Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Trimester Reflection

Calendar courtesy of JosStudio on Etsy

I want this to be a well-rounded blog, so I don't want one topic to take center-stage. However, all the other things I could talk about right now (e.g., how I had a craft date with my friend this weekend and I appliqued a dress, how Matt and I celebrated our anniversary, and how I'm working hard to prioritize my to-do list as I head into the new school year) are already planned posts on my other blogs: 2000 Dollar Wedding and EdCatalyst. So what does that leave me with? Pretty much the same thing I talked about yesterday: Pregnancy.

I do apologize for the one-track nature of this blog for two days in a row. Can we just go ahead and make this "Pregnancy Week" on Feeding the Soil?

So I wanted to take some time to reflect on my first trimester of pregnancy. Because Matt and I were tracking my cycle, we can pretty much pinpoint exactly when conception occurred. My midwife says our due date is around February 11, and an online calculator says February 15. I'm actually perfectly fine with a due date range, since I think the idea of trying to pinpoint a single day is pretty absurd. It seems to me like the practice of declaring a specific due date just creates unrealistic expectations and anxiety.

Regardless of my "due date range," I'm starting my 12th week of pregnancy today (that number is based on the 40-week gestational calendar, which starts on the day of your last period, so I'm really only starting my 10th week, if we were using a 38-week calendar).

I wanted to take a minute to echo what many of you mothers already know: the first trimester can be difficult.

I feel kind of guilty even saying that because my version of "difficult" seems to be much less difficult than others. I haven't been besieged by nausea and vomiting, and I've been able to eat more than Saltines. However, I have felt a general queasiness pretty much all day long. I have a complete aversion to leafy greens and pretty much anything else that's healthy, for that matter. When I wrote a post about healthy pregnancy snacks, I was actually only a week or so into my pregnancy when I could still eat healthy things (I was writing posts in real time but scheduling them in advance to cover my vacation time).

And brushing my teeth has been a nightmare. It makes me gag. For awhile, I was only brushing my teeth once a day. I finally switched from my Sonicare back to a regular toothbrush, and that seems to have helped.

I've also had to take a lot of naps. Fortunately, this hasn't been a major inconvenience because I'm on summer vacation (I know--lucky me!). I've experienced a lot of general discomfort (especially in my breasts), so it's been hard for me to sleep well at night (not to mention the frequent trips to the bathroom).

I don't say all of this to whine and complain. I merely wanted to add some realistic chatter to the pregnancy dialogue out there. Before I ever started researching conception, pregnancy, and birth, I was under the misconception that the first trimester was the easiest. I thought it would get progressively harder as the months passed on. I didn't realize that the first trimester brought its own host of difficult challenges.

And I've only mentioned the physical difficulty. For me, there was also psychological difficulty. I was expecting it to take months (or even years) for me to conceive, so I was pretty shocked when we conceived during our first cycle of trying. I had a lot of oh-god-I-can't-believe-this-is-really-happening-I'm-not-really-ready-for-this-but-there's-no-turning-back-holy-crap-I-feel-trapped kinds of feelings.

Fortunately, I can already feel many of my first trimester symptoms starting to fade slightly [insert happy dance!]. There will be new challenges, for sure, so I should definitely head into the second and third trimesters with realistic expectations...

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Carrie said...

Sara, I am so proud of you for accepting your first trimester "as is" and for not beating yourself up over things like eating. When I read your post about what you were trying to eat, based on the What to Expect book, I thought, "Oh, boy. That is EXTREMELY difficult to do." All I "wanted" (didn't really feel like eating much at all) was bread and bread-related products for a good portion of the first trimester, so that was pretty much what I had. When you're ravenous come the 6th month, you can go hog-wild on all those fruits, veggies, and proteins! You're doing a GREAT job!

Anonymous said...

I second Carrie -- yeah for your realism!

And a word about all those naps: when I was pregnant I realized that my new need for rest caused me to get a lot less done than I'd hoped... then I had my beautiful baby girl & I realized the first several months of parenthood I got even *less* done! So the stop-everything-I-need-to-nap phase in pregnancy actually prepared me for parenting by getting me used to the idea of being less productive than usual. In fact all the "yuck" phases of pregnancy (at least in my view) had a way of preparing me for parenthood (difficulty sleeping + frequent trips to the bathroom all night ---> frequent strolls around the house with a not-ready-to-sleep-yet newborn... and so on).

Hang in there -- you're on an amazing adventure with a pea-sized little guy (or girl) who's having the adventure of his/her life, too! :)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on nearing the end of the first trimester! You're doing a great job. I was actually hoping for more pregnancy posts--I'm preparing for first-time mommyhood, and I would love to hear more of your thoughts and experiences.

amber said...

HI! i just found your blog and it appears we are on an identical pregnancy schedule! our "due date" is the 13th. yippeee! i look forward to pregnancy week!

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am excited about all the pregnancy news. I've followed you on the wedding blog for quite a while, but didn't add this blog to my reader until you announced the pregnancy. I'm not planning on getting pregnant for 5-6 years, but I'm really interested in hearing what smart, down-to-earth women have to say about pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children. So don't feel bad about talking about pregnancy. You've got at least one reader who's loving it.

miss starlene said...

I have two grown kids (20 & 22)but I still remember feeling guilty for not being able to eat the "right" things or for sleeping too much. I finally decided to go with what my body wanted. When I was tired, I slept. When I was hungry I ate. The first trimester was hard, second easy, third hard. But that was just me. You could be totally different. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this is YOUR pregnancy. The experiences you have will be unique to you. Enjoy them. Listen to your body. It will tell you what to do. And please, talk about pregnancy all you want!!! You do not need to make excuses for being excited.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I enjoyed reading about your wedding and am happy to read about your pregnancy.

And while I appreciate that you share your perspective on your own experiences, I suggest that you might want to consider, when reflecting on how quickly you were able to get pregnant, sending a shout out to the scores of folks who have difficulty doing so. There is a privilege in getting pregnant, and in getting pregnant easily. While I certainly don't deny your own feelings related to that, I'm asking you to consider others'.

Anonymous said...

The last poster made me think of seeing this video recently.


As one of the many that has suffered multiple miscarriages I can honestly say I am very happy for you but at the same time I'm DAMN JEALOUS.
Because for a whole slew of us finding out we are pregnant doesn't necessarily mean we are going to end up with a baby.
Some days I may feel the need to vocally support you some days I may need to avoid conversations/posts/emails that rip me to the core. I hope you understand we are still rooting for you even if we are doing it quietly.

Rosalie said...

I found first trimester the toughest. I had 24 hr sickness/nausea. Even now when I'm sick I get flashbacks remembering how grim it was ergh! It's all better from now on! (until the overdue feeling :) )

Matt, Lindsey and 'the spud' said...

This is great to hear about the real side of pregnancy. We are planning on getting pregnant in a few months, but I plan on being able to still go to nursing school, and work in the emergency room... two tough things...and right up to my due date(as if its my choice at all...ha.) So its great to be able to prepare myself for some ups and downs and give up some of that control. Thank you so much for being open!

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