how we survived: weeks 1-12
Oh hey! For those of you who don't know already, I'm pregnant.
Do I still feel weird even typing that? Yes. I'm blushing right now. In fact, I don't think I could say pregnant out loud until ... well, I still can't without saying it in a whisper. And, at 27 weeks (that makes 13 to go, FUCK!), I'm not sure if I'll actually fully wrap my brain around what's happening before I actually deliver a baby. And by "deliver," I mean wait for Mr. Stork.
We're off to good start, guys, right?
Anyway, today I thought I'd turn the clock back a few months and take you through the first few weeks of this experience. [Editor's note: Obviously, EVERYONE is different. If you have any real questions, please ask your doctor. What follows is my own experience. I'm sure a lot of people with actual human babies will look at this and roll their eyes at my total ineptitude. I full admit that the only thing I'm an expert in is mac and cheese.]
As you can see in this post, I've addressed some of the most pertinent questions, but I love to talk about myself, so here's more.
The truth is, my first trimester wasn't so terrible. While a lot of this has to do with genetics (my mom never got morning sickness either), I'd like to think that I can attribute a small, small part of it to planning. If you've been reading this blog at all, you'll know that that is one of my favorite words.
JULIET'S PRE-PREGNANCY TIPS
Before we pulled the goalie, so to speak, I made sure of two things: 1) That I started on prenatal vitamins (I've been taking these by way, and I love them) about three months before and 2) I was continuing to exercise about 5 times a week.
Why? From the research I did, it seemed that if you can start on prenatals before conception, it'll have a positive effect on the egg that will eventually (maybe) get fertilized. Also, shiny hair and nails! Plus, I felt like going on them actually gave me more energy.
As for exercise, it was something that I was already committed to anyway and most doctors will tell you you're allowed to keep doing whatever types of exercise (spin, cardio, etc.) you were doing before you got pregnant. Even now, less than a week before my third trimester, I'm still able to do basically all the classes I was taking at Equinox before I got knocked up. And again, I have found on the days that I exercise, I have way more energy and don't end up hitting that 3 PM slump.
Here's something I learned: your pregnancy countdown starts from the first day of your last missed period. So, for the first two or so weeks, you're not actually pregnant. Why? Well, apparently someone thought 10 lunar months (i.e. 40 weeks) was a nice round number and the schedule was born. Most people don't have a lot of symptoms between when they conceive (generally week 2) and when they get their positive test (as early as week 4). I certainly didn't.
I ended up getting a positive test in week 5. I had actually taken one the previous week and it had been negative, but a week later I was still waiting for the surefire sign that I WASN'T pregnant and it still hadn't come. I chalked it up to post-birth control hormone wonkiness, but since we were leaving for an eating and drinking fest in Charleston a few days later, I thought better safe than sorry.
*A quick note note on food/drink here: I am avoiding raw fish/meat and my longing for sushi at this point is positively Shakespearean. I am kinda/sorta avoiding raw cheeses, but I 100% have eaten them. I don't drink coffee, so the caffeine thing hasn't been an issue. Alcohol, I am basically avoiding, but have had sips of various wines/champagne/cocktails.
Mike happened to be out when I took the test, since I really didn't think it would be positive. I'll leave you with the visual of me yelling at Waffles and Biscuit before nearly passing out from the shock. And, side note, yes, relative shock, since I knew it was possible. I just didn't think it would happen so fast. And side note #2, yes, after recovering, I was very, very, VERY grateful for how reliable our reproductive systems were. I know for many people it's a much more stressful, emotional and fraught experience to conceive.
Our first real test of "hiding it" came in week 8, when one of my best friends got married. But guess what? No one pays ANY attention to what you're drinking (or not drinking) at a wedding. I had gone through all sorts of scenarios beforehand, and then realized by the time the reception started that zomg the band's playing Britney! Also, apparently I am a much better liar than I realized, because I outright told my best friends I wasn't pregnant and didn't even break a sweat (take note, Mike. Love you.)
We went to Nantucket after the wedding (see above photo), where I posed with a beer (that was Mike's, I don't drink beer even when not with child) because I enjoy throwing people off the scent! Again, I highly, highly doubt that any noticed or cared. But I felt subversive and that's all that counts.
For the first few weeks once I knew I was pregnant, my only real symptoms were peeing all the time and sore boobs. Since I drink a ton of water anyway, this didn't even feel that out of the ordinary. Boob swelling, at least for me, has gone down considerably in the second trimester.
The last month of the first trimester (although some people extend to week 14) was more or less the same. Most books will tell you that you don't need to eat any more calories in those first 12-14 weeks and since I was still exercising regularly, I actually ended up losing a few pounds. So, I was able to hide it pretty well from most friends and family, especially because everyone knows I'm not a big drinker anyway.
Since I was feeling good, we still decided to go to Paris for my birthday, where I ate my weight in marzipan and cream. I made sure to get up every few hours on the flights and walk around, although blood clots aren't really as much of an issue in the first trimester. Still, better safe than sorry. Other than not drinking or eating a few things, I didn't feel like we had to alter our trip much at all.
By the start of week 12, I was mostly just feeling relieved. We opted to tell almost no one until week 14 or later, just because the risk of miscarriage is so high in those first few weeks. I was truly grateful for every day that went by in the first trimester that ended without incident. I didn't even really let myself think much of the future until we were solidly in week 14.
And, to be honest, because it happened rather fast, I think we both needed a few weeks to calm our nerves, to give ourselves pep talks that, "Yes, we can have a baby and not forget it in the bodega!" Pregnancy can be a scary motherfucker, guys. But it's not scary all the time. There were definitely a few nights where we looked at each other, eyes wide, and said, "WTF did we just do?!" But now, well over halfway into this experience, I am relieved to say that those first few panicky weeks have been replaced by something a little more zen.
And to be clear, I'm still freaking out about PARENTHOOD. But actually carrying another human life, while still WEIRD, is becoming a lot more cool and a little less scary.