5 Things I Did Not Expect While Expecting in The First Trimester
Hi everyone! It's been a little minute since my last update for y'all regarding my IVF twin pregnancy! I have now successfully completed the first trimester and am 14 weeks along, so I figured it would be a good time to post while those first weeks are still heavy on my mind.
Before I start, I want to remind everyone that every single day has been a huge blessing for me experiencing this miracle pregnancy and looking forward to finally being a mom. However, pregnancy is not all rainbows and lollipops! I think no matter what the circumstance, every pregnant woman is allowed a bit of complaining ;)
I have been a very studious pregnant lady, and before that a well-versed infertility patient, so I think I had a pretty good handle on knowing "what to expect when expecting" going into this experience. I knew that nausea would come, food aversions, frequent urination, all of that. I am here to share with you what I absolutely did not expect and the five things that led me to either turn into a googling addict or desperately phone call my doctor (in no particular order).
1.) LOSS OF SYMPTOMS: That's right, I remember clearly at about seven weeks feeling totally healthy and energetic like my normal pre-IVF self and FREAKING out about it. Up until then I had bouts of nausea daily, super tender (huge) breasts, and bloating. When one day it all just disappeared, I could not enjoy myself one bit. I may have suffered a bit of PTSD after my miscarriage at ten weeks last year, but when my symptoms went away for a few days I was terrified that we had lost a heartbeat as well. I called my doctor in a panic and he let me know that it is extremely normal for pregnant women to experience a roller coaster of symptoms and that I should try to enjoy it while it lasted, because the worst was yet to come. His words comforted me a tiny little bit, but not enough to prevent a full on panic attack prior to my next heartbeat check ultrasound. Thank heaven, we were able to see two perfectly beating hearts at that appointment! I never expected to WISH for morning sickness so much in my entire life. (PS it came back with a vengeance).
2.) FATIGUE: Okay, yea, I knew from books and the internet to expect sleepiness and diminished energy during the first trimester. What I did not realize was just how incredibly exhausted I could actually become from doing basically nothing other than growing two little beans inside of me. I would sleep twelve hours a night and then crash again on the couch for a couple hours at least every day. Never in my life have I fallen asleep while watching a new episode of Grey's Anatomy until now! My mom immediately suspected twins when she witnessed how fatigued I was and she was right!
3.) HEADACHES/STUFFY NOSE: I'm combining these two, because I am fairly certain that they are related. I had no idea that pregnancy commonly causes stuffiness, or maybe I did, but I didn't think too much of it. My sinuses have never been so congested in my life! I felt like I could press on the front of my forehead and feel all the gunk just clogging everything up in there. It was bad trying to get a good night's rest in when I could barely breathe through my nose, had a cotton mouth, and had to keep switching sides based off of which nostril was more blocked, lol I know ew. I had read that Sudafed is okay during pregnancy, but as a personal rule I really wanted to avoid any and all medication that I could until the second trimester to play it very safe. So I suffered a lot. The worst part about it though, was the sinus headaches! I had a headache constantly, day and night, for about two weeks and my shoulders and neck even started to tense and stiffen up due to it. I felt prepared for stomach related discomfort, but this pain from the chest up was just too much for my exhausted, moody self to handle sometimes.
4.) WORLD'S WORST HEAT RASH: I'm gonna call it a heat rash, just because that's most like what it was, I don't actually know what caused it for sure, probably my skin stretching so fast. The Instagram community thought it was PUPPPS, which I mostly agree with, but THANK HEAVEN it has gone away quite a bit finally and PUPPPS has a reputation for sticking around all the way through labor and sometimes even after. Anyway, right around 11 weeks my stomach was already sticking out (another unexpected) and so I was lathering a bunch of Palmer's belly lotion all over everyday to prevent stretch marks. One night, I noticed that I was pretty itchy on my upper thighs and scratched quite a bit before falling asleep. The next morning, I had developed bumpy, raised hives on my "thighbrows". I thought it might be a reaction to my clothes or the lotion, but was confused why it was so localized. I was also confused that if it was due to stretching skin why my legs would be affected first rather than say, my hips? Over the next 24-48 hours the rash spread from my legs up and across my entire abdomen and even back onto my hips and upper booty. The itching was UNBEARABLE. My skin was hot, bumpy, I had raised white hives, and all I wanted to do was scratch! Lotion wasn't helping and I think showers and baths made it worse. I couldn't wear any clothing tight against my stomach or legs for almost a week. When I finally texted the doctor he told me to try hydrocortisone cream in the meantime until our next appointment and that actually did help quite a bit. I used a whole tube in a couple of days and even though the rash was still visible, I wasn't scratching at it as much. One girl on Instagram suggested sun and sea salt, which I happen to believe is the cure for many things, so I tried a session in the tanning bed (don't worry only ten minutes and the a/c was on blast to avoid overheating). I won't get in that habit, but I swear it helped! The next day I was so much better! Now I am 14 weeks along and the rash is back to just small patches on my upper thighs, but I'll take that over my entire lower abdomen any day!
5.) THE PURE JOY THAT ULTRASOUNDS BRING: Since I only received one ultrasound with my last pregnancy at seven weeks and the heartbeat was already gone at that time, my experience with ultrasounds has obviously been 100x more enjoyable this time around. Particularly, my 11 week ultrasound. I did not realize that the little shrimps would look so much like actual babies in there by then! Tears were just rolling down my face seeing their little profiles, arms waving, feet, and heart moving in and out of their chests. What was the most amazing though, was their movement! The babies were both jumping around in there, doing somersaults and waving their limbs around! It hadn't occurred to me that they could move so early for some reason! This was the best day or my pregnancy so far, making it feel so much more real and allowing myself to just be excited and not so worried all the time!
Writing this, I'm looking back on my first trimester with the fondest feelings despite any annoying symptoms I may have experienced and I am even more excited for what the second trimester has in store for us! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me or comment below what you might have experienced during pregnancy that you didn't expect!