The first trimester has come and gone – here are my thoughts, experiences, and everything in between.
When did you know you were pregnant?
To be honest, I had an idea something was going on with my body at about 2.5 weeks. I was competing at The Fittest Games on a team the last weekend in January and my performance was just “off”. Normally in competitions I have this switch that turns on and allows me to push to the next level, and this weekend it just wasn’t happening. I can clearly remember during one of the workouts (a team “chipper” where my teammate’s couldn’t start the workout until I was finished – and I was the first one to go) I kept thinking in my head, “what is wrong with me!? This shouldn’t be this hard…why am I moving so slowly!?” I felt terrible for the rest of my team; I just couldn’t push myself as I normally could. That night I went home, took a pregnancy test and it came back negative – obviously; because it was way too early to detect the hCG hormone.
Fast forward to the week of my birthday, I was feeling extra emotional, and called my mom crying telling her, “I don’t know why I’m crying but I’m feeling sad that I’m about to turn 32 and I don’t have a baby yet; I just feel so insignificant…” She gave me words of encouragement, said she was praying for me, and said to just give it more time. The next day I took another pregnancy test (actually 4) and all of them were positive. Because I had been tracking my temperature daily through the Taking Charge of Your Fertility (FAM) method (18 high temperatures consecutively means you are pregnant), I kind of expected that I would be, but didn’t want to get my hopes up which is why it took me 4 pregnancy tests to convince me I was. Long story short, I knew at about 5 weeks. And as everyone who has found out that early knows, the doctor won’t see you until you are at least 8 weeks which wasn’t acceptable for me.
Be Your Own Advocate
Because I had a history of hormonal imbalances and knew I carry one copy of the MTHFR gene mutation, waiting another 3-4 weeks to see the doctor just wasn’t acceptable for me. In the early weeks of pregnancy, your body has to produce enough progesterone to actually keep the baby. Knowing that I most likely was very low on progesterone, I called my friend who is a Nurse Practitioner and expressed my concerns to her. She checked my progesterone levels and started me on vaginal progesterone suppositories, twice a day, immediately for the remaining 6 weeks. Yes, it was as inconvenient as it sounds – but I kept reminding myself to stay positive because it was helping my little baby “Pepper” grow and survive. This is why I say to be your own advocate. I did extensive blood work about 3 years ago in preparation of getting everything regulated so that Rick and I could start a family. I knew my body, I knew what it was lacking and what it needed; which is why I insisted on doing something about it when I could.
Cravings, Aversions, and Overall Nutrition
For the most part, I have continued to eat the same way I had before with the exception of some seriously weird food aversions in the first 10 weeks; which led to me eating basically anything that sounded good.
Foods that made me nauseas just thinking about them: oatmeal, beef, and coffee. For those who know me, you know I love me some morning oatmeal and coffee – but just the thought of them made me sick. Honestly, I had decided at 6 weeks that I wasn’t going to drink caffeine or take any supplements for the remainder of my pregnancy; so it was actually a blessing that coffee was making me want to hurl anyways. Luckily, I can eat oatmeal now and I’m still working on incorporating beef back into our dinner rotation.
Foods that I never (or rarely) bought before, but am loving; or shall I say, “Foods Baby Pepper is Loving”: Applegate Farms gluten free chicken nuggets and tenders, gluten free mac & cheese, gluten free chicken burritos, peanut butter (NOT PB2), bacon, eggs, potatoes (not just sweet potatoes).
I did have some morning and evening sickness for about 5 weeks, but it really wasn’t anything to complain about. It typically went away by 9am and came back as I was laying down for bed. I found what helped with the morning sickness was eating fruit and a protein shake within 30 minutes of waking. All I wanted to eat for the first 6 weeks was fruit – ALL OF THE CITRUS FRUIT!!!
I must confess, there have been more than normal treats over the past several weeks. One night I really wanted Sonic tater tots; so I got some. I’ve eaten pizza a few times and when we go out to dinner or if I meet a friend for lunch, I still order a salad as usual (because I loooove them) but I’m not above sharing an appetizer, trying some of Rick’s food, or getting dessert (occasionally). Oh, and I’ve had donuts 3 times in the past 15 weeks!! It’s been nice to not fear food as I once did in the past.
Exercise and Workouts
One thing is for sure, my 100% 4-5 months ago is not the same as my 100% now. I have maintained my same workout schedule; 6 days a week: 2 days running, 3-4 days weights and/or CrossFit, 1 day of Olympic lifting and 1 day of gymnastics. My intensity is definitely not the same as it once was; I scale back the weights in some of the workouts and as soon as my belly starts getting bigger I know I’ll have to stop Olympic lifting.
You know, the one thing everyone seems to have an opinion on (and they’re all completely different) is working out during pregnancy. In fact, I started listening to everyone else so much that it made me scared and second guess myself. Every single doctor appointment I’ve been to I ask them over and over about working out – and every single time they’ve told me: “listen to your body. If you’ve done it before, you can keep on doing it until it gets uncomfortable. For someone like you, not working out would be worse on yourself. Just make sure you are working at a level that you can talk, but not sing.”
I am, however no longer going upside down for movements like handstand push ups, cartwheels, handstand walks, and any other gymnastic movement that makes me inverted. Other than that, and having to take a few more breaks to make sure I am breathing; working out has felt great!
Body Stuff; It Happens….
- Your digestion slows when you’re pregnant. And for someone who already has a super slow and picky digestive system; I look about 6 months pregnant every night before bed.
- When I was 7 weeks, I googled “can you show at 7 weeks?” because I swear I already had a belly. Google and other moms told me, “it’s just gas” or “you’re just bloated.” To which I wanted to reply, “kiss my bloated belly butt!!”
- I never really feel pregnant until I try to fit into clothes from last summer – that’s been a humbling experience.
- I haven’t weighed myself and I will not weigh myself throughout this pregnancy (I stand on the doctor’s scale backwards). I told the doctor that if my weight becomes an issue to please tell me. I’ve been obsessed and preoccupied with the scale for way too many seasons in my life – the last thing I need to do is revert back to my disordered eating habits when I’m trying to grow a healthy baby girl.
- The lighting and mirrors in the Nordstroms dressing room almost made me have a meltdown at about 13 weeks.
- When I get super sweaty my nipples feel like razor blades – like they seriously super hurt until I put on a dry sports bra.
I’m sure many more revelations are to come……
Trusting in God; Letting Go of Control
I will admit, the hardest thing so far has been to just trust in God and that He has a plan. This is one aspect of my life where I am not in control; I don’t know what’s going on inside, I can’t control everything that happens. Continually praying throughout the day, speaking blessings over my baby, and staying positive has been something I have been working on over the last 15 weeks. As soon as one negative thought comes into my mind, or when someone gives me advice that isn’t from a good place I pray for help to be positive, to speak a blessing and move on.
Last week one of my favorite mommy friends gave me the best piece of advice: “Stay off the internet. If you have a question, just ask your mom. Momma’s know best.“ She’s right. I don’t need to know; I don’t need to worry, I don’t need to come across 20 different sites telling me to do 20 different things. I just need to trust that my body knows what to do, my God has a plan, and my baby girl is growing healthily and beautifully every single day.