Baby J: The First Trimester

Yep, we’re on to the next adventure! I don’t really like doing things the easy way, so I figured why not add a pregnancy to this year that has already been filled with the challenges of a global pandemic, moving to a new state, buying a house, and starting new jobs?! We always have to spice it up, haha.

To be honest, I don’t know that we would’ve ever decided to actually go for it if covid hadn’t happened. My work is based around international travel, which is completely on hold until who knows when. Now seemed like the perfect time to be pregnant and have a baby, because I might as well make double use of the time that I can’t travel!

On a more serious note, we really wrestled with the idea of having children and weren’t sure if that was in God’s plans for us. I feel really thankful that we got pregnant so quickly after starting to “try” because it encourages me that this is what God wants for our family.

I do like the idea of having kids, but never felt sure that it was something we HAD to do. Whit always tells people if we lived to be 500 years old, we would probably wait another couple hundred years before having kids. We just love our family being the two of us, and have a lot of great hobbies and friends and interests that we don’t feel like we’re missing anything. I started feeling more pressure once I hit my thirties that if we want to eventually have kids, we needed to start working on that sooner rather than later.

One thing that really helped shape my perspective was a book I had to read for a seminary class, called “Delighting in the Trinity.” The author opened my eyes to many new ways of viewing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but his biggest focus is on why it’s so wonderful that our God is primarily not a King or a Creator but a Father. Before time, before anything else, God was a Father to Jesus the Son. What that means is that above any of His other qualities, He is characterized by LOVE and relationship.

The part that really challenged my thinking on having kids of our own is the fact that not only is God the Father and the Son, but He is also the Spirit. The author pointed out that many couples in love can be so wrapped up in their relationship with each other that they exclude everyone else and live in their own little worlds. The good news for us is that this is not how our God is! His love for the Son is not exclusive – He shares it all freely with the Spirit.

In the past I strongly believed that Whit and I love each other enough that we don’t NEED to have kids. But that isn’t how God operates – He never keeps His love to Himself, but always shares it and pours it out to include others. This didn’t automatically make me want to have tons of babies, but it really challenged me to question how we are loving others and pouring out God’s love to other people. We want to be sharers of God and His great love and that means involving other people in our life and including them in our inner circle.

I still wouldn’t say that I feel like motherhood is necessarily my true calling, or the answer to all my prayers, but I’m thankful that it’s something God is allowing for us and I’m excited to see how Whit and I both grow and change and what we learn in this new role with this new person in our lives.

With that being said, let’s recap the first trimester! I’ve always enjoyed reading these, and in the past few weeks have looked back in blog archives to see how other people were feeling their first few months.

How many weeks are you?

I am 14 weeks! It’s hard to know when each week OFFICIALLY starts, but I’m going with Sundays based on probable conception date and how the baby was measuring at each of our ultrasounds.

What’s your due date?

July 4! The doctor told us July 5 based on the date of conception, but at the first ultrasound I was measuring 2 days further along than that, which would be July 3. So we’re going with July 4 because it’s more exciting, and fun to imagine that our baby will love their independence as much as their very independent mom and dad. πŸ™‚

Have you had any ultrasounds, and did Whit go with you?

We’ve had 2 – one at 8 weeks and one at 12. Thankfully, despite covid, Whit was able to join me for both. He almost didn’t make it to the second one – he was only allowed in the office for the actual ultrasound, so he drove separately and met me there. We had never been to the office before, and I got lost on the way there 3 times and was super overwhelmed by figuring out all the covid protocols, paperwork, and structure in a large office. Then even though I warned Whit of the difficulties getting there, it took him longer than he planned as well. The ultrasound technician made me go in without him and wasn’t very empathetic, which made me cry. So I was crying when she hastily pulled up my shirt and plopped the ultrasound wand on my stomach and when the baby popped up on the big screen. THANK THE LORD Whit did arrive and they let him in, so he got to be there for about half of it!

How soon did you find out?

I was 4 weeks when I found out, so pretty much as early as possible. I’ve tracked my fertility using the Fertility Awareness Method (and Kindara app) for the past 6 years, so I knew that I might be pregnant when my period was a couple days late.

How did you tell Whit?

He was having a rough day of work, so I didn’t want to tell him right after I got the positive test. I waited a little while and went on a run and then told him at dinner. We had just started trying and were expecting it to probably take longer, so I knew both he and I would both be a little scared of the early timing. I let him know I didn’t want want to make a big deal of it until a few weeks later and we were more sure of the pregnancy, especially since I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks a few years ago. We just kind of took it in together and then changed the subject and talked about other things, like work!

What were your first symptoms?

That run I went on right after I found out? I could barely make it through! I had been so proud of myself for consistently running 2-3 times per week for the past 5 months, and had been pushing myself to improve my times. I felt so disappointed that I got so short of breath after less than my usual distance. So, the shortness of breath came on right away.

Like I said, we decided to not dwell on the pregnancy at first and give ourselves some time to get used to the idea. Well, we decided to go shop for furniture one Sunday less than a week after finding out. I was gathering my things to get in the car when suddenly I didn’t feel very good, like a wave of nausea. My first thought was it might be covid, but then I remembered that pregnancy comes with morning sickness. I didn’t think it would start as early as 5 weeks, especially since I didn’t have any nausea with my first pregnancy that only lasted a couple of weeks. But I assumed that’s what it was, and it never really stopped after that! (By the way, I did make it through furniture shopping and we found a couch we both liked and ordered it a few weeks later. My standards were significantly lower than usual, which made it easier, haha!)

How have you been feeling?

I have had pretty much every symptom in the book! It has helped it feel real, even before seeing the baby or any kind of bump, because I feel SO pregnant. All-day nausea, fatigue that hits hard early afternoon and evening, shortness of breath (I need a break after just taking a shower or bending and folding laundry), terrible indigestion that has brought every kind of stomach/abdominal pain and discomfort, major bloating, lots and lots of mild cramping, sore boobs, random round ligament/stretching pain, and food aversions… pregnancy is fun! Haha.

I have only thrown up once, on a 12-hour road trip to Virginia for Thanksgiving. Whit drove the entire way, bless him, but since we woke up and ate breakfast super early, my stomach was completely empty by lunchtime. (TMI warning) I was reading and suddenly felt the urge to throw up coming on – thankfully I immediately saw a sign for the next exit, so gently directed Whit to pull off. As soon as he did, I knew we made the right decision because I was feeling worse and worse. It was a tiny exit with just one run-down gas station, so I sat down in the grass and asked Whit to run in to grab paper towels. Fortunately, throwing up on an empty stomach is a completely mild experience, so afterwards I rested a minute, ate some crackers, and we got back on the road without any more problems. I feel somewhat confident that I would have thrown up more times due to my nausea, but have been able to keep it under control by eating every couple of hours.

Between the nausea, fatigue, indigestion, bloating, stretching, and cramps, I have generally felt unwell the entire past 2.5 months. For the first 10-11 weeks, it felt like day 2 of a stomach bug – you’re not throwing up or aching all over, but you feel weak in the stomach and like you need to rest all day. It’s so odd to fell ill when I know that I’m perfectly healthy, in shape, and in fact am two healthy people! I normally have lots of goals and like to use my spare time for productive activities like running, editing photos, and reading, but early on I gave myself permission to just rest, since that’s what my body and the baby need. So, I’ve been watching a lot of Friends (I’m already mid-way through Season 5 now), napping like clockwork, and sometimes just sitting and literally thinking of or doing nothing. I’ve been really grateful to be in my first trimester during the holidays when, besides 12-hour road trips, all that’s been required of me is to sit around and spend time with family.

How are you feeling now?

I was REALLY looking forward to hitting the second trimester to start feeling a lot better, but so far it’s only been a small adjustment. The nausea has mostly subsided, except for a few bouts here and there, but the fatigue and indigestion have persisted. I am so afraid of the third trimester because I hear the heartburn is so bad, and I don’t know if I can take that on top of the stomach pain I already get! Fortunately, even though my physical energy level is still fairly low, I’ve gained back a lot of my mental energy and the desire to do things or talk about things. I’m hoping that increases over the next couple of weeks, too!

Honestly, the indigestion, cramping, and stretching pains have really worn me out. It’s exhausting to have your stomach feel so bad all day, every day! I’ve had some relief here and there, but my biggest prayer is for all that to feel better for the next few months, because I know once I start getting big in the end that it will be harder to deal with again.

Food aversions?

I’ve definitely had aversions to certain foods, but it’s mostly inconsistent. I know if I’ll want to eat something or not. (For example, I made a beef and veggie soup that I never ended up feeling like eating, so we just brought it to my parents’ house for Christmas.)

The biggest letdown has been feeling a little averse to my Arbonne Energy Fizz Sticks, which normally are LIFE to me. That’s been tough because I could definitely use the extra energy boost! But none of the flavors have sounded or tasted appealing. I’ve been trying to drink one every day anyway to gain some mental energy, but sometimes I just skip it.

It must not be interested in caffeine, because even the idea of coffee has repulsed me. So, no more hanging out in coffee shops to get work done (which is fine because I feel more comfy at home on the couch or with my heating pad!). I haven’t been drinking tea in the mornings either, but it doesn’t gross me out.

Also, I had to take a supplement for my thyroid which tastes DISGUSTING and makes you burp the flavor for the next several hours, so that was really rough on my nausea at the beginning. I skipped it for a couple weeks because I just couldn’t handle it, but started taking it again when my OB mentioned the importance of the thyroid in pregnancy. (A couple weeks ago I had my thyroid re-checked and started taking medication for it, so fortunately I was able to stop the yucky supplement! Hooray!!)

Cravings?

Mostly I have craved fries and chips, which isn’t news to anyone, but there have been a few occasions that I wanted it so bad I went or made Whit go get some right away. I also lived off of cheesy things (pizza, nachos, pasta with cheese, grilled cheese, etc.) most of the first trimester, until my indigestion got so bad that I knew I had to quit (I’m technically lactose intolerant, but usually I eat so little dairy that it doesn’t bother me when I do eat it). I’ve also indulged on a few occasions in things I wouldn’t normally, like when we saw a Cookout on our drive to Richmond and decided to grab my favorite milkshake – not because I NEEDED it right then, but because when you’re feeling bad, eating something you love makes you feel a little better.

I would also love to drink wine (which isn’t something I normally crave), but unfortunately that’s off-limits for quite some time!

Do you plan to find out the gender?

Yes! I want to add, “of course!” because I hate surprises, haha! I want to know the gender asap so I can start picking out sweet baby clothes, sheets and swaddle colors/patterns, and buy him or her their first blankie and stuffed animal.

Do you have any feelings of whether it’s a boy or a girl?

When we see the baby on the ultrasound, we refer to it as him – it just makes sense to have a little guy floating around in there! And there are a couple of old wives’ tales about gender that line up with it being a boy – craving savory v. sweet, feeling really mellow, and my nails are growing super fast (although my hair is terrible). I’d love a girl to have a little mini me, but a little dude would be great as well! We’ll see!

Significant moments so far?

We traveled up to Philly to celebrate our 10th anniversary shortly after finding out. We stayed downtown which meant a lot of walking, which was rough but I made it through! It was fun to celebrate our anniversary together and explore a city that we used to live near but hadn’t seen a lot of. We also happened to be there the day the election was called. It was really special being in the state capital (and birthplace of America!) when Pennsylvania was the state who flipped the election. The night before, there were protests near our hotel, but then on Saturday people were celebrating everywhere. It made us miss city life, and it felt historic to be around for.

Telling our families was really fun! We told Whit’s parents on Thanksgiving day – his other siblings’ families were supposed to be there but had to back out due to sickness. It was fun to let Whit’s parents in on the secret, especially because it was going to be tough to hide it from them any longer since we were staying with them for several more days. A few days later with my family, we gave my nephew a late birthday present – a t-shirt saying “promoted to big cousin” (our baby will be his first cousin!). I couldn’t say ANYTHING while he was opening the gift because my heart was pounding so hard! My sister-in-law suspected what we were doing and started freaking out first, while it took my mom a little longer to put everything together. Later on when we told Whit’s siblings and their families, we found out that our sister-in-law is expecting right now too!! Our babies will be about 1 1/2 to 2 months apart depending on when they arrive. And then like I said earlier, it was so nice to spend a couple of weeks at Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families where I could just sit around and talk to people and watch movies and have other people cook for me.

Also, Whit has been a CHAMPION this entire time. He has been 100% patient and understanding with me as my capacity has decreased in every possible way (besides baby making haha). I’m so thankful he has made it so easy for me to not over-exert myself and not feel guilty! He is going to make the best dad.

Well, that’s about it for now! It’s wild to experience everything for myself, like telling our friends and my coworkers (for some reason I feel like telling people is really awkward??), because I’ve been on the other side so many times. I kind of know what to expect, but it’s also all new. It’s all very normal but very new for me, so it’s been a big adjustment, but I’m just taking it all in! It’s tough to feel poorly all day for weeks and now months at a time, and I’ve almost broken into tears over that a few times, but it’s a sweet time nonetheless.

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