First Trimester Recap
I’m excited to share my first-trimester recap for my very first pregnancy! I’m sharing all about how I found out, what I’ve been eating, how I’ve been feeling, how I’m navigating Hashimoto’s, and more.
Yes, you read that right… my husband and I are EXPECTING OUR VERY FIRST BABY in April 2020! I’m currently 13 weeks at the time of this blog post. I could cry writing this… I’ve been crying a lot, honestly and am so excited to share about our journey thus far through the first trimester.
First, I wanted to share a few disclaimers…
- Please note that I am in no way a pregnancy expert. This is my personal experience and opinions. All questions should be directed towards your OBGYN or midwife.
- Pregnancy is a hard topic for so many for a myriad of reasons. If you’d rather skip any pregnancy content from me, I 100% want you to protect your energy first and foremost!
- Note that this blog is still a food blog first and foremost and not turning into a pregnancy/mommy blog, so don’t worry.
- Please be gentle with me when it comes to pregnancy! I am seeing a Midwife where I am directing my questions and am learning as I go… I’m for sure not perfect. Hundreds of thousands of people read my blog and tens of thousands follow along on social media… getting advice from so many people can be very overwhelming. I appreciate how kind all of my readers are, and just ask to be mindful that this is an emotional and tender time for me!
My First Trimester Recap
So, how long did it take us to get pregnant? What do I think helped the most?
I never thought I would be saying this… but we got pregnant on the very first try. I was shocked. I’ve had Hashimoto’s for over a decade and have battled hormone imbalances, gut issues, and more ever since (and before).
Here’s what I think helped my fertility the most…
- Understanding my cycle. This was huge. I can track my cycle without temperature, ovulation strips, etc. and just go by how I feel. But let me be clear… this took years for me to get good at. I took hormonal birth control from 18-22 and had to learn how to track my cycle after coming off of it. I read a lot about what symptoms to look for and started to understand what each phase of my cycle looked like for my body.
- Overall diet & lifestyle. Seeing as I’ve dealt with Hashimoto’s and other hormonal issues, I’ve gone through periods where I’ve lost my cycle entirely for months at a time… at least twice. When Daniel and I first got married, I actually was losing my cycle because of Hashimoto’s and hormone issues. I had lots of issues that needed to be addressed to get my hormones normalized. I talk more about my journey with heavy metals and hormones here which was a pregnancy prep journey I took years ago to work up to this point. I had to go through a lot of healing to get to a stable point in my health and have considered myself in pregnancy prep mode for a few years now… so I did not at all heal overnight. Changing my diet and lifestyle (and of course working with a doctor) to one that I advocate for here in my blog and in my ebooks & cookbook really helped me get my hormonal issues under control.
Even though I got really good at tracking my cycle, I didn’t really trust myself to know when the right time was. I wound up buying ovulation strips back in June and started to use them to hopefully try that month. I wasn’t really using them right and missed our window. The same thing started to happen in July, until I told my husband, “Whatever, I know my body regardless of what the strips say… and today is the last day to try this month”…
How did I find out I was pregnant?
Like I said above, I didn’t think I was going to pregnant on the first try so I was in total denial when the symptoms started to hit. About 2-3 DPO (days post ovulation) I started getting bad insomnia and night sweats. I figured it was hormonal fluctuations but didn’t put it together.
4-5 DPO, I was so hot I decided to take my temperature around 9 AM and saw it was at 99F, which way higher than my usual average! A huge sign I was pregnant that I also ignored and told my husband I must be getting sick. I all of a sudden had the urge to start super nourishing. Like, making homemade bone broth, eating tons of veggies, etc. to try and start to feel better… it wasn’t working. I wrote it all off as getting sick, having PMS, etc.
On August 6th, I went to work out at the gym and felt absolutely exhausted… way more than I usually do and was starting to get suspicious. I planned to get a pregnancy test the next day but got distracted in the grocery store by the Halloween aisle and completely forgot to buy it. Typical Michelle.
On August 8th, it became unavoidable. I was hot, I just felt weird, and by 2 PM, it felt like 2 AM. I felt like I should just get a pregnancy test and rule it out. I went to the store and just got one box. I read the instructions super clearly and took the test calmly. I put it down, walked away and set a timer. I did not think it was going to be positive… but before I even picked it up, I could see the two pink lines clear as day.
I probably scared the cat speed walking around the house screaming “WHAT?! OH MY GOSH!” over and over again. I actually texted my best friend to confirm what I was seeing because I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was positive. I wound up going back to the store and got 5 tests total that day… all positive!
How I told My Husband and Family
A few weeks before, I got a spoon that said “You’re going to be a daddy” for a pregnancy announcement for my husband and packed it away thinking it would be months before I needed it. I pulled it out that afternoon and had a huge ice cream sundae waiting for him when he got home. What I didn’t consider is that he’s the world’s slowest eater and it took him over 2 minutes to take one bite of ice cream. I was losing it. There’s a video, I promise it’s true! When he finally saw it he was as shocked as me!
For our parents, I got them “grandma” and “grandpa” trinkets and surprised them. They’re super happy and we told all of our siblings over the phone while our parents were there!
How my first scans have gone
My very first ultrasound was at 5w1d (when I thought I was 2-4 days farther along than I actually was) and I just went to my gynecologist (who doesn’t do prenatal care) just to get a confirmation scan. Since I was so early, all she could see was a gestational sac… no fetal pole, no yolk sac, no heartbeat, and she told me she didn’t like the shape of the gestational sac. I tried to stay as positive as possible as I knew I was early and was unlikely to see anything but I couldn’t help but be nervous.
At 8 weeks 1 day (actually the day I launched my new website… it was a stressful morning), I had another ultrasound. Daniel came with me, and I just laid there with my eyes tightly shut in fear of not seeing anything on the screen. Within a couple of seconds, the ultrasound tech said “Why are your eyes closed? We’re looking at the baby’s heartbeat over here!” It was easily one of the happiest moments of my life when I saw that little bean and heard the heartbeat!
Since then, we’ve heard the heartbeat several times and everything is sounding great! We’ll likely get our next ultrasound at the anatomy scan around 18-20 weeks.
How has it been navigating Hashimoto’s with pregnancy?
So far, so good!
I wound up getting a full thyroid panel immediately after finding out I was pregnant so I could confirm my medication dosage was accurate. I’ve always been told to do this by doctors are unmanaged thyroid issues during pregnancy can indeed be dangerous as it is a known miscarriage risk. When I got my bloodwork done, my numbers were fine… basically in range, except for my TPO, which is not typical for me. The high range for TPO is 34 and mine was 38. If you have hashimoto’s you know that number can literally get up into the thousands… so just 4 points over didn’t cause enough alarm from me or my doctor. Especially since I was so preoccupied with HCG and progesterone.
I started getting antsy as I went in for my second round of bloodwork and was concerned my thyroid got worse. To my utter joy (seriously, I cried) my numbers got better. My TPO was in range, my TSH was right where it needed to be, and I was thrilled. I’ve heard women say before that their autoimmune disease went into remission with pregnancy, but I was floored it was actually happening. The immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, which means that autoimmune activity can potentially normalize. Of course, that’s not the case for everyone and I’m still testing every 4 weeks, but I’m grateful that it’s been positive thus far.
A few things I wanted to mention about Hashimoto’s and pregnancy…
- Test early and often. I scheduled a test immediately when I got a positive, and am planning on testing every 4 weeks. Your thyroid can change a lot during pregnancy so you really want to stay on top of it.
- Be mindful of biotin. Did you know that biotin can distort your thyroid labs?! I had no idea, but even the FDA has put out a warning. Pretty much every prenatal will have biotin, so tell your doctor how much you’re taking and they’ll advise on what to do.
Midwife or OBGYN?
I decided to go the midwife route and pray that I’m healthy enough to do a natural birth at a local birthing center when the time comes. I’ve chosen to go with Grapevine Birthing Center and am excited to continue prenatal care with them as I prepare for the delivery in April!
Are we finding out the gender?
We think we already know!! I did the sneak peek gender test at 10 weeks which is an early gender blood test and we got an answer! We’re waiting to confirm via ultrasound. Obviously, I’d be thrilled either way, but I’m actually really excited about the gender we know of for now! We even think we have a name already.
What’s your plan for sharing about this baby on the blog and social media?
Like I said earlier, this is still a healthy food blog. I share about my life and health here and there, but I already feel a lot more protective of my baby and don’t know how much I’ll be sharing here about their life. I want to respect that my baby is their own person and may not necessarily want their life online when they grow up. Sharing your life (and your child’s) online is a very personal decision, so I’ll be figuring this out as I go!
How have you been creating new recipes?
You’re about to read about my nausea which is not a great symptom to have as a full-time recipe developer. So, I always stay a minimum of 4-6 weeks out on recipe development for the blog, and 3-4 months on planning so if something happens, I can take a break. By some miracle, I was way far ahead on the blog (nearly 9 weeks of recipes shot and tested) by the time I found out I was pregnant, so I was able to take a break with cooking when I was at my most nauseous. I don’t think I cooked a single thing for the second half of August and the bulk of September. I tested this apple cider recipe towards the end of September and I had to take multiple breaks while cutting the apples.
I’m playing catch up right now and am only a couple of weeks out at the moment which isn’t typical for me, but I’ll get ahead again. Luckily I have more stamina and have tons of ideas that I’ve been sitting on for my favorite cooking season of the year… the holidays!
Also, I have an amazing team that has been helping me stay on track behind the scenes while I’ve been feeling bad. Uma, my assistant has been killing it with making sure emails get answered and projects don’t fall behind, and Amanda who makes all of my videos has been just as amazing as she always is.
Not to mention my little team at home of my super supportive rockstar husband, my expert snuggler cat keeping me company daily, and my mom who has been dropping off food for my husband! I haven’t been feeling well enough to even cook for the two of us, so my mom has been a lifesaver bringing my husband meals. My mother in law has helped with this too! Of course, they’d both bring me meals too if I asked, but you’re about to see how weird I’ve been eating so I’ve been wanting to take care of myself…
What my first-trimester pregnancy diet has been like…
As you’re about to read in my symptom recap, I’ve had very bad food aversions and nausea. So I’m not eating like I normally would… at all. Here’s what I’ve been tolerating…
When my nausea was at it’s worst…
- Sheep milk yogurt
- Smoothies with collagen (sometimes)
- Brown rice cereal (no milk) and rice cakes
- White rice with bone broth
- Bread srsly with avocado
- Bison Epic Bars
- Banza chickpea pasta with nomato sauce (only towards the end of the worst of it)
Now that my nausea has let up a bit…
- Most of the above plus…
- Coconut milk ice cream (in moderation)
- Simple mills crunchy cookies (in less moderation haha)
- Carrot hash with arugula & basil pesto
- Avocado sushi rolls (just avocado, no fish)
I talked to my midwife about diet, and really, the first trimester is just doing the best you can! I plan on eating much more variety now that I can actually tolerate more and have already been able to eat foods like beef and shrimp, which is super exciting.
My Symptoms & How I’ve Been Dealing With Them…
Nausea hit at 4-5 weeks and went strong until somewhat slowing down around 10 weeks. It was terrible. I couldn’t walk around, bend over to pick anything up, or even talk some days without throwing up. Even turning over in bed has made me throw up a few times!
Here’s what I was trying in the beginning…
- Ginger chews (somewhat helpful for short periods of time)
- Sea bands (not helpful for me)
- Ginger tea (not very helpful)
- Probiotics (somewhat helpful?)
- B6 (slightly helpful)
- Drinking lots of water and controlling my blood sugar with healthy fat (even that wasn’t working because I couldn’t keep food down)
I was trying the hardest I could to do things the natural way and avoid medication. However, it got to a point where I wasn’t able to keep any food down at all and was experiencing hunger pains, dizziness, and had trouble even taking my prenatal. I talked to my doctor who I really trust and she mentioned Unisom Sleep Tabs & B6 which I read a lot about online. Again, I don’t love over the counter drugs, but I was getting desperate. I started the recommended dose and it actually was the only thing that helped me keep food down. Of course, talk to your doctor about it… but I’m just being honest and transparent that the natural method did not work for my nausea.
Remember, every pregnancy is different. Just because something didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, and vice versa.
I’m not going to say my nausea is totally gone yet at 13 weeks, but it’s getting better than it was. I was at the point where I was throwing up twice a day and lost 10 lbs, so I am very much happy to have that behind me and start feeling better and gaining weight.
Brain fog/ pregnancy brain
I thought I knew what brain fog felt like but this is on a whole other level. Some of you guys have caught the crazy typos I’ve made and I’ve said even less coherent things in person. The other day, I was trying to write “kitchen” but wrote “kitten” and I stared at it for a good 5 seconds to try and remember what I was even saying… it’s that level.
Those who already know I’m pregnant have said “you must have so much on your mind!”, and no, I actually don’t! I can sit on the couch with my cat and just stare at the wall for hours with nothing on my mind… it’s actually pretty nice for someone who’s always going a mile a minute. Pregnancy takes a lot of work, and my mind is taking quite a break 😂
This was the worst at the start as my hormones were rising rapidly, but I mean, how do you not feel hot in Dallas, TX in August? I stayed inside A LOT.
Urgency and frequency
Yes, pregnant women do have to pee a lot! It’s getting slightly better, but it was quite annoying for a while.
The fatigue was at it’s worst towards the beginning, but it’s been up and down since then. Every time my nausea gets better I start to notice my fatigue a little bit more. Luckily, I work from home and can take it a little easier during the day.
This is super common with pregnancy and somewhat inevitable for many (regardless of diet) because of how your body physically changes. I’ve had a bit of reflux, but it hasn’t been that bad yet. I definitely expect this to pick up.
These weren’t that bad or frequent, but they were definitely there. I didn’t do anything for them since they weren’t that bad, and mostly just waited it out and took it easy.
So much acne. I’m prone to hormonal breakouts and it’s been pretty bad with all of the pregnancy hormones. I’ve been doing the best I can to keep up my skincare routine, but I’m not stressing too much about it.
Round ligament pain
I don’t like calling it “pain” because it’s not really painful, but I do have a fair amount of stretching in my round ligament and belly button area as my body makes room for baby! Sometimes it’s super uncomfortable and I have to change positions to get it under control, but it’s not that bad at this point.
Like, crying for no reason kind of mood swings. Crying watching Star Wars, crying over Christmas ornaments, etc. I’ve also been very quick to get really angry about people being unnecessarily mean too. Facebook comment wars? I cannot handle it.
I don’t know if that’s really a symptom, but my way of saying I could NOT keep up with my exercise routine as it was because of my nausea. I would try to swim in our pool and it just made me nauseous. I wanted to go on walks, but I live in Dallas where it’s been 95 F – 100 F daily up until just now… so that wasn’t really working for me either. I’m trying to get back into more walking now that it’s cooled off, and my midwife has suggested I stick with lower intensity like yoga, easy weights at home, etc.
Where I’m Going From Here For The Second Trimester…
As I go into my second trimester, here’s what I’m looking forward to…
- Hopefully having more energy and less nausea so I can start to get ahead on the blog! I hope to be able to take 3 months off from April-July and want to be able to work ahead for that so there’s still lots of new stuff on the blog while I spend time with the baby.
- Getting in more movement now that the weather is getting nicer.
- Sleeping! Luckily, I’ve been getting lots of sleep and rest.
- Getting into more maternity clothes! I’m already in maternity pants!!
- Eating more variety and getting in lots of healthy foods for baby.
- Planning a babymoon… we’re thinking a December trip to somewhere cold because if you can’t tell from this blog post I actually don’t like the heat and get plenty of it in Dallas.
- Thinking about the nursery design and starting our registry (I’m sure I’ll post about this)
- Beginning to map out our birth plan
- Learning what I can, asking my midwife lots of questions, praying a lot, giving myself grace, and falling more in love with my baby every day ❤️
I can’t wait to share a second-trimester update!