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First Trimester

January 18, 2013

It’s often a standard practice to announce the pregnancy after the first trimester is over. The main reason is that the rate of miscarriages is significantly lower after week 12 – 20% of women miscarry and 80% of these miscarriages happen in the first trimester (some stats I got from webmd). In addition, the first trimester is often very unpleasant due to the morning sickness and extreme tiredness, and the last thing you want is for everyone calling, visiting, congratulating and asking questions, . Most of the day you just want to spend in PJs in bed with crackers (or in my case, ginger snaps) hiding from the rest of the world. To prove my point, here is my weekly diary of the pregnant “bliss” I was in in the first weeks. Interesting to note that pregnancy technically begins from the day of your last period cycle, so by the time most women find out they are pregnant, they are 4-5 weeks along.

imageWeek 4 – feeling crampy and bloated, certainly auntie Flow must be coming to visit any day now. On Halloween 2012, the day of little monsters, witches and ghosts, I find out an alien has inhibited my body. How appropriate! I make an appointment with ob-gyn three weeks out and attend a prenatal class at the local clinic. We’ve all heard stories about some girl that did not realize she was pregnant until 7-8 months into it, but let’s be honest — how many really believe that story? At the prenatal class, I actually end up meeting that not-so-fictional girl who just found out that she was 7 months pregnant. I just hope she stays in school.

Week 5 – The baby is the size of a sesame seed. Belly is cramping, tender and swollen. I get easily out of breath which is strange and unusual considering my fitness level. My comfortable 9 min/mile running pace turns into 11 min jogging/walking intervals as I try to keep my heart rate under 150 bps. I develop super-human smelling ability. I can smell the cat bathing across the room. I can smell the neighbors’ garbage across the driveway. An hour in Home Depot and the strong industrial smell gives me a headache. The smells are strong and powerful and they are all around me. I am constantly thirsty. This week I take my first mid-day nap in years.

Week 6 – The baby is the size of a lentil bean. The cramping subsides, but the nausea kicks in. It’s fairly mild at this point. It seems to be strongest when I have not eaten for awhile; eating becomes very unappetizing but it helps with nausea. Some foods that I used to enjoy are now repulsive, like my wonderful banana bread or grilled vegetable quesadilla. Instead I crave plain non-healthy foods like burgers, fries and hot dogs (which I can’t have). Everything tastes too sweet. I crave salt, which is a common stereotype of pregnancy and pickles co-relationship. My theory is that salt makes you drink more water and helps retain water which is essential for embryo development. The best lunch these days is cheddar cheese and tomato with salt on whole wheat bread.

IMG_9828Week 7 – Our first ob-gyn appointment. It’s official. We are pregnant. The baby, which resembles a tiny beluga whale, is half an inch in size with a very strong heart beat. After a fun appointment we head back home where the nausea is in full swing. Even though I have not been throwing up, I am in a pretty miserable state. The time seems to stand still.


IMG_1826Week 8 – The baby is the size of a kidney bean. The nausea is getting worse especially in the evenings, and the only thing that seems to make me feel good is jogging outside. I don’t know whether it’s the fresh air, the higher intake of oxygen, or fresh blood pumping through my veins, but I am glad there is at least one thing that continues to have a positive effect on my body. I no longer feel hunger, instead as more time passes on with no food, I just feel more nauseous. Who would have through I’d miss my stomach growling and wanting to eat. Nothing seems appetizing, and nothing has the same taste it used to, but I eat anyways as it helps with nausea. I eat very bland foods, like plain pasta with marinara sauce, toast with cheese and tomato. A thought of something more extravagant brings on a gagging fit. One good thing is that I sleep like a rock. I have no problems falling asleep by 9pm and can sleep in easily until 7am every day.


IMG_1837Week 9 – The baby is the size of a grape. I get to prick myself with a needle and collect blood drops for the first screening test which is scheduled for the week after Christmas. I turn to Eric for help with the needle. After a bunch of back and forth of “I can’t hurt you” “Oh, yes you can. I want you to. Our baby wants you to.” he pushes down to release the needle into my skin. We won’t know the results until week 12. The test compares blood and sonogram results to rule out trisomy 17 and 21 syndromes.

IMG_1841Week 10 – The baby is the size of a prune. Nausea continues. Some days it kicks in as early as 2pm, and some I can last up to 6pm with no problem. Eric and I attend his work’s holiday party, which has an open bar. The good thing about feeling nauseous all the time, alcohol is the last thing I crave (I know it’s hard to believe after I’d been enjoying a bottle of wine a day). Now I feel like a college girl who drank too much, so I keep a bucket by my side of the bed. This week I also try my first prenatal yoga class. Boring! Maybe if I were 36 weeks and swollen, the rhythm would be appropriate, but right now I prefer mellow yet challenging Hatha style.


IMG_1850Week 11 – The baby is the size of a cutie/clementine,1.6 inches long. Even though I am not showing yet, the ability of my waistline to expand has increased tremendously. Since the baby is filling out my stomach cavity, my guts no longer have the allocated space so a small amount of food (like a banana) makes my belly protrude like I just had a Thanksgiving feast. I have not had to purchase new clothing yet, but my primary wardrobe consists of sweatpants and oversized t-shirts these days.

My mom comes to visit over the December holidays, so we share the big news with her. Here is how the conversation goes:

me: “So how much vacation do you get from work?”

mom: long story about her work’s vacation policy which concluded with the answer “Right now I get 3 weeks, but next year I am up to 4 weeks”. Then she goes on to tell me  that she’s been saving up her vacation for when we have a baby at some point in the future.

me: “What are you doing in July?”

mom: Hmmm??? 10 second wait… “Oh…” tears starting to form….followed by a flood of random questions.

IMG_1870Week 12 – The baby is 2.2 inches long weighing half an ounce.  I realize now that I will probably never sleep through the night again. My bladder wakes me up in the middle on the night. I suspect later on, it will either be the baby kicking or my back getting sore. I might as well say good bye to an uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep. The worst part it takes about an hour to fall back asleep once I am awake. On the other hand, I am really enjoying hour-long naps during the afternoon. I am so blessed not to work right now, allowing for my body to rest and do its thing.

IMG_9824We had another sonogram this week and the baby is starting to look like a baby. It was super cool to see the baby raise its arm like it was waving hello and then turn on its side to indicate that the show is over and we should let it rest.


IMG_1875Week 13 – The baby is about 3 inches, the size of a lemon. This is the last week of the third trimester so I am optimistic that the nausea will start getting better any day now. I am feeling a bit better and able to stay up until 9:30pm on New Year’s eve. I quit jogging as the weather gets cold in Austin. My face is breaking out, something I was fortunate to escape in my teens. So much for the glow that they keep advertising in pregnancy books. I also notice that my teeth are more sensitive and gums bleed more easily (it could be because I have not flossed on a regular basis since week 5).

I wrap up my first trimester with an 8lbs weight gain. I am guessing that if a mom-to-be suffers the extremes of frequent vomiting or no morning sickness at all, it may be easy to stay within the expected range of 2-5lbs weight gain, or even lose weight. However, if you are like me, nauseous, tired and picky with food throughout your first semester, the best thing is to listen to your body – feed it what it’s able to swallow, nap and indulge with daytime TV shows. There will be plenty of time to get my diet in check and add exercise back once I am feeling better. After all, considering I gained 9lbs in 12 days in France, 8lbs in 12 weeks seems like a very reasonable number.

[Jane Asks]: What’s the most weight you’ve gained in the shortest period of time?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2013 9:06 am

    I am working toward being as fit as you are, but I can only dream about pregnancy right now. It’s gonna be another couple of years for me, but I love living through the pregnant blog buddies. 🙂

    • January 18, 2013 9:19 am

      Thanks girl! I am not feeling very fit at the moment, but hopefully I’ll get my exercise groove back in the second trimester once the energy level is up.

  2. Patricia permalink
    January 18, 2013 9:22 am

    Hey Jane,
    I just gained 10 lbs in a month!
    But I’m 26 weeks pregnant so I’m telling myself it’s baby weight and not all the ice cream and cake I ate over the holidays.
    Enjoy the second trimester, it’s the best one!

    • January 18, 2013 9:28 am

      Congrats Patricia! I heard that if your thigh circumference does not change, than it’s all baby weight. So as long as you can still fit one leg in your skinny jeans you are good 🙂

  3. Kristin permalink
    January 18, 2013 1:11 pm

    I gained 8lbs in 1 month which caused the horrible witch doctor I was seeing to berate me until I was in tears. You are super fit, enjoy this time. Before you know it – you will have a little runner buddy with you all the time. Doing the math I am assuming little one will have a due date close to Max’s date. Working out always made me feel better & I lived the whole month of December on the triple ginger biscotti from Trader Joes & the molasses cookie laura bars. And pickles! It’s the vinegar that settles your stomach – I had 4-5 different types of pickles in the fridge during the whole pregnancy.

    • January 18, 2013 1:25 pm

      Glad to hear that I am not alone. I am due in July, and now since I just kicked off the second trimester I am getting better with my diet. Trying to get more calcium, fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. I am having loads of fruit. It’s still weird how much my body is changing and this is the first time ever I have no control over it. Just letting it do its thing.

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