I am officially in my 13th week of pregnancy which marks the first week of the second trimester. Today I found myself wondering exactly where those first 12 weeks went. Oh yeah, I vaguely remember them from the nauseated and exhausted fog that has only recently been lifted.
My first pregnancy was a dream – I got nauseous a total of 2 times, that’s it, no vomiting, no nothing. This time it is extremely glaring the toll that being an “older” pregnant woman can really take. I took a pregnancy test two days after the scheduled arrival of my monthly period which put me in my 5th week of pregnancy. Almost immediately (like after I recovered from the shock that it had really happened and I’d taken a second test just to be sure….) I was nauseous at the slightest smells, if I got too hot, if I got too hungry, if I drank my morning cup of beloved coffee, and pretty much if the moon wasn’t in perfect alignment with the other heavenly bodies. It lasted all day making me scoff at the whole term of “morning” sickness. I found fun ways of keeping it at bay including never leaving my a/c climate controlled house if I could avoid it and eating small evenly spaced meals heavy on the protein which kept it manageable at best. Luckily for me, no vomiting! I say lucky for me since I can’t think of many things I loathe more than vomiting and can tell you the exact date and time of the last time I did because each time I give into it and lose the battle it is memorable.
On top of all the queasiness going on, I was SO exhausted ALL THE TIME. Since I work full time there was no option for a nice little nap in the afternoons and most often I would find my head bobbing at my keyboard in the afternoons anyway. By the time I got home from work I only had energy to sit on the couch with my feet up and usually would end up napping with a break for dinner before it was time for bed. I, the ultimate night owl, was hitting the sack before 10pm and sleeping until 7am just to be able to make it through an 8 hour day of work. The worst part of being tired to the point of it being debilitating was the now GLARING EVIDENCE of what exactly I do around the house. No more Mom running around behind the 7-year old picking up the leavings of meals, folding the TV/couch blankets, fluffing the pillows on the couch, making sure the dirty clothes are in the hamper and the towels picked up off the bathroom floor, loading the dishwasher or doing laundry on a regular basis. Nope, none of that was happening and as a result our house looked like it had been invaded by the trolls of filth.
Because of all the queasy and tired crap going on, I was barely able to keep up with my exercise routine – which probably pissed me off the most if I’m really being honest. Come on, after all the hard work of sticking to an HCG regiment and losing 30 lbs, you’re telling me I can’t even keep up my running so I can keep my figure for as long as possible? My 3-times a week running was reduced to leisurely strolls around the neighborhood and then only if I felt up to it. On top of that was the nagging question, should I really be running still now that I was with child?
At week 10, we had our first doctor visit and saw the little peanut on ultrasound. It was very reassuring to watch the flutter of the heartbeat on the monitor with proof there really is a baby in there and that things looked normal for as far along as I was. Of course it wasn’t all flowers and butterflies because during all the verification of pregnancy and seeing the evidence, there was also a ton of blood I had to give – I think 8 vials in total! – the pee in a cup routine AFTER the discomfort of being poked and prodded with a full bladder and let’s not forget the horrible reality check discussion about how I’m over 35 which means all sorts of talk about genetic disorders and additional tests we might want to consider. Ok, so I’m not QUITE 40, but my odds of having a chromosomal defect have significantly increased since the last time I had a baby at the ripe old age of 29. At least we didn’t have to make any decisions about that… yet… but it is right around the corner if we are going to do early testing. The good news of the hour was that I really can continue running with my doctor’s blessing until I don’t feel up to it anymore. My running shoes thank him so we can continue our love affair!
The other memorable and somewhat frustrating issue of the first 12 weeks was how quickly I started “showing”. I can officially no longer fit into any of the pants that I could wear when I found out and I have the beginnings of a distinct baby bump. There is nothing more absurd than the cost of maternity clothing that you will wear for about 6-8 months and then toss in the goodwill pile except how early I had to start buying and wearing them this time around. I didn’t start needing maternity clothes with my first baby until about my 5th month and this time I was in my 2nd month. The only sanity saver is that from talking to other expecting moms on their 2nd plus babies I found it is apparently normal to show earlier with each pregnancy. Something about your uterus having already once expanded to accommodate a growing fetus sends it racing to the finish line the next time around. I guess if you have to be gaining weight because of pregnancy it is nice to have something tangible to show for it in a protruding baby bump.
So, that in a nutshell was the first 12 weeks for me but I am happy to report being one of the very lucky few who must endure these early pregnancy symptoms ONLY in the first trimester. About week 11, I suddenly stopped and looked around and realized I was coherent and not nauseous. Hey, when did that happen? Who cares, really, I’m just going with it and thanking my lucky stars… AND running every chance I get and trying not to obsess about the fact that I have lost weight since my doctor’s appointment. I’m eating healthy and that’s all that matters anyway!