35 & Pregnant: First Trimester Tips

 

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Congratulations Mama! If you’re a first-time mom like me and you’ve been deep googling #allthethings pregnancy you may have found especially when it comes to natural remedies, herbs, essential oils and holistic wellness the frustrating part of misinformation out there. One site says {insert herb or oil here} is safe to use then another site says {insert same exact herb or oil} is not safe. WTF do you do?! Besides being confused, #tiredAF because hellooooo that baby is groooowing and a new life is being created inside you …. amazing and physically draining all at once, and you’re annoyed because Google University is totally letting you down right now.

I am going to share my first trimester experience with you as a first-time mama to be, but before I do please note I am not a doctor. Anything I’m writing about in this post I have talked with my OB/GYN and my Naturopath, plus my two best friends who in my eyes are super moms. My BFFs helped me get through those exhausting nauseousAF days by sharing their tips and tricks with me. I highly recommend checking with your doctors first before you try any of my suggestions in this post as well as find a Naturopath so you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to Eastern Medicine and Western Medicine.

First, let me start off by sharing a tiny bit about my reproductive health for those who may be in the same boat. In 2014, I was finally diagnosed after 20 years of violently painful periods with dysmenorrhea. Birth control didn’t work, prescription medication didn’t work … nothing worked to take away that pain that would radiate down my legs and the first day of every month I would throw up for two hours straight … for 20 years. I thought this was normal because I didn’t know any different. Enter …. the essential oils bandwagon I decided to go on. After chatting with someone I met through the oils they suggested I try acupuncture. So, I went into a Google fest and found a Naturopath who was also an acupuncturist that specialized in women’s health specifically periods. HALLELUJAH!! But would this work for me?

Long story short, YES!! After 1 ½ years of getting acupuncture, homeopathy and cupping I was finally rid of that excruciating pain which turned into mild cramping that one dose of ibuprofen actually worked and I had FINALLY stopping throwing up and could actually function on day one of my period. A totally new experience and definitely emotional since I had never known a life without that physical pain. I’m still not used to it even a few years later. Going the holistic route is not a quick fix. Chronic pain for 20 years did take 1 ½ years to finally get better … just keepin’ it real that the expectation will most likely not be a quick fix.

Because of this diagnosis I was told by my doctor dysmenorrhea for these many years could cause infertility and it may be very hard for me to get pregnant. At the time hearing that was devastating, but since I am a stubborn Italian Jersey girl, I took it as a challenge. Throughout this time, I also had friends who were struggling to get pregnant, some did and some haven’t yet. So, I was in limbo because all I could do for my friends was be an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on and totally cry with them while I was physically, emotionally and spiritually working on healing all my stuff too. And going into my 30s I felt like I was already behind because ::enter dramatic me:: I didn’t have 10 kids already. Everyone would ask “when are you having kids?” And I would say “when I’m ready” and then I’d hear “oohh with that attitude you’ll never be ready.” WHAT?!! UMM…clearly you don’t know me because when I’m ready to do something I will actually do it. It was annoying to say the least and I just wanted to be left alone.

Plus, I legit just got my period to finally be “normal” so I was adjusting physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I was on a healing journey of working on myself and healing childhood trauma that I did not want to pass down to my future children in their DNA. To be blunt I was taking care of all the baggage and trauma I had carried with me since childhood. Some people called me selfish for finally putting myself first and saying NO to everything I didn’t want to do. Deep down I knew I was far from selfish. I didn’t tell anyone that I was prepping my mind, body and spirit to one day “maybe” have the opportunity to get pregnant and have a child. All of the woo-woo classes I’d take, all of the “snake oils” I would use, all of the talk therapy, all of the acupuncture & Chinese medicine, all of the herbs, tinctures and supplements I was taking …. EVERYTHING had a purpose to heal my mind, body & soul, and live in wellness instead of a medical diagnosis. I refused to accept anything less than “I am healthy.” No one truly wants to become a diagnosis. I worked my ass off with all of this healing and I finally started noticing positive changes.

On May 11, 2019 with my period 5 days late and me thinking I was just “stressed out” because I was feeling “PMS-y” I took a pregnancy test (like a legit one from the doctor’s office that I had & not my first rodeo when it comes to pregnancy tests), set my phone timer for 3 minutes and when it went off I casually strolled into the bathroom expecting nothing since all the other times before were always negative. To my surprise (like where do babies even come from?? The stork in the sky?) I saw a second line … but it was a shifty second line and I didn’t trust it. So, I grabbed another test and took it.

At this point I was deranged, shocked, excited, terrified, #allthefeels. After 3 minutes of pacing around the house I go back in the bathroom and see another line, but at this point I am crying (tears of joy) so it legit took me a few minutes to stop crying so I could see if that second line was real or if my crying eyes were playing tricks on me. I was flooded with so much gratitude because of what a surprise it truly was with us both having the no pressure attitude of “let’s stop using protection and see what happens?!” (and definitely no pressure from family because we didn’t tell anyone we were “sorta kinda trying”) OR it feeling like a chore because it happened naturally, especially because I have absolutely no idea when I even ovulate or WTF is going on inside me. We just winged it and hoped for the best. Even as I type this, I have tears welling up in my eyes because I am grateful for this pregnancy every. single. day.

And then the longest wait of my life happened. I always take pregnancy tests when my husband isn’t home. He is super relaxed (I’m the hyper one) but I just feel more at ease peeing alone LOL! It was a Saturday so he was out running training for one of his half marathon races ….. I was at home pacing around going back and forth into the bathroom looking at those tests deranged and shocked. FINALLY!!! He comes home and I go running into the kitchen again …. deranged saying “I need you to help me with something in the bathroom.” Now he’s completely freaked out because A). It is completely out of character for me to greet a sweaty him at the door post run. And B). Usually when I say something like this it’s because I broke something #gracefulAF.

So now he is spooked … and starts slowly walking towards the bathroom and won’t even go in there. As he’s peeking into the bathroom from outside the door I point at the tests and he had the same reaction as me, looks at the tests, looks at the directions, looks back at the tests and then looks at me and says “you’re pregnant?” To which again …. Deranged me says “I don’t know I think these tests are expired (which they were!) and I need to go to the store to get one” The best part was how loving and cute he was all trying to give me a hug and that’s when deranged me snapped back into myself and I was all you’re so sweaty nooooooo LOL! Needless to say, I got the biggest sweaty hug while I was dramatically dry heaving.

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Synchronicity at its finest my best friend calls me right after all of this and I face timed her to show her the tests (and for the rest of the weekend she was deranged like me #sorrynotsorry). She also was my life line instructing me to “get the pregnancy test from the grocery store with the words on it” since I’ve always taken doctor office strip tests (bc a girl’s got connections … hey remember I said I’m from Jersey … aka “I got a guy”) For the first time I had my husband with me while I took this test and it pops up PREGNANT! I found out the day before Mother’s Day and 11 days before my 36th birthday. The best surprise gift in the whole world! Because I was READY to be a mom and READY to actually be pregnant…. thank you annoying peanut gallery! ::eye rolls::

All of those “PMS” symptoms I was experiencing were actually implantation and the creation of life happening. I totally had a moment and understood that show “I didn’t know I was pregnant” because for someone who had dysmenorrhea for 20 years these “mild PMS/cramping/fatigue symptoms” that I normally get I thought was just my period coming. Once I officially found out that’s when the “fun” first trimester symptoms started.

…. ENTER EXTREME NAUSEA ….

Alright so now that we’ve connected on a human level for a few here are my first trimester tips:

EXTREME NAUSEA (thank you Jesus for not throwing up … even with those close calls)
These are the things I did to try and cope with what’s considered “morning sickness” even though I didn’t throw up, but I was extremely nauseous all day in waves.

• Deep breathing especially when that heavy wave of nausea would come. All the years of yoga breathing and meditation really helped me to remember to breath.

• Keeping a garbage bag in the car (just in case!!). Driving was super stressful because I had a fear of throwing up all over myself and my car.

• I became a Buddhist Monk and didn’t talk for almost 2 months since speaking was difficult being super nauseous. Texting (and eye rolling lmao!!) was a lifesaver.

• Sucking on thin slices of lemons or putting fresh lemon in water. Lemons are a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier so I don’t recommend ingesting an entire lemon every day because you don’t want to do any sort of cleanse/detox being pregnant. 1-2 slices a day may do the trick.

• Gin-Gins Ginger Chews – these normally worked for me before being pregnant when I was nauseous, but they actually did not work for me being pregnant. Plus, in the Herbalism world Ginger is considered an emmenagogue, aka a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow, and you definitely do not want to take anything that could cause you to start bleeding.

• Sea bands. Found at Target. The jury is still out on whether these really worked for me. They were uncomfortable for me to wear so the distraction of something tight on my wrists may have distracted me from the nausea. I didn’t sleep with them on, only wore until they became too uncomfortable daily.

• Pink Stork Mango Ginger Morning Sickness Lozenges – 30ct found at Target. Remember what I said about Ginger. I know I’m confused too because a lot of pregnancy products have Ginger in them. I only took 1 – 3 daily as needed even though they recommended more a day on the package. This does have vitamin B6 in it which is a big reason why I chose this brand over other brands in the store.

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• Vitamin B Complex Supplement. I have taken this supplement for 5 years from Young Living, but because it has Nutmeg essential oil in it along with a medical disclaimer about being pregnant and to consult your doctor I chose to stop taking this as soon as I found out I was pregnant and buy a crap brand from the grocery store to help my morning sickness. I read that a vitamin B deficiency is one of the possible causes of morning sickness plus vitamin B is great for stress and we pee out the excess B we don’t need. Tip: If your pee is neon yellow after taking this vitamin don’t worry that’s normal it will go away after a few more pees.

• Finding vitamins at the grocery store was frustrating for me since all the supplements I take are from Young Living but again because they have essential oils in them, I am sensitive to stuff like this, after researching finding that a lot of natural products are considered “not safe” because there is not enough scientific research, and speaking with my Naturopath with her medical advice I chose to err on the side of caution for myself and stop taking all of my herbs and oils. You are a delicate flower in the first trimester so definitely do what you feel most comfortable doing or not doing.

• Don’t be afraid to ask your doctors #allthequestions. I’m that person who legit brought ALL of her personal care products and supplements to my Naturopath and asked “is this safe for me to use?” She went through every single one with me and said which ones were okay and which ones to stop being pregnant.

• Watermelon. Keeps you hydrated especially if you are throwing up and losing fluids and Google fest me read that this was a good food to help morning sickness. It did help my nausea and to at least be able to eat something and keep it down.

• Find a brand of prenatal vitamins and DHA vitamin that won’t make you nauseous. The first 2 brands I tried made my nausea worse even when taking them at night with carbs to help my stomach. I’m on my 3rd brand now trying chewable prenatal vitamins and my 2nd brand of DHA. I won’t be recommending a prenatal or DHA brand since everyone is different, but if the regular prenatal vitamins that are the size of horse pills are difficult for you to swallow especially with this nausea/morning sickness try a chewable brand or ask your doctor for recommendations.

• Brush your teeth slowly. This extreme nausea made it difficult for me to even open my mouth to brush my teeth and tongue without dry heaving. Another great tip from my BFF!

FOODS I WAS ABLE TO TOLERATE IN THE 1ST TRIMESTER
This baby is definitely teaching me portion control. I was eating like a bird super small meals every 1-2 hours because of how nauseous I was. Definitely trying to keep my stomach full was helpful to not feel so nauseous.
• Plain Greek yogurt with granola and slivered almonds.
• Multigrain toast with avocado and a drizzle of honey (sounds gross but is actually good)
• Toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese (my doctor advised to try and not eat white carbs and stick with complex carbs, but I had a two-week period when I couldn’t eat anything but bagels and crackers … I justified it by being able to keep this down instead of eating something that would make me throw up)
• Oatmeal with organic milk and fresh blueberries.
• Multigrain toast with peanut butter.
• Cheese sticks.
• Pickles (OMG the sourness definitely helped the nausea!!)
• Outshine Lime Fruit Bars aka ice pops. Anything citrus really helped me even if it was just fleeting moments.
• Shrimp, cod, haddock, & salmon no more than 2 servings of seafood a week, cooked well done (when someone else cooked it… again the smells of food when nauseous would make my nausea worse)
• Cheeseburger cooked well done at home (not as greasy when you make it)
• Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries.
• Roasted red peppers, artichokes and balsamic vinegar (this child is definitely Italian!)
• Homemade minestrone soup (this pregnant lady was making soup on one of the hottest summer days because I was craving it and since I was having food aversions to cooking raw meats this was the only thing I actually made #ItaliansBeLike)
• Protein bar when out doing errands.
• #SaltinesForDays. Kept in my bag along with other snacks, crackers on my nightstand for those times I woke up in the middle of the night super nauseous, crackers everywhere!

I would normally eat eggs for breakfast but I couldn’t tolerate them until now into my second trimester woohoo!! And I’m slowly starting to be able to tolerate chicken again, salad and a lot more fruits. Certain things still gross me out and I’m still having some food aversions, but I’ll look at something and either say yes or no. I am extremely decisive when it comes to food normally and especially now. I am excited that my appetite is slowly starting to come back and I’m grateful I’m not craving cookies or other sugary things… again my child is helping me eat good YIPPEEEE! But eat whatever you’re craving because who am I to say otherwise …. eat the bread! LOL

Lunchtime is definitely still a challenge for me since I would eat cold cuts and now I can’t. All I am craving is an Italian combo. One of my best friends said she was actually craving the same thing and said it’s a Jersey girl thing. I am going to need to confirm that with my fellow Jersey girls! Were you craving that when pregnant too? I’ve already told my husband that for my Push Present all I want is an Italian combo. #thestruggleisreal

My BFFs kept saying when I get to the second trimester the nausea will lift. I did have moments where I didn’t believe that because some people do have really rough pregnancies with nausea throughout. Of course, when you tell the few family members in the beginning, they LOOOOOVE telling you all the horror stories … like I needed to hear these things already feeling nauseousAF. Pregnant ladies do not want to hear horror stories especially when they’re just trying to eat and keep the food down. We just want you to tell us that everything is going to be okay and that it will get better!

My BFFs were right. Now going into my second trimester that extreme nausea did lift and when it did, I cried tears of joy!! That was rough!! Now I’ll get nauseous if I don’t eat on time. The 4 most important things for me being pregnant are staying hydrated by drinking enough water, making sure I am eating on time, going for walks or doing prenatal yoga, and getting enough sleep.

If you’ve made it to the end of this article THANK YOU!! for reading it through. I hope my fellow first-time mamas found great value from these tips and tricks. What tips or tricks have worked for you in the first trimester? I’d love to know!! Cheers to you mama and all the hard work your body, mind and spirit is doing to grow your happy and healthy babies!!

I’m excited to start the second trimester with you! I’ll link that post to this one once I’ve gone fully through it. Stay tuned…

xoxo
Becky Eidam

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About the Author: Becky Eidam (pictured above) writes from the heart whether she is writing about Keepin’ It Real, Skincare & Beauty, All Things Spiritual, and of course, one of her passions teaching about Essential Oils and the Essential Oiled Lifestyle. She sometimes hesitates to publish her Keepin’ It Real writings thinking that they may be a little “too harsh” or “too emotionally charged,” but she quickly reminds herself WHY she started that specific section, to empower and inspire Everyone in need of a little support on their Spiritual and Self-Care journeys. After it goes through Becky’s editors for a little proofreading she snaps out of it and trusts that by giving people the tools to empower themselves to turn their dreams into reality she will get to know and be surrounded by some pretty amazing Self-Care Warriors.

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