Sunday, October 27, 2013

First Trimester

I wanted to compile a couple blogs around pregnancy, but I really didn’t want to say the same thing that everyone else says.  It only takes a couple weeks surfing the preggo apps and websites before they all start sounding the same and you get entirely freaked out that everything that can go wrong will go wrong.  So take a break from the giant Pregnancy Guide you bought, prop your feet up, and hopefully have a chuckle or two!

When the sperm meets the egg…
You can get pregnant the first time.  No matter how long you’ve been on birth control.

Preggo Tests
These little f-ers are hard to read, I don’t care what anyone says!  (And no, not hard to read like I can’t follow directions.  The lines can be so faint.  Surprisingly faint.  For some people.)  My best advice, if you see any second line or plus sign or whatever…you could be pregnant.  Listen to your body and your instincts and take another one in a day or two.  Or spend the money on the fancier kind, unlike this cheapskate.

Every book, app and woman will tell you that first trimester fatigue will hit you hard.  Believe all of them!  Pretend your 1st tri is like running a half marathon every day, after climbing 40 flights of stairs and swimming Olympic laps for an hour.  You will feel this tired.  Actually I lie a little - you won't feel this tired, you'll be napping away the entire afternoon as if you were this tired.  Just another thing I don't understand about pregnancy since your baby is the size of a berry at this point - but you don't feel this way when you're carrying around a small watermelon in month 9?

This will be different for every single woman, and I've heard for every single pregnancy.  You will experience it in some way or another, whether it's a 0.2 or 10 on the pukey scale.  Mine didn't hit me until 6.5 weeks and stayed until the 15th, and I didn't vomit once.  Other women get it before their pregnancy test will turn positive, and some women claim they experience none except for a little sniffer disturbance while in the meat isle at the grocery store.  Either way be prepared to have some level of nausea that will be unique to you.  The closest I came to throwing up happened at 28 weeks, so this symptom can also rear its ugly head when you least expect it.  Just keep a prep kit in your purse - mouthwash, crackers, ginger candies, and of course a barf bag.

Mental Retardation
You will have this.  You will forget everything.  You will forget that you’ll forget everything.  It’s worst in the 1st tri but extends through the whole pregnancy, and then those little buggers called children will suck the rest of your intelligence out of you.  Make lots of lists; I carried pens and small pads of paper in my purse and car.  And just forget about worrying about forgetting things.  Juggling a baby and work and marriage and life will lead to much forgetfulness anyways!

Tit Stuff
Your boob transformation will happen right away, even though you won't need these changes for several months.  First, your boobs will HURT, I mean it's unreal.  This is one of the first ways to tell you're pregnant: you'll be geared up for PMS breast tenderness but instead multiply that by 17.  Then your boobs will swell, and'll take your whole first trimester but be prepared to grow out of all your bras by the end of these first couple months.  Finally, your nipples will fly away to a foreign land where they will stay until after you've had the baby, and be replaced with someone's from a 1978 National Geographic Magazine.  They get dark and big and totally different shaped and textured, again reiterating that it makes no sense for this to happen now since this is all breast feeding prep...and voila!  Before you even have a baby bump you'll have had a complete boobie transplant!

This one will come up for each tri, because it drastically changes throughout your pregnancy.  Equate your 1st tri appetite to that of a 2nd grader with the flu.  That’s all that will sound good to you.  No meat, no veggies, no spices, no ethnic cuisine.  Think Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Triscuits.  On a good day you might be able to stomach half a Hot Pocket.  Don’t be surprised if you lose a little weight this tri.  Don’t be surprised to gain it all back in a week as soon as your “morning” sickness is over.  (PS morning sickness is a crock; most women experience it later in the day or evening.  You could also call it empty-stomach sickness, which is great because remember how you don’t have an appetite to eat anything?)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane –
It’s your sense of smell.  Superman ain’t got nothing on you here.  You will smell things that your dog would walk past without noticing.  You will ask your husband to wash his feet after taking off his shoes.  He should not get offended by this.  His feet will still smell to you after he showers.  You will ask him to brush his teeth 4 times a day.  Again, he should not get offended by this.  Make a game of it and see how far across the house you can smell him opening a jar of pickles.  My guess is your upstairs bathroom…

No-No Foods
There’s a big long list and you’ll be quizzed on it later.  False.  Well, there is a big long list, but I recommend looking over the list, writing down what you commonly eat on the list, and hang that on your fridge.  The rest is all food you probably won’t end up craving or eating during your pregnancy and will stress you out with worry.  My list was: runny egg yolks, raw seafood and all shellfish, brie and blue cheese, and deli meat.  Oh and alcohol.  They frown upon that I guess.

It’s recommended you maintain your exercise regiment throughout your pregnancy until your Dr. tells you otherwise.  It’s also OK to drop the ball on this completely.  When you’re as sick and tired as most women are during 1st tri, exercise sounds like the nine circles of hell.  Just do what you can when you feel up to it, take it easy when you don’t.  If you watch your eating and stay active you’ll be fine.  No one expects you to look like Alessandra Ambrosio during or immediately following your pregnancy.  (Or after?)  I know women who gained 60+ lbs. during their pregnancy and have rockin’ bodies now!  I also know women who have amazing momma curves and stretch marks and look otherworldly radiant.  You’ll see this theme throughout, but stress is worse for your baby than trying to starve yourself or find energy for that extra mile on the treadmill.

The Big Secret
When you find out you’re pregnant, and that pregnancy is welcome, you want to shout it from the rooftops.  But you know the statistics and you plan on waiting until your 8 week ultrasound or you hear the heartbeat or you reach 2nd tri.  This plan will only stay in place for those people that you do not see on a daily or weekly basis.  Everyone else will probably figure it out by then if they have half a brain cell.  And no – this doesn’t devastatingly ruin your big baby announcement plans.  Just prepare yourself to get really good at lying, avoiding everyone you care about, or hope that these people are close enough friends/family that they will also be by your side if anything unexpected does happen.

Is this for real?
Yes.  But don’t be surprised if you go through many phases of “is this really happening to me?”  There were a lot of times in my 1st and 2nd tri where I didn’t “feel” pregnant and started to worry.  Until the baby starts kicking daily (3rd tri) this is a perfectly normal feeling to have.  It doesn’t mean you’ve lost the baby.  (There is that feeling however so don’t totally ignore your instincts and the signs.)  Every month you’ll get to hear the heartbeat, and little tickles and flutters will start happening soon.  The best thing for the baby is to keep your stress level down.  The second best thing for the baby is to fully accept that this is happening to you, so get that nursery going!

The Language of Preggo
You’ll start learning lots of new words that you won’t pronounce correctly and won’t remember what they mean.  This is Preggo Language.  I am not fluent; I know just enough to get me from the airport to my hotel and order a Mai Tai from the pool boy.  You do not need to remember all these terms.  What you will have to do is start talking in weeks.  Everything is measured in weeks: to start you out there are 40 in your pregnancy.  You’ll get the hang of this just in time to start talking in months once your baby is born.  (“He’s 23 months old.”  God damnit, talk like a grownup and tell me he’ll be 2 next month!)