It was Saturday, August 21st 2010:
Michael was still asleep; I woke up early, lying in bed knowing that today was the day. The day I would find out if “it worked.” We had been trying for almost a year, on and off, and I had seen that disappointing single line one too many times– 4 days earlier included.
They say to test first thing in the morning, so that’s what I did. I placed it behind me while I finished washing up in the bathroom, where I couldn’t watch it change. After what seemed like the longest three minutes of my life, I turned around and saw it, two lines, the second one was faint, but it was there!
I swung open the bathroom door, jumped up and down on the bed with the test in my hand yelling; “It worked!” It worked!” Michael, half asleep, with a huge grin on his face grabbed me in a big bear hug, kissing the side of my neck & my cheeks, I couldn’t help but have my eyes well up with tears—“We’re going to have a baby!”
About 3 weeks earlier we went out for my birthday. I had decided in May that I would not obsess anymore about getting pregnant. I tend to obsess over things. Once I get something in my head, and I want it, it can consume me. I started getting upset over the negative tests, and Michael started questioning if it was ever going to happen for us. It seems ridiculous now because we weren’t really trying for THAT long. But anyone that has been through it knows just how long it takes to the next “cycle”–feels like an eternity. Once I relaxed, and stopped stressing out (I took on the attitude “if it happens it happens”), it wasn’t long before that stick had TWO lines.
Having a past of disordered eating, even though I was recovered and living a healthy, happy life for many years, I always feared pregnancy. I had been so content, confident, and the negative self talk about my body was so minimal that I did not want anything to “happen” that would rock the ED boat.
I would be lying if I said that negative self talk didn’t creep up on me in the beginning of my pregnancy. Looking at the picture above, you would think I was crazy bashing myself in the mirror about 3 weeks later, thinking my body changed drastically already. This was the first time in YEARS I started “border-line” obsessing over my figure. In 3 weeks my figure did not change that much. However, I felt like it did. I felt like I was entering this “awkward phase” where I was SO ecstatic to be pregnant, but we couldn’t tell anyone, and I felt like I instantly gained weight and lost muscle tone. I did not think I was “fat,” (hate that F word) but I just felt like I looked as though I was packing on a few, and everyone was staring at me thinking it. The beginning of my first trimester was like when a woman is on her menstrual cycle has one of those weeks where she feels bloated, and not like herself. The funny thing was, when I was on my ‘cycle,’ I rarely ever felt “bloated” or “gross”–but I did in the beginning of my pregnancy. For the first time in years, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I know how irrational that sounds now. Not to worry though, that phase did not last very long. I did not let myself waste too much energy on that silliness.
My body was changing. It was a beautiful change though. It was the most amazing thing that could ever happen to me. I got over the initial “negative self-talk” phase and started to embrace my new glow. My husband was acting like he had never been more attracted to me in his life. So, I guess the initial couple of pounds I gained in the beginning did wonders for our relationship 😉
The beginning of pregnancy is tough. I am writing this post in my 31st week, so I can not compare it to the very end. However, if I were to tell you now the toughest time in my pregnancy, I would say it was the first trimester. Not only do you feel like your body is changing, you don’t look “pregnant” yet, but you feel terrible. I was tired, oh boy was I tired. There were days (most days) where I would nap for HOURS; Michael would say to me -“now you’re not going to sleep tonight.” He was always SO wrong. I would nap for 7 hours on a Sunday afternoon, then fall asleep on the couch by 9pm and sleep through the night. Your body goes through a lot of hormonal changes in the beginning, and you NEED that sleep. I am lucky I have a job where I work early mornings, and then get a long break in the middle of the day before I go back to work late afternoon/early evening, most days. That break was crucial nap time for me a lot of days.
on a side note:
To all those women out there that work 9-5 jobs during pregnancy. I worship you!
If you already have children and going through your second, third, fourth pregnancy: YOU are a Goddess! I really can not imagine not having the peace and quiet during this pregnancy. Having the flexible schedule to take naps when I was exhausted. Honestly, you women out there that are working full time, and have children at home (mom, this was you)….you do not get enough credit. There should be statues made, and more than just one national holiday in your honor. This is a tough gig. And Ella isn’t even here yet.
The other thing that is tough is your doctor doesn’t want to see you until you have missed two menstrual cycles. As a fitness trainer, I never specialized in prenatal fitness. I definitely learned about it, and had a few books on it, however, I never really ever had a pregnant client. I did a lot of post-postpartum women, but not any that trained during their pregnancy. I knew from books and educational sources that it was perfectly safe to exercise during pregnancy. I also knew the guidelines and how they had changed. Where before, you were told to keep your heart rate under a certain number. Now, they say you are pretty much at the same level you were pre-pregnancy. You just need to adjust certain things. Nothing where you risk falling, make sure you are increasing the warm-up and cool-down, keeping your core temperature cool, focusing on Rate of Perceived Exertion, the “talk test,” things like that. Basically, listen to your body.
I still worked out in the very beginning, but I took it down a bunch of notches until I saw my doctor. I was really scared since there is a high risk for miscarriage in the first trimester. I did not want to do ANYTHING to hurt the baby. Or God-forbid, worse. He reassured me that I could lye on my stomach, my back, continue to do what I was doing (in my first trimester), just to use my head and again, listen to my body. Be smart about it. I understood I was not going to do the high intensity workouts I was doing some days. But I did not have any exercises that were off limits, per say. It all depended on how I felt. I did not workout super hard through this pregnancy. I just kept moving. Some workouts were tougher, harder than others.
I was so tired in the first trimester that my workouts already changed regardless. I just didn’t have the energy to do what I was doing before. I had days where I felt better than others, and got a better workout in than other days. The point was that I was still getting there. Even if it was a few times a week, and even if it was for a shorter workout.
I was in the beginning of my training for this “marathon” –that’s what I feel like it is. I am training for the toughest marathon a woman will ever train for.
As far as “morning sickness” goes. It doesn’t exist. It’s “anytime sickness.” I was pretty lucky in this department. I loaded up on the ginger root, made ginger root pops, and took a sublingual Vitamin B12 and B6 with Folic acid every morning. B6 is good for nausea. I was definitely queasy a lot. Food disgusted me. But I only got “sick” about three times in the beginning of my pregnancy. And I have to say, my husband was absolutely wonderful and showed a side to me he never showed me before (the do anything for me at the drop of a hat side). It was so sweet. That too has since calmed down 🙁
Since I had basically no appetite in the beginning, I really had to make sure I was getting in enough calories and enough nutrition. Smoothies were my friend. Sometimes twice a day. I would load them with calories depending on what I ate that day. I was a bit nutty in the beginning about what I put in my body. I was always a healthy eater, but now that there was a baby involved I took it to a whole other level. I have calmed down and lightened up since (still eating very well, just don’t stress over eating things that are not the most nutritious from time to time).
My biggest complaint in the beginning–sore boobies. I can not even describe to you how sore and tender those ladies were. My husband could not even hug me (with his big muscular barrel chest) for at least 6 weeks. It hurt to put on a shirt, it hurt to do any type of bouncing movement, it hurt when air hit them. And I am not “blessed” in that area at all. Maybe that was why. They doubled in size, I feel. Not fun.
What changes does your body go through in the beginning:
Breast tenderness and swelling: Like I said above, be prepared for the sore boobies. A surge in estrogen and progesterone signals your breasts to grow and produce colostrum, a pre-breast-milk mixture of water, protein, white blood cells and protective antibodies that will provide early nutrition for your new baby. The pain and tenderness went away by the second trimester for me. Although, I think those girls are still growing.
Increase in blood volume: Your body is now pumping blood not only for you, but for your baby too! You will start producing more blood to meet the demands of you and your baby. By the end, you would have increased your blood volume by 30-50%, which means your body is working harder than it has ever before. I found myself getting tired earlier when I workout. It was a big wake-up call for someone that was very fit before. It is the strangest thing, exercising, doing something you breezed through before, only to feel out of shape and tired! This isn’t because I was out of shape. It’s because of how hard my body is working, even in the beginning. This is why it’s so important to take care and listen to your body when you exercise. I have had a couple episodes where I felt good, pushed myself in the gym, then suddenly got hot, tired and dizzy. This was a big reality check for me. I can’t exercise as hard as I used to. Not even close, most days.
Increased Heart Rate: Due to the increased blood volume, your heart works harder. Your resting pulse may increase as much as 10 beats per minute during the first trimester. This is another factor to consider when exercising. This is where listening to your body comes in. Overexertion can cause an irregular or fast heart beat. This is a cue that you should gradually start slowing down. Allow your HR to recover.
Weight Gain: I put on about 4 pounds before I even went to my first doctors appointment. Prepare yourself for this change. This can be a terrifying thing for someone that has always worked hard to stay fit. If you are sick A LOT in your first trimester, this may not happen as quickly. But prepare yourself regardless. This is a change, a good, healthy change that your body is going through. If you are eating healthy, exercising moderately, and listening to your body, it will do what it needs to do. I felt like my body gained weight the way it needed to. My doctor is very pleased with it.I can’t say it’s not scary stepping on that scale every visit. However, I look at it like it’s for health purposes. My baby needs me to gain that weight. I am eating well, not depriving myself of the “fun” stuff though. Trying to exercise regularly. The weight will fall where it may.
“Dieting” or watching what you are eating, and watching the scale obsessively is not healthy. Gaining too little weight can be dangerous and lead to health problems and premature birth. On the other hand, allowing yourself an unlimited amount of calories and being completely sedentary may bring on even scarier health problems. Just like in life, finding a healthy balance during pregnancy is crucial.
I could not WAIT to start showing.
The first trimester was “hurry up and wait” for me. I wanted to wear a big sign that said “I’M PREGNANT!” Your body changes so much, and you feel like you want it to show, for real. As soon as I had a little bump I felt myself hyper-extending my low back at times to “stick it out.” I am a crazy person. Don’t mind me 😉
There’s no sympathy in the first trimester (except from the select few that know). I felt the crappiest then, but you don’t start getting favored at restaurants or the grocery store until you’re about 7 months in. No fair :/
If you want to read about how we announced it to our families, check out my post when I announced my pregnancy on the blog. I started playing a guessing game every Thursday in September. Revealing what the big announcement was here 🙂
This was my story, along with a few facts and figures. Stay tuned for the second and BEST trimester ever. This was the time I never felt better and more beautiful in my life.
The goal of NEDA Week is to raise awareness about eating disorders. Educate people that ED’s are illnesses, not lifestyle choices.
Today, I wanted to take time to talk about some ED myths…
Myth: People with eating disorders will eat normally / recover when they choose to do so. (Dr. Ravin)
Fact: This myth implies that EDs are willful behavior and that a patient can simply make a choice to recover. Thus, it blames people with EDs for having an illness that is not their fault. Most people with EDs are not able to eat normally on their own; they require significant outside support (nutritionist, parental support in refeeding, residential tx, etc.) in order to normalize their eating habits.
Myths from Women who have been there:
“People think that people with ED are selfish. Often, they are excessively empathetic. That the mother/family is to blame, maybe or maybe not, but the individual is important too. That you can’t recover. You can. That weight rather than the eating patterns are important. I’ve seen normal-weight bulimics in MUCH worse physical conditions than anorexics.” -Sarah
I hope you will do at least 1 thing today to promote positive body image…either for yourself or to help others!
Thank you for taking the time to read my pregnancy story!
If you are pregnant, or have been…what do you think was the toughest time in your pregnancy? The best time?