As you may or may not already know… I am pregnant. Quite pregnant actually, a whole 27 weeks at this point! I have been meaning to do the ol’ pregnancy announcement blog post but finding a time has been challenging. Once I let the cat out of the bag through instagram I just figured the news was out there. Plus who has energy those first 12 weeks for anything additional in their life except growing this tiny human and dealing with all the emotions and nausea the first trimester has to graciously offer. Now that I am almost in my third, never to late, I feel it is time to start posting about the ins and outs of pregnancy, from a natural and holistic perspective of course. But first I would like to share my experience of the first trimester.
Being my second pregnancy my perspective has been a little been there done that which is now starting to kick me in the butt because the reality of the birth is slowly approaching. I certainly didn’t feel that rush to go out and buy every baby book in the bookstore. I have just been going with the flow. To be honest, it’s all one has time for the second time around. I am balancing school runs, making meals and lunch boxes, paying bills, running a new business, spring cleaning (nesting) which leaves little room for the pregnancy self care routine I had with my first. Which involved multiple prenatal yoga classes a week, lots of massages, daily walks or hikes, daily home cooked meals and time to nap or meditate. Either way, the first trimester you simply cannot avoid the exhaustion and no matter what you just end up napping all the time and most likely falling asleep during story time.
So let me take you back to the beginning to the day I decided, out of the blue, that maybe just maybe I was late. I knew I had a pregnancy test buried away in the medicine drawer because I have had that ‘I am late’ feeling so many times before. Usually I take the test and within seconds my cycle begins, just like that. As if the relief is so strong the floodgates just open. The test I found had a use by date, I didn’t know pregnancy tests could even expire but I figured a test is a test and it would be a negative response as always. Very clearly it read positive. My heart, my jaw and my toilet paper dropped. It was a moment of complete pause followed by short breaths of utter disbelief. I knew I wasn’t done, my body wanted another baby it was just my mind that was unsure. My daughter is six years old, we are so very out of the baby stage and the concept of starting all over again is daunting. Also the idea of not sleeping again after a horrendous five years of sleep issues with Coco was almost enough to put me off trying for another ever again. I always said if we accidentally conceived it would be a blessing and the decision would be made for us, without actually having to make that hard choice. So the universe had a plan for us and that was to make a baby. It was a fact; I was pregnant. I started to feel little bolts of joy rush through my body as I called my husband with the unexpected news. Less romantic this time, no special meeting, no pretty box to unwrap with a test inside. Just life. I just kept expressing how much I loved being pregnant with Coco and if he remembered how empowered and sexy I felt. I figured this pregnancy would be as smooth sailing. However, every pregnancy is different, every birth is unique and no two children are alike so not sure what I was thinking. I am also six years older, my immune system from adrenal fatigue is not as strong and I still am working off baby weight.
Last time I was one of those pregnant women other women despise. Happy all the time, never got sick, no cravings, no heart burn, no stretch marks, no back aches, totally proud of my body and the bump. It was a magical experience, I was in the zone, I was creating life. I was excited to make that connection again, something so precious that only I could feel. It is such a sacred bond that mother and child experience in the womb, connected as one before we become two. So I was a little shocked this time when the nausea began, everyone had a reason why; it was the opposite sex or so they believed. Immediately my first trimester went into complaining. A record of huffs, grunts, moans and mumbles. The nausea never made me throw up though; it was a low grade always hanging around kind of nausea. Which in many ways is debilitating. I was under the impression it was morning or night sickness but apparently that is not always the case. I drank herbal tea’s, mainly ginger, sniffed lemon essential oil but nothing really eliminated it. It Is one of those baffling side effects of the first trimester that no one really understands. I was happy it subsided by 13 weeks. One day it was there and then it just wasn’t.
At 8 weeks we did the blood test, to seal the deal that this was all real. The difference between six years ago and today, they can tell you the gender via blood test. My mind was blown. Both being control freaks we decided to go against our will and not find out the sex. However, that was short lived, but I will share the gender later as we caved during the second trimester. I am so glad we did as it really helped my daughter connect.
I have to admit those first 8 weeks were painful, emotionally. The first time I was filled with an overwhelming amount of joy and excitement, the weeks seem to fly by. This time, running in mama circles for six years my excitement was slightly tainted by the realities of conception. Miscarriage is something I never really gave much energy to but now I am so aware of how real this could be. I had a big dose of the real facts which I tried my hardest to not give any power to but you can’t help have these worries lingering. It was somewhat an isolating time. I wanted to share with the world but the norm is to stay quiet until you have witnessed that first heart beat. You are nauseous, scared, excited; you are basically a roller coaster of emotions yet you have no one to really express it to. However, I am more of an open book than most so I chose to disclose to close friends, and then some more semi-close friends. It helped changed my perception. If something did go against my will and god had other plans for us, then I would not like to suffer the agony in silence. I would rather share that pain and let it be heard. It is not something to be ashamed of, we are women, we are there to carry each other and support one another through pain and joy. Miscarriage needs to be talked about.
Which leads me on to the topic of my daughter. We stood firmly against not telling her the first six weeks, however, she knew. Her intuition told her. She started acting out immediately. At 6 it is not so common for her to have complete tantrums or emotional breakdowns. For example, we moved the couch one afternoon to see if we liked the angle better. Coco completely lost her mind over this change. It was emotional and heartbreaking to watch. Her anxieties started to play up and she began showing separation concerns. After discussing it with friends we decided to tell her. We explained that we think there may be a baby in my tummy but the only way to know for sure is when we see our doctor who will listen for a tiny heartbeat. Her response was classic, ‘oh I knew you were having a baby and just hiding it from me’. Yes that is my Coco. Anyways, it really helped her to know, she could understand now why mommy was feeling so tired and unwell. Coco is a worrier and it settled her feelings of the unknown. Emotionally it all settled down after that but her anxieties are still pretty strong. I believe she is concerned that she doesn’t know what this addition to the family will look like for her, so she is holding me very close to her heart. I believe we are all feeling that way, but at six it can be tough to know what to do with those emotions.
We also went through some trauma during that time. My mother had another brain surgery when I hit 10 weeks. This was beyond stressful for me, especially as this is a repeat of my first pregnancy. When I found out I was pregnant, my mother found out three days later that her tumor had returned after 12 years. It was a real high low point. The idea of celebrating new life yet another life was in jeopardy was hard to navigate. We made it through that period quickly and moved into a positive space for everyone after my mothers treatment. It was odd to feel like I was back in this space, a new pregnancy and another brain tumor. We have been informed numerous times that Coco experienced trauma in the womb from that time, so I was extremely worried that yet again my unborn child would suffer from inside. Taking on my worries, stress and fears. With the aid of so many beautiful souls around me, I was told to talk to my babe and tell her not to worry. This is big people stuff and that you are not to be concerned by it. You concentrate on growing, nourishing yourself and being at peace. Leave mommy to do the emotionally work, I’ve got this. So that is what I did. I kept reminding babe that this is my work I have to process and it does not involve you. It is what it is, there were a lot of feelings for me during those weeks but I have strength and courage that has carried me through so many times before, I knew I could do this and stay positive and healthy through it. Which is what we all did.
It has been a journey moving through those 12 weeks. I believe the second trimester will be a space for all the magic feelings to return. As the bump begins to show connecting will become more natural. I will reap the benefits of the extra energy to accomplish my goals and find time to walk, stretch and move. I will keep turning deeper inside and getting a feel for this beautiful life inside me as they begin to grow and develop. I can’t wait to share with you the experience of the next 12 weeks.
Images by Lauren Moore