Wednesday, May 10, 2017

First Trimester Symptoms

Ok, so I already wrote some of my first trimester stuff. But I felt rushed and unfocused then. (And I feel kinda rushed now because I haven't really written about much of anything on here in a while and I wanna get these thoughts OUT!) I just wanted to follow up with a sort of recap of my symptoms. I've noticed that all the reading I've done all over the place focuses on three symptoms and never really talks about how to help with them either. So I want to write about what I experienced, in list format, and how I handled it, and then I'll move on to other maternity/pregnancy stuff that might seem more important.

First Trimester Symptoms

1. Stuffed up nose : This is actually ongoing, and it's REALLY common. However, every time I visited any doctor or other organization (WIC) that was meant to help me with pregnancy stuff, I'd receive a packet full of "information" and only one of them included stuffed up nose. Which they told me to treat with Benadryl, which I would never do. I'm not a big medicine taker and I really, really, really don't believe anyone has done enough studies on drugs and fetuses and pregnancies. Mainly because all the studies say it's unethical to do a double blind trial on pregnant ladies and lament how they only have observational data and then just draw a bunch of conclusions anyway. My stuffed up nose was worse at night, because like with heartburn and acid reflux, being stuffed up can worse when lying down. It's about gravity and swelling, I guess. So basically, every night, I'd wake up after about four hours, unable to breath through my nose (which sometimes whistled), with a mouth so dry and hot it was uncomfortable. I'd go pee, then drink water in my hands from the bathroom sink, and try to go back to bed. It wouldn't work, so I'd get my blanket and go out to the living room and sit in my recliner and watch tv. Sometimes, just the walk down the hallway would clear me up. Sometimes, I'd start the recliner relatively upright and has breathing became easier, I'd recline and sleep there the rest of the night. Sometimes, this would take a few hours AND I'd get hungry, so I'd also eat. It was not ideal, but it was a better solution than lying in bed and not being able to breath or sleep and tossing and turning. Conclusion : You might be stuffed up and not want to take drugs, so you might want to find ways to sleep with a more elevated head than usual.

2. CRAZY dreasm : This is another one that's hard to find info on, but it's pretty common to have much more vivid dreams, especially during the first trimester. I'm already a vivid dreamer, so my dreams became incredibly intense. Often time, intense dreams and frequent urination are the cause of the lack of sleep that is so common during the first trimester. I have no great solution. See, my usual coping mechanism when I wake in the middle of the night is to read. But I now have a husband who "needs" more dark than I do and I haven't found a night light that works, so I'd wake up from dreams and find myself lying in a dark room with nothing to lull me back to sleep. I'd usually also have a stuffy nose and have to pee and would just go to the living room. It's pretty normal for couples to find separate sleeping arrangements during pregnancy, and it might be worthwhile for you to look into this option. I would feel guilty if all my tossing and turning and getting up and breathing loudly would also disturb Adam, so I was happy with the recliner, which also was really comfortable. What I'm saying is, when you find out you're pregnant, maybe also set up back up sleeping arrangements, 'cause you might need them.

3. Amped up anxiety (and other mood disorders) : It's sad to me that maternal mental health carries a lot of stigma. If you already suffer from any type of mood disorder, your first trimester might make it worse. Your body is going through a FUCKTON of hormonal changes and that shit can wreak havoc on anyone's mood. If you've already got doctors in place, it's good to set up an appointment and talk about treatment options and plans as you go through pregnancy. But if you don't suffer from anxiety, depression, or any other mood disorder, you might find that the hormonal changes in your first trimester (just like postpartum) could bring on drastic changes in your mood. It's perfectly ok and normal if this happens. Hormones are a big deal and do a LOT in your body, and pregnancy causes a lot of big hormonal changes. You should not feel shamed or embarrassed if you find you are suffering from changes in your mood...and if those changes seem too big to handle, please do not hesitate to talk to your care provider to get the help you need. The bottom line is that mental health in America carries a lot of stigma, but you should not be ashamed to seek help if you find that pregnancy alters your mental health in a way that requires more support than usual.

4. Morning/whenever sickness : We all know this is the big obvious one, but do you know why? Again, hormones. I can just keep saying that on repeat. But also, possibly blood sugar. The research I did was largely inconclusive, but here's what every asshole said to me, "Just eat Saltines." Uhh, I don't fucking like crackers of any kind! Why the fuck am I going to want to eat them when I'm nauseous. NOT TO MENTION that they are empty calories that can lead to weight gain when everyone is all down on pregnant ladies gaining too much weight. I mean, it was such a load of assembly line bullshit and I wasn't having it. So here's what I learned : Morning/whenever sickness is generally tied to blood sugar, so eating a great diet and making sure you stay fed is probably going to help. Also, fatty foods aren't great for it. Annoying, but yeah, just eat better. Furthemore, apples AND bananas are known to help alleviate nausea. Bitches never tell you that shit. I would find myself so hungry at, like, 4a and I knew if I didn't eat something, I would just get nauseous, and there would go my day. So I'd eat an apple or two at 4a. That was usually enough to keep me going until actual breakfast at 7a. It also didn't cause much weight gain and I didn't feel guilty about it. So yeah, if you're finding that sickness is happening during your first trimester, just try not to go hungry for too long and don't be afraid to grab an apple or a banana to help alleviate that sickness.

5. Insomnia : I talked about this in the first two items on this list, but insomnia is super common for the first trimester. I would find that getting up to go pee or waking from a dream made me WIDE AWAKE and it was ANNOYING! I was lucky enough to be able to partake in afternoon naps, but I know that doesn't work for everyone. Now is a good time to see if you can come in later to work or leave a bit early if you're really exhausted. Being exhausted is the worst. And if you have kids or something, asking for a little more help so you can take a nap, is totally fine. Insomnia can happen for a few reasons and it can make the rest of your life really difficult, so I think the first trimester is an EXCELLENT time to let someone else do the chores, sleep in, and take afternoon naps...WITHOUT GUILT! After all, aren't you busy growing a human being!? That shit ain't easy.

6. Bloating : Some women are already familiar with this because periods, but I wasn't. I didn't know what bloating was. So I looked it up! Bloating is that really heavy gas that feels like a weight in your stomach. It made it harder for me to run because my thighs were basically just pounding into it...so I'd walk until it passed. Gas is common at this stage too, and I was more familiar with that. But what I didn't know is how much movement can help relieve gas and bloating. It's easy, when you feel like crap and your belly is fucking full of gas, to wanna lie down and be a lump...but at this point, getting up and moving is actually far more helpful. I started a routine of walking after dinner, when all my intestinal issues seemed the worst. A walk in the neighborhood that was anywhere from a mile to three miles was usually enough to get everything moving. Walking and/or jogging is also helpful to prevent constipation. The hormones in your body slow your digestion and just make everything much slower, which can cause a lot of discomfort. The best thing to do when you're experiencing any sort of digestion related tummy trouble is to get up and get moving. Trust me, you'll be so much more comfortable.

7. Sore boobs : This is a pretty common one too and the easy solution is bigger bras with less structure. Athletic bras work great during this time because they are not totally floppy but they are also not all about making the super cleavage. I've been living in some cheap ass sports bras!

8. All the fucking scare tactics and idiotic commentary. : Fucking EVERY person who has ever been pregnant will probably try to give you advice. Many people who find out will ask really inappropriate comments. The internet and doctors are FULL OF BULLSHIT! Pregnancy does not have to change your life, and in fact, it probably shouldn't. There is no evidence that you need to slow down...because your body will slow down naturally. If you are a runner or a weight lifter or a waitress, you can continue to do what you've been doing. Being active is AWESOME! It helps your body cope with the changes and it leads to healthier pregnant ladies and babies. But there is still a lot of antiquated thinking that being pregnant means suddenly becoming fragile. It's just not true. Elite athletes have been known to continue training throughout their pregnancies, with nary a side effect. The stairs in your home are not the enemy. If your job requires hard labor that you have been doing for quite some time, your body is gonna be fine with it. And yes, you can take up walking or swimming or yoga or any number of mild forms of exercise during this time. Quit the hard drugs, ditch the alcohol, stop smoking, eat some salads, and get moving! Pregnancy is not a disability. Don't let anyone tell you it is.

I have other thoughts about food and whatnot, but I think you can find the books by Emily Oster (or google her articles) and find all the message boards with women who continued to have coffee or use your brain and realize that sushi is something natural in many cultures and they are not fucking barren...and since I'm not actually a doctor, and since I have not even bothered to link up any of my resources...I'm going to assume that you will either take this blog post as a confirmation that you're not crazy because someone else has gone through what you have, or use it as a jumping off point for your own research. I just want to get my story out there. The point of this blog is not to dictate to you what you should do with your life, just to let you know what I did and why it was fine for me...and why you are probably still fucking normal, no matter what you're experiencing!

2 comments:

  1. Girl, this is an excellent post on pregnancy! I wish I had found something like this when I was pregnant. I mostly went by a "do what feels right" mentality, because of all the crap out there, but reading this would have been comforting and given me a few ideas. This is awesome. You're awesome.

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    1. Well that makes me feel good! My goal with this blog are to reach out to people who feel like me or experience something similar to me and feel less alone because someone else is willing to talk about it. So thanks so much for the compliment!!!

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