It’s surprising to think the first trimester has come and gone and now I’m over 20 weeks along. For parts of the first trimester, it felt like it would never end! However, I am fortunate to have had a relatively easy first 13 weeks. Instead of recapping each week of pregnancy, I’m hoping to capture each trimester by category on the blog.
I was an emotional wreck. Between selling our Hoboken apartment, moving to a new city and home, starting a new job, running withdrawal from the marathon, winter blues, and being pregnant, I was on an emotional roller coaster. There was a lot of doubt and fears about all the life decisions we made before finding out I was pregnant. It’s a miracle we made it through the first three months alive and without too many battle wounds.
I started the new job commute by taking the train but after the first two weeks, my exhaustion got the better of me. I was sleeping both ways on the train and almost missed the stop on the way home if it weren’t for nice conductor that knew my stop was approaching. You would think being able to sleep almost an extra 30-45 minutes each way would be a good thing but I would wake up even more exhausted. The train also meant getting up over an hour earlier for work and getting home nearly 30 minutes later and while I didn’t particularly want to drive while being so tired either, it meant I could sleep in an extra hour each day in my bed. That essentially sums up how I felt about sleep in the first trimester.
I was always extremely tired and would be able to fall asleep pretty much anywhere. I always liked sleep but this was on a much bigger scale.
Hunger and Cravings
For as sleepy as I was, I was just as hungry. I was hungry as soon as I woke up and I would go to bed hungry. No amount of food was enough for me. I was eating every two hours and was still hungry. I took the definition of hangry to another level. Not only was I hangry, hunger would lead to some slight nausea and then the emotional roller coaster.
I was fortunate to not have very many aversions in the first trimester. i used to love smoothies every morning but after throwing up from having one, I stopped drinking those. I did the same with coffee before work and bananas. I also couldn’t stomach anything that was too sweet like most candy and ice cream (what a weird pregnant woman, right?).
On the flip side, I didn’t have any particular cravings. For the most part I ate a lot of more what I used to like eating like cheese, pickles, salsa and chips. I was however pretty fickle when it came to food. I loved pickles for about two weeks and then stopped eating them all the time. I still like chips, salsa, and cheese though. I was also on a carbonated water, ginger beer, and juice kick. The carbonation really saved me from the mild nausea.
As for avoiding foods that could cause listeria, soft cheeses, sushi, and alcohol, I found it the hardest when out for breakfast or brunch. This is typically my favorite meal and while in the past I could eat ham, turkey, bacon, or cheeses without thinking, now I really had to pay attention. I also found that when I asked people at restaurants if certain cheeses were pasteurized, most were confused by the question.
I did avoid caffeine for the most part in the first trimester with the exception of green tea and an occasional cup of decaffeinated coffee at work. When I couldn’t stomach a cup of coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated) in the morning before the commute, I just decided to cut it out all together. In the afternoons when I was extremely exhausted at work, I would drink green tea instead.
About six weeks in, I noticed that I could no longer chew on certain foods without experiencing high sensitivity in my teeth. I couldn’t chew apples, berries, pomegranate seeds (and these were my favorite!), oranges, or pretty much anything that was cold or acidic. I somehow managed through salsa and tomatoes though.
Towards the latter part of first trimester, I started struggling with pre-pregnancy clothes fitting. My tops were getting a little tighter around the chest and pants were tight around the waist. It didn’t help that I had gained some weight during marathon season so when I had to start wearing some of my winter clothes, everything just felt tight. I didn’t buy any maternity clothes in the first trimester but Josh did buy me a pack of pants button extenders that saved some of my old jeans.
Getting dressed for work was some of the hardest moments. I wasn’t ready to share the news at work but at the same time, I couldn’t wear some of the more form-fitting pieces of clothes without feeling self-conscious. Likely someone who didn’t know me well probably wouldn’t notice a difference but I felt different.
I tried my best to continue my normal post-marathon routine as best as possible given the winter months, lack of light, and unfamiliarity with a new city. I ran the marathon while three weeks pregnant, though I didn’t know at the time, and then two turkey trots at six weeks pregnant and a 10K at the tail end of the first trimester. I was averaging around 15-20 miles a week (3-4 runs a week) and either a barre or yoga class. When weather permitting, I ran a couple of group runs with Fleet Feet Stamford or run outside myself, and the majority on the treadmill when it was dark out. Looking back on it now, I am amazed at how I was able to keep that up while so hungry and sleepy.
For my runs, I was definitely slowing down. At six weeks when I ran the turkey trots, I was able to maintain a fairly fast pace while keeping my heart rate around 140-150 bpm but as each week went on, I started to slow down. This is where my new Garmin devices came in handy to help determine my average heart rate during a run. There are a lot of mixed studies about exercising while pregnant but my doctor’s advice was to continue what I was doing and not trying anything new or high impact. He did advise me to keep my heart rate lower than the baby’s, in my case easy conversational pace runs. I did not do any speed workouts and as soon as I felt and/or saw my heart rate spike, I would tone it down.
Sharing the News
We saw our families at eight and nine week mark so decided to share the news with them then. At that point, we already had our first ultrasound and heard the baby’s heart beat. We’re not the most creative but wanted to share the news different from just telling them. A dry erase marker chalk board came in handy as a way to share the news subtly, though this didn’t work as well with Josh’s family since the night we were supposed to get in our flight was over six hours late and we didn’t arrive until after 1AM. Also, we didn’t travel with the board so instead we shared a picture of it.
With our close friends and extended family, we shared the news only if we saw them in person during that time. For everyone else we missed, we wanted to wait until the first big ultrasound, first trimester milestone, and when we found out the baby’s gender all around the 13 week mark.
All in all, I am very fortunate for what would be typically classified as an easier first trimester. I didn’t have any real morning sickness or nausea. I had some normal heartburn that I used to experience pre-pregnancy but nothing major. I compared most of my first trimester symptoms to that of marathon training but just worst. For the most part, I was eating and sleeping a lot more and fortunate to be able to continue with exercise.