So, as of today I have officially hit the 2nd Trimester according to most measurements. Some say 12 weeks, some say 14, I'm just going with 13. Although, truthfully, I really felt I had hit this milestone at 12 weeks, the day of my NT ultrasound, when the doctor intoned that I was "not going to have a miscarriage." Still gives me shivers. Anyhow, here I am, and I've decided to mark the occasion with a summary of symptoms I experienced in the first three months. This is just based off of my own experiences and I know it is different for everyone, but I would say I think this pregnancy has hit me really hard and I felt validated by my blood test results that said I am having a very "strong" pregnancy.
Also, I am not going to go through and give you a timeline for each symptom, but I will say that generally my symptoms started around 6.5 weeks. Prior to that, I was a bit tired, had sensitive boobs (but not terrible yet) and was really thirsty (only in the first few weeks...odd).
Let's Start with My Breasts. Well, I already devoted an entire post to these new luscious curves. So obviously you know that they have increased 4 (4!) cup sizes. Crazy. But I should also mention that I had the classic symptoms of tender, heavy, sore, painful, tight, and hot (as in heat) breasts. For the first while I couldn't bear to have my husband anywhere near them. But yet, it was comforting to hold them myself and often walked around at home holding them in my hands. Awww. Now, they're pretty much back to normal in terms of sensitivity, except my nipples. Those are still off-limits.
Cramping. I had pretty bad cramps in the beginning. Maybe around 6-7 weeks? It was so bad at night that it would actually wake me up from sleeping. Now, I don't have much to compare to because I've never really had menstrual cramps (I know, I know, hate me now) except minor cramping the day before my period. This was worse than that. But, I never had any spotting, and everything said it was normal, so I just tolerated it. Drinking a lot of water seemed to help. That went away entirely until just recently I've noticed really mild stretching feelings that I think are because I'm just "barely" starting to show.
Nausea. I don't really know what to call this. Nausea, or morning sickness, doesn't really describe it well. I mean, yes, I felt nauseous, but it was more than that. It wasn't just, I felt nauseous, went and puked, and then felt better. It was an all-encompassing, ever-present sense of malaise in my entire body. For awhile I was describing it to people as being hungover. Your equilibrium is off, you feel weak, you feel like every sensation is either painful or may make you throw up. Basically, you just feel like shit. Then, I saw someone else describe it as motion sickness. This is a great description. The feeling you get after a carnival ride or driving on a mountain road. You feel like you can't escape the awful, off-balance, sick feeling. I really, really hated this part of pregnancy. It kicked my ass. It shut me down. It made me curl up in a ball in surrender. I think it was just the cumulative effect of day after day sickness with no relenting. Yeah, that's all I have to say about that. Currently, it comes and goes for short periods at a time. I can totally handle that.
Joys of Vomiting. Most people, when they think of pregnancy, thinking about women getting sick and throwing up. This evokes a lot of sympathy. I know for me, it definitely made my husband feel bad for me every time I puked. But really? Throwing up was not so bad compared to the previously-discussed constant sickness. Of course, I didn't have it that badly compared to some women. Some days I didn't throw up at all. Others I threw up 3 times in a day. I would say I averaged 1-2 times a day, usually morning and nighttime. I also tended to puke the most in my car. Yes, IN my car. I got really good at pulling over and puking into a bag. (I only puked on myself ONE time!)
Exhaustion. This is sometimes called "Pregnancy Fatigue." But to me, fatigue sounds too gentle, as in something a lady would experience after a day playing Croquet in the hot sun. "Oh darling, I am feeling a bit fatigued." No, I would describe it as sheer and utter exhaustion. When I got home from work I would literally come in the door and crawl straight into bed. My husband would find me there and fearfully inquire as to whether I thought "maybe" I should eat dinner? At work, I would sit at my desk and stare at the wall. Or, lock my door and sleep on the floor. Yes, on the floor. The last day of pure exhaustion was last Friday. I remember sitting at work and looking at my piles of paperwork to catch up on and just crying. I told my sister I had forgotten what it felt like to feel normal. Then, miraculously, the next day I felt better! Hallelujah.
Appetite. So, another thing you hear about with pregnancy is "What Pregnant Women Eat." Cravings/Aversions/Crazy Stories. Well, let me tell you, I am someone who loves food. I love cooking and I love restaurants and I love good, healthy ingredients. Once I got pregnant, I stopped caring entirely. I hated going to the grocery store. I hated thinking about food. I stopped even being able to taste food. I survived on bland things like buttered noodles, crackers, macaroni & cheese, all types of pasta, and water. That's about it. Eating was a chore. But it was also medicine. You really do need to eat constantly to feel "as good as possible." Slowly, my appetite has come back. There have been a few things I've eaten lately -hot fudge sundae, strawberry milkshake, baked potato w/sour cream - that have almost made me orgasm in delight. I'm waiting for everything to taste good again. Oh, and although I didn't have any aversions to certain foods or smells, I wasn't interested in ANYTHING sweet at all - no chocolate, no candy, no juices, not even fruit.
Sex. Along the lines of no appetite for food, I also had no appetite for sex at all. I almost felt as if my whole body was numb. No taste buds, no libido, no interest... We did manage to have sex about once a week (check with my husband for exact statistics), but that was just because I felt I owed it to my husband for taking such good care of me. And honestly? I didn't care enough to care one way or another. Oh, you want sex? Ok, but I don't have to participate, do I?
Headaches These haven't been so bad, really. I hear horror stories of pregnancy migraines and there is really nothing you can take to get rid of them. Awful. But I do wake up most mornings with headaches. A weird, pressurized, headache that makes me feel like my head is full of heavy-duty construction insulation. Usually a Tylenol really will do the trick. That and drinking lots of water. Sometimes I need to take a second Tylenol later in the day if I'm having a stressful day. Wow, I wish all of my symptoms were so easily managed.
Random Symptoms. These little things were less interesting or pronounced, so they don't get their own section. I did find myself peeing a lot more in the beginning, but that seemed to go away, and now at 12 weeks, it came back in full force. Also, burping. I have never been someone who burps very much. But now, I let out these amazing belches all of the time. You should have heard the one that echoed through the parking garage the other day... Oh, and "pregnancy" rhinitis" definitely seems to be a real thing. Especially in the morning, I woke up stuffed up and clogged up. Lots of nose blowing and sneezing. Let me tell you, puking 1-3 times a day with a nose clogged up with snot is NOT fun.
And that's it for now. Halfway through this post I decided it was way too long and so I am going to write a second post dealing with the emotional and relational side to the 1st Trimester. You can already get the flavor of what it will entail by reading this post, I'm sure. Exhaustion and sickness play a major role. Thank god I can tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Update: After I wrote this post in a cocky, smug tone implying that I was "through with the worst of it," I got sick again last night and feel like shit again this morning. Ugh. Karma. Cross your fingers that it will just be a temporary resurgence.