First Trimester Top 10 Lists (Giant Underpants and Everything Else You Probably Don't Want to Know.)

My first trimester was a whirlwind and from what I hear, my symptoms were a little more extreme than the norm because I am sensitive to progesterone.

I'll share with you some of my least favourite things about being pregnant along with my favourite things and some things that really surprised me.  Let's start with what I didn't like.

Ten Things I Hated About My First Trimester

1.  It's hard to get excited.  The second you begin signing up for updates from pregnancy websites, it's nearly impossible to shield yourself from the high miscarriage rates during the early weeks.  I had always sort of known about this (hence not telling people until week 12) but once it was a reality, it was so weird.  I couldn't believe other women went through these months of not knowing all the time without comment.  I had my first ultrasound at week 10 and until then, I kept wanting to ask my doctor, "So I'm just supposed to go on not drinking and assuming I'm pregnant even though we don't really know for sure?"

2.  The nausea is real... and it's spectacular!  ... In an explosion of fireworks kind of way.  I remember thinking at week five that I was lucky to have skipped the nausea because in the movies, women always throw up and then discover they're pregnant.  In real life, you've majorly skipped a period long before nausea rears its ugly head.  Beginning week six and not ending until week sixteen, I threw up non-stop and felt like I was perpetually hung over.  Sometimes I'd have plenty of notice, and other times I'd barely make it to the nearest sink.  It was horrible and I went off most healthy food, opting for things that made me feel better like carbs and sugar.  I hadn't had cola in years but I started drinking it during my first trimester!

3.  I bloated immediately!  Like, I got a positive test and within a couple of weeks, it was hard to button my pants.  I found myself buying maternity clothes super early but I didn't have a bump yet and just looked sort of pudgy in the middle.  I now have a hard bump out in front but I find that my entire body has changed.  Fat has sort of shifted, my feet are massive and I found a grey hair the other day.  Also, all my underpants roll down because of my bump, so I found myself buying some giant pregnancy underpants.  So you see, I'm sort of not joking when people look at my belly and ask when I'm due and I pat it and tell them it's just hamburgers.

4.  Everyone tells you to sleep now.  F&%^ing stop it, people!  I understand that babies are hard and babies cry but I can't bank the sleep and sleeping is already pretty freakin uncomfortable.  This is my worst pet peeve... the knowing looks (especially from non-parents) as they smile and seem to secretly delight in the fact that we're going to have a shitty year of sleep.

5.  My surprise depression was unbearable and embarrassing.  It came on suddenly and even though I knew exactly what it was and why it was happening, I couldn't seem to rationalize my way out of it.  I felt selfish for having everything I ever wanted at my fingertips and yet hating my life.  I was also worried at first to seek help because I knew people would worry about me and I didn't want to be hospitalized.  I'll save the details for another post, but my midwife and doctor were tremendously helpful (as were Corey and my mom) and they sent me to a psychiatrist who deals exclusively with pregnant women and new moms.  I cried all the way to my first appointment with her but she turned out to be awesome and helped me see that as scary as my episodes are, they are hormonally triggered and that I am still in control enough not to be a real risk.  I was relieved that she agreed that I was in control and didn't want to watch me 24/7 or anything, but I was still relieved when my depression began to taper off around week fourteen.

6.  The waiting is painful.  Oh my goodness, I feel like pregnancy is so slow and I'm always waiting for the next milestone.  It starts with waiting to hear the heartbeat.  Then it's waiting until the risk of miscarriage is low enough that you can tell people.  Waiting for test results.  Waiting for the next ultrasound.  Waiting to feel a kick.  Waiting to find out the gender....  Waiting, waiting waiting!  Remember that Dr. Seuss book that everyone got at graduation?  'Oh, the Places You'll Go' was the title...  Well, there's one part where everyone is in a waiting place.  That's what pregnancy feels like.

7.  I realized that I'm a wimp.  Oh man, I am such a wimp!  I know this because I am barely making it through this awful pregnancy and yet most of my friends have already done this... many have done it more than once!  If most women go through this at some point, how do people not know how brutal and hard it is?  Did they try to warn me and perhaps I just didn't listen?  I probably didn't believe them and thought they were blowing it out of proportion.  Well, I'm sorry pregnant ladies of the past... because this is genuinely hard!  How did you all do it?  How did those of you who are single or don't have huge support systems ever manage?  How about those of you who work even longer hours than I do?  You are amazing!  Seriously, pregnant women are warriors!  If time travel ever becomes a possibility, I will consider warning my younger self and at least explaining that even while it is the best thing I will do, it will also be the worst!

8.  Cravings are strange and (surprisingly) not a fairy-tale created by pregnant women in order to consume guilt-free gelato.  Food aversions also happened to be real.  I can recall really craving fruit and raw meat, which is unfortunately off-limits.  I also really craved sweets, which is weird for me because I usually prefer salty snacks.  I swear I could have eaten a sundae every day if I wasn't petrified of gestational diabetes.  My cravings were so strong that I found myself thinking about food constantly even as I was vomiting.  There was also a full week when I couldn't stomach anything except toast and jam.  Had it not happened to me, I never would have believed this was a real thing!  Corey even saved one of our conversations.

9.  You're so special and yet not at all special.  I know it sounds obnoxious but this one kills me.  You feel this huge change on the inside because, you know, you're growing a person and all.  Corey fussed over me and so did my mom and yet, I'd go out into the world and it was sort of weird not being able to just push my way to the front of the line at the grocery story by saying "Excuse me!  Pregnant person coming through!  Outta my way people, I'm carrying a life!"  In fact, nobody really cares about you until you start showing... but you still don't really get special treatment.  That's why parking spaces for expectant mothers are actually important... Sure, it sucks and we waddle and feel like garbage but it's also just a nice way to show us how special we are.

10.  It's a time filled with contradictions.  You're excited and yet you can't tell people.  You're beaming with pride and yet you feel guilty for those who can't get pregnant.  You're exhausted and yet you need to watch your caffeine intake.  You're stressed out and yet you can't have a drink.  You feel powerful and yet you have a list of activities you can't do in your condition.  You want a womanly and glamorous bump and yet all you have is a bloated, constipated middle.  Pregnancy is weird.

Ten Things I Loved About My First Trimester

1.  Watching Corey get excited and begin to prepare for fatherhood has been incredible.  I've always known Corey as a partner to me and that's the person I fell in love with... But now I'm getting to know him as a dad.  It's like I'm meeting this whole other amazing person and I love him even more!

2.  Our first ultrasound is probably one of the most unforgettable moments of my life.  It was our ten week mark and I remember being seriously worried that my entire pregnancy was somehow psychosomatic or that the fetus wouldn't be alive.  These were real concerns.  Up until then, I hadn't really had any confirmation that my pregnancy was real other than the drugstore test I had taken weeks before.  I remember thinking that I'd be able to relax once the technician confirmed that there was a heartbeat.  Well, I didn't have to wait for a heartbeat, because Singleton greeted us by waving his/her arms like crazy.  I cried.  I also stopped worrying after that.

3.  Shopping for baby clothes is awesome.  We rarely buy anything, but we also can't pass a baby store without going in.  It's our new favourite date!  I never would have guessed that choosing a stroller would constitute awesome entertainment but somehow it is.  It gives me hope that when life changes and we have this little person who has turned our world upside down, we probably won't mind too much.

4.  Seeing babies and holding friends' babies has taken on a different meaning.  I always thought I was one of the least likely people to get baby fever but get outta my way if there's a new baby in the room because I want to hold it!  ... And maybe smell it.

5.  Long walks in the evening with Corey became the highlights of my day.  There's no more work or TV until bed for us.  Now, no matter when I finish work, we go for a long walk.  It's good exercise and it gives us time to talk and connect.  There are so many appointments now and there's so much to discuss, but it is also very peaceful.  It's my favourite part of the day.  We should have started this years ago.  I swear, I could have the most amazing day of my life, and my walk and debriefing with Corey over a walk at the end of the day would be the best part!

6.  Pregnancy has forced me to unapologetically take care of myself.  I never used to find time to put my feet up or get a pedicure and now, I suddenly have all these people telling me to relax, eat right, pamper myself a bit.  It's kind of amazing!

7.  Strangers smile at me all the time.  As soon as I started to show, strangers started smiling at me.  It's sort of sweet that me being pregnant actually makes other people happy.  You know who gets the most excited for me?  Friends and acquaintances (and even strangers) who are around the age where they could have grandchildren.  They're always so fun and supportive!

8.  I love how excited our families are.  Our moms, especially!  They're just over the moon!  I'm going to love watching them both become grandmas.  My mom has been checking on me constantly and buying things for us and the baby and basically just taking care of me.  I'll admit that I sort of love it.

9.  I feel this overwhelming sense of purpose and fulfillment that I hadn't expected.  I always felt that I would feel fulfilled whether or not Corey and I chose to have children, but now I feel like I'm a part of something larger.  I think of all the generations that could come from this baby and I think of all my ancestors who made me, and hence this baby possible.  Pregnancy has made me feel very connected.

10.  I'm excited to have another one of "us" around!  I am more excited to meet this baby than I have ever been for anything.  Admittedly, at first it was hard to imagine another person just living with us in our house.  I thought it would be weird and maybe awkward.  I think my attitude changed when I had my eureka moment.  I looked at Corey one day and exclaimed "But it's not going to be just some random stranger, it will be one of us!"  I am more comfortable with Corey and I have more fun with him than anyone else in the world.  Imagine there being another person like that?

Ten Things That Surprised Me About My First Trimester

1.  I became more emotional than I expected.  Actually, this applies to Corey too.  It's like we've both become a couple of softies overnight.  I never thought I'd cry during commercials but we both do now!  Yesterday, I sent Corey a link to a series of photos of fathers seeing their babies for the first time.  In the subject line I wrote "Crycrycry" and as soon as he got home he made me promise not to send him stuff like that again while he's at work. ;)  Imagine trying to write your wedding vows when you're basically an emotional basketcase?  Now I know what they mean when they say parents wear their hearts outside their bodies.

2.  I stopped fearing labour.  Now, I may regret this once December rolls around and I'm screaming and begging for the drugs but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyway.  Any of my friends can attest to the fact that pre-pregnancy me was super squeamish about labour.  It seriously grossed me out!  Sometimes even seeing a pregnant woman would sort of make my vagina hurt.  Now, I'm not saying I enjoy picturing labour now but it seems to freak me out a lot less now that it's sort of an inevitability.  I know it's going to happen and it's going to be the worst pain of my life... but I also know that my reward at the end is basically the best thing ever.  So it's a wash, I suppose.  No, more than that... I think I'm actually excited for it.

3.  I feel a strong kinship with other pregnant women.  I know what they're going through and if I see a pregnant woman on the street, I just want to run up to her and give her a hug and maybe a back rub.  That would be weird though, so I try to restrain myself.  But basically, I feel like if I were stuck in an elevator with a pregnant woman from anywhere in the world, it wouldn't matter how different our lives were because we'd just start talking about how much our boobs have grown or that random stabbing vagina pain we sometimes get (what IS that??) and we'd become besties!

FYI, This doesn't only apply to those who are currently pregnant.  I think of all my friends who have gone through this before me and I remember how I was excited for them and would ask what fruit their baby resembled that week, because the comparison to fruit was basically the only thing I knew about pregnancy.  If I could go back in time, I'd ask them how they were feeling and if they needed anything or if they just wanted to vent. I finally get it!

4.  The symptoms are weirder than I had expected.  There were just so many that I had never heard of!  Sure I expected my feet to swell and to get a little constipated and be nauseous, but I didn't expect the depression or the vitamin deficiency that caused my hands and feet to tingle or the linea nigra (look it up) and the nosebleeds and skin tags.  I basically reached the point where if my hair turned blue overnight, I would assume it was another weirdo pregnancy symptom.

5.  I couldn't wait to tell people!  I really thought I'd relish having this delicious secret just between me and Corey but I absolutely couldn't wait to tell my closest friends right away.  Let's be honest, it's a pretty big secret to keep to yourself!  It was agony waiting until week 12 when we could finally tell the world.  We couldn't have waited much longer though, because I was already starting to show.

6.  I started hating all the appointments.  I remember the rush I felt the first time I waited with Corey for our midwife to see us.  We were so thrilled and excited to be there together and we had so many questions!  Now, I wish I could just have a month or so free from all the check-ups and appointments.  Seriously people, I'm not skydiving or smoking crack... I'm sure the baby's still fine.  Can I please just skip a few check-ups?

7.  It was nearly impossible to get a midwife.  Choosing a midwife happened to be the right choice for us and we knew right away that we wanted one.  In recent years, they've become sort of chic though, and it's nearly impossible to get an appointment.  I knew I was pregnant at three and a half weeks... That's just a week and a half after conception and it's very early to get a positive test and I called every midwife group right away.  I was wait-listed everywhere since I'm not a priority group and I also happen to want a midwife who has privileges at a hospital.  I ended up getting a great midwife but I'm still convinced there's some sort of conspiracy and that people are booking midwives before they even conceive.  Not cool, ladies!

8.  I went insane for a while.  I'm talking, crazy pregnancy rage like you wouldn't believe!  Only I'm feisty to begin with... so you probably would believe it.  I have screamed at a couple of (deserving) strangers and while I was getting used to the hormones, I felt a little like the hulk.  Don't worry though... It was short lived.

9.  I feel protective of the decisions other women make.  I already feel like people are a little judgey of me when they hear that I plan to go back to work shortly after the birth.  I also know that it's the decision that makes the most sense for my family and it doesn't mean that it won't be hard or that I won't be a hands-on mom.  I believe strongly that we all have the right to make our own decisions and it's really hard to judge other moms if you haven't walked in our shoes.  For instance, I'd like to try to breastfeed but I won't beat myself up if I can't.  I have friends who didn't and their kids are fine.  I do find that sometimes when strangers say obnoxious things like "You plan to breastfeed, of course" I'll say no flatly just to show them that it's not an assumption they should be making.  Take that, parenting-obsessed society!

10.  Our personalities reversed.  Not completely, but a little.  Sure, I had my phase of yelling at (deserving) strangers but now I feel strangely calm.  I'm not worried about the genetic tests or what will happen when the baby arrives... I sort of have this faith that we will be absolutely fine.  Corey seems equally confident, although the laid-back dude I'm used to now yells at strangers when they run stop signs in the neighbourhood and tells teenagers not to park on the sidewalk because he doesn't like me walking around.  It's like he's taken personal responsibility for standing up for our family.  I kind of like it!

Bonus:  I added a bonus pregnancy surprise because there's just so much that shocked me about the process.  I was shocked to find out how weird the medical community is about ultrasounds and how much different clinics and hospitals differ in their philosophy and rules.  Some places won't let the dad-to-be in... which is bulls%$t if you ask me.  We were fortunate enough not to encounter any of those places!  But they still don't allow photography or video and some most places don't even have a monitor for the mom to watch, so you have to just lay there and you only get to see if the technician decides to turn the screen to show you something.  At our first ultrasound, there had been a screen on the wall in front of me, so I think I got spoiled.  I convinced Corey to secretly video the next one, but there was no screen for me to watch, so I kept getting frustrated that I couldn't see.  This ultimately led to us getting busted but I've included a short video of little Singleton below. 

Tell me about your experience too!  Was it similar to mine or different?  What can I expect over the next few weeks?  I'd love to hear!

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