Although I’ve been providing little baby updates on Instagram, I haven’t shared my pregnancy progress here on the blog since first announcing our news! As the first trimester is for many women, my initial three months of pregnancy were pretty tough, and I was forced to slow down from my usual pace considerably. Now that I’ve hit the 16 weeks pregnant mark and my energy has returned a bit, I thought I’d update you guys with how things are going. Every day of pregnancy brings something new; just like I know having a child will be, it’s a constant adventure!
I started suffering from nausea shortly after receiving a positive pregnancy test in mid-June. The term “morning sickness” didn’t apply for me. Rather, I spent all day, every day, for several weeks in a row, feeling like I was on the verge of throwing up. (I rarely actually did vomit, however, which almost made things worse as I got no relief!) The mere thought of most foods triggered my gag reflex, and I subsisted on an increasingly boring rotation of toast, soup, cheese quesadillas, and dry cereal. The digestive symptoms, coupled with the extreme exhaustion that is common in the first trimester, kept me largely on the couch binging Netflix for most of the summer. (If you haven’t watched The Sinner yet, I highly recommend it.)
Thankfully, my job tends to slow down for me during the summer, so I had the time and space to step back and simply focus on surviving rough spots. Because I was feeling so sick and so tired, my ability to focus on work was almost nonexistent anyway. Even my go-to mood and energy booster—my exercise routine—was mostly off the table. With my body and spirit taking a daily beating, each moment was a practice in presence and acceptance. My constant mantra throughout the discomfort was, “This is just for now. This is just for now,” I suspect it’s a refrain I’ll be repeating a lot in the coming months!
In addition to reminding myself of the temporary nature of my condition, I also found it helpful to tap into gratitude to get me through. For one thing, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so thankful to be self-employed and have the ability to set my own schedule. I can’t imagine having to grin and bear it through a 9-to-5 job feeling as lousy as I did for those months—and I have massive respect for all the women who do so! For example, my cousin is also pregnant right now and she’s a surgery nurse who worked straight through her first trimester nausea. What a superhero!
An even bigger source of gratitude, though, was that fact that my severe nausea suggested a sufficient quantity of pregnancy hormones in my bloodstream. Of course, plenty of women have strong hormone levels with no first trimester symptoms; but for me, when I suffered my miscarriage last fall, the quieting of my nausea was the first sign that something was wrong. I therefore did my best not to complain—too much!—since for me, the sicker I felt, the more assured I could be that baby was growing on pace.
Speaking of my previous miscarriage, the fallout of that experience has impacted this current pregnancy in all the ways you might expect. I spent the first several weeks in emotional self-protection mode, positive that we’d lose this baby too. I connected immediately with our unborn child the first time around, but I was positively standoffish towards this one—and I struggled with palpable guilt around that. Then, at the beginning of August I experienced some spotting As Ivan and I raced to the doctor, I was convinced that what I feared had come to pass.
Fortunately, the spotting was deemed normal and hasn’t occurred again. Our doctor, sensing my high anxiety, asked if I’d like to come in for weekly ultrasounds—which is exactly what we’ve been doing since then. Getting regular updates on baby’s healthy progress has reduced my stress a ton, and watching things develop has helped me feel more tied to the child that’s growing inside of me. I still get a hitch in my breath in the moments before the ultrasound tech confirms a heartbeat, but at least I’m not living in constant fear of another miscarriage.
Today, a month into my second trimester, my nausea and fatigue have largely lifted. I only feel sick to my stomach if I eat too much at once, so I’m careful to keep my meals small and spaced consistently throughout the day. I haven’t faced any strong food cravings, but I do find myself drawn mostly to savory meals that are high in protein. (So many ham sandwiches, so little time!) Though my energy hasn’t returned to its pre-pregnancy levels, it’s increased significantly. I’m back to my normal work schedule, and I’m fitting in five workouts per week. I pace myself more slowly in both those areas, but it’s such a relief to be working and moving my body in any capacity!
Now that I can get off the couch, we’re currently in research mode for where we want to deliver the baby. There are so many great options local to us in LA, everything from top-notch hospitals to highly respected birthing centers and midwifery programs. We’re touring facilities, confirming insurance coverage, and interviewing several care teams, all with the guidance of our trusted doula Ivy Joeva, who’s been with us since the miscarriage. We also meet with her for biweekly coaching that she calls “baby-proofing our relationship. She’s frankly our most invaluable support and deserves a blog post all her own!
In terms of birth and parenting preparation, I know that some women soak up every possible book, website, and expert resource when they’re expecting. I’m intentionally avoiding that mindset. With the goal of taking things day-by-day, I’m choosing to trust that the information I need will be available to me at the time that I need it. My personality is such that I can easily project fears into the future, and with that projection comes mounting stress levels. The last thing I want to do is flood baby with unnecessary stress chemicals while in the womb! So each Sunday evening I read to Ivan from The Flo App’s weekly gestation updates, but other than that I’m trying not to get ahead of myself. (No need to start pouring over birth stories just yet, right?!)
One thing I am pouring over, however, is nursery design ideas! It’s the nature of my line of work that creating a welcoming physical space for our firstborn thrills me greatly. I can’t wait to share that process with you guys, especially since the limitations of our small house are going to require some creative thinking that I hope you’ll find inspiring for your own homes, whether you’re decorating for a baby or not! Another thing we’re excited to share is the sex of our baby. The way we found out is a pretty funny story, definitely not what you expect when you hear the words “gender reveal”. Like the whole of my first trimester, it’s just more proof that pregnancy (and life in general!) is a constant act of surrender—so we may as well sit back and enjoy the ride as best we can. Stay tuned for all that and so much more!