Friday, 21 September 2012

7 Quick Takes: the First Trimester edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 151)

I honestly haven't been doing anything else to write about, so I'm posting some Quick Takes this week based around what I've been going through for the past couple of months or so (or, what I've been desperate to complain about, but haven't felt well enough to type.) Now I'm approaching the end of the first trimester, I give thanks for everything that's sustaining this new life within me; but honestly, during the past weeks, there are times I bore this suffering very badly. Now, I know there are people much worse off than me, and I maintain that having children is just amazing, and more than worth my recent difficulties, but I refuse to perpetuate the myth that everything is sunshine and flowers when you get pregnant (well, not until the second trimester, anyway!) So, here we go - First Trimester Woes:

~ 1 ~ 

Nausea. We're not talking feeling slightly sick from time to time here, either. We're talking pretty much permanent nausea, which even by 12 weeks has just begun to dissipate slightly only if I keep eating all the time which isn't actually possible, let alone desirable. Until this, my fourth pregnancy, I had never even begun to comprehend the miseries of nausea, even though I've had morning (noon & night) sickness every time. Unable to physically function, look after the kiddies, even think about food....unable to see anyone socially, feeling extremely isolated, as well as extremely sick - I know it's regularly said that pregnancy isn't an illness, but I felt more ill than I am when I'm ill. Simply by feeling nauseous. Bleurrrrch.

~ 2 ~

Sickness. Yes, of course I didn't just get the feeling of wanting to be sick, and accompanying retchings, most days I even WAS sick - anytime of day, even if I had an empty stomach (why don't fashion designers ever bring out anything in the shade of bile? Such a nice bright colour.). I had a bucket ready by the side of the bed, and one in the car for absolute emergencies, and tried to stay still in the bed as much as possible. Eventually I figured out a routine of eating two rounds of toast toast in the morning, bread or crackers at lunchtime, nothing dairy and crackers in the evening or food would come straight back up.  It helped if I had something in my stomach, but my pretty much non-existent lack of appetite didn't help much there. Vomit, it's just nasty.

~ 3 ~ 

Nosebleeds. I'd forgotten about the nosebleeds this time around until one arrived in the shower while I was shampooing my hair and I had to scream for help - must've looked like something out of Carrie. I got used to them arriving unannounced, although my particular favourites I have to say were nosebleeds which arrived because of the force of my projectile vomiting, thus making everything in the bucket actually quite pretty and red. (Designers again? Crimson and bile, a suitable hue?)

~ 4 ~

Ptyalism. Huh? Exactly, and I cannot believe some people have to suffer this on a permanent basis. (Or if they have mercury poisoning.) Sometimes, this was even worse than the nausea which it accompanied - I can't hardly describe it! Once again linked to an empty stomach, but still happy to stick around when I had eaten, my mouth started to produce excess saliva. This not only made me feel sick, but the drooling drove me mad - I kept having to swallow, or sip water, in an attempt to make it ease off. Common in pregnancy apparently = joy.

~ 5 ~ 

Self-pity. Yes, I know some people get Hyperemesis gravidarum and some people have pregnancy sickness for their entire pregnancy, but it was still time to throw a pity party. I prayed for people without babies and who have lost babies, I prayed for cancer sufferers and people whose chemotherapy and other treatments made them nauseous, I thanked God for pregnancy and all its blessings - but I nevertheless felt SO UNBELIEVABLY LOW. I wondered if we had done the wrong thing inviting another pregnancy. I worried about the other children in our family. I tried to place ultimate trust in God. I felt like a complete failure. In fact, it wasn't until the wonderful Sarah Reinhard let me read her new book, that I realised it was okay to feel this way, and that I'd get over it. There is nothing worse than going through something alone. There is nothing to lift you  more than knowing that someone else understands.

~ 6 ~

Silence. I've had first trimester bleeding during all my pregnancies and although they've all gone on to produce healthy children, I've never been comfortable about sharing until our first ultrasound scan. Sharing publicly, I mean. Some family, friends and colleagues have known, since the early days (often through guesswork, as why else would I be ill for so long?!). But then they largely haven't been people who have been through the first trimester doom of pregnancy sickness, in the same way as I have experienced, it this time round. And if they have, it was thirty years ago for them, and their platitudes hinder rather than help. The people I NEED to be sharing my first trimester woes with, ironically, are other people going through similar woes, who are likewise being similarly silent in arenas where sharing could make me feel better (Facebook, Twitter) because they too are keeping quiet! I could have jumped for joy when Hallie Lord announced she had been quiet due to pregnancy and didn't the First Trimester suck.

~ 7 ~ 

Exhaustion. People tell you, in a pregnancy, that you need to get used to the tiredness because once you have a baby, it'll be second nature. But NOTHING compares to pregnancy fatigue. (OK, nothing compares to newborn exhaustion either, but I maintain the two are completely different.) This first trimester, standing up to take a shower was a problem. I could go to sleep on a stick. I couldn't function, not just through lack of food/energy, but total tiredness. I'm currently suffering with the common cold, and just want to snuggle up under the duvet all day. Having a baby certainly takes it out of you. Now I'm emerging from this difficult trimester, I can appreciate all the amazing work that my body is doing helping create a new life. NO WONDER I'm exhausted. NO WONDER I felt so ill. THANK GOD for the placenta taking over maintenance duties just when I thought I couldn't cope anymore. Whatever the outcome, this first trimester has been worth it. Now excuse me while I head back to the sofa for another snooze.....

Disclaimer: I just realised I forgot to specifically mention hormones - which are not only responsible for all of the above, but probably require a whole post all to themselves for the moods and thoughts they can induce!


  1. I am so sorry that you went through all that. I didn't know that the excessive salivation had a name, but boy did I have that both times. I would teach standing next to the trash can so I could just lean my head and spit. I think it was the best example to avoid premarital sex for the high school kids. Here's to hoping that there is a light at the end of the first trimester and that it is not a train!

    1. Thanks for reading & for your kind words, Ann-Marie. It seems there is always something more to learn about the first trimester!

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