Weeks 3 – 6
We had a plan. We felt ready to start trying to get pregnant again, and so after I got back from my trip to Vegas, we started trying. A few weeks later, we took a trip to my hometown to run a race with my mom and on that trip, I felt nauseated here and there and immediately, I knew I was pregnant. Once we got home from my parents’ house, I couldn’t get in the house fast enough to take a pregnancy test. And of course, it confirmed what I already knew.
I spent the first week after finding out we were pregnant, feeling surprisingly calm. I also kept having sneaking suspicions that I was pregnant with a girl (hormones do weird things to you). It was Thanksgiving weekend and I ran a turkey trot. Little did I know, those calm feelings were about to come to an end. Extreme anxiety hit me the next week — along with extreme fatigue.
Given that I had an early miscarriage the first time I was pregnant, and my heightened anxiety from just losing Charlie months prior, I was able to convince my new OBGYN practice to let me come in for some lab work to make sure that the pregnancy hormone levels in my body were increasing the way they were supposed to. After a long weekend wait, my results came back and things looked good.
Symptoms that showed up during weeks 3-6
- By the end of week six, my nausea was getting worse and food (mostly fresh fruit and bagels) was the only cure. I also was able to get in for a very early ultrasound where they saw a heartbeat was already present.
Weeks 7 – 9
My anxiety just kept building to the point of being unbearable, so I joined a pregnancy after loss support group and started seeing my therapist again on a weekly basis. My new OB brought up the idea of going on medication, but I didn’t feel comfortable going on anything — at least in the first trimester.* I decided I’d try and manage without. I had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at my new OB’s office and had another ultrasound done. Baby was measuring right on track with a strong heartbeat, but they also noticed that I had a small subchorionic hemmorhage. This is apparently a very common occurrence, but they recommended that I not go overboard with physical activity for the rest of the first trimester. While they assured me this was nothing to worry about, it definitely added to my anxiety.
Symptoms that showed up during weeks 7-9
- I’ve never felt as bloated in my life as I felt during those weeks
- Worsening nausea when I got hungry
- Extreme fatigue
Weeks 10 – 13
Although I felt a little better after joining the support group and starting to see my therapist on a weekly basis, I still was having daily panic attacks, feeling convinced that the baby wasn’t going to live. At my first prenatal appointment, the nurse practitioner said that I should call anytime I wanted reassurance and I could come in so they could check for a heartbeat. Unfortunately, when I finally broke down and called to see if the clinic could get me in and check for fetal heart tones, they wouldn’t let me talk to the nurse and said it was too early and have to wait for my appointment the next week.
Charlie’s heart condition wasn’t genetic, but he did have a chromosomal abnormality that was found after he died. We went into this pregnancy wanting as much information as possible, so we decided to have an early genetic screening blood test called verifi done at 10 weeks. We got the results back more than one week later and everything came back negative (that’s a good thing) AND we found out we were having a boy.
Sometime during this time period, I polished off a one pound bag of gummy bears in less than 36 hours. I also was lucky enough to start blogging for the site Pregnancy After Loss Support as a Bump Day Blogger. At the end of week 12, I also finally decided to do something about being unhappy with the care I was receiving from my new OB and made an appointment with a new practice to transfer my care.
Symptoms that showed up in weeks 10-13:
- Insomnia that set in at 4 a.m., multiple nights in a row
- Fatigue continued and nausea became an all day thing
- Woke up two nights in a row with night sweats
- Slight round ligament pain at night or when I sneeze
- The least fun symptom that showed up in weeks 10-13? The return of my migraines. And since there’s no taking any meds strong enough to make a difference, I started going for weekly acupuncture appointments which did seem to help.
I spent most of the first trimester anxious, nauseated and tired, but kept trucking along. I owe a lot to my amazing support system that kept me going through everything. Stay tuned for a second trimester recap coming soon!
*A note to say that if I’m being completely honest, looking back, I’m not sure if I made the right decision not being on any medication to help manage my anxiety and depressive symptoms. There’s a lot of good, long-term research out there on certain medications that have been found to be safe during pregnancy and being anxious isn’t healthy for the baby (or for me, either) so I don’t feel like there’s a right answer — it really should be a decision you make with your healthcare provider and partner/spouse/etc.