first trimester pregnancy

First Trimester: Physical Changes

Our first trimester officially ended on August 22nd (our TWO year wedding anniversary!). I wish I could say it was smooth sailing, but it was ROUGH. To the women who claim they didn’t realize they were pregnant until three, four, or even five months in – I salute you. I started experiencing every pregnancy symptom in the book at conception, and it was NOT pretty.

Of course, my biggest symptom, denial, led me to believe I was just “under the weather,” and “tired from traveling three consecutive weeks” Ha. Idiot!

Pregnancy Symptoms

By the time I took my NINE pregnancy tests (week 4), my hormones were raging. Each pregnancy test signaled positive IMMEDIATELY, and my symptoms from increased levels of hCG, estrogen, and progesterone were resulting in all of the below.

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Nausea in the morning and the evening
  • Bloating
  • Acne, like a goddamn teenager
  • Swollen and tender boobs
  • Lightheaded and dizziness
  • MOODINESS, READ CRAZY BITCH – LIKE, MORE SO THAN NORMAL
  • Heightened sense of smell

But wait, what the fuck is hCG and progesterone? What is pregnancy even?! I literally didn’t know.

My Amazon Prime account has seen more action in the last four months than it has in the last four years. You know what they say, knowledge is power. I have been reading everything from what to expect when pregnant to how the Danish parent. TELL ME EVERYTHING, EVERYONE.

Ignorance is bliss when you’re six weeks preg and have ZERO ideas what’s going on. 

What’s Happening, FOR REAL

Here’s some science for you. And you may think it’s common knowledge, but seriously, I didn’t know half this shit. Like most women, I spent my entire adult life trying desperately NOT to get pregnant, so like, my knowledge pretty much ended at birth control and Plan B…omg don’t judge me, we’ve all been there. 

After fertilization, the cluster of cells that is your soon-to-be baby travels to the uterus and produces the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin, hCG. Your body is simultaneously preparing for this (by NOT having a menstrual period), and the implantation process begins. I had some minor spotting, which is common. Denial will cause you to associate this spotting with a period, even though you’ve never had one so light. At the time, you’re like; it’s fine, nothing to see here. You’ll later look back at this moment and be like, “God, you were dumb!” 

Because all these hormones are in production nausea, bloating, swollen breasts and more result, and unless they are EXTREME, they’re all normal. It’s also normal to feel completely exhausted. And really, why wouldn’t you? Your body is maintaining your life support while developing another. An increase in hormone production and blood flow, as well as an increased metabolism, will leave you feeling like you’ve gotten run over by a semi. Seriously, there is a ton of shit happening! The first weeks of development are crucial. Your babe is already developing its organs and blood cells.

Even though it SUCKS to be on the receiving end, they’re all positive signs. It means your body is doing what needs to be done to continue the development of a healthy baby.

So slow down, Carol. Take a nap. It doesn’t mean you’re weak; it means you’re making a baby and you need to cut yourself some slack.

At this time, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite response to anything that I don’t want to do. I say this exact phrase to my husband approximately five times a day,
“I’m sorry, I would do XYZ task, but I’m really busy building a central nervous system right now. Can you do it for me, please? Thank you!”

There is no way any one can say no to that. Pregnant bishes, definitely try it!

My Concerns

My concern was lightheadedness and dizziness. Every time I stood up, I felt like I was going to black out and pass out if I didn’t grab onto a wall. Not only are your hormones rising, but your blood vessels start to relax and widen to accommodate an increase of blood flow for your baby. It slows the return of the blood in the veins to you. Hence the dizziness.

You can imagine how chill that would be while training a room of 60-people. Demonstrating a deadlift, push up, or renegade row became a real treat. Ugh.

Before pregnancy, I already had low blood pressure, so this is something I learned I needed to monitor. I was able to control it by standing up slower, coughing or moving my feet when I started to feel lightheaded and drinking even more water. This good advice is straight from my practitioner, people!

Not concerning as it was unpleasant, were the 5 hours (daily) I’d spend with my head in a toilet. My morning sickness hit hard in the morning, and right around dinner time. Trying to control this nausea around my training schedule (the same time) was V challenging. Looking back, I simultaneously don’t remember the struggle itself, and also don’t know how I survived, I had some fairly low moments.

A First World, Privileged Problem

My third concern (read: first world problem) was my skin. The FIRST person to find out I was pregnant (other than my husband) was my esthetician. I had to tell her what was up when I needed to cancel an appointment for derma planting and micro needling – because hello! You can’t do that shit while you’re pregnant. The numbing agent and acids that are applied to your face to help you look YOUNG AS FUCK get absorbed by your skin and can lead to congenital disabilities.

OKAY, I know that’s not supposed to be annoying, but I’ll be selfish for one moment and say that it is, in fact, annoying.

I’ve spent the last two decades evolving my skincare routine and finally got the perfect cocktail of treatments, procedures and topical solutions in my arsenal. All of which needed to be discontinued.

I looked like a teenage boy for 8-weeks. Zits. Cystic pimples. Whiteheads. Blackheads. Everywhere. Not. Attractive.

Before you send me a negative comment or tweet like, “Get over yourself, it’s a small price to pay for a healthy baby. Don’t be so selfish.” I fully acknowledge that you’re right. Throw me a bone; I’m venting, okay?!

What to do About This -Ish

  • Listen to your body, SLEEP when you’re tired. Take a nap if you can, otherwise go to bed as early as possible. A hot shower, a noise machine, and a meditative podcast have become my crucial sleep aids.
  • Find a good sports bra to keep the girls lifted and supported. I’ve been LIVING in these.
  • Visit a dermatologist for a recommendation on pregnancy safe topical creams to keep your skin as neutral as possible.
  • Prepare your husband when you feel yourself entering a hormonal rage, there is nothing he can do about it, but he’ll appreciate the heads up.
  • Avoid shit that makes you want to vom. For me, that meant accepting the fact that I would be ordering most of my food or sending my husband out with a well-organized list so I could avoid every grocery store under the sun.
  • EDUCATE yourself. You are your own biggest advocate. Always and forever. Do not buy this book, it’s literally useless, and should be renamed, “Ask Your Practioner circa 1980.” Buy this one instead. This book too. As soon as I gained an understanding of what was going on and why I was feeling the way I did, I was able to accept the negative side effects and go on with my life
  • Acknowledge your feelings, and then let them pass. Like everything else in life, they’re temporary.
  • Take all your Instagram pictures from behind to avoid showing the haggard, shocked and bewildered look on your face.

Fun Facts

  • Pregnancy doesn’t last nine months; it lasts ten months!!!
  • Morning sickness can last all freaking day!!!
  • You WILL pee 1,000 times an hour!!!
  • Fake drinking is hard; your friends WILL call you out, so like, have a dozen of pre-made excuses at the ready as to why you don’t feel like partying!!!

While the first trimester is a bitch and a half, the second I hit twelve weeks I felt like a new woman and even started to enjoy myself. The above is an accurate, albeit dramatic account for entertainment purposes.

It’s all worth it. I already love this baby more than I have ever loved most anything in my entire life.

Bébé Lemere, we’re doing good, kid!

(Important tip: Always look your best, at all times.)

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