the first trimester.
i share this story in hopes it will help other ladies out there who may struggle with similar fears and worries during the beginning stage of pregnancy.
there is a lot more to the first trimester than i was aware of when i found myself in its midst. it was a lot more complex than i ever knew or thought it would be. i knew about the sickness that didn’t just stick to the morning hours. i knew about the bodily changes and moodiness. i knew about the tiredness that fills the days. but i really did not understand the fear and worry that could overwhelm a woman during such a precious, sacred time.
to begin. i was worried A LOT before we ever got pregnant. i was convinced something was wrong with me. this was due to the combination of two things. one. i did have a few issues with my cycle that could potentially point to endometriosis or a luteal phase defect. two. i truly do suffer with anxiety problems and OCD. my mind can become easily obsessed with an issue and throw things way out of proportion. so i found myself doing tons of research to “heal” myself and prepare my body for conception. i started taking lots of vitamins and changed a good deal of my diet. but the worry consumed me at times. it was hard on our marriage. it was hard on my mind. it was hard on the spirit.
but then things changed. i was pregnant.
unfortunately, the worrying and fear-ridden thoughts did not end. i was overjoyed at first. but then the fear started to creep in. you see, i had been spotting for about five days before i ever tested. and the spotting did not stop. any woman who has been pregnant can you tell you spotting is not very comforting. so after taking the pregnancy tests, i immediately called my ob/gyn to see about the spotting. fortunately for me, my doctor’s office saw me right before six weeks. i was surprised to learn how late they usually want women to wait for the first checkup. i understand their reasoning. but i also understand a woman’s need to talk things out with her doctor as soon as possible. it is also just reassuring to have the doctor look at you and say that you are for sure pregnant!
on top of the spotting, i was also experiencing mild cramping at times and a twinging pain on my right side. oh the fear that crept in. i had to eventually cut myself off from doing google searches on the web. it was just a good way to feed the anxiety and fearful thoughts. and it really was doing nobody any good. i felt like i was on a roller coaster that i couldn’t get off of. there were good moments. there were really hard moments. i remember feeling almost trapped at times as i realized i was at the mercy of my body and could not change a single thing. i had absolutely no control.
so i went in for my checkup. the doctor recommended doing an ultrasound to make sure everything was in the proper place. the spotting and right sided pain could be pointing to an ectopic pregnancy (which is when the egg implants somewhere outside of the uterine wall). i was scared and unsure of what to do. i really did not want to do an ultrasound so early in the pregnancy. but i also wanted to know the truth of the situation.
i decided to have the ultrasound and went back to my doctor a few days later. i immediately burst into tears when i got into the ultrasound room. all the fear and anxiety came pouring out. luckily, i had the sweetest ultrasound tech. she was so kind and sympathetic. she herself had had an ectopic pregnancy and could fully understand my fear. i laid down on the chair and watched the screen in front of me. there was my womb. there was my little speck of baby with heart beating, resting in the proper place. one moment the fear of the unknown. the next minute the sweet relief that everything was okay. more tears.
the relief from that ultrasound lasted for a little while. but then more fear. more anxiety crept in. the spotting continued. and i was constantly fearful of what it could mean. on top of the spotting, there are all the little pains and twinges and aches that come with a swelling uterus. but having never felt it before, there is the constant worry of what is normal and what is not.
after my first ultrasound with my ob/gyn, i transferred my care to a midwifery group. jeremiah and i knew for a good while that we wanted to have a homebirth if my health and body would allow. we interviewed two midwifery teams and quickly chose one of the them to be my care provider. i am so thankful we made our decision as soon as we did (around the six week mark). my midwives advice and care were pivotal to my “surviving” the first trimester. i was able to call, text and email them directly whenever i had a question or concern.
the weeks began to pass by. the spotting would come and go. so would the different pains and aches. my anxiety would flare up when the spotting started again. the worst was when it began right after jeremiah had left for a three day conference. i cried a lot. but then fears and anxieties began to lessen more and more as i reached the end of the first trimester.
the second trimester has been considerably easier. the sickness subsided. the sensitivity to smell grew less and less. i was able to smell my fridge again without wanting to die (this was one of my strange aversions). eventually i was making less and less trips to the bathroom to vomit (thank goodness!). but the anxiety. the fears. the big and little worries. still come and visit at times.