Life

My First Trimester Recap

May 21, 2020
Seaside maternity shoot

If you guys missed my post earlier this week, well…I’m pregnant! I’m 17 weeks now and feeling really quite amazing—my energy’s back, my nausea has basically entirely dissipated and my boobs aren’t making me cry in pain anymore (though they are still massive and continuing to grow…if they were huge before, I don’t even know what I’d call them at this point…gargantuan?). While I feel great now, when I was going through my first trimester I dealt with a lot of things that I wasn’t anticipating, especially emotionally. COVID-19 really began affecting everything when I was about 8 weeks into my pregnancy, and even leading up to that, just adjusting to this huge life change while hearing murmurings of this pandemic was already instilling a bit of panic. What I found so reassuring at the time was reading other people’s recaps of their first trimesters, going on forums (hit or miss, sometimes I’d read something that would be alarming but more often than not it actually gave me reassurance that what I was going through was also being experienced by so many other women) and checking in on different apps and books, so wanted to share what my first trimester was like in the hopes that it helps someone at some point!

I shared the day we found out on Tuesday but thanks to my trusty little scrapbook that I’ve been jotting near-daily updates in since the beginning, I thought I’d share what the first trimester was like for me since I have a really detailed log of it all! Before diving in, I just want to be transparent about a few things. I honestly kinda hesitated with being totally raw about everything because I don’t want to sound like I’m making this experience sound like a downer because it really hasn’t been, it was just very complex and I had a lot of emotional/physical upheaval in those first few months (the good news is that I feel really great now across the board which I’m really grateful for!). And I also had it a lot easier than a lot of other women, some people have far, far more difficult pregnancies so don’t want to sound like I’m making mine sound like it’s been this terrible struggle, it’s more just a retelling of how I felt in the moment. And finally, I don’t want to complain when so many couples are trying or struggling to get pregnant…I’m so grateful for this and know how lucky I am. But I am a big believer that there’s a lot of value in a story honestly told, so I want to share my story pretty transparently. Particularly because I’m lucky to not just pull this retelling from memory, but have literally a live capture of what was happening to refer to in my scrapbook so I want to make it as true to that as possible! With that in mind, let’d dive in to my first trimester week-by-week…


Week 4

I found out I was pregnant literally the day I hit 4 weeks. I shared that all in Tuesday’s post but needless to say, it sent me into total shock! We had our 12 year anniversary the next day and I remember just toasting to us and to this new life with sparkling water and being in such a state of disbelief still. I hadn’t noticed anything leading up to that, but literally the very day I hit 4 weeks I just felt off…like I was a bit sick or something, but there was a quality to it too that I intuitively knew was different.

I remember just going through the motions of “normal life” for those first few days but in total shock, with the first feelings of worry/fear coming in about hurting the baby as I realized my regular routine had to change. Worries like going to the gym and then panicking because I did my usual intervals and freaked out because I’d been breathless…worrying I was eating the wrong thing at our anniversary dinner…worrying about the peppermint tea I’d had after reading it could possibly cause uterine contractions etc. I actually had a campaign with the incredible CedarCreek Winery in Kelowna, so flew up a few days after I’d found out and hilariously, the amazing CedarCreek team were some of the first people to know other than Matt because I had to tell them I couldn’t try the wines in person this time around (fortunately I’ve been a fan for a long time so had tried most of their wines before). I panicked because on the way there we’d hit bad turbulence (apparently something really normal for the Kelowna flight route) and while I’m usually fine with turbulence I think just being so high-strung about everything sent my heart skyrocketing, and then I felt all the more panicked for my heart rate spiking and for potentially hurting the baby.

Once I got back, I went into my GP to let her know I was with child and to figure out next steps! I’d just been in a couple months before to get some precautionary blood work done as we had plans to start trying in the new year and had wanted to make sure everything looked good (it was just basic blood work but might be a good idea if you’re planning to conceive or start trying soon…helped me see I needed to get my iron levels up!). She laughed at my general dazed countenance as I was still very much in shock and got the next few things lined up for me, aka more blood work and my first dating ultrasound and advice on what prenatal care she’d recommend for me. 

Week 4 Symptoms: shock, nausea, sore boobs, metallic taste in mouth, chills at night, emotional/crying a lot, bad bloating


Week 5

As it turns out, I actually had miscalculated my due date by 4 days (didn’t find this out until my dating ultrasound) so when I told my best friends on a Thursday night out, I was actually 5 weeks to the day! I’m the definition of a sharer…the type of person who has really deep and meaningful conversations with their seat mate on planes kind of sharer. So it just wasn’t going to be an option for me to be tightlipped and ride out 12 weeks with this secret. I also really strongly believe that as a woman going through this experience, the say on when and how to tell people should ultimately be up to you since there’s a lot more responsibility a woman will feel in carrying a child. All the same, Matt and I discussed what we were comfortable with…he wanted to wait a bit to tell his family but for me, I wanted/needed to tell my family and best friends right away and he was super supportive of that. For my mental health it was essential, but again it’s totally a personal decision and an assessment I think a woman should have the ultimate say in.

As it happens though, it was lucky to decide on telling early because I obviously didn’t know that very, very soon, there wouldn’t be a chance to get to share this announcement with them in-person! I feel awful because we’d planned to tell Matt’s family literally within a week or two of telling my own (they actually were on vacation for a week so we were mostly just waiting for them to be home and to just wrap up some of those essential first check-ups) but by the time we’d had our dating ultrasound and I’d gotten back from a short trip, lockdown had already happened and we ended up needing to tell them over FaceTime…we waited those first couple of weeks to see if we’d get to see them still, but by week 9 we just decided to go for it virutally. Still totally special but just not what we envisioned obviously.

Anyway, told my friends in the stupidest way (I pretended Matt was taking a picture of us so they were mostly like “Alex pay attention, Matt’s trying to take a picture!” as I exclaimed in one breath that I was pregnant…the realization they each had one by one was pretty hilarious) but once they all got the memo it was so, so amazing to be able to hug them in person and to get to share this news while one of my best friends and her husband (who has become an involuntary best friend to us whether he likes it or not) were home from Ireland…not only was that special just because they’re not always back in Canada, but especially because she’s also pregnant (almost to the day 3 months ahead of me). I’d planned to go to Europe not only for Matt and I’s babymoon, but to visit them when their little one was here so while that’s a tough pill to swallow, so grateful I got to share that moment with everyone in person and to get to hug them.

A few days later, I went over to my parents. My dad especially had been very aggressively calling me lately “because we need to move forward with booking things like NOW they’re getting all booked up Aleeeeeex” for our family reunion trip in Portugal in August (not that we really need family reunions as I usually see them all the time, it’s just to go somewhere near my older sister who lives in Europe every few years or so). The calls were getting more frequent and more urgent so finally on that Sunday, I nipped his travel planning mania in the bud by telling them all that going away in August would be tricky for me since our baby was due in October. I have the whole video over on my IG highlight but the shock factor was pretty decent, really don’t think they were expecting it! 

I got my blood work done and everything came back the next day all clear and good! I also told my older sister over FaceTime since she’s in Amsterdam. She had insisted on going grocery shopping while we were on our call so sucks to be her, she cried in public.

Week 5 Symptoms: trouble focusing, feeling woozy, very tired, sore boobs, bad bloating, cramps starting


Week 6

This week was a bit disconcerting for me because I’d started to get some pretty bad cramping. That can be totally normal through your first trimester and I’m really sensitive to any sensations in my abdomen as it is, but to be safe I called in to my GP and she pushed my dating ultrasound earlier to the very next week just to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. While this was just a sensible precautionary measure and I’m really grateful she did this, it was the trigger that kicked off a week of sleepless nights as I freaked out about it being an ectopic pregnancy or of something else being wrong. This is when the anxiety really began to get super bad for me…I just was not handling the stress of these appointments well (as it is even pre-pregnancy, I really get uncomfortable with just regular doctor checkups as I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and always convinced something is wrong). I was already starting to get the really bad exhaustion that would come in full force in a couple weeks, but it was definitely amplified by just not sleeping at all, waking up at 3AM for snacks and then just sitting in the living room and reading until I’d get tired enough to sleep again at 6AM (or just not going back to sleep at all, which happened a bit too…very weird for someone who’s a solid 8 hour a night sleeper, something which I’m fortunately back to now!).

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been scared for anything in my life the way I was for that dating ultrasound. All of this week was kind of a blur to me, and it was all made a bit scarier by the fact that the murmurings of COVID-19 that had happened over the last couple of weeks were starting to get louder and more prominent in the news.

Week 6 Symptoms: cramps, intense exhaustion, constant hunger, constipation really settling in, trouble focusing, nausea, incredibly sore boobs


Week 7

The day I hit week 7 was actually the day of my ultrasound (though I didn’t know this at the time since going from the day of my last period [how you usually calculate due dates] I was 4 days ahead of where I actually was). I couldn’t even talk to Matt on the drive to the clinic, I was so convinced something was wrong and so petrified. I hadn’t slept more than an hour the night before, and with a full bladder (which you need for the ultrasound) and my heart literally hammering in my chest we got to the clinic. I was so uncomfortable by that point from anxiety and the pressure of my bladder I was literally just in a terrible, terrible place.

We got in and I got ushered into the room right away, leaving Matt in the waiting room. The technician left to wrap up another appointment and I remember just trying to calm myself down, to slow my breathing, to get a bit centred. I just remember literally seeing my heart beating out of my chest as I lay there…I’d become so in love with this little being and the terror of anything going wrong was so awful. Anyway, she came in and as they do, didn’t say much as she squirted some gel (which was warmed up, which was nice) and started looking around, just frowning at the screen as she moved the wand back and forth. “Oh my god no, no no no” just kept going through my head as I basically openly stared at her for a bit before squeezing my eyes shut…she just looked so unhappy.

“Your bladder is way too full, how much did you drink?” she finally demanded. Opening my eyes in shock (I was just anticipating something awful at this point), I told her I’d had exactly what they told me to have but was extremely uncomfortable so I wouldn’t object to peeing. She told me to pee out exactly 2 cups worth, handed me a little paper cup, and hoping that somehow I wouldn’t pee everything out used all my kegel training to pee out 2 cups. She sent me back again 2 more times before being somewhat satisfied with my bladder’s contents and finally, she went back to work. Things no one tells you: they don’t really talk to you! It’s not that she was rude or anything like that, I just had this vision of more handholding and chatting with me throughout the process but clearly she has a job to do and certain policies that don’t allow her to chit-chat with me.

She finally turned to me and asked “so your partner is here?” and I nodded, told her his name and without another word, she went off and got him. He came in looking pretty terrified himself quite frankly, and sat down next to me. Finally (finally!!!) she turned the screen to us and that’s when I knew everything was okay. She showed us the flickering heartbeat, that everything had implanted properly and that I was actually a bit earlier on in my pregnancy—only 7 weeks that day! I was just leaking tears, so relieved and so happy. She was really sweet at this point actually, I guess it’s just that they have a job to do and they need to move it along quickly and can’t give away anything.

I’ve never in my entire life felt that kind of relief. Walking out of there into the sun with a printout of our little one was the best feeling in the world and I quickly updated my friends & family who knew how terrified and beside myself I’d been (again, me not sharing was never going to be an option, I am very much someone who has to share and talk through everything with my people).

The very next day, in a totally different, happier state of mind, I went with my family to the cabin for literally the most magical trip. We saw dolphins right in front of our beach, got to go to our favourite places, saw my dad’s new sailboat he’d gotten from his late best friend which was really touching and amazing to see in person. I’m so, so grateful for this last trip with my family because by the time week 8 rolled around, everything had entirely changed and it’d be the last time I’d see them for some time. Even on that trip I remember being nervous and not letting anyone leave the car on the ferry, really just hunkering down at the cabin and not touching anything at all…had no idea what was in store in just a matter of days!

Week 7 Symptoms: paralyzing anxiety on ultrasound day followed by immediate relief, severe exhaustion (would fall asleep anywhere & everywhere, from the floor to the car), boobs hurting so badly I had to put ice packs on them, really bad constipation, emotional outbursts (bawling once because I was convinced my dad hadn’t washed his hands thoroughly enough…this was in public, by the way), general queasiness


Week 8

Like clockwork, as soon as I hit week 8 I was running to the washroom, vomiting 4 times that night. I’d been queasy and had dry heaved before that quite a bit (mostly triggered by the thought of things and smells rather than anything I actually ate, which is interesting). 

A couple days later, my only update in my scrapbook is this: “It’s been a strange time—I’m starting to feel sick with a sore throat, tickle, heavy feeling in my lungs, itchy eyes, etc. The last few days have just been hard, scary and emotional. From feeling terrified and guilty about potentially contracting something that could hurt you (even though I’ve been so careful I don’t know how I could’ve done that) to worrying about how symptoms could evolve, it’s just been such a hard time. But I’m trying my best to stay positive and to celebrate that tomorrow we officially enter the last month! And you’ll officially be a fetus!”

That positive tone was mostly for the baby in the event that they ever read this again—I felt much, much worse. I was terrified and gripped with such intense guilt. I was bawling and bawling, so worried I had COVID and would get a terrible fever (which is really not good in the first trimester) and do something to hurt the baby.

While it ended up just being allergies (which in retrospect seems kind of funny because I can not stress enough I was losing it, was not in a good state of mind), I decided to do my 10-day quarantine at home just to be safe in order to protect others beginning midway through week 8. And so began the looooongest week of them all…week 9!

Week 8 Symptoms: nausea & vomiting pretty regularly (could also have been why my throat felt sore!), insomnia, crazy sore boobs, exhaustion, pelvic cramping


Week 9

Such a bleak update in my scrapbook hahaha. No polaroids, no daily updates…just one big spiel at the end of it because I didn’t go anywhere, do anything, see anyone, etc. My little sister was such an angel and dropped off homemade pizza dough and sauce at our door (and an Archies comic, because I’m one of the only adults who still actually reads them) along with a card I still keep out that makes me cry because other than Matt, she’s who I’d been talking with the most. She’s such an amazing little sister and I think she more than anyone (other than Matt, obviously) knew how hard the last little bit had been for me emotionally/mentally (and physically to some extent too, I was lucky in many ways in that my head wasn’t stuck in a toilet 24/7 but still struggling physically), and in the card really let me know how much she supports me and loves me. She made me feel so much better and I’ll always remember such a simple but sweet gesture to let me know she was there for me.

At this point, my exhaustion was so bad I couldn’t even look at a computer screen. Going to the washroom was just a journey in and of itself…I was pretty much glued to the couch, which as a pretty high-energy person usually just felt kind of awful. Was still vomiting about once every other day, but the exhaustion is really what I’d say was my worst physical symptom throughout my first trimester (as you can likely already tell though, other than exhaustion it was anxiety, stress and worry that really were most prominent throughout those first few months). I just couldn’t function for a week or two there! In a weird way, it was kind of lucky that so many of my campaigns and just work in general slowed down so much because of COVID—I could hardly do anything to begin with, if I’d had the usual level of work I typically have in the spring months it would’ve been very, very difficult to keep up with it. I’ve never in my life experienced debilitating fatigue like this, even with the flu or bronchitis or whatever else. I’m just grateful that I work from home and could take that time off—my hat seriously goes off to any mum-to-be’s who had to power through fatigue like that in an office, or who already have kids…I don’t know how you do it. Matt had already been making literally all of our meals while working and keeping the place clean for at least a week or two at this point because I genuinely didn’t have energy for anything, and he would continue doing that until I emerged from exhaustion around week 11 when I started making our smoothies at least again. He’s honestly been so amazing through this whole process and so supportive.

While this week was really hard, maybe the hardest other than the week leading up to my ultrasound, the cherry blossoms had just come out over the course of the week and we celebrated the end of my 10-day quarantine on the very last day of this week with a glorious walk, my first time outside in days!

Week 9 Symptoms: indescribable fatigue, nausea, vomiting & dry heaving, continuing to put ice packs on my boobs (and wouldn’t even think of taking a bra off, the feeling of them being unleashed from their bolder holders would make me scream out in pain), moodiness


Week 10

Cherry blossoms in Vancouver

I had my first call with my midwife group just to go over a few things before we had a proper intake appointment and I immediately told them I think I needed support for the anxiety I was going through, what with navigating not only a first-time pregnancy, but a pregnancy during a pandemic. They referred me to Kate Borsato who I can only describe as a godsend. I would 100% recommend her for anything related to pregnancy or trying to conceive (or postpartum, for that matter). She’s helped me so, so much. 

I had a call with her later this week and it’s crazy, I just started feeling better right away. While I’d been messaging my friends and family all throughout and updating on FaceTime calls, talking to a pro made such a world of difference. I had some tools right away to apply to everything that was happening, a mantra that really helped me during the constant state of guilt/panic/anxiety I had about hurting the little one (“I’m safe, baby’s safe, I’m doing the best that I can”) and so much more.

In other news, I puked on the floor after seeing a piece of wet spinach that disgusted me…I just thought I was doing my usual little dry heaving routine but then some vomit just spontaneously came out all over the kitchen floor. Matt thought it was both gross and hilarious (but mostly hilarious), which is yet another reason I cherish him so. Other than that, we were back to our daily walks outside with the cherry blossoms which made such a difference as far as my mental health and while I’d been keeping up with my workouts throughout everything, was able to do a bit more this week too which was amazing. Still exhausted but was starting to emerge from the insane vortex of fatigue I was in before.

Main thing was just still feeling really anxious during walks (still is anxiety-inducing even now), because as happy as they made me I was trying to get the right amount of space from people and a lot of people make that really hard, whether it’s a runner almost brushing by you or a pack of teenage kids biking on the sidewalk right at you. If you see a woman with rage in her eyes and aren’t moving over, other than the fact that she may have a pre-existing condition that puts her at higher risk, maybe assume she’s pregnant even if she’s not showing and please give her a wide berth! I know the general consensus now is that being outside, risks are pretty negligible, but was really frustrating to feel unsafe still.

Week 10 Symptoms: sore boobs as always, nausea starting to abate and feeling more hungry, cramping, fatigue but definitely abating, constipation as per usual


Week 11

This was a good week! It was my birthday week and my friends and family made me feel so special even in quarantine, workouts were so much better and more frequent, the weather was absolutely gorgeous and the cherry blossoms were out in full swing, and I also got the Harmony test done (a NIPT test that checks for any chromosomal abnormalities, and it also can let you know the gender early!) so I just felt like things were progressing.

A huge, huge difference was just feeling more alive and less exhausted. It’s really hard to describe how physically and mentally depleted I was but looking back, it’s obviously just that your body is so hard at work building this placenta and literally building a human—it’s insane what our bodies are doing. I was starting to transition more and more of the workload to my placenta during this week so I started to feel better and better in turn myself. When the exhaustion/nausea/vomiting/anxiety was at its peak it was a bit scary to think of what lay ahead in the future and if things would get worse, but the hard parts are temporary, usually only limited to the first trimester and if you get lucky like I did, they kind of drop off very suddenly actually at a certain point.

Week 11 Symptoms: some cramping, bad constipation + bloating (pooped 1.5 times this week, epic!), melasma fully developed on my forehead, sore and massive boobs


Week 12

Magnolia tree

So depending on your region or what guidelines you’re following, this is either the last week or the second to last week of my first trimester. Either way, I felt like a new person by this point. It was amazing to be 3 months pregnant, to know I’d hit this milestone and that the miscarriage risk had gone down so much at this point, etc. Also, we’d gotten a call from our midwives letting us know that the Harmony test came back all clear and my little sister called in to them to find out the gender. She showed up at our place later bringing bagels (seriously, she’s been such an angel to both Matt and I throughout all of this) and was still losing her mind over it—apparently she’d had such an emotional reaction when the receptionist told her the gender that the receptionist congratulated her hahaha.

The main thing was that as happy as I was, I was also still very, very prone to getting emotional, and had been letting some resentment and hurt build up for weeks that I should’ve just communicated calmly weeks before. I got really upset with my family on FaceTime on the Sunday of this week and bawled my eyes out because I still just felt so isolated… the thing is, yeah sure they could’ve maybe checked in on me more over the months preceding this breakdown particularly knowing I’m a people person and like a lot of interaction, but actually, me feeling as isolated and upset as I did had less to do with them and more to do with the pandemic. I see my family usually once or twice a week, if not more. And while I’m a big texter (and my little sister is too, fortunately) not everyone else is, not to mention they had a lot going on in their individual lives.

I just felt so upset that I was alone, isolated and while I felt a lot better physically, still really struggling with everything happening. Anyway, I bawled hard and just unexpectedly had this big outburst, which isn’t exactly like me. I’m expressive for sure, but not someone who generally cries in front of other people. I sent my apologies immediately afterwards but it actually was a good lesson for me because the fact is, when you’re pregnant, you are a lot more vulnerable and you do need support in a way that you maybe previously didn’t. I feel like that’s especially true during this pandemic. It’s not excusing bratty behaviour and that’s why I took ownership and apologized for getting so upset, but I really realized I needed to communicate better and to maybe come to terms with the fact that not everyone’s the same as me communication-wise, so without in-person visits there may feel like there’s a disconnect there.

Other than that though, physically I felt way better and it was just nice to feel like I was edging that much closer into a new stage of my pregnancy.

Week 12 Symptoms: sore boobs, cramping, constipated + bloating, clearly emotional mood swings still


Week 13

No matter which way you look at it, the last week of my first trimester!!! And what an amazing feeling it was to hit that. This week was much better in general, both physically and emotionally. I’d had a really great counselling session which both helped validate how I was feeling with my little outburst the week prior but also giving me better tools for expressing it all and doing some digging to take more responsibility for it and figure out how to reframe things so I didn’t feel so alone, neglected or isolated, which helped tons. I really just all-in-all felt pretty great and other than a bit of an uptick in fatigue (which I think had more to do with the heat ramping up more than anything), I felt like a new person.

Bump-wise, so far not a lot of action at this point (and even still now, more just widening happening and not a lot of actual bump sightings yet). You can see above that’s week 10, 11, 12 and 13! I went up and down as far as constipation so that seemed to factor how big I looked week-to-week, and there was definitely some rounding happening in my low belly, but from what I’ve heard from friends I should expect to just feel the same but bigger until about week 20 or so. It’s also just hard to tell what’s baby and what’s constipation because I really had struggled with that so much through the first trimester! At any rate, by week 13 apparently baby was the size of a lemon which I loved because I love lemon eeeeeeverything (actually, I’d love a lemon bar right now)!

Week 13 symptoms: constipation (seriously, hello darkness my old friend…the most uncomfortable feeling and one I’m still struggling with!), slightly more fatigue (but more just needing an afternoon nap, nothing awful), sore boobs and some cramping

And that’s it!! That’s my first trimester for you! I did want to highlight a few more things though in case you’re planning on conceiving or just planning for the future (or are in the midst of it now!).

If I could’ve done anything differently…

  • I would’ve gotten in (virtually right now, obviously) to see a counsellor right away. Why? Well, not only was I dealing with this pandemic and not seeing my friends/family during a pretty pivotal life change, but pregnancy for me actually has brought up a lot of old things that I thought were long-resolved. Relationship issues that I thought had entirely mended, insecurities, issues with trust when it came to my body and its ability to do what it needs to do, needing to control outcomes, etc. I just think it’s such a life transition that it would benefit just about any first time mum to have that support. I’ve already gone through a lot of emotional healing in having that professional support now and it’ll make me that much better of a mum hopefully.
  • I would touch base with doctors/midwives more frequently even about inane questions—I find myself always putting down the phone when I’m about to call in because I don’t want to bother them with “another stupid question,” but it’s hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong. I said this on the phone to my midwives and they said “we really don’t care, call us any time, with any questions, there are no dumb questions when you’re pregnant.” So whether it was about if it’s okay that there’s tea tree oil in small amounts in my shampoo or if I can finally drink my beloved mint tea again or if bridges were okay to do still, I think it would’ve saved me a lot of mental anguish and worry to just have called in right away.
  • I wouldn’t let things build up and wait to say things in a really heightened emotional state. You’re going through a lot when you’re newly pregnant so as wrong as it is, you almost expect people to treat you with kid gloves and to know what to do to support you. Also, your family dynamic changes, even if it’s for such a positive and magical thing as bringing a little baby into the mix. Generally, I feel like my role with my family specifically pre-pregnancy has been to be a pretty stable, cheerful presence, and as I’m sure you can tell in reading this I was having a hard time feeling like my usual self at different stages. It can be hard when things change in such a tremendous way to not have people recognize that and make adjustments accordingly, even though it’s totally understandable that they might not anticipate you need to be treated any differently than usual. Like anything in life, people handle things differently and if you want your inner circle to support you in a specific way, you’ve got to tell them what would be meaningful or helpful for you. Ideally, you want to tell them in a respectful, kind way…yes, you get some allowance for being emotional when you’re hormonal AF, but it only helps you in the end to communicate in a way you’re proud of.

Things I’m glad I did…

  • Again this is entirely personal, but for me, telling my friends & family early really helped me a lot. Whatever your decision is, ultimately you just have to do you. I knew that for me, even if something went wrong I’d have wanted a small circle at least to know so that I had people to support me emotionally. But not telling might be what you need to do to protect yourself emotionally and mentally! I don’t think there’s any universal “right way” and so for me, I’m really glad I told right away, as early as it was, because it was really what I needed.
  • Kind of expanding on one of my “what I wish I’d done differently” points, but I’m really, really happy I spoke to a counsellor, even though it was later than I wish I’d started. I’ve always been really comfortable seeing a counsellor when I need to, but don’t really go often or consistently, maybe 1-3 times every 5 years or something like that on an “as needed” basis (put in quotation marks because honestly, if there’s anything that could probably be benefited from more frequent attention to, it’d be mental health…you don’t have to wait for burn out or for something bad or impactful to happen to go and get good tools!). I am really committed to seeing Kate through this whole pregnancy and postpartum because it’s already benefited me so much!
  • I’m happy I took the time to rest when I needed to. Again, I’m in a unique situation where I work from home so was able to do that more easily, but I’ve had to listen to my body in a way I’ve never had to before during this pregnancy so I’m glad I gave myself rest guilt-free for the most part.
  • Having said that, I’m really glad I also committed to fitness as much as possible. It wasn’t always easy especially during my particularly exhausted periods, but it helped me so much mentally and I think it’s helped me physically too as far as back pain and the like (I have scoliosis so really want to be on top of all that as my body changes). Obviously, if you’re insanely sick you might not even be able to think of lifting your head from the toilet in which case workouts are out of the question, but for where I was at I’m happy I just pushed myself to do it because it was still doable for me. On that note, while I needed bagels here and here when I felt super nauseous and exclusively wanted simple carbs and am no stranger over these last few months to my various not-so-healthy cravings, I did try my best to stay on top of nutrition & hydration and always just repeated that whatever I’m eating the baby’s eating, so tried to get as many vitamins and minerals in as I could. Fruit was an easy option for me because I didn’t really crave veggies, protein, etc for some time, but always loved eating fruit.
  • Finally, even though I didn’t express it in the most calm way, I’m happy I’ve ultimately been transparent with the people I’m closest to, even if that means sometimes getting a bit raw with them! Pregnancy makes you feel really vulnerable, and the people in your life likely want to do whatever they can to support you. If they don’t know the way that you need support though, you might feel let down or isolated and it’s really important (especially during this pandemic) to vocalize if you need more or aren’t necessarily getting what you need as far as emotional support (within reason obviously…you don’t need to go on rampage either).

Wow, what a novel. Anyway thank you so much for following along if you’ve read this far! I hope this helps anyone else going through this, or that if you’ve been pregnant or are planning for it in the future, maybe there’s some commonalities there! I know this recap hasn’t always been an uplifting account in all parts, but don’t get it wrong, I feel so great and positive and happy now so while the first trimester can be rough, it is so worth it to come out on the other side. One of my best friends had hyperemesis gravidarum throughout her first trimester and beyond, so I sometimes feel like a loser for complaining about anything as she went through so much, but just know whether it’s an easier experience, a harder experience or somewhere in between, what any expectant mum’s body is doing is nothing short of miraculous and the pay-off will hopefully come in the second trimester and if not, when baby comes (and obviously, the biggest reward is when the little one comes but I haven’t gotten there yet!).

Again, I kind of hesitated with some of the more “raw” parts as I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining. I’m so grateful for this whole experience, but there’s no denying that there are parts that are really hard whether that’s physical or emotional, so I wanted to be real about what the last few months have truly been like and not gloss over it, particularly in light of the added stress of the pandemic. At any rate, it’s been transformative already and I’m really grateful for it all, as it’s already changed me in so many ways. I’m also so grateful that in the short time since announcing, I’ve made so many incredible connections with other mum-to-be’s, mums or those trying to conceive right now! Whether you have advice for me, need someone to talk to, have a question or a funny story to tell about your own experience, please reach out! I’d love to hear from you.

Finally, I just need to say how amazing Matt has been through all of this. He made us all our food as I mentioned above for weeks at a time, he’d support me when I was freaking out about whatever I was freaking out about at the time (eating the wrong thing, a product in my skincare, a twinge that was scaring me, etc), he held me a million times as I bawled my eyes out (seriously, I’m not usually a big crier) at various points just feeling so scared or isolated, he let me watch all the movies I wanted, he’s provided the tremendous amount of love & affection I required (I’m a really affectionate person even pre-pregnancy, so I’ve needed a lot more hugs and time together through all of this obviously), he’s talked me down from moments of panic…I could go on forever. He’s private so I don’t share too much about him on social or on here out of respect for that, but needless to say I love him so, so much and I’m so grateful for him always. He honestly did everything and he’s going to be the most incredible dad, that goes without saying.

But anyway, moving onto the lighter stuff…gender reveal coming up next week! I can’t wait to share that and actually the pretty funny experiences I had around all that as well! Thanks for reading guys!

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3 Comments

  • Reply Jaime May 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    I also found out at exactly 4 weeks and it was out 10 year anniversary!! Like you, I just knew something was different. We’d been trying for 7 months and I was getting a bit despondent about it all and then just one day, I felt different?

    Congrats again lovely – loved reading your story so far!

  • Reply Kaleigh May 21, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    So many Congratulations Alex! Thank you for sharing your real and raw experience. You will certainly help others feels not so alone in such a Crazy, exciting and emotional time. Xo

  • Reply Erin May 22, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Congrats Alex! I’m so glad you got connected with a counsellor, I was going to suggest that you do when I was halfway through. I also was seeing a psychiatrist through my pregnancy and I’m so glad I did. The pregnancy thing drags up so many issues that you just can’t predict – from relationship stuff about how you each grew up and how you want your child to grow up, to issues with your own body. Loss of control was a big one for me too, in my first trimester it actually made me angry to have my body just completely shut down sometimes when I was trying to get things done. I didn’t feel in control anymore and I was angry! I was in London for my entire pregnancy, with no family there, so we were really a little island of two, soon to be three. I can imagine you had a bit of that too. My son is now 10, those days seem so long ago! But I will say, all the stuff everyone says you must get, you don’t really need most of it. Relax, buy everything you can secondhand, you’ll be great. Finally, from one anxiety sufferer to another: your anxiety isn’t an accurate reflection of the risks. I know you know, but I also know I can’t hear that one enough. Take care. xx

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