Monday, June 7, 2021

The First Trimester

The first trimester is tough. No one tells you how hard it's going to be. While I’m lucky that lupus and RA have been quiet, the nausea and fatigue have been a lot. RA fatigue has nothing on pregnancy fatigue, in my opinion. 

And I keep telling my husband that while this whole pregnancy thing is harder than I expected it would be, I’m grateful, endlessly grateful. There were certainly times when I never thought I’d get here, even at the end of 2020, when we were trying and not succeeding. The disappointment I felt each month as my period came was really indescribable.

And given the medications I’ve been on in the past, and the fact that it wasn’t really until our consultation with the high risk specialist last summer that gave me hope, there was certainly a part of me that wondered if pregnancy would even be possible at all.

But then, almost inexplicably, there was no period. I had been five days late before, so it didn't really phase me. And I was having a lot of cramping, so I was assuming I would just get my period (like come on, already). No one tells you that all of the traditional PMS symptoms are also early pregnancy symptoms.  

And then, after being a week late, I realized I probably needed to take a test. I didn’t even get a chance to leave the bathroom, that’s how quick it changed. And when the test came back positive, I was shocked, and excited, and scared. Waiting for my husband to get home from work to tell him the news was torture. But finding out I was actually pregnant made me realize that my body, which has at times tried to evict its primary resident (me!), was now doing an even more important job. But I felt like I had less control than ever. I’ve felt like my body is truly not my own.

Even after the positive pregnancy test, I didn’t really believe it. Going into my confirmation appointment, I just kept hoping that the pregnancy test at the doctor’s office came back positive (it did!). And then I hoped that my HCG would be higher than 5 (it was 140,000!). Going into the first ultrasound, I was like “please, please let there actually be a baby in there.” I don’t know if it’s Jewish superstition or first time mom anxiety or chronic illness anxiety or a combination, but it’s been a hard mix of wanting to be excited while dealing with my feelings of not being able to trust my own body.

It’s weird to go from having no control over your body without agreeing or consenting to that due to illness, to signing up for that for nine months. But it’s different. As my OB told me, “You’re not ill, you’re pregnant.” Though I want to say “then why are we medicalizing the heck out of this experience?” But I know that the end goal is a healthy baby and a healthy me, so if that means a million and one doctor’s appointments, I’ll take it.

In the first trimester, I lost five pounds, which was slightly distressing to me. But my doctor doesn’t seem too concerned. And I’m sure that as the nausea retreats, I’ll start eating more and will make up for lost pounds.

I knew going in that during pregnancy, I wanted to maintain the vegan lifestyle that I’ve been living for about two and a half years (I was vegetarian for 15 years prior to going vegan). And I was upfront with both my regular OB and the high risk OB about that before I was even pregnant. Don’t try to convince me otherwise.

It’s weird, though, I have been craving protein – thankfully not of the animal variety. But I can literally say I’ve never craved protein in my whole life prior to being pregnant.

Aside from protein, I’ve craved French fries, which is weird because I’m not really a French fry person. Early on I also craved smoothies because it was about all I could stomach. I’ve also had a propensity for avocados and clementines, not so much in the last few weeks, but definitely for several weeks earlier on. Thankfully, none of the cravings have been so bad that I’ve woken my husband up in the middle of the night and been like “I need French fries now.”

As far as symptoms go, I’ve had fatigue, nausea, acne, and been freezing cold all the time, even when it’s 85 degrees outside.

All I can say is that so far this experience has been wild. It has been an adventure already and we’ve only seen our little bean once. I’m starting high risk appointments every other week, so I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of him or her. And I hope that things stay calm and uneventful. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

I’m Pregnant. We’re Pregnant. We’re Having a Baby.

Well, that’s the big announcement. My husband and I are expecting. 

We’re so, so grateful. There was a large part of my 20s where I couldn’t even get a doctor to entertain what it would look like for me to get pregnant. And now, at 35, here I am and here we are. 

I’ll have more to say in a post devoted to the first trimester, including when and how we found out, etc.