Pregnancy, The First Trimester

Ta da! The secret is out, in super fashion. Come October, I get to be the mom of the little nugget brewing in my uterus, taking up oxygen and forcing food back up the pipe. It’s been a whirlwind of joy (and hopeless tears, and pained tears, and aches, and love). But in the heart of it all, making life is unbelievably special. Each ultrasound I get to see with that squirming little sweetheart makes my heart explode, I would never trade the trauma of pregnancy for it, for one second.

At six weeks pregnant, before anyone outside of Winston and myself knew, I wrote an article smartly titled, “How I Kicked Morning Sickness,” detailing all the ways I was staying healthy and glowy. Flat tummy. Abs still intact. Bouncing between meetings without a lick of caffeine. Touting my uber beautiful diet (I mean this). Oh, the naivety.

One day later, like clockwork, I was bent over my toilet and calling in sick to work and school, and I’ve been there ever since.

In more ways than one, pregnancy is the greatest honor I’ve had. I’ll never take that for granted, especially when so many close to my circle are struggling with infertility and loss. Yet, through my gratitude, there has also been an internal battle. People, websites, forums, and books all told me what would happen to me, but they failed to mention how majorly it would impact me, for both better and for worse.

It’s also important to note that my experience is probably a bit of a genetic wild card: my dad’s side of the family has notoriously bad pregnancies and hyperemesis gravidarum, so my pregnancy is likely a sickly step beyond the norm. Still, I think it’s good to be warned:

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Food. It’s not the same.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been rolling on a clean diet: no glyphosate, few carbs, almost completely vegan. We had veggies for every meal (no, really), and my morning kale smoothies were powerful enough to make my abs for me. I thought my clean eating would nip morning sickness in the  bud.

I have now moved from pretentiously saying “no” to goldfish crackers and diet sodas to scarfing down about anything that will settle in my tummy, and that means Froot Loops, crappy lemonade, and chocolate. And it’s not good – but it’s the only thing my body will tolerate. Vegetables were the first thing to make my stomach swirl, and I haven’t been able to eat them since, even two weeks into the second trimester.  I still gag around avocados, and my dinner-to-dessert ratio is looking pretty scary.

I pray for the day when I can stomach a regular meal.

Vomiting is a young man’s game.

15 weeks deep, second trimester, I still run, almost every morning, from my bed to the bathroom (unless I can just keep a bowl close, TMI). If I’m lucky, I can force a piece of toast down the hatch before going to class, and then onto work. But I typically spend 20-30 minutes of my class time in the bathroom (thank heavens for loving professors), and I have embarrassingly jumped out of one video conference to reach a bathroom on time.

But, I thought this was a standalone symptom: I thought moms-to-be puked and moved on. Nope, nada, they do not. Since February, I’ve been battling what I call the “fetal flu.” The puking induces fevers, raging headaches, rumbling tummies, the crazy yearning for a nap: just like any illness. I find myself dragging my feet home and hustling under the covers for 30 more minutes before I have to clue in and put on my work face.

I was expecting the nausea, and even the vomiting. But I was not expecting to always and forever feel bedridden.

It’s not just fatigue: it’s physical strain.

While the “fatigue” symptom is starting to wear down (and is a result of my beautiful genetic low blood pressure), I was hardly able to get through a class without my eyes rolling into the back of my head. On work-from-home days, I’d end up fitting 2-3 naps between meetings, afraid that my forehead was going to smack my desk.

But it doesn’t stop there: even with 8+ hours of sleep, mundane tasks – including my regular gym routine – became tougher. My speech was slurred (true story). My bedtime was inching up. Now, when I work from home (which is becoming increasingly more frequent), I am confined to my bed. I’m not eating enough to safely work out, so my gym routine is now a long walk and occasional yoga.

As a result, a little sadness is creeping up. I feel inefficient and out of breath at the gym, and have spent much of my workouts puking my guts out there. I feel powerless in my own Lulus. Sad.

The body is powerful, but it doesn’t feel that way.

Truth be told, being physically exhausted and below par for ability (developing a face-to-face relationship with my toilet, feeling sleepy and slouchy and incapable, the list goes on) quickly became emotionally draining. I would stress over work projects, fall behind in school, and find myself finagling deadlines. Of course, that’s not what I wanted: I wanted to glow, kick things into high gear, and finish strong. But it looks like I’ll be dragging my feet to graduation, and putting most of my energy into my job.

In all, I have felt quite powerless. My body feels heavier and more rigid, and my soul and brain are functioning at a whole new level. Peace has been hard to find, and I feel that is okay to admit.

Still holding out for this healthy little one to continue to grow, sprout, and love on her mama (did I mention it’s a girl?).

Onward, second trimester!