The delights of the first trimester

"I knew tiredness is a symptom of pregnancy, but this is another level of fatigue altogether" ... Greer Berry
"I knew tiredness is a symptom of pregnancy, but this is another level of fatigue altogether" ... Greer Berry 

Since we announced our pregnancy a couple of weeks ago, I've found there's a common theme with many of the conversations I've been having (and this can be from anyone - from a relative to a complete stranger in a store). People seem really interested in if I'm suffering from morning sickness. Not just nausea, but they ask if I've been throwing up.   

I guess I'm lucky, as I've had no full-on vomiting yet (touch wood); just some retching, gagging, and all-day nausea. I can't stomach certain foods and smells - meat is the worst usually. 

I've always assumed I would suffer greatly from morning sickness because I'm ruled by my stomach, and it's the first thing to let me down when I'm stressed or nervous about something.

I've waited for the vomit, and pre-emptively read up about the best remedies and how to conceal a cheeky spit in public (my worst fear!).

But nothing. No vomit.

Depending on where you read, about half of pregnant women suffer from both nausea and vomiting, a quarter have just nausea, and the other quarter have nothing at all.

The nausea usually starts around the six-week point, but it can begin as early as four weeks. It usually lasts until 10-12 weeks, but sometimes goes even longer.

So while I haven't been spewing my guts up, I have made up for the lack of projectiles by being blindsided by the other charming side effects of pregnancy.

These include:

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Constipation: I miss pooping. I was usually pretty regular but a combination of pregnancy hormones and prenatal vitamins have blocked me up big time. I may or may not text Mr Greer when I manage to achieve a 'successful evacuation' - it is truly that exciting. The relief!

Bloating: While I haven't put on any weight yet, I certainly look a lot further along than I am. This is thanks to a bit of the above, with a dash of gas, and the fact progesterone slows your body's digestion down to an absolute crawl to give time for the nutrients to get to your bloodstream and your baby.  

Overall, it's quite embarrassing because people feel the need to comment on me 'showing' etc, when in actual fact it's pretty much just fat and bloating. Sorry folks!

Boobs: Painful breasts were one of my first signs I was pregnant so I expected they would cause me ongoing grief. However, 'painful' isn't even a strong enough word to describe how sore they are. I'm talking about pains that are so sharp and, often, so out of nowhere that they make me yelp out loud, or shiver with waves of nausea from the intensity.

The puppies have leapt up a cup size, much to my husband's joy, but the strict 'look but don't touch' policy due to extreme pain means it's definitely mother nature laughing in all of mankind's face.

They also make tummy sleeping, my preferred position, pretty much impossible, which leads to less sleep, which leads to ...

Extreme fatigue: I'm not talking about yawning more often or feeling a bit tired, I am talking about full on, debilitating fatigue. I knew tiredness was a symptom of pregnancy, but this is another level. It's like a mix of the 'still-a-bit-drunk' hangover, the dizzying jet lag cloud that hangs over your head, and the feeling that every limb has lead weights hanging from it. Reaching for the remote from my spot on the couch is often a movement too far. 

I read somewhere that a pregnant woman's body in the first trimester is working as hard as a non-pregnant woman's who is jogging. That really resonated with me - and I hate running, so it's no wonder my body is groaning under the pressure. 

Over the past few weeks, I've been known to go to the bathroom cubicle at work, rest my head against the wall, close my eyes, and ... just about nod off. Yeah, I'm on another planet.

All this could be solved by a bit more sleep, but no matter how early I go to bed, I still have to get up for ...

Wees: Lots and lots of trips to the bathroom each night - sometimes up to four times. Surely this prevents me from ever getting into that deep sleep that your body needs to recover?

Then, when I do wake up in the morning, it's straight into ...

Food aversion: I've lost my appetite and I'm starving, all at the same time. One minute I want a feed of something stodgy, carby and salty, only to have two bites and declare myself full.

My go-to foods have been (other than nutritionally deficient, which I'm well aware of thankyouverymuch) chocolate milk, sea salt chips, kiwifruit juice, toast (marmite, jam or tomato/peanut butter combo), and cheese toasties.

I've gone completely off coffee, anything involving meat, semi lost my sweet tooth and I've turned my nose up at salads - normally a favourite of mine.

So overall, I feel awful and I feel even more awful for writing most of this down.

More than once I have said, "I shouldn't complain, I wanted this", but I shouldn't feel guilty for feeling under the weather, either.

It's hard to put a front up all the time, to shrug off the effects that major hormonal changes have on one's body, and to just say pregnancy is beautiful and wonderful and all those things.

I'm sure I'll get to that stage as we begin the second trimester - or so I've been promised by those who have gone before me.

"You'll get your energy back and you'll feel heaps better," they say.

I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

- Fairfax NZ