I wrote about how I found out I was pregnant in The first trimester (Part 1), and I thought I would carry on with talking about my first trimester by discussing the symptoms I experienced.
The first symptom I experienced, I actually felt about a week before I found out I was pregnant, and that symptom was really sore boobs. Even though we were trying for a baby it didn’t even occur to me that sore boobs was a hint that I was pregnant, but I remember saying to my best friends that I wanted to stick my boobs in an ice bucket! It even hurt to go in the shower and have the water touch them, and felt like they had grown to page 3 size overnight! This symptom eased as I progressed to the second trimester but my boobs will probably never be the same as they were pre-pregnancy, which is a real darn shame.
Other than sore boobs, when I found out I was pregnant (at 4 weeks) I didn’t have any other symptoms. However, about a week later I started to feel some of the symptoms that would worsen over the first trimester, one of which was tiredness. I have never felt tiredness like first trimester, pregnancy tiredness, and that is coming from someone who regularly did night shifts. It felt like I had been hit over the head and needed to sleep it off, but even after I had slept all night (and let’s be honest had at least one nap in the day) I would still be exhausted. I thought I slept a lot before I was pregnant, but I entered a whole new level in the first trimester.
Another symptom I had was lethargy bordering on laziness. Everything just seemed to take so much effort, and the week after I found out I was pregnant I rotated from a ward down to delivery suite which was so draining that I didn’t seem to be able to do anything else on my days off. The way my job worked was even though I worked full time, it would be 12.5 hour shifts but only 3 (and every 4th week four) shifts a week, so I don’t know if the laziness was worse because I was working such long days but that’s definitely the excuse I’m using. Also, I didn’t tell people I was pregnant at work until I was 14 weeks pregnant so I was trying to act as normal as possible and carry out my job without people guessing, which when you are delivering babies is pretty difficult, and probably didn’t help how I was feeling on my days off. I remember on one of my days off, making my only job be to unload the dishwasher and anything else was a bonus! Thank goodness I had an understanding husband. It was also really hard at this point because my family didn’t know I was pregnant either, so I remember one of my sisters getting really frustrated with me that I didn’t take some photographs on time for a calendar she was making for our parents, but it just seemed like an insurmountable task at the time (maybe I should add being dramatic to my symptoms list).
Another symptom I experienced was morning sickness and nausea. The nausea crept up on me gradually and wasn’t too bad to start off with but by the time I was 10 weeks pregnant I was being sick every morning as soon as I got up and occasionally in the evenings, and then I would feel nauseous for the rest of the day. Strong smells and having long gaps between eating would also make me feel worse, which obviously is not easy when you are working as a midwife, so I mastered holding my breath and I would always have a cereal bar in my pocket! I remember feeling that towards the end of the first trimester that I just could not carry on feeling sick for any longer, especially without knowing if everything was progressing as it should be, so I was very relieved when thankfully my symptoms disappeared at 12 weeks. I really do feel for anyone who suffers with hyperemesis gravidarum, because I found even just your bog standard morning sickness tough.
Fortunately, I didn’t put on any weight in my first trimester, however my appetite in the morning did dramatically increase (though I found that I couldn’t eat much in the evening because I tended to feel quite bloated and full). I didn’t have any weird and wonderful cravings but in the first trimester my main cravings were water and rice krispies (not together, that would be slightly odd). Thinking about it, it was probably my body telling me to increase my fluid intake, but I remember having a sip of water and telling my friend that water was seriously underrated (not in terms of life saving needs in third world countries but in general as a drink option in the wide range mostly available to me) and how amazing it tasted. I think I even actually sighed in satisfaction!
Finally, probably the scariest symptom I experienced was a cramping feeling in my tummy. It felt like mild, but constant, almost like period, cramps and although I was reassured by many a google search saying that was normal and just your uterus preparing for growing with the baby, it was still pretty worrying. Thankfully, I didn’t have any bleeding and the cramps were never stronger than mild, and after a couple of weeks either I had got used to it or they had eased (obviously please do get checked out if you are experiencing this and are worried). I did pull a muscle in my abdomen when I was 9 weeks pregnant which was absolutely awful but I will probably go into that in a different blog post, maybe about the difficulties of working when pregnant, because I did it at work.
I was very lucky that most of my symptoms stopped by the time I was 12 weeks pregnant and it was like a fog had lifted and I could get back to being my normal self again! I really do feel for anyone suffering with severe pregnancy symptoms and I hope it gets better for you soon!