My pregnancy journey: Trimester 1

6 min reading time

If you haven’t read the first part of this series, check out my Trimester 0 blog here first.

Luckily we had the entire flight to Perth to recover from the (pleasant) surprise and figure out a game plan. Getting through Christmas was the first hurdle as my family are pretty fond of a drink. Obviously I’m fine without alcohol, being an advocate for no/low options, but being on holiday we had planned a few activities around imbibing. That was actually the least of our worries. Instead we had the 2 hour time difference to adjust to, being early risers in a household of night owls, and the wicked combination of nausea and insomnia that kicked in pretty quickly.

Finding non-alcoholic drinks wasn’t too hard, and I managed to get through a day in the Swan Valley wine region without too much drama as well as multiple family drink plans and a pub crawl around Elizabeth Quay. Perks of being a beverage professional is having absolutely no issue with tasting and spitting. I ordered a book on fatherhood for Scott and got it delivered to the hotel we were staying in for the second half of our trip. It felt like we were in a bit of a honeymoon haze.

Then the abdominal pain started. It didn’t feel like last time and was fairly intermittent but part of me definitely was on alert. I described it as a sensation of trapped wind or impending diarrhoea but there wasn’t much that relieved it except time. We headed to a friends’ place for NYE drinks and I ended up lying on the cool of their bathroom tiles in the wee hours of the morning to try and alleviate the pain.

I quickly realised carbohydrate-based meals and my fish oil supplement were a big no go. Protein and vinegar-based foods like cheese and pickles helped reduce the nausea, but ginger was doing sweet FA after a short time. The best thing was just keeping my protein intake up, especially at breakfast, and avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates that resulted in almost immediate indigestion.

My first round of blood tests were comprehensive and sent my GP into a tailspin with a (slightly) elevated liver enzyme result. To the point that they told me to leave work and go and get an urgent liver ultrasound. So I rescheduled my clients and waited hours at the hospital for a scan that showed absolutely nothing wrong. This is where I established my resolution to trust my body and not panic about anything, which has served me so well throughout this pregnancy.

The summer heat was starting to get to me though, with headaches and nausea that of course made me think about pre-eclampsia, but were easily relieved by ice packs and cool foot baths. The doctors weren’t as easily convinced. At 35 they’d already put me in the high risk category and at out 13 week scan the doctor had lectured me about the “numerous” factors that put me at high risk. Which they didn’t disclose even once I asked, but prescribed an aspirin a day in order to “reduce my risk”.

Oh hell no. I’m so grateful that I knew better. At 35, I may be classified as a “geriatric pregnancy” (gross) but there is absolutely nothing to say that I’m high risk. My HR/BP has been low my entire life, so I knew that wasn’t going to be a factor. My weight isn’t an issue although they did weigh me and I know the birthing industry still loves the good old junk science BMI measure. I would have just fallen into their overweight category due to my body composition, despite being fit, healthy and on the muscular side. My liver enzyme result may have played a part but since it had resolved itself by then and come back normal along with a urine test, was also a non-issue. At this point I felt like they were just trying to find something to put me in a category that would lead to higher interventions. No thanks.

During this trimester my bra went up a whole size. My mind tried to make up stories about my weight going up and avoiding gaining past a certain threshold. Old habits die hard. Between the comments from my Mum growing up, comments from friends when I was a teenager, and the fear-mongering from the medical industry, it’s no wonder. Many women seem to try and avoid weight gain and along the way avoid nourishing themselves throughout their pregnancies or, have been restricting so long that pregnancy is open-slather “eat what you want”. I elected to not go down either route and instead stay kind to myself and listen to my body, knowing that my required intake wouldn’t increase until Trimester 2.

While I battled with fatigue and constant low-level nausea that got worse in the evenings, I luckily wasn’t actually sick more than a couple of times (smoothies were a big no, apparently), and the abdominal pain subsided. I didn’t have any cravings, which I was a little disappointed about. I was surprised about how expensive scans and tests were, but given the “increased risks” we elected to go ahead with them, which I don’t regret.

I did start to get the Sunday scaries, as my mental energy was so low that everything felt hard. I didn’t have the capacity for my daily journaling practice so I just did what I could. Which was mostly a few lines and then returning to TikTok, but luckily I was getting a lot out of taking my clients through some deep contemplation work. A few changes were announced at my job and instead of feeling anxious and uncertain, I was relieved. It felt like things were happening for me, especially with waiting to see how this whole pregnancy thing was going to unfold.

We told our parents and my bestie, and I disclosed to my bosses so we could plan ahead but otherwise I was pretty happy to keep the news mostly to ourselves for as long as possible. It was a battle to get through the first trimester with limited support but it was a great time to avoid the unsolicited opinions, given my limited energy capacity. We wanted to tell our close friends who were the witnesses at our wedding, mainly because there was no way it would get past anyone if I turned down the wine package at one of my favourite Italian restaurants.

By the time I was coming up to 13 weeks, I started to feel like I was coming out of the fog and had gotten off pretty lightly overall…

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