During my pregnancy with Ben, I wrote my symptoms down week by week. After we shared the news, I wrote a first trimester recap post here.
Early in this pregnancy I wound up looking back at that post almost weekly to see if my symptoms matched (or just hoping for any confirmation that the exhaustion would end soon). Spoiler: It didn’t.
Despite the fact that blogging isn’t what it used to be, I still like having this little space to reference my own life. Could I just journal privately? SURE. But where’s the fun in that?
So here’s my first trimester recap, week by week.
3.5 weeks – Found out. Feel the same.
4 weeks – Nap time! I forgot how early fatigue sets in. Took 2 naps this week.
5 weeks – Indifferent about food. Nothing sounds really amazing but I’m not nauseous (so that’s good).
6 weeks – Nauseous in the morning and anytime my stomach is empty. Nothing sounds really good until something really specific does. It’s usually carbs. Ate a lot of white rice. Did I mention nauseous?
7 weeks – Nauseous and then only want foods that aren’t good for me.
8 weeks – Aggressive fatigue. Doing active activities with Ben is really hard. Starting to like normal foods again though. Even though something might not sound good, once I take a bite I decide I like it.
9 weeks – Eating normally. Exhausted.
10 weeks – Eating normally. Exhausted.
11 weeks – Eating normally. Exhausted. Took naps almost daily. Got the results of our cell-free DNA testing. No chromosomal abnormalities detected and also – it’s a GIRL. I was super surprised because I thought it was a boy. I have no reason for this really except my symptoms seemed mostly the same as with Ben and also we only had a boy name picked out.
12 weeks – Eating normally. Exhausted.
13 weeks – Eating normally. Exhausted. Went to Maine. Took naps.
I’ll also note that weight gain wise, this pregnancy was a little different. I gained about 5 lbs. almost immediately (like by week 5) and then stopped all together and basically didn’t gain any weight the rest of the first trimester. It was very different than my pregnancy with Ben where I struggled to eat and gained no weight in my first trimester. It has leveled off now (I’m writing this from week 22) and I’m on target with where I was at the same time in my pregnancy with Ben.
Because I gained just enough weight (all in my middle) so quickly, it made all of my pants just a little uncomfortable. I wore my regular pants with Ben throughout my first trimester with no issues but this pregnancy all I wanted to do was be in legging or things with stretchy waistbands. I basically wore these shorts every day and I still think they’re the most comfortable pj/lounge shorts ever made.
Overall, I’d say the first trimester of my second pregnancy was harder, simply because trying to be a Mom to an active toddler during the extreme fatigue is physically draining but also emotionally draining. There were days that I felt like I just could not be the Mom I wanted to be, simply because I couldn’t stay awake or didn’t have the energy to take him to do a fun activity that I knew he’d love.
I classify this as short-term guilt because long-term, I’m giving him a life-long best friend and having a sibling will benefit him so much more in the long run than one more trip to the zoo or museum. But it sure didn’t feel like that when I fell asleep in the middle of reading him Llama Llama Red Pajama (yes that really happened).
And now for the more personal portion of this programming. I debated sharing these details because it is super personal but it’s also true to the experience that I had. Other women have had such experiences, though I hadn’t heard of many and thus felt very alone in my experience as it was happening. If this happened to you to (or does some day) maybe it will help to know it’s happened to others.
The first trimester of this pregnancy was also harder for one major reason – I experienced bleeding, something that never happened during my pregnancy with Ben.
The first time it happened, during week 4, it was sudden and significant. I knew I was having a miscarriage. I came downstairs and told my husband and nearly poured myself a glass of wine. I didn’t, because I just wanted to wait and see what the doctor said.
At that point it was too early for an ultrasound so I had my blood drawn every other day for a week to determine that my HCG levels were in fact rising. The bleeding stopped the same night it started and the tests confirmed that the pregnancy was proceeding normally. Waiting for those test results was brutal and not knowing the cause of the bleeding messed with my head a bit. Like in life, when you’re bleeding you generally know the cause and source – injury or periods. We just didn’t in this case and it was weird to be like, where is the blood coming from?
The bleeding happened again about every two weeks until week 10. I had a good ultrasound at 6.5 weeks (right after I’d experienced some bleeding) and no indication where the bleeding was coming from.
When it happened again at 8 weeks I walked to the local urgent care and asked for an ultrasound (more for my own mental health) and was told they didn’t have an ultrasound machine at urgent care and told me to go to the ER. That seemed excessive for something that was going to happen if it was going to happen. So I just walked home. I didn’t even tell the doctor about this time. It stopped and I just went on with life, hoping.
When it happened again at 10 weeks (when I hoped I was nearly in the clear), the doctor ordered another ultrasound (the one pictured above). This time I got to see something that resembled a baby wiggling around a bit and a good strong heartbeat. After that, it stopped. The doctor still has no idea what was causing it or where it was coming from.
It was a rollercoaster. Every time I saw blood, a little part of my heart broke. It kept me from being super excited about the pregnancy as I tried to protect myself by not getting my hopes up. It felt like every time I’d gotten a little excited that maybe it was going to stick, the bleeding would happen again and I’d be back to square one.
As much as people say that “no one talks about miscarriage,” I feel like I’ve heard about it quite a bit, both in the blog community and amongst the women in my life. I know it’s something many women experience and it very well could happen to me. Those experiences I’d read and heard about played in my head over and over. If you’ve been around here for a while, then you know that this is something I struggled with during my last pregnancy too. I guess that’s the hard part about all this sharing. While it makes some people feel less alone, it can also cause anxiety in others.
As it turned out, I wasn’t having a miscarriage. I’m the lucky one. There were times that a dark part of me wished that if I was going to have one that it would just happen. It was emotionally draining to live through the back and forth. To get my hopes up slowly and then see blood again.
Since week 10 I’ve had nothing but normal pregnancy symptoms. We had a good 20 week ultrasound and I can feel baby girl moving regularly these days. We feel lucky and our fingers are crossed for a totally normal pregnancy from here forward – and no NICU this time around. This little girl is so wanted and already loved by many. We can’t wait to meet her (except I can – so stay in there until December 6th, little one!).