Friday, August 12, 2011

Preggy Time - 1st Trimester

Now that I'm happily into my 2nd trimester of pregnancy, I can't believe how fast my 1st trimester went!!  I must admit that I've been pretty lucky and have had a smooth pregnancy so major morning sickness, no puking and just some mild nausea.  One thing that I wasn't warned about was that you lose your appetite all together during the 1st trimester.  I often found that I just wasn't I ended up losing weight my first trimester!!  One thing that was confusing was knowing what our next steps were once our pee-stick pregnancy test confirmed that we were pregnant.  After we calmed down from excitement/happiness/pure fear, we found that we had no idea what to do next! 

Makoto and I decided to go through the good ol' OBGYN route with our 1st pregnancy.  We had researched a list of doctors through a combination of referrals from colleagues,, and friends and I went to my GP with this list hoping to get into one of our top choices.  My GP (who is absolutely fantastic and I trust completely) didn't even look at my list and referred me to an OBGYN he works with and just knew that we would get along.  Well, he was absolutely right!  So far, I am very happy with our choice of going through our 1st pregnancy with an OBGYN.

My GP and his support team also set me up with:

1.  Blood test and urine test to confirm pregnancy and check out important blood markers like my anemia status, thyroid function, vaccine history, viruses/infections and of course blood type and Rh factor.

2.  Referred me for my 8 week ultrasound (warning......if the baby is too small to get a good abdominal ultrasound reading, they will do an intravaginal ultrasound! Uncomfortable if you're not prepared for this but absolutely amazing to see your little baby for the first time!!)

3.  Sent a referral to the OBGYN we agreed upon - from there, I have been going to the hospital that our OBGYN is affiliated with.

4.  After meeting with our OBGYN at our 12 week follow up, he sent me for 12 week ultrasound and our 1st round of blood work called IPS to rule out down syndrome, trisomy 21 and any spinal cord defects.  The IPS bloodwork has 2 parts to it and is actually completed in your 2nd trimester (and also factors in readings from your ultrasounds) so you discuss the results with your doctor well into your 2nd trimester.

It's been so exciting going to the ultrasounds to see our baby (Makoto calls it skyping with our baby) and our fridge and walls of our offices and waiting room at our clinic are now plastered with ultrasound pictures :)  I find that a common complaint with OBGYNs is that you feel rushed for time but we found that going into our appointments with specific questions helped to focus our time and we felt that all of our questions were sufficiently answered.

The following things helped me get through my 1st trimester:

1.  Not forcing myself to do...really anything!  I had a master plan of nutrition, exercise, meditation, prayer, vitamins, supplements, lists of books to read, etc all ready to go for as soon as I found out I was pregnant.  Then the reality of pregnancy hit my body and I found that I barely wanted to eat, let alone choke down my vitamins and fish oils, then would fall into a comatose sleep by 8pm.  I stopped pressuring myself to be on my "ideal pregnancy plan" and just went with the flow.  I made sure to eat when I could, take naps when I knew I needed them, slowed my social schedule, took walks around the neighborhood with Makoto and Rambo and pretty much took it easy. 

2.  I figured out that my nausea was instantly relieved when I smelled fresh lemons!!  I think that, for me, it was a sensory thing rather than a hypoglycemia/blood sugar issue.  Makoto even made this hilarious mask for me that had fresh lemon peels inserted into it.  But often just slicing fresh lemons and smelling them helped to ease my mild nausea.

3.  Keeping well hydrated.  There was something in knowing that my body was producing loads of amniotic fluid that helped me to constantly hydrate myself.  I drank loads of good ol' filtered water as well as iced peppermint/lemon/ginger tea to mix things up.  I found that it really helped dissipate headaches and kept my skin feeling great!

4.  When it was hard to take my prenatal vitamins and fish oils, I started juicing again as I found sipping a cup of fresh fruit/veggie juice was much easier to digest than capsules.  I also mixed my liquid fish oil into applesauce (just like how I prescribe to my wee little pediatric patients) and found it much easier to gulp down 1Tbsp of applesauce than pure liquid fish oil.  Also, making sure I had some food in my stomach before taking my prenatal vitamins and fish oils helped me to not feel as nauseous. 

5.  Communicating how I'm feeling with Makoto.  Makoto has been an amazing partner and very understanding but I also realized that he wants to be just as much of a part of our day to day pregnancy life as I am!  This is basically the biggest science project of his life and he has researched the benefits of proper nutrition, fish oils, exercise, etc on fetal development and I know that it kills him when he watches me eat a nutella sandwich for dinner.......3 days in a row.  We established from the beginning that the MOST important thing is for us to be peaceful and happy as a couple....and family :)  So we compromised....I can have my nutella sandwich as long as I wash it down with a cup of fresh veggie/fruit juice :)

All pregnancies are different.......we are lucky to have 7 friends that are currently pregnant as well and it's amazing how much variation there is in how we are all feeling.  Just remember the most important thing is to not put pressure on yourself, keep yourself comfortable....and enjoy this precious time!!

Aileen Lim-Trotter

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