This post will be a very frank (and sometimes TMI) insight to my first trimester; the first 12 weeks were easily the most trying time of my life. There’s no glow, no excited whispers, no healthy eating – I was a lovely shade of grey-green, emotional and living on roasties.
I found out I was pregnant in November 2017 at around 3 weeks; it really came as quite a shock so in the beginning it was an emotional experience before very quickly becoming physical as I got more and more sick. From week 5 to 14 I had such bad morning sickness I could rarely leave the house; barely making it into lectures and therefore it began impacting my mental health that I was missing so much of uni. I saw very little of my family as my sickness was very obvious and cancelled a lot of family plans over the Christmas period as we wanted to keep it to ourselves until the 12 week mark.
During this time, it was a constant trial and error to figure out what I could eat; toast would be fine one day but would make me sick the next so it was a frustrating time for both of us. J was amazing at not giving up haha, and we found that almonds, salted popcorn, and roast potatoes would settle my stomach best (I am aware it wasn’t a balanced diet at all but trust me when I say, during that first trimester, it’s just about getting some food into you, regardless of its nutritional value). Smells would make me sick also – I distinctly remember J cooking noodles and me having to stand by the front door, mid December, to try stop myself heaving – it was not a glamorous time. Oh and the only consistent food that made me sick was peas, so that was fun.
During week 5, we went to my doctors to register the pregnancy. It wasn’t a big appointment, just a quick urine sample and measure of my height, whilst advising me what not to eat. This meeting was more to get the ball rolling for if we made it through this trimester; now that sounds very negative but the area I live in, you don’t deal with a midwife or scan until the first trimester has gone successfully (this does vary county to county in England). I began trying to take folic acid but yep, you guessed it, they made my sickness worse, so during this time DON’T beat yourself up if you can’t stomach the vitamins, there’s 2 more trimesters to make up for it. A small urine infection was noticed so I was also prescribed antibiotics, however, again these just made me more and more sick, so I promptly stopped taking them and cleared it up myself with plenty of water and cranberry juice.
During week 8, we had two bleeds, I’m not sure why it was specifically this week and this week only that I bled but J read up about it and believes it’s because your blood vessels swell more during this time and it’s just more likely to happen. I woke up on two occasions to some spotting and we agreed to keep an eye on it during the day and if it worsened we’d go get checked out. Luckily, nothing came from the bleeds.
It was easily the most degrading experience of my life as J would have to do everything for me; I was so sick and weak I couldn’t wash myself alone, I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t clean our place, I was practically useless. But every night, we’d curl up together and continue being positive – discussing names, whether we thought it was a girl or a boy and our hopes for our future together. And for that, I’ll always be immensely grateful of how J handled everything.
I found Christmas incredibly difficult as only J and I knew I was pregnant; I tried my best to keep my sickness at bay and “act normally”. We were both surprised that no-one realised, especially when I was drinking alcohol-free wine (ew) rather than my usual “drunk by noon” haha. It was the first time in weeks that I had got dressed, put make up on and did my hair and it made a huge impact on my low self-esteem.
During week 9, J and I were due to travel to Dublin for new year with some friends, we had always planned to continue with the trip even after finding out we were expecting. However, the day before we were due to travel, my sickness became the worst it had been. I just remember being curled around the toilet sobbing and being sick (told you it was TMI) whilst J looked genuinely petrified. That’s when we decided it was time to tell the parents (dun, dun, duhhh) because it was making J so scared to see me so unwell. He phoned his mom that night, who took it well and gave us some advice about my sickness. The next day, we promptly told my parents too. As difficult as it was to tell the families (this pregnancy was unplanned but is very much loved), once it was out in the open everything became much much easier and we’re both happy we left it as long as possible before telling the families. Those 9 weeks gave us plenty of time to discuss all our options and decide what we wanted for our future. We did, however, have a scare during this time when I was dealing with intense period pains so we went to get checked out – luckily, everything was fine, but I would always recommend getting checked out if during your pregnancy you feel something new that worries you.
Once we told family, we were far too impatient to wait until our 12 week scan, so we paid for a private scan that week and finally met out little person. In that moment, when we saw little one for the first time – time stood still and every sickness and pain over the past weeks suddenly all became worth it. It’s true when they say you don’t know love like it.
In this trimester, I was riddled with nerves; about university, about becoming a mom, about how our little one was developing. We tried really hard to remain neutral – not too excited in case something went wrong but not so negative that we didn’t enjoy the good parts of this trimester. It’s incredibly difficult but I would recommend keeping this outlook for all new moms in the first trimester.
The next few weeks flew by and my sickness became more manageable as my family could be more supportive and help look after me. Our 12 week midwife appointment was even more exciting; we got our green notes, had blood test after blood test (not as exciting) and had our official 12 week scan, when we were told little one was developing and measuring perfectly. Again, we immediately fell in love and felt like we could start getting excited about our little person – we’d made it through the first 12 weeks.
Eleanor Jasmin x