Making it through the first trimester, the second time around, was such a different experience for me. What I learned from both pregnancies is that the first trimester is absolutely exhausting, physically and emotionally, and that pregnancies can be incredibly different!
When we found out we were pregnant with our first child, we had no idea what to expect. I was excited, scared, and incredibly nervous. What did I need to do now that we were pregnant? Who could/should I talk to? What did I need to stop doing right away? What did I need to start doing right away? I had no idea what I was doing!
The second time around, I was equally as excited, but the nerves didn’t set in the same way. This time around, I had a better sense of what was to come and knew that patience was vital those first few weeks – heck! For the entire pregnancy – heck! For motherhood.
I am extremely thankful to have varying first trimester experiences and it’s neat seeing the differences between the two…
Finding Out We Were Pregnant
With both of my pregnancies, I found out we were pregnant incredibly early. With our first, we had just started trying and I just knew we were pregnant. I didn’t feel right and ended up taking a gazillion pregnancy tests until one morning I saw that double line. Our second pregnancy was different in that we had been trying for quite some time. The months leading up to that positive test weren’t always roses and butterflies. I was stressed and truly believe it’s what kept me from pregnancy until late fall (God’s timing is perfect).
After months of taking pregnancy tests, only to get my period, I told myself I wouldn’t take a test until I truly had a missed period. Well, in early November my period never came and that was when I took a test and found out we were pregnant! I was overjoyed, but unlike my first pregnancy, I had a good sense of the next steps.
Setting Up Our First OBGYN Appointment
Because of our move from Virginia to Maryland, I am now with a different OBGYN than the one I started out with during my first pregnancy. One thing I’ve learned, not only from my pregnancies, but also from my friend’s pregnancies, is that every OBGYN is different. With our first doctor, a blood test was the first order of business. After a positive pregnancy test at home, each woman would come in for a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. Then an ultrasound would be scheduled for 8 weeks, along with your first appointment with a doctor.
For this pregnancy, I called my OBGYN the day after the positive test and was told they wouldn’t see me until 8 weeks. Unlike my first pregnancy, it was so incredibly nerve-raking waiting 8 weeks to find out if we were pregnant and if the baby was doing ok. I started feeling sick around the 5 week mark with this pregnancy, so thankfully I had a physical sense that I was still pregnant and that the baby was ok.
During my 8 week appointment, with both pregnancies, it was determined I was only 6 weeks pregnant. My cycle is longer than 30 days, so I wasn’t surprised by the change in due date since they were basing my original due date on a 30 day cycle. At our “8 week appointment” we had an ultrasound, which confirmed the pregnancy was viable, and thankfully with both pregnancies, the baby’s heart was already beating.
First Trimester Symptoms
This has been the most dramatic difference between my two pregnancies. With my first pregnancy, I was really tired. I would get home from work, take care of our dog, eat something, and go to bed. I would lay on the couch, dozing off, and my lifestyle allowed for 14 weeks of rest after work and on weekends. Thankfully, I wasn’t sick during my first pregnancy. I had a few weeks of nausea, but nothing extreme. I was just tired and didn’t feel well.
At the 5 week mark of my second pregnancy, I started feeling sick. I was incredibly nauseous, often holding myself back from throwing up. I hate throwing up, I’m sure we all do, so I did everything in my power not to throw up. I had many, many moments when I’d be overcome by nausea and would have to sit down, get some fresh air, or lay down. The only thing that made me feel better was keeping food on my stomach, and by food I mean bread. If I allowed too much time to go between meals/snacks I would get sick. The nausea was always there, but I had the greatest chance of throwing up when my stomach would growl and the acid would rise. Blah! Just writing about it makes me sick. It was not fun!
I was also tired during my second pregnancy’s first trimester, but with a toddler, I didn’t have the ability to come home and sleep. There were many, many days when I was utterly exhausted during my commute and couldn’t get home fast enough. I would pick up my daughter from daycare, make her dinner, and put on Curious George until my husband got home. Neal would then take over the bedtime routine and I would rest. From weeks 8-12 I would go to bed around 8:30PM, usually falling asleep on the couch, and then would move upstairs whenever Neal went to bed around midnight. I didn’t mind the sleep one bit, but nothing got done around the house! I didn’t blog, I didn’t do work after hours, I didn’t clean, I didn’t prep for the next day, I didn’t do anything. I think that’s the hardest part of the first trimester, you’re sick and you just don’t have the energy to do anything.
Eating During The First Trimester
It’s funny, when I found out I was pregnant with my first I studied all of the does and don’ts of pregnancy. This time around, I just rolled with it. I knew what I needed to stay away from, but I tried to focus on eating normally and limiting my nausea. As much as I wanted to maintain my weight during my first trimester this second time around, when all you can stomach are bagels, bread, and crackers, you literally throw the scale out the window. I gained hardly anything during my first trimester this second pregnancy, but I was reminded that the first trimester is not the time to be consumed with diet. As my doctor said, after the nausea passes, then it’s the perfect time to clean up your diet and to reintroduce foods that you’ve had to limit during the first trimester.
This pregnancy I did strive to eat as many vegetables as I could during my first trimester. They were few and far between some days, but I tried. I found veggies I liked and added them to as many meals as I could (hello zucchini and cherry tomatoes). I also enjoyed salads at Cava, which was a win, win!
It’s funny how quickly your diet changes once the nausea passes. I haven’t been since in roughly 2 weeks, yay, and have drastically reduced my bread intake already. Sure, I’m still eating bread, but I’m eating far less than when I was nauseous. What you learn during the first trimester is fuel your body the best you can and to rest. Hopefully the nausea will soon pass.
Working Out During The First Trimester
Although I felt a heck of a lot sicker this time around, I was able to maintain my workouts throughout the first trimester. Honestly, it was the stability I craved while feeling so miserable. During my last pregnancy I was able to take spin classes until the 40 week mark, so I knew I wanted to maintain my workouts during this second pregnancy.
I was happy to continue my OrangeTheory workouts throughout the first trimester of my second pregnancy. I continued running on the treadmill for the first 6-7 weeks, but started transitioning to walking around the 7 week mark. I can still run, but I learned quickly that my nausea was way worse if I over did it, especially at 5AM. I also learned quickly that I had to eat a little something before my 5AM workout (1/2 PJ sandwich for example), that I had to drink a TON of water before and after my workout, and that drinking a little Gatorade after my workout helped to alleviate dehydration issues.
I’m thankful for the ability to workout and to push my body during my pregnancies and I hope to continue my workouts well into this second pregnancy.
I am so thankful to have said goodbye to the first trimester this second time around. I’m still scared, scared that I’ll see unexpected blood, scared about the health of the baby, and scared about the unknown. While it’s amazing to be past the nausea, weeks 14-20 are a challenge in their own way as you trust that all is well until you feel your baby kick and have your next appointment/anatomy scan. As different as my pregnancies have been, at the core is still a woman and a mother who is nervous, who lives day to day in faith, and who is excited to be pregnant.
I am very thankful to be pregnant again and my days are filled with prayers. Here’s to a healthy second trimester and a speedy few weeks until our anatomy scan! I can’t wait to find out what we’re having!