Sunday, August 3, 2008

What to Expect during the First Trimester

Anything. Everything.

Our third pregnancy is now in week 12, which means that horrible first bridge has already been crossed: the first trimester. There's some really exciting stuff that happens the first trimester, and feelings of butterflies and giddiness are frequent, but altogether, it's my least favorite trimester.

My wife's first trimesters have always been the most problematic stage of the pregnancies (here's where I knock on wood). And they've had a very definite downward slope.

With pregnancy number one, my wife was only sick an hour or two a day. She was decently energetic and very excited. You set your watch by when the waves of nausea set in (1pm) and cravings were plentiful. She was very specifically revolted by chicken. She couldn't even see the word spelled out without gagging. Everything was very new to both of us and we awaited our doctor appointments with glee. The most inconvenient thing about the whole situation was the increased frequency of urination. Spirits were high.

During the second pregnancy, the first trimester was trouble. We had a six month old to deal with from the get go, so even brief spells of nausea were like torture. Dealing with a baby that is just learning to crawl while dealing with the tiredness that accompanies such activities as making a placenta just don't mix well. A lot more is asked of the dad during these second pregnancies. But, unlike the first pregnancy, it often feels more "real" for the dad during the second pregnancy; we've seen what this all leads to once before. Chocolate was her new best friend. My wife lost weight during the first trimester of the second pregnancy and we were often worried about her nutrition--something that never happened the first time around.

If the first two first trimesters were spring showers, this most recent first trimester was a hurricane. My wife was often sick from morning until night. She was tired for even longer. And like some kind of sick joke, sleeping was difficult, too. What was most frustrating for her was that she would often feel very very hungry, eat something really small, then feel like she had been force-fed a Thanksgiving feast. "Tired" had a new meaning for her. Again, this time around, she has actually lost weight and we find ourselves doing some kind of reverse weight-watchers thing; we try and make sure she has enough calories a day and often doesn't get there.

We're just pulling out of it, and we couldn't be more happy to enter the "honeymoon trimester" that is often the second.

If there're any soon-to-be-dads out there who's wife is the pregnant for the first time, I have just a little bit of advice to offer. I think as a dad, it's important to remember that this whole pregnancy thing is going on in the first place. There are no real visual indicators that your wife is pregnant and all you are really doing is sitting around and waiting. But your wife is going through this the whole time and it's very real for her. She can feel it happening inside of her. It's okay to go a few hours without thinking of it, but remind yourself often to check and see how the girl is doing.

There are a few things you can do to help out (of course, I don't have any actual medical advice). First of all, if your wife has a lot of nausea, suggest ginger snacks. Those never worked for us. After that, try B6 and Milk Thistle supplements. Sometimes sensory experiences can help; my wife works a pottery wheel and never feels sick while doing it. Always remember that sometimes, eating while feeling sick actually makes you feel better; better than being sick on an empty stomach, at least.

If she's tired, suggest an iron supplement. Of course, this can complicate already complicated digestive issues during pregnancy. We found a liquid iron supplement called Floridix. She shoots it while pinching her nose twice a day and feels much, much better. Since it's liquid, there's a much higher absorbtion rate and the digestive issues don't pop up as much. But the stuff is expensive.

However bad your first trimester is, remember that the second trimester is on the way. Things generally get better at that point. If anyone has any other tips or anecdotes to share, please pass them on!

1 comment:

rebekah said...

It appears that morning sickness is caused by a lack of B vitamins. You might try that route.