At 37 years old I just recently announced to my friends and extended family that my hubs and I are expecting. At 37 I’m technically defined as a ‘geriatric pregnancy’ – though, now they refer to is as ‘advanced maternal age.’ Which of course just makes you feel fantastic… I mean, that’s what every woman wants to hear. LOL.
My first trimester has had A LOT of ups and downs and mixed emotions. Even though my hubs and I made the decision to try again for a baby, there were still thoughts of “was this the right decision to make?” which is completely normal. Having a baby completely changes your life and your responsibilities so it’s natural to have anxious feelings.
We were lucky to get pregnant the first month we started trying, but I know this isn’t the case for everyone and there are way too many couples struggling with infertility. Our own pregnancy journey isn’t so black and white. We were pregnant in 2015 but that resulted in a missed miscarriage at 14 weeks and then in 2018 I miscarried early, around six weeks. I am very thankful that this time around it was very easy for us (but I also know that my mom – who passed away September 2020 – was sending some magic our way).
First Trimester Symptoms
Because we had tried to get pregnant, in the days leading up to my expected period I was very aware of the fact that I could be. I took test the day before my expected period (I always got my period the same day every month; like clockwork!). There was a very faint second line so my hubs and I went to the drug store to buy a couple digital tests. I took one the next morning (the day I would have normally got my period) and it was it clear as day: pregnant. 2-3 weeks.
Within the first couple of weeks I started to feel nauseous if I didn’t each every couple hours. I took this as a good sign that this pregnancy would “stick” because I never felt nausea either time before. The nausea, however, continued and got a lot stronger. Not enough to make my physically sick but enough to make me want to lie on the couch all day (I was so grateful that I was still working from home). I was also tired all the time and went to bed at 8pm every night. I couldn’t eat anything other than carbs and sugars and was buying foods I hadn’t eaten since high school…. I needed the energy and simple, refined sugar is an easy and quick energy boost (though obviously not nutritious).
It wasn’t until I invested in a high-quality prenatal probiotic that the nausea went away. At 9 weeks it was pretty much gone completely (unless I waited too long to eat between meals – I was and still am eating about every couple hours). It’s also when I started to crave nothing but vegetables!! Lunches and dinners were basically big salads filled with everything and anything. I was able to push my bedtime back an hour to 9pm and was back to daily low-impact movement (prenatal yoga and Pilates) and after work walks. I was starting to feel pretty good and was excited to head into the second trimester, knowing it was referred to as the “honeymoon trimester.”
Some Not-So-Great Symptoms
Digestive issues – the amount of iron in prenatal vitamins caused some digestive issues for me in the first few weeks. I’ve always been sensitive to iron… as kids, my sister could have the regular Flinstone vitamins but I had to have the iron-free ones. It was hard to get things “moving” especially because all I was eating was pasta and crackers and resting any chance I got. Once my nausea started to subside I was able to get back to daily walks and I had a small glass of prune juice in the morning. I was also able to get back to my normal water intake and with my constant craving for veggies, things were pretty much back to normal.
Weight gain – I know this is a vanity-driven, self-image issue but as an elder/grand millennial who’s self worth was defined by waify thin models on the cover of magazines in ultra low rise jeans, I still suffer from body image issues (yes, still at 37 years old). Because I live in Ontario, Canada and we were in a never ending COVID lockdown, I had already put on a few pounds from 2020 so that plus some pregnancy weight gain, some days it’s been hard to look at myself in the mirror and appreciate my body. I know my body is doing an incredible thing right now and I’m trying to focus on that. I also purchased some cute summer dresses to try to keep me feeling good. Let’s hope they help.
Acne – I guess I should have expected this since I’ve always had to deal with one or two hormonal blemishes each month. These breakouts were giving me flashbacks to high school: breakouts along my hair line, over my cheeks and on my chin. Every time I thought my skin was mellowing out, a new blemish would appear. And to top it off, most of the skincare products I used to treat my breakouts prior are not pregnancy safe. This is a continuing challenge that I’m still dealing with in my second trimester.
When you announce that you are pregnant, people automatically want to tell you all sorts of stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m not sure why people think that newly pregnant people want to hear your traumatic birth story or all the issues you had with your pregnancy.
People will not hesitate to make comments (mostly bad) if they disagree with your thoughts or plans during your pregnancy – why it’s become socially acceptable to drag someone down simply because they made a decision that was different than the decision you made is beyond me.
I’m excited for the second trimester, and looking forward to more energy!!
I’m also on TikTok and sharing much more pregnancy-related stuff, so be sure to check me out there // @ohkellsno