After returning home from our honeymoon abroad, Jason and I decided it was time to start a family. We’d been together for nearly eight years, married close to three, and it felt like the right time. This being our first, I decided to document my experience trying to conceive, what I learned along the way, and my weekly progress growing our family one finger and toe at a time. This is my pregnancy diary.
Lying in bed last night, the eve of week 7, I told Jason how crazy it is that I’m almost two months into my pregnancy. Sure, being four weeks along by the time you miss your first period helps, but this is already going by faster than I imagined!I’ve still managed to avoid the dreaded morning sickness, other than the general, constant unsettled feeling. For me, I feel like I should eat all.day.long. My body is telling me “your stomach isn’t happy, and I promise eating will make it feel better.” But it doesn’t. It doesn’t make it feel worse, either, but I’m starting to get full really fast, and overeating to control this sensation is likely not a good idea (not for my waistline, nor my gag reflex
). So I’m trying to manage it. A few new symptoms have cropped up this week, too: shortness of breath, decreased elasticity, and some serious bloating.The shortness of breath caught me by surprise. I was in the middle of a phone conversation at work, and felt like I was running! I was doing most of the talking and, between sentences, was struggling to catch my breath. It took me several minutes to calm down, and I was hoping the coworker on the other end hadn’t noticed my voice straining! It happened again after climbing a single flight of stairs; and again when talking to Jason on the car-ride home. I have asthma, so this symptom was a little expected (pregnancy can aggravate asthma
). But I wasn’t wheezing, and my chest wasn’t tight—I just felt like I was exercising. Nonetheless, I’m going to carefully monitor this symptom.Another small thing I’ve noticed is that my expanding belly is creating tension across my skin. When I stretch in bed in the morning, or lift my arms above my head at my desk during the day, I can literally feel my skin (and probably insides
) resisting stretching more than it already has while making room for my growing baby. Sometimes, the sensation actually upsets my stomach.Next, the bloat got super
real this week. Like every mommy I’ve ever known has complained, I just feel fat right now. I’ve gained two pounds (it’s normal to gain about five in the first trimester, then one pound a week every week thereafter
), and it’s ALL right around the center of my belly, just below my belly button. You know, right where my pants sit. My pants still fit, but they start to hurt a couple hours into wearing them. So I wear them normally when I get dressed but, a few hours later, the button gets undone (use rubber bands or hair ties to connect the two sides and hide the disconnect beneath your shirt
). I must shamelessly admit that, by the middle of my seventh week, the baby belly bloat has officially started sticking out further than my modest, size-A boobs. This is a milestone marker for me, and a first in my 30 years, and I’m totally okay with it.Now, pregnancy, at this point, has seemed like an onslaught of unwanted symptoms. But there is at least one that has been positive: my skin has become almost 100% clear of breakouts. I had a single cystic blemish (which I’ve never had before
) that appeared around week five and has yet to fully disappear but, other than that, my skin has dramatically reduced its oil production and is practically flawless. I won’t say I’m glowing, but I definitely love not having to worry about blemishes on top of bloating and raccoon eyes.In other news, Jason accepted an offer for a new job this week. He’s very excited, I’m extremely proud of him, and I think it will be a great move for our growing family! Life is good.
Pregnancy, and the impact it is having on my body, has gotten real. I didn’t get out of bed for two days this week—two whole days! I felt exhausted and weak, like even lifting my head was too much effort. And I’m starting to have more regular asthma attacks. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, I had a couple mild wheezing attacks and some heavy pressure on my chest. It dissipated until this week, and it has come back with a vengeance. The pressure on my chest makes it feel like I can’t fully inhale and I get short of breath very easily. Remember last week I felt like I had just run a marathon after talking on the phone for 20 minutes? Yeah, that happened this week after brushing my hair.From what I’ve read, both extreme exhaustion and chest pain/asthma can be expected in the first trimester. It’s in the first trimester that your body is doing the most work: growing a baby and
building the life force to support it, the placenta. Additionally, bloating and your growing uterus are pushing your organs around, which can affect the ability of your diaphragm to fully expand and contract. For me, both have become an issue at work; exhaustion, for obvious reasons, and my breathing because it keeps me from focusing. I mean, it’s hard to focus on emails and meetings when I’m (more importantly
) focused on breathing in and out.Now, this week I experienced another symptom I was completely unprepared for. WARNING: it’s about sex, so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read about it. So! As women, I’m sure most have experienced the instant jolt of pain you feel when something hits your cervix. Your cervix is the entry point to your uterus, and is generally only touched if something goes “too deep.” That said, when you’re pregnant, all of your reproductive organs are swollen and inflamed, which can cause your cervix to descend (you can probably see where I’m going with this
). I’ve read that being on top or on your stomach helps avoid that unpleasant sensation when pregnant, so give it a shot if you’re experiencing any pain.Jason is a constant joker so, after this happened for the first time, he joked “Cervix says?! Ouch!” Get it? Here’s a visual for you—isn’t he just the cleverest?
While pregnancy symptoms and my body’s response are no longer deniable, I’m still struggling to acknowledge the reality of the fact that I’m having a baby. That’s still very surreal for me. I don’t feel a strong connection to the actual baby yet, but I’m sure that will come with time. Nonetheless, it makes it hard to feel like I’m not, for lack of a better term, babying myself.Let me explain. Over the weekend we did some yard work. I helped, but obviously not as much as I usually would. My parents stopped by and we showed off our progress, to which they responded “You didn't help too much, right?” Cue the eye roll. Later that day, we visited my in-laws and I was leaning on the arm rest of the couch enjoying conversation. My father-in-law left and returned with a pillow to put behind me, so I was more comfortable. I absolutely
appreciate these gestures but, because it’s still so surreal to me, it feels like overkill. And, when I tell my boss I can’t focus and I’m exhausted and I need to go home, it feels like a cop out; like I’m taking advantage. I’m not. Growing a baby is serious work and obviously my health and that of my child is more important than anything I’m doing at work or home. But adjusting my life around these symptoms is just really foreign to me. And, because this whole pregnancy thing hasn’t really clicked for me, it’s like, “Really? You have to take it easy, and not do strenuous yard work, and sit with pillows behind you, and take naps, and leave work early because of a mass of cells growing inside you? Get it together, Jessica.”So, as you can tell, week eight has been a challenge for me physically and mentally. Nonetheless, I’m beyond amazed at the power of the female body, and am looking forward to the weeks ahead.
In Other News
Remember we decided I would eat Amy’s Kitchen meals for lunch, instead of leftovers (because, you know, they say not to eat leftovers because they can foster bacteria
)? By week eight, I officially couldn’t stand them anymore. My body is craving fresh foods, so I’ve opted to get a salad at the café downstairs every day. I get mine with easy lettuce (generally, I prefer Greek-style salads—lots of marinated veggies with little or no lettuce at all
), then pile on the garbanzo beans, carrots, broccoli, pepperoncini, kalamata olives, red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette. I absolutely LOVE pickled foods and vinegar, and this salad hits the spot. If my stomach is feeling particularly acidic, I’ll swap the dressing for ranch or something a little creamier, and go easy on the pickled foods. (Note: I don’t make this salad myself at a salad bar, again, because experts say not to eat food that’s been sitting out at buffets, etc. The café I go to allows you to make custom salads, so that’s how I’m able to order such a unique blend
).We also decided to landscape our front yard ourselves to save money (before Baby, we were considering spending $5k to have it done professionally
). Jason is absolutely the most hard-working man I know, and I’m SO impressed with the progress he made in the yard. Below is what we did to our front sidewalk. The roots of the tree had pushed the grass up and made an ugly and dangerous hill around it. So Jason took it down, leaving the roots for visual appeal, and we covered the remaining area with rocks. Clearly, he felt very zen when done. We also carved out an entire section of grass to replace with bark. We're not done yet, but I'll post pictures when we are!
Lastly, our oversized chair finally arrived for our office, and we’ve just about completed the room—I love it! What we the office before will now be our master bedroom, so that our current "master" can be turned into the nursery. This marks the first big home-change in prep for Baby. And, yes, I feel super boho-chic with our new "little fiddle leaf fig" tree!SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave