Oh dear, how the first trimester is full of ups and downs.
The first trimester is DIFFICULT. You're hiding the most massive secret ever, trying to still function like a normal human, but experiencing symptoms at an all time high (at least this is how it was for me). Clothes were starting to fit a little snug, we had wedding after wedding after wedding & I had to avoid the bar at all of them, blaming it on being the designated driver for the night. So if you're in the thick of it, I FEEL YOU.
I felt so much peace and comfort once our secret was out! We decided to wait until the end of the first trimester (12-13ish weeks) to tell the world about the little human growing inside of me. My midwife gave me some good advice for when we were deciding when we should tell people. She said "I'd recommend only telling the people that you'd feel comfortable grieving with if something were to happen." This is exactly what we chose to do. We told immediate family, close friends, my boss, and our City Group at church. We knew we needed to be surrounded by an army of people praying for us, but weren't ready to share such an intimate thing with the world quite yet.
Something that I wasn't prepared for during the first trimester: fear.
Once we found out that we were pregnant at 6 weeks, Google quickly became my worst enemy. I would spend my free time searching things like "how to avoid a miscarriage" "I have some cramps, what does this mean" "what can I eat while pregnant" and so many other things. I spent so much of my time those first couple of weeks worrying to the point of tears that we would lose the baby. We had to grow in the practice of gratitude towards God, rather than fear-filled pleading that He would give us a healthy baby. Our prayer quickly became "Thank you for giving us six weeks as parents. Lord, would you do it again tomorrow?" There truly is nothing more humbling than knowing you have no control over the tiny life growing inside of you.
We went through ups and downs of emotions throughout those first 12 weeks. Mostly bouncing back and forth between fear and ultimate joy and gratitude. We felt undeserving of a gift like this. We were overwhelmed with joy and I was (almost weekly) brought to tears when we would think about how much growth & good change was coming to our family. My advice to you: embrace the hormones. Cry if you need to. It's a big deal and it's okay to feel big feelings.
Things I craved: carbs, carbs, and more carbs.
I LIVED off of crackers, bread, and bagels. If you've been following me for a little while, you know I've touched on how I have struggled (& still do sometimes) with disordered eating. I used to be an avid calorie counter & avoider of foods that didn't offer protein or healthy fats, aka: carbs. So this was difficult for me in the first trimester. I was constantly hungry, the wrong smell could trigger nausea in an INSTANT, and I felt like I was eating a lot of "empty" foods. I remember talking about this with my midwife, and she assured me, "Eat what you can keep down. Don't overthink it. If all you can keep down is a cheeseburger, don't beat yourself up about it." The most simple advice I had received, but it changed a lot for me. Your body is RAGING with hormones - HCG, relaxin, estrogen, all of the things. Things are changing, and instead of trying to fight it, I recommend embracing it. The first trimester doesn't last forever!!
Things I couldn't stand: Meat, fish, or reheated vegetables.
Absolutely not. The break room at work was a no-go for me. Way too many smells. I will stick with my plain white rice and peanut butter toast, thank you.
Symptoms I had: Nausea, nausea, and more nausea. With a side of headaches & exhaustion.
I can vividly remember sitting in my office, gagging over my trash can, trying not to make too much noise because my coworkers didn't know I was pregnant yet. I told my boss, which was a great choice for the mornings where I came in late. My office had a bathroom with multiple stalls in it, so vomiting at work was quite the challenge. I discovered a private bathroom on a different floor and it quickly became my second home during my 8-hour stretch at work. Some women never experience nausea - and I envy you. I described the feeling to someone as "consistently feeling car sick all day long, but you can't get out of the car." No fun. So many people told me it would calm down in the second trimester, but truth is, it didn't for me -- our bodies are all SO DIFFERENT! Some foods that weren't as fun coming back out as they were going down: apples, nuts, eggs, yogurt, and enchiladas. Yikes.
Headaches: bad ones. I had never experienced migraines before pregnancy, and quite honestly wasn't incredibly empathetic to those who did. But during pregnancy, my goodness, now I know.
Exhaustion: I'm talking falling asleep at my desk at work, exhausted. I could take a 3 hour nap and still sleep through the night for 10 hours. I'm not typically the kind of person that needs endless hours of sleep to feel rested, I'm typically a 7-8 hours per night kind of girl, but during the first trimester, I was POOPED. The Lord taught me a lot about rest & the necessity of it. He taught me that it doesn't make me weak to need a nap (the Enneagram 3 in me cringed at this), that resting is part of being a human, and that growing a person is difficult. It's a lot of work, and work takes rest. And that's okay.
How I managed: Vitamins & taking it slow.
For the nausea - I took B6 constantly. I started by taking half a pill in the morning and half in the evening, but my midwife quickly ramped that up when I had only gained a pound the entire first trimester due to the excessive vomiting. I started taking one whole pill three times per day (morning, lunch, & night) which helped a ton. I also ate constantly. If I ate a meal that was too large (i.e. enchiladas....) I would throw them up or gag a ton. Your stomach doesn't have as much room to stretch as it did before and can make you nauseous if you eat too little or eat too much. I found that eating multiple small meals throughout the day was best for me. Protein was also a game changer. High protein foods like nuts, bars, and peanut butter kept me fuller longer & helped me avoid the nausea-induced hunger.
For the headaches - I took 400 mg of magnesium daily before I went to bed. Magnesium works well for headaches, leg cramps, and constipation. It is best absorbed through the skin, so my midwives recommended epsom salt baths pretty frequently, too!
For working out - I took things slow and had to learn how to listen to my body. I immediately cut out ab exercises & twisting movements completely to avoid diastasis recti (where your abs can separate as your stomach grows). I didn't lift much weight over my head, and scaled movements that involved a lot of jumping or running (mainly because it amped up the nausea for me). I didn't do workouts that were so intense that I wasn't able to hold a conversation while doing it - my midwives mentioned not letting your heart rate get over 150 bpm so that your body can still effectively deliver oxygen to the baby. Basically, listen to your body & don't overthink it.
For prenatals - the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center gives out 6 months of prenatal vitamins for free, so I've been taking those and making sure that I get adequate amounts of iron in my diet. I've always had low blood pressure, but during pregnancy it has been even lower for me since now my body is pumping extra blood and delivering so much of it to the baby.
The first trimester was a whirlwind for me. I hope this helped if you are experiencing similar symptoms or feelings or are just curious about what the first trimester is like! Pregnancy is a crazy cool thing, and know that the feelings you're feeling are likely normal. Feel free to reach out & ask questions!