I answered some questions in this blog post, just after I announced my pregnancy. Now that I’m near the finish line, I thought I’d answer some more with my entire pregnancy under my belt!
Q: What was your first sign of pregnancy?
I got a positive pregnancy test just before my first missed period, so we found out quite early! The first physical symptoms of my pregnancy were nausea and breast tenderness. The nausea set in at about 6 weeks and hung around through my first trimester. While I knew that nausea was a common symptom, I had no idea just how sore and tender my breasts would be. To the point where showering or putting on a bra even caused discomfort! I was most surprised by that.
Q: Did you have morning sickness or nausea? If so, how did you manage it?
Yes! It set in right at about 6 weeks and was not fun. I went about 5 days or so and then called my doctor. She advised me to take a combination of Unisom and Vitamin B6 to combat it. Within about 24 hours of starting that regimen, I felt good enough to eat some food and get some relief from the constant nausea. Talk to your doctor and see what he/she recommends for you!
I still felt unsettled most of the time, but I was able to actually function and get through the day once I started taking it. I stayed on the Unisom until about 15 or 16 weeks, at which point my nausea subsided on its own.
I also ate whatever I could stomach or sounded remotely good to me during that first trimester. For awhile, it was a lot of toast, Cheerios, apples, and mac and cheese.
Q: When did you first feel flutters/movement?
I think it was around 16 or 17 weeks. Since it was my first pregnancy, I wasn’t exactly sure what to take note of for those initial movements, so he was probably moving a bit before I even recognized it. It felt like little bubbles popping in my belly – not big or super noticeable, but definitely a different feeling than gas or food digesting. I actually didn’t even realize that it was movement until I was describing it to a friend that had already had a baby and confirmed that was what I was feeling!
Q: I just found out I’m pregnant – how do I not stress about what could happen until the “safe” week?
That was probably my biggest struggle in my first trimester, so I know what you’re feeling! I had a lot of anxiety during those first 12 weeks, worrying about everything being healthy and okay with the pregnancy. I prayed through it and tried to keep my focus on other things.
Q: How have you prepared mentally for delivery day?
I’m a low expectations, minimal plan kind of person when it comes to something I don’t know anything about/have no control over/haven’t done before. Being that I’ve never given birth and don’t know how things will actually shake out that day, my plan is simple: to get baby delivered safely and for me and him to be healthy at the end of it.
Q: What was your favorite part about being pregnant? Least favorite?
Favorite: feeling him kick and move around inside of my belly + having this special connection with him, since it’s just been me and him for the last 9 months
Least favorite: the nausea and exhaustion of the first trimester + anxiety that came along with so many unknowns while carrying him, especially in the first trimester
Q: What has surprised you about being pregnant?
Truthfully, how much I enjoyed it. Having never been pregnant before, I didn’t know what to expect. A big factor in enjoying it is that I’ve felt really good since my second trimester started. Additionally, I had a low risk, complication-free pregnancy, so that certainly helped! But I was not prepared to love it so much. Every milestone, flutter, kick, and additional inch of growth has been so sweet and special to me. While I can’t wait to meet our baby and have him on the outside with us, I will definitely miss being pregnant with him.
Q: What was your biggest struggle during pregnancy?
Probably the anxiety and not knowing if everything was okay. Like I mentioned above, I spent a lot of time praying through that and trusting that the baby was healthy and okay in there. I did whatever I could do to ensure his health, but so much was out of my control. I didn’t like that feeling, but it was good practice for motherhood. My favorite days were going to my checkup appointments and hearing his little heartbeat and knowing he was just fine inside.
Q: Did you have any cravings?
Not many. I’ve always loved apples, but seemed to want apples at all times, specifically honey crisp. I also loved eating popcorn. I was pretty nauseous the entire first trimester, so I ate whatever sounded remotely appetizing to me. Later on in pregnancy, I definitely indulged in dessert very regularly and it was satisfying! But I never had a moment or time when I needed to get or eat something because I was craving it so much.
Q: When/how did you know you were ready for kids?
While I think there’s truth to the idea that you can never really be ready for kids, I do think that you can be ready to take that next step in your life and/or relationship. If you’ve never had a child before, you can’t know what it will be, feel, and look like, which is true of anything you’ve never done before. However, I fully believe that you can be in a place mentally, emotionally, relationally, and otherwise where you are ready to take the next step towards starting a family. For Mike and me, this came about 2 years into our marriage. We’d been together since we were 22, were making plans for the future for where we would settle and what we would be doing, and had a solid foundation in place for our marriage. Most importantly, though, we both felt ready to make the necessary sacrifices that come with having a baby and growing our family. We took advantage of our 20’s to travel, figure out our careers, enjoy time with friends, and live with few responsibilities. And it was wonderful! I’ll always have very fond memories of our time dating and being married before we started having kids. And that’s not to say that you can’t do any and all of those things after you have a baby, of course. I just think that priorities and focuses shift once you’ve got a tiny person around to care for. At about 2 years, both at 29 years old, there came a shift – we knew we wanted to have kids (we’d love to have 2-3, if the Lord blesses us with more!) and wanted to do it in our early-mid 30’s. We both felt ready to take on that next step and that’s when we started trying to get pregnant. This will look different for everyone, of course, but is true of our experience!
Q: How did you overcome the exhaustion, especially in the first trimester?
Naps and powering through! The first trimester is hard. I was nauseous, exhausted, had anxiety about everything being okay with the baby, and felt a general ambivalence towards everything in life. It was a big shift for me and was something I wasn’t really prepared for, except the nausea. I have the benefit of working for myself from home, so I was able to nap and rest pretty much as needed. My personality isn’t geared towards resting, though, so I had to regularly fight with my go-go-go mentality to allow my body the rest that it so clearly needed. Your body is doing so much work in that first trimester (and your entire pregnancy!), so it’s important to listen to it and give it what it needs.
The good news is (and this was true for me) that most women get their energy back in the second trimester. I’d say about a week or two into my second, I started feeling much more like myself and had my normal energy level back. Being on the other side of things now, it’s amazing how quickly it goes by (although those hard days are HARD, and that’s okay) and I don’t really remember all the nausea and exhaustion of the first.
Q: Were you scared to switch OB’s so far into your pregnancy?
Not at all. I’m pretty low key when it comes to things like that. I did a bit of research on OB’s in the area and chose one based on that. Since I had a low-risk, no-complication pregnancy, it was a very easy transition to make. Truthfully, I like the doctors and practice at my Raleigh OB’s office much more than I did at my VA office, so it worked out in my favor!
Q: Did your hormones go crazy?
They didn’t! I’ve actually been very level and emotionally “neutral” throughout my pregnancy. Sure, I can cry a little bit easier or get annoyed a little more quickly, but I didn’t have any sort of mood swings or big shifts. I expected that I would, since I would usually have mood swings and changes just before my period each month, but it didn’t happen!
My skin has also been pretty good! I broke out some in my first trimester, but nothing that couldn’t be managed with skincare products and a little extra makeup.
Q: Did you have a feeling you were having a boy before you found out?
Not at all! I really didn’t have a leaning one way or the other. Mike guessed boy from very early on and ended up being right, but he had a 50/50 shot 😉
Q: Did you have any round ligament, abdominal, or back pain?
Right around 30 weeks or so, my back started getting pretty achy. I’ve carried him low, so I anticipated that I’d have some discomfort before too long with all that weight and pressure on my low back. I used this belly band for a few weeks and it made a big difference! Strangely, at about 34 or 35 weeks, my back aches pretty much disappeared. I figured they’d be sticking around for the remainder of my pregnancy, as I’m only growing, but it may have just been my body needing to adjust and figure out what was happening to it!
Q: How did you manage to eat healthy while pregnant?
I definitely didn’t eat a balanced “diet” throughout my first trimester – I ate food purely for survival and sustenance. Once I started feeling better, I found myself wanting to get back into eating the food I was used to. I’m thankful to have not had many aversions, so it wasn’t too hard to get back to our normal routine. I love pizza, pasta, a fried chicken sandwich, and plenty of other not-as-good-for-you things, but always feel best when I’m eating relatively healthy. Since I didn’t have much energy to exercise regularly or how I was pre-pregnancy, I figured the least I could do was eat my veggies and maintain a pretty healthy rotation of food. That said, I also ate dessert nearly every single night, so it wasn’t all broccoli and lean meats 😉
Q: How has your relationship with Mike changed since becoming pregnant?
Neither of us feel like much has changed, in terms of our dynamic or how we interact with one another. There’s certainly been a bonding element that has come along with us preparing for our first baby and going through this experience together, which has been sweet. As we step into our roles as parents, I’m certain there will be some growing pains and changes there, but am hopeful that we will navigate through them together, instead of at odds with one another. I can’t wait to see him become a dad!
Q: Did you use a pregnancy app?
I used both The Bump and Ovia. I didn’t check it religiously or anything like that, but loved to read about what was happening developmentally, especially in the first and second trimesters. It was interesting to see what he was probably up to in there!
Q: What do you miss most about your pre-pregnancy life?
Easiest question ever: wine. I’ve chosen to abstain from drinking during my pregnancy, so I CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT FIRST GLASS OF RED WINE.
On a deeper level, there will certainly be times that I will be nostalgic for our married-before-kids days. We have had the opportunity to do some really fun things in our married life without any added responsibilities, like children, that will always be special to me. I’m thankful we had the time to make those memories and grow during that time, so that we can look back fondly on them as we step into this new chapter!
Q: Have you had any trouble sleeping? If so, any tips.
I don’t know how it happened, but I was one of the few pregnant women that was spared from sleep troubles. I had a couple bouts of insomnia, starting in my second trimester, but I think they were more situational than pregnancy-related. We were in the midst of moving and I had a ton of things on my mind, so I wasn’t able to fall back asleep after one of my middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom. Beyond that, the only trouble I’ve had is waking regularly to use the bathroom, but I almost always fall right back to sleep. I’ve certainly tossed and turned more than pre-pregnancy, but it’s not quite as easy to get comfortable with a big belly! I found that sleeping with a king-sized pillow between my knees was most comfortable. I tried a pregnancy pillow, but didn’t like the part that my head would rest on, so opted to use my own pillow for my head and then another for between my knees.
Q: What have you used to prevent stretch marks?
I haven’t done or used anything specifically for stretch mark prevention, but I have always been the kind of person that completely moisturizes my skin after every shower or bath. I apply this lotion from head to toe. I’m not sure if the lotion is a contributing factor or just that I’m not prone to them genetically, but I haven’t noticed many stretch marks. I also can’t see my entire belly, so it’s possible that I’ll see them after my body starts going back, post-delivery.
Q: What baby item were you most excited to pick out/receive?
I was most excited to put together his nursery! I love decorating and styling a room, so I knew I would have fun with it. Adding the additional layer of excitement over it being a nursery for our first baby, it was a lot of fun to do!
I’m most excited to use our stroller. We went with the Uppababy Vista V2 and I cannot wait to push him around the neighborhood in it.