I officially made it to the second Trimester! I can’t believe it! With 24/7 nausea for 6 straight weeks, extreme exhaustion, food aversions, moodiness, and dull headaches, I thought it would never end!
Going through infertility treatments like IVF, you learn very early on, the sacrifice that is, Motherhood. With each painful injection and months of ups and downs, you are focused on one goal, holding a beautiful healthy baby in your arms one day. This is what keeps you hopeful and keeps you going, despite the heartache or struggles you face along the way.
Even if you conceive naturally, the sacrifice starts almost immediately. The worry, the physical symptoms, the nausea, and the exhaustion. If you are lucky enough to experience none of those symptoms, enjoy, embrace and thank your lucky stars. I was this person with my first pregnancy, almost 11 years ago. The only symptoms were sleeping 2-3 hours extra per night and huge breasts, which wasn’t actually so bad ;)!
Every pregnancy is different. So, if you are like me and have experienced what seems like every symptom in the book in the first trimester, feeling like it will never end, trust that it will. Here is how I survived.
Eat more frequently:
I experienced 24/7 all-day nausea from week 4 to week 10. I’ll be honest, I could’ve totally dealt with “morning” sickness, but 24/7 nausea was debilitating. I wanted to stay curled up in a ball in my bed and sleep my life away just so I no longer had to feel sick to my stomach. To get through I had to eat more frequently, 5-7 smaller mini meals about every 2 hours to keep the nausea at bay.
Choose foods you can stomach and don’t worry if they aren’t the healthiest choices:
I’ve always been a huge meal-prepper, cooking all meals on Sundays for the week. My fridge was always stacked high with tupperware, so I can grab and go. Unfortunately, this no longer worked for me, because I had so many food aversions and needed to eat what I craved, in the moment, which unfortunately was NOT one vegetable. I couldn’t stomach the taste of meat, fruits or vegetables, which was crazy for me, since I eat veggies at EVERY meal, ALWAYS. Instead, I lived off toast with peanut butter, bagels with cream cheese, chocolate protein bars and canned soup. I reminded myself it is temporary and didn’t beat myself up for not getting in the important macro-nutrients, since I was supplementing with a prenatal.
Sleep as much as possible:
For years, I woke up at 4:30 a.m., always starting my day with a workout. I have always been a morning person, but I had to adjust my sleep schedule, in order to get the adequate amount of sleep my body was demanding. From weeks 4 to 10 I slept a good 10-11 hours per night and most of the time, still felt exhausted throughout my day. I started sleeping in until 7:00 a.m., skipping my morning workout. This was a huge adjustment, but I reminded myself REST was necessary, so my body could support my growing baby! It is especially important to get extra rest during the first trimester, as our bodies are going through many changes as the fetus develops. The placenta is forming, blood is pumping more frequently and our heart rate increases. Resting helps increase blood flow to the uterus and allows us to feel less fatigued throughout the day. If you can’t sleep-in a little later, start going to bed a couple hours earlier, and take naps whenever possible!
Ask your partner to help with the chores
I felt like the worst wife in the world, too tired to do wash dishes or fold laundry, too nauseous to cook (especially any type of meat ICK!), and not giving my family a lot of attention, as I was just trying to get through the day! Luckily, my husband was always asking what he could do to help. He took on more chores so I could rest, went food shopping for me and helped car-pool my 10-year-old to all of his sporting events. Ask your love-ones or a friend to help around the house a bit more, to allow you to get an adequate amount of rest. Make sure to communicate how you are feeling and how much the extra help means to you. Now is the most important time you listen to what your body needs most.
Take advantage of the times during the day when you have the most energy
For me this was between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., so I made it a point to move my body in some kind of way. In fact, when I was active, it was the only time my nausea went away. Go for a walk outside, practice yoga, do some light resistance exercises, or just go out and get your errands done!
Mentally the nausea, exhaustion, headaches, and anxiously waiting for ultrasounds can really affect you tremendously. Practice mindfulness as much as possible. Take care of yourself with acupuncture, massage, and a warm bath. Meditate and do breathwork to keep you calm, journal your thoughts and emotions, practice light yoga and stretching to ease tension in your muscles, or put on some good-vibe music to boost your mood!
Let go of guilt
You might not be feeling like your normal self, contributing around the house, and feeling extra lazy, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t feel guilty for spending more time in bed than socializing. Don’t feel guilty for ordering take-out 7 days a week, because you’re too tired to cook. Don’t feel guilty if you are using some extra sick days at work. You need to listen to your body and take good care of yourself. You don’t need the added stress of feeling guilty.
Remind yourself “this too shall pass”. The second trimester will be here before you know it!
There are many woman out there still struggling to get pregnant who would trade places with you in a heartbeat. There are some woman who experience symptoms throughout their entire pregnancy, and if you have a chance to catch a break come the second trimester, be thankful. It doesn’t mean you can’t complain to your partner and ask for help, feel a little sorry for yourself and pray you feel better, but do your best to find the good in each day. It takes a lot of strength, gentleness and patience to be a Mother, and now is the time you will be tested in these areas the most. Take care of yourself, be patient, and remind yourself of your strength.
Hang in there,