tried honey instead of sugar, but it had a sour taste when it came back up.
Some days I felt ok after throwing up, and others I felt on the verge all day. After a few weeks of morning spews, I started feeling seriously sick again in the evening. I transitioned to evening spews, and made sure to get that water down when I got that telltale feeling.
I also noticed morning sickness changed my feeling of being hungry or full – I just felt sick or more sick. It was strange, I could never figure out if I was hungry or full or anything; I just had to try and eat as consistently as possible!
The only time I felt ok was when I was chewing, and a friend put me on to chewing gum. I went to the health shop for some sugar free, aspartame free, basically everything free chewing gum, and just about cried with happiness when the nausea miraculously disappeared. I planned to stock up on boxes of the stuff, but unfortunately it lost its magic after a couple of days!
Pre pregnancy I had been walking and doing yoga. During the morning sickness stage, the most exercise I got was walking from our bedroom to the couch each morning – non existent! I wanted to do more, but most days, all I felt up to doing was staring at the wall, so I just went with that for a while 😀
I was in full hermit mode, and everything felt exhausting. Even reading books felt like too much work sometimes!
Once that stage passed, I started walking again. It took a little while to build up to the distance (and speed!) that I had been doing before, so I took it very easy with short walks. I’ve resumed yoga, and I’ve concentrated on poses that will (hopefully) help during labour; lots of hip openers and leg stretches and strengtheners. Not all poses are suitable during pregnancy, so I found some pregnancy friendly routines to use.
After that first week, I noticed I wasn’t so tired, or thirsty, or breathless. I started to worry and felt like this could not be a good sign. I consulted Dr. Google, which isn’t always the best idea…you always find out that you’re either fine, or definitely dying. After a bit of amateur research I felt a little more assured that symptoms could come and go, or vary in severity each day – and that’s exactly what happened to me. The symptoms I thought were disappearing would often come back in full force the next day. In all honesty, it took a little while to be relaxed about this and not worry each time – I’m getting better!
Second trimester experiences (so far!)
I absolutely love my growing belly. I’ve always thought pregnant women look beautiful; the shape, the knowledge of the little one growing inside. So I claimed my ‘bump’ when it was probably just bloat (haha!) and now send my sister in Canada weekly bump photos.
This was another ‘real’ moment. At just over 17 weeks, I was almost asleep in bed when I felt a flutter. I wasn’t sure if it was just dinner digesting or something else…I had my had firmly on my lower stomach, then *bop!* a tiny little kick against my fingers, then another one! It was such a surreal feeling! The next night the baby was rolling around and threw out a few kicks that Shaun could feel too. After lunch or before bed I lie down with my hand on my stomach for ‘cuddles’; I love feeling all those movements.
Food aversions and cravings.
No more aversions!! And no more potato chip cravings! Now I’m all about salad from the garden and fresh fruit or raw veggies. I could eat bowls and bowls of lettuce and tomatoes with vinegar. Oh, and fresh homemade sushi – oh my gosh. I make sure to cook the rice fresh, and I eat it within five minutes. I cool the rice down quickly by stirring it with a spoon – it ends up still a little warm, but I actually like it like that!
Obviously I’m a little too excited/impatient, because we have all our baby stuff ready to go – clothes, capsule, wraps and carriers, a stroller…we’re ready!! I like to have things ‘done’ (I feel like I can relax for the last few months!), but it might be the whole nesting thing, too. The house has also been culled of ‘stuff’, cleaned and organized…I felt like I had to do it! We’ve also had long chats about what we would like to (ideally) do or not do once the baby is here; it’s good know we’re on the same page, or to hear different ideas and thoughts.
20 week scan.
We had the 20 week scan this week – yet another ‘real’ moment! It was incredible seeing our little baby. We wanted to find out if we were having a boy or girl; we liked the idea of getting to ‘know’ our baby before we meet him or her in March. Once the sonographer had everything she needed, she moved around to show us that we are unmistakably having a baby boy! In love all over again.
I’m both insanely excited and cannot wait, but at the same time loving every minute of being pregnant and having this little baby growing safely inside.
A strange, surreal and beautiful experience 🙂