Just like zebra prints, no two women in the world are exactly the same. When it comes to babies, even in the same woman, no two pregnancies are ever the same. That’s the beautiful part of it all, in not knowing fully what to expect on every journey.
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy, so called the first trimester, seemed to pass all too quickly for me. After all, you normally go to the toilet with a test kit in hand only after you miss your menses, meaning when the baby is five weeks or more. So that leaves you with barely two months left in this stage of the pregnancy.
My emotions during this period were mainly: Anxiety, Excitement and Surrealism
Anxious to know if that positive sign was indeed positive, if I’m really having a baby, if he/she is healthy, if his/her heart is beating, if my body was developing a safe home for him/her.
Excitedto think that my life is going to undergo a big change, that my girl is going to be a big sister, that I’m going to be a mum all over again.
A state of surrealism surrounds me at times, wondering if this was just a beautiful dream, if I half made up that positive sign in my mind, if life was too good to be true.
While the bump doesn’t really show up yet at this stage and the pregnancy might jolly well remain a hush-hush affair, I did experience pregnancy symptoms which I will sum up below.
1) Jaw-dropping fatigue
I usually pride myself for being able to survive on little sleep. Back in school days, I was known as the girl who could survive without sleep and yet feel energetic the next day.
When pregnancy arrived, that super power vanished. I can sleep at 10pm at night and wake at 10am in the morning, only to find myself yawning and yearning the bed once more. Honestly, it was like making up for all the lost sleep I had deprived myself of. And the energizer bunny in me? Well, its battery just ran flat. I felt tired when I was cooking, I felt tired after taking a short walk, I felt tired when I was in a bath. Believe it or not, I even felt tired when watching the TV.
Tip: Take naps in the afternoon and sleep early at night. In between your busy day, steal some time to sit on the couch, close your eyes and just relax. Even if that means your other kid screams in your ear after five minutes every time.
2) Food cravings and changes in appetite
For this pregnancy, I simply love food that is FRIED, CRISPY and OILY.
The hubby would cook healthy food (in other words, a little more bland) for me on weekends and I would go “I think I smell something nicer from our neighbour’s.” Or I would have the tendency to stop by fast food restaurants and just grab a pack of french fries. Or I would go through the hassle of deep-frying chicken wings for our dinner much more often than usual.
In terms of quantity, while I eat a lot as usual, I tend to get full faster. It’s like I get hungry easily, but I get full just as easily too. And then after two hours, my mouth gets itchy all over again and I can’t help it but start digging my way through the kitchen in search of more food. In the end, I usually end up with chocolates, candies, ice cream or something sinful.
Tip: Take smaller meals but at more times a day, you can have up to 5-6 meals if you wish to. Don’t feel too guilty if you crave for something unhealthy but do take it in moderation. After all, a satisfied mum makes a happy baby too.
3) Pee, pee and more pee
Micturition, or the desire and frequency of urination, got the better of me this time round. I don’t recall having to pee so many times during my first pregnancy, except when my belly was really huge. Come this pregnancy, I had the urge to pee at least three times a night even during the first trimester.
This symptom occurs as a result of the pregnancy hormone hCG which increases blood flow to the pelvic area and your kidneys become more efficient. In addition, the uterus adds pressure on your bladder, making it able to store less urine. To look on the bright side of things, it’s probably good night training for you because that’s how life will be once you have a newborn.
Tip: While pregnancy women should not cut back on fluids to prevent dehydration, do try to drink more in the day and avoid taking in fluids past 9pm unless you absolutely have to. That might reduce but not resolve the problem. Do sleep on the side of the bed nearest to the door so that you won’t wake your loved ones in the middle of the night when you need the loo.
4) Occasional mood swings
Last but not least, it’s the norm for pregnancy women to be riding on mood waves. One minute you are on top of the world, the next moment you are in a deep, dark well. One day you are feeling confident of becoming a great mum, the next day you wonder if you are even capable of looking after yourself. Sometimes you feel like a gorgeous, sexy mum-to-be, while other times you simply feel like a big, fat, ugly mess.
After all, having a baby changes your life forever. So it’s not unusual to have a flood of emotions coming in, not to mention your hormone levels are surging, making you tear up over the most trivial stuff and feel much more irritable at times.
Tip: Don’t take it too hard on yourself when the negative thoughts set in. Women are complicated creatures so it’s ok that we become even weirder during the pregnancy period. Learn to take it easy, take more deep breaths when you need to, do some exercise or take strolls in the park when you are feeling down.
So that pretty much concludes my first trimester. No matter what, I love this feeling of being pregnant, of knowing that I’m never alone, of knowing that magic is taking place inside my body.