December 2, 2019
First trimester-done and dusted. During the long wait for this baby I often thought about what I wanted my attitude to be when the time finally came to be pregnant again. I asked the Lord to help me settle firmly into gratitude and “setting my eyes to the hills” rather than complaining. It was much easier said than done but aside from some true down-in-the-ditch moments, I reset quickly into being so thankful for the opportunity to be growing life again. With that being said, this trimester was my absolute hardest ever and I’ve truly never been more glad to kiss a first trimester goodbye!
How I knew I was pregnant: We initially thought we wouldn’t be able to start trying until November and were absolutely in shock when my nutritionist reviewed my bloodwork and told me we were safe to start trying during our meeting in August. I shared a little bit of the journey to this point here in this announcement post if you missed it. For all four of my pregnancies we’ve gotten pregnant the first month we tried which I’m fully aware is such a gift. I think that was one of the more difficult parts of the last year-just knowing it wasn’t that I couldn’t get pregnant but that I wasn’t allowed to. I track my cycle every month with the Flo app and just simply punch in the day my cycle starts and the day it ends. This creates a suuuper loose ovulation calendar which I check when we’re actively trying but if you have a harder time getting pregnant I would definitely recommend using ovulation sticks.
Since I know my body and this is our fourth time around I just had a feeling that if we do x y and z, I’m likely pregnant. Within the “two week wait” I become absolutely obsessed with two week wait YouTube videos and pay attention to every change in my body. I typically bloat with a super sharp pain, I become really warm and more irritable, I sleep terribly, my chest is incredibly sore (still is) and have an INSANE appetite. Without fail, every time I notice this string of symptoms show up within a couple days of each other I know its no longer just me in my body. I know most women don’t find out they’re pregnant until they’re 5 or 6 weeks since you’re technically not supposed to take a test until your missed period ( at least 4 weeks) but I always know in my bones at 2 weeks and have a test to confirm it a full week before my missed cycle at 3 weeks.
Symptoms: My earliest symptom after getting the clear positive is sheer and utter exhaustion. I’ve never experienced exhaustion like this in my whole life–not in any of my other pregnancies, not postpartum, not as a college athlete. Never. I had to take a nap every single day. It wasn’t a luxury but a true means of survival. I felt so sluggish and I often felt I could just burst into tears at how weak and sleepy I felt with so much still needing to be done. I wish I would have created a big backlog of content for the blog and but that just wasn’t the case. My time seemed to be cut by half each day since my productive open hours that used to be dedicated to blog work and housework was suddenly sucked up by sleep. So much sleep. The exhaustion that made me feel completely useless and could bring me to tears finally lifted at about 13 weeks and it took me a few days to realize I hadn’t taken a nap. The nausea didn’t hit hard until 8 weeks. I’d say I was definitely the most sick during my pregnancy with Oshiolema but I felt sick the most and longest during this pregnancy. My food aversions weren’t specific but instead I’d have the hardest time thinking of something I thought I could stomach. Nothing sounded appealing which is a typical symptom for me but this time around I felt sick every evening for about a month and then sick starting at noon until bedtime for weeks 12-14. I also dealt with the typical hormone surges of strong sadness and strong irritability that I need to surrender many times a day. Hashimoto’s has added a curve ball of both energy and mood and I’m still working out some kinks there.
Things I did differently this time around: With the combination of Noah’s miscarriage last year and Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease where my immune system attacks my thyroid) I needed to take a few precautions this time around. Right at 4 weeks I had bloodwork done to get my Progesterone and HCG numbers. In those first few weeks HCG should double every couple days in a healthy pregnancy so it was important to track that number. They also wanted to make sure my progesterone was in range which it was. I also did an immediate thyroid panel since pregnancy is an enormous stress on the body and thyroid flare ups are ramped up by stress. I drove down to Houston to check in with my thyroid doctor at 11 weeks and we ended up realizing my numbers were being negatively affected by the pregnancy and I had to increase my medication. One of the harder parts of this pregnancy is trying to take care of myself and the baby but also babysitting my thyroid since I know if it’s not healthy, none of us are. There’s only so much I can do with this and while it was unnerving to hear my thyroid results and just have to hope the baby is being supported with everything it needs to develop healthily I ultimately know we’re in the Lord’s hands.
I’ve taken thyroid medication first thing in the morning every single day since July. I have to take my medication on a completely empty stomach, wash it down with a full glass of water and wait an hour to eat. If you’ve been pregnant before you know this was no treat, you guys. Drinking a big glass of water and not being able to eat something right away are two instant nausea triggers for me. I battled serious nausea every single time but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m getting less and less nauseous every time.
Eating habits: Since this is my first pregnancy with Hashimoto’s it’s also my first pregnancy eating with all the restrictions I have. I wish I could give you even a teeny taste of how badly I craved the things I can’t eat. My first trimester staples have always been hard pretzels, soft pretzels, goldfish, sourdough toast with butter and Canada Dry. That’s my lifeline list right there. Seeing as I don’t eat grains (no corn, oats, rice, quinoa…), dairy, gluten, legumes or soy, all those things are off the list. After three years being dairy free and over a year eating this way I’ve pulled together quite a list of favorites. The problem is none of those favorites quite replicate a soft pretzel, you know? And when the pregnant body wants a soft pretzel it NEEDS a soft pretzel. There may have been tears. For the first 12 weeks the only thing that wards off horrific nausea is just eating something. It’s been difficult to navigate but I finally learned if I have a giant breakfast that includes egg whites, potatoes and turkey bacon that I can ward off the sickness for a while. I also try to have my morning smoothie most days but there were a few weeks where that just flat out couldn’t happen. I have craved salads, fish and egg whites since day one which I’m very grateful for. In my pregnancy with Oshiolema sweets made me ill the entire time. For this pregnancy and Keogena’s I’ve craved sweets almost every day and now I’m so curious to see if this baby is a boy or a girl!
Weight Gain/Exercise: I’ve had my most active first trimester yet but that’s seriously not saying much. I made a workout schedule right when I found out I was pregnant and was super committed to sticking to it. I really was. But then the actual pregnancy began and my body laughed at me. Most days I’d get into workout clothes as motivation, plan to workout during nap time on homeschool days or while the kids were at school on away school days but I’d start to feel ten times more sick if I didn’t sleep in the middle of the day. I started off this pregnancy at 176lbs and have gained 7lbs so far. Being tall and muscular makes the numbers game pretty difficult-especially that day I hit 200lbs or surpass O’s weight- but I have a better grasp of it this time around. I’ve gained around 30lbs with both kids. No matter how clean I eat or how active I am my body holds onto so much water during pregnancy and I just grow. Within the first few days of giving birth I typically lose close to 20lbs and the last 10 really hang on for dear life while I’m breastfeeding. My starting weight in this pregnancy is 10lbs less than my last two pregnancies but even if I still wind up giving birth at my typical birth weight, I’m working to remember this is just a season. My body will do what it needs to do to grow a healthy baby and the time will come for my body to be my own again.
With that being said, I’m thrilled to have more energy and have been able to add more workouts into my week. It was a long dry spell, friends. Since most of my exercise is done in my bedroom, YouTube is my best friend. Walking is something I’ll try to do every day no matter what and as the second trimester progresses I’ll be adding in exercises that help prepare my body for natural labor. My varicose veins that showed up during my pregnancy with Keogena have already become a bit of a challenge to work around. Even on days I was geared up for a workout my leg would swell up and I’d have to spend that one chance to exercise elevating my leg instead. I’ve already started wearing my compression stockings again which isn’t my favorite thing in the world but i’m adjusting and surrendering to the process.
First Trimester MVPS: O wins the number one spot. There were so many days he’d be ready to start work and have to take the kids to school when I just couldn’t leave the house, endless loads of laundry he washed, folded and put away along with cleaning and care-taking that he did without a single complaint. I made it a priority to still be able to cook and take care of some of the things on my list (mostly the blog) but for all the things that slid off my priority list, O was there to catch them and then some. He made sure I was able to get as much rest as possible and while I have such a hard time not doing the things I consider “my job,” he never looks at the things that need to be done through that lens. If he’s able, he does it joyfully and I’m so thankful. Immediately behind O on the MVP list are chips. Plantain chips, Boulder Canyon chips in avocado oil, cassava chips…chips were often the only thing I could stomach. Against all Grain grain-free bagels also were crucial and even though they taste pretty awful, they satisfied the bagel craving and did the trick when nothing else would. My Hydroflask also tops the list just like every pregnancy because I need ice cold water to be able to stomach it! Gin-Gins, Ice cold Topo Chico, Pur Gum and Preggie Pops were my only defense against nausea and I’m forever grateful for them.
I know so many of you are pregnant too so I’ll do my best to be as open as possible! I’ll also be sharing some tips about navigating this ten month journey with toddlers and answering questions about Hashiomoto’s in pregnancy. If you’re in your first trimester too and you either can’t keep your eyes open, can’t keep your food down or can’t believe you’re about to eat again- know that women all over the world are doing the very same thing right alongside you. God sees you, He’s equipped you. And we’re all in this together.