As you may have seen on my Instagram, my husband Tommy and I are expecting a little girl in January 2019 and couldn’t be more excited! Very early on, I realized that hearing other women’s stories and experiences was so helpful to have some context for my own and to give me some insight into what to expect throughout this process (although everyone is totally different). I thought it might be fun to share my experience with you and a few things I learned, starting with my first trimester…
I found out I was pregnant about four days before I was supposed to travel to Israel with my dad and about 10 of my parents’ friends (I took my mom’s spot, so it was pregnant me plus 5 60-something year old couples), for a 10 day trip. Since I felt completely normal when I took a test and found out, I figured it would be fine and travel would be as easy as it normally would be for me. Jetlag is always a beast for me, but otherwise I can typically hang in there and get acclimated after a day or two.
Day 1 in Israel, before indigestion took over my life
For the most part I was correct, but I had some odd symptoms like shortness of breath that caused me to keel over just to try and take a normal inhale, and heat really knocked the s**t out of me (Israel in May is hot. Yikes.). Plus, I had to pretend like I wasn’t drinking alcohol or eating raw fish for health reasons, that I had to sit down a lot because I’m a big baby in horrible shape (not untrue), and couldn’t go on the ATV ride because I just don’t do 6am wake up calls (technically very true). During the last few days of the trip, which would have put me at about the end of week 5 of my pregnancy, I started getting the worst indigestion and heartburn I have ever experienced. Like wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night indigestion that (sorry if this is TMI, but also, get used to it) felt like I was about to throw up until I would burp and then feel some sense of relief. This feeling of indigestion–>nausea–>burping lasted a solid 6 weeks for me, until about half way through our honeymoon in late June (fun coincidental planning that I was pregnant with two international trips on the books. Whoops!).
Food aversions were also very real for me. I couldn’t even look at protein like chicken, fish, or red meat, and as much as I wanted to be that super healthy lady that was throwing back salads like it was my job, for the most part it was a full-on carb fest. Organic Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese with peas mixed in became a dinner staple for me (I read something once that if you mix vegetables into a fussy kid’s pasta, they won’t notice and basically tricked myself into it like a 2 year old). In the first stages of our honeymoon, all I wanted was fruit and gallons of water. I normally am not a fruit person, so this was unusual for me.
A rare moment of feeling like a human in Copenhagen, the first stop on our honeymoon.
The biggest tip that I received and can offer was to plan for as much as possible when it comes to symptoms. My mom told me to bring Lara Bars and little bags of trail mix on both trips with me and man was she right. When I felt nauseous or my blood sugar dropped, a snack saved me big time. Speaking of having food nearby, I kept a sleeve of Saltine Crackers in my nighstand so that if I woke up in the middle of the night feeling a little off or felt nauseous first thing in the morning, I could get something into my stomach pronto. Also, I couldn’t (and still can’t) leave the house without a big bottle of water. I’ve never been thirstier than in my first trimester. My other major life saver was The Ginger People Ginger Rescue Tablets. Seriously, these things are a gift to pregnant women. Whenever I felt nauseous, felt a bout of indigestion coming on, or had heartburn, I popped one of these and it would settle my stomach. I highly, highly recommend. Lastly, I started slathering on Mother’s Special Blend ASAP to try and avoid stretch marks (results TBD but looking good so far!).
By week 11 of my pregnancy I started to feel somewhat normal again. Food aversions were disappearing, my indigestion went away, and I was able to breath slightly better. I feel really lucky considering some women have it so much harder with vomiting, extreme exhaustion (that came later for me), and more. While no two experiences are alike, I would say that most women experience some sort of new feeling, and not usually a good one, in those first few weeks. But it does get better!
Almost on the other side of my darkest first trimester symptoms. And wearing skinny jeans!!!