My 1st Trimester

Hello dear reader. As promised, here’s a little run down of my first trimester symptoms for those that are interested to read. I’m also writing these down for myself, since it helps me remember.

The Very Beginning (?) ๐ŸŒฑ

I like to joke around that the very first “pregnancy” symptom I felt, was an unexplained urge to pee all the time on our last day in Paris in November. Nevertheless, while that menstrual month was my first month “pregnant”, whether or not I actually conceived by that time in Paris remains debatable. My doctor’s calculations say no.

Cramps ๐Ÿ˜–

The real first symptoms were when I was expecting my period, and I’m sorry to freak any girlies reading this out but … pregnancy symptoms (at least for me) felt 100% like menstrual pain symptoms. For a few days, I kept having intense stomach cramps and I just couldn’t wait for my period to start. Except, it didn’t.

Once I did my first two sets of at-home pregnancy tests, I continued to “monitor” the cramps. Everything I read online leaned on the side of caution: cramps = bad, it would say, especially in the first trimester. I remember the cramps being so intense, that I would even get them while just sitting in the car. We had gone to Thessaloniki with my family that first weekend, and as I told everyone about my news, I would always add that annoying disclaimer that “hey, I’m pregnant, but I’m getting these really intense cramps and online it says that cramps = bad, so don’t be too excited for me!”.

Only by my first doctor’s appointment, did my doctor soothe my overthinking brain and tell me that the cramps were very normal and that everything looked okay. By the first two weeks after I found out, the cramps went away and never came back again.

Fatigue ๐Ÿ˜ช

Throughout the first three months, I think all I did was sleep, and nap and be lethargic in between those two. It helped that my first trimester coincided with a very long winter break, and so I could really indulge in my unexplainable need to nap … but part of me also wonders whether the break made that worse.

To explain my symptom to the unassuming reader – I started questioning everything I knew about myself: in the past, I had been pretty chipper and efficient and energetic. Sure, I always loved a good nap, but I could always get out of bed quickly and get to “work”. In Berlin, I had the endurance of a champ – juggling classes, my job, chores, and studying. Now, I wondered where all that stamina went … I could barely stand upright and get myself to go to the bathroom.

It didn’t help that the sun would set at 4pm and so by the time I came home from work, it was already dark, it was incredibly cold, and the air in Prishtina smelled of coal. I had no desire to go out and my step count fell drastically.

I remember once we went to Albi Mall with my mom (Massimo Dutti had a sale!) and I had to ask her for a smoothie break as soon as we merely started looking at clothes in the first store, as I was running out of breath. Weird, to think back on that.

This was also the period where I literally stopped trying when it came to my looks – I couldn’t muster the energy to put make up on, let alone do anything to my hair. I looked very sickly the whole way through.

Nausea and Vomiting ๐Ÿคฎ

Ah, my favourite pregnancy symptom. Nausea and vomiting. I thought I got some nausea at the start of my pregnancy, but then that quickly went away. When your pregnancy symptoms go away, the first thing you read online is that no symptoms = bad. Of course, I freaked out a little and asked my doctor about it. At my next ultrasound appointment, she again confirmed that everything was progressing well.

After that little “no symptom” scare, the universe decided to play a fun joke on me. My nausea and vomiting came back in full swing. I was nauseas all the time, and from week 8 to 12, I vomited at least every second day. Luckily, again, most of that time period fell during my prolonged winter break – and I never had a vomit attack at work. My “morning sickness” would usually hit me in the evenings, after I came home. I suspect that something about coming back into my apartment, where the heaters were turned up and the air was stuffy would trigger my gag reflex.

One particular time where it was really bad, I remember I was trying to make my way to the window to open it and let some fresh air in. I didn’t make it to the window in time and instead left a trail of fun vomit across my apartment while I tried to run back to the bathroom. I was alone at the time and texted my mom for help. Like the hero that she is, she came and didn’t even blink twice at all that vomit. As I prepare to become a mother myself, my mom is the idol that I want to aspire to be like. That’s how you know that someone truly loves you – when they don’t even flinch at your vomit.

The nausea was so bad, I started not feeling like myself all this time. Coupled with the fatigue, I could barely hold my own in the bathroom. Sometimes it felt like the weirdest things (i.e., looking down, turning my head, or entering a dark room) would set off my nausea. Forget about putting on make up or using my Revlon One Step Hair Styler.

3am Bathroom Runs ๐Ÿšฝ๐ŸŒ“

While despite the above mentioned naps, I could still sleep a full 8 hours in the night, one very weird symptom I kept experiencing (and still do) was waking up at 3am like clockwork to have to go up and pee. Sometimes, this 3am pee run would turn into an all nighter where I couldn’t fall asleep again.

Sleeping while pregnant is its own science as well – and this didn’t make things easy. You’re not supposed to sleep on your back, as that can cause a miscarriage; and sleeping on your stomach gets more and more uncomfortable. The best thing you can do, is sleep on your side – but then again, this leads to neck, back and pelvic pain; and there’s no guaranteeing you won’t wake up on your back again.

Weird Taste ๐Ÿ‘…

The weirdest symptom – and one that unfortunately still haunts me in the second trimester – is a weird taste that’s left on my tongue after eating specific things. I started keeping a food diary to try and figure out what caused it. Online it says that the taste is metallic, but I don’t know if I would describe it as that. It’s just a bad taste that doesn’t go away with teeth brushing or tongue scraping.

Several journal entries later, I came to the conclusion that the taste gets worst when I have something very sugary (although not all sweets do this – it seems to be just the worst packaged kinds … who knows what junk is in them), or something very carb-y. For example, my favourite whole wheat bread gives me that taste as well, as does the occasional croissant.

Loneliness ๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ

My last symptom is more poetic. All throughout the first trimester, not a lot of people knew about my pregnancy – which means I could not share a lot with people. A lot of what I kept experiencing was also scary. Coupled with the horrible weather, and me trying to avoid the coal-y air, I really isolated myself. By the time I reconnected with humans again, it again felt like whatever people were telling me, just wasn’t that interesting to me anymore. It also felt like whatever I was telling people, wasn’t that interesting to them either.

On the outside, maybe I wasn’t showing that I was pregnant. But on the inside I knew and felt I was. Yet, whatever change I was experiencing internally didn’t seem to transmit effectively to the outside world – and this just made the whole experience even lonelier. I didn’t understand why people wouldn’t “treat me better”, or show more empathy, or ask more questions. But, when I think about it, they didn’t because likely … they just didn’t know.

It’s ironic now that I write this. While I felt “alone”, I was never really alone come to think of it. Baby was always with me ๐Ÿ’. But I think, part of this loneliness was loneliness I was feeling on her behalf as well. I think in my mind, pregnancy would be this exciting adventure where everyone would want to listen to everything I said and be super excited about me and make everything about me … kind of like when you come back during summer holidays after your first semester abroad in college and you can’t wait to tell everyone about all the different ways you’ve changed. You’re so excited to show people about this new “you”, but you just come back to find that everyone is also busy living their own lives (and rightfully so).

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