If you missed my previous updates, you can catch up here:
Once we found out I was expecting – 9 days after the implantation procedure – I was already considered 4 weeks pregnant. This was a happy, but also uncertain time as we feared the unknown and hesitated to get too attached to the life growing inside me. In many ways it didn’t seem real yet and although the risk of miscarriage with IVF pregnancies is lower, the possibliity is still there. My first trimester brought with it a lot of new emotions and experiences and I’ve tried my best to recount what now feels like somewhat of a blur.
In the beginning, besides significantly dialing back my workouts and altering my diet (no more wine or smoked salmon, of course!), it was business as usual. I had to go back to the fertility clinic a few more times for bloodwork to make sure my HcG levels were rising. I felt good – normal even – but naturally, I was anticipating the onset of the notorious first trimester nausea and fatigue – would I get it or not? And if so, how bad? I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but sometime around Week 7 (I think), it came on strong.
At first, not being used to feeling so different, it was hard to tell if the feeling in my stomach was nausea or hunger so I tried to make it go away by snacking throughout the day. And when I was actually hungry I needed to eat – immediately without delay. I usually felt fine in the morning but by afternoon and up until bedtime, I felt like I was on a rocky boat at sea. The fatigue set in around this time also and I was napping at least 2-3 hours a day. I was lucky in that I could adjust my schedule to some extent but I remain in awe of women who work in an office full time, travel and give presentations all day for work who manage to get through this phase. How did you do it?
Although I was so happy to be pregnant, it was around this time I began to feel like a shell of myself. With the fatigue and nausea, I had little desire to do anything – and I mean anything. Even the smallest tasks like doing a load of laundry or unloading the dishwasher seemed insurmountable. I could rarely make an effort to leave the house, much less get dressed and put on makeup. I’ve never lived with depression, but I imagine this may have been similar. I felt like I was in a black hole that I would never climb out of. I didn’t make plans, said no to a lot of work projects and I postponed the ones I could.
At Week 8, our Reproductive Endocrinologist cleared us to see an OB, but it would be three more weeks until I could get an appointment. At this same time, David and I took a trip to Mohonk Mountain House to celebrate our anniversary. We didn’t want to venture too far from home, but it rained most of the weekend and phsically I was so tired and sick that I was no fun.
My body was changing drastically and managing my diet was challenging as I developed food aversions in addition to the extra snacking I was doing. I didn’t crave sugar per se, but I definitely felt best eating carbs. Luckily, I also loved fruit and all the vegetables too. However, getting anywhere near enough protein was a challenge. I was surprised that my biggest food aversions were the things I loved before: seafood (any and all except for fish tacos), matcha and dark chocolate. My first trimeseter was becoming an unplanned vegetarian pregnancy.
Needless to say, I have very few photos of myself from this time. In the early days, I had started taking weekly pictures planning to document my growing bump from Week 4 onward, but found I didn’t have the energy or even the desire to keep up with it by Week 9.
More of the same. The nausea started to lessen. It was setting in later in the day by now, but my fatigue was sticking around with a vengeance. At Week 11, I met with my OB and got a physical exam and a battery of tests. I was cleared to do all the workouts I had done pre-pregnancy so I slowly started exercising again. At Week 12, I did a weekend of nutrition workshops in New Jersey. Each required early-morning wake-ups, trains, buses and Ubers to get to, teaching a class and then following class with a workshop. It was an all day event, 2 days in a row and I thought it would be the end of me. Also during this time, I was in an in-between phase where I wasn’t quite “showing” yet, but my clothes were no longer fitting right. I longed for a bump so at the very least I could “look” more pregnant.
Every pregnancy is different and I know this post sounds so negative, but I want to be real about what I was experiencing. Nothing is right or wrong and every woman’s experience is different. For me, I had to honor where I was and do what was necessary to take care of myself. There’s more that added to my darkness which I’ll explain in future posts. Know that it didn’t last forever and I eventually turned a corner. I’ll be back with a Second Trimester update soon!