Finally, time for blogging. I always wanted to write an update on my pregnancy specifically my first trimester but between my long hour shifts and appointments during my days off I just couldn’t find the time. And to be honest, today is the day that I opened my laptop again which feels like a long time ago. These past few weeks have been crazy.
Also, before you proceed further, I just want to warn you that there will be lots of TMI, especially women’s pregnancy-related topics. So if you would rather read something else, you can read my other categories in my blog here.
So let me go back to my first trimester- what happened, what my symptoms were, and everything else as far as I can remember.
The very first thing I noticed even before the confirmed pregnancy test was my sore breasts. Usually, a few days before my menstruation, they get bigger and a bit sore but it is always accompanied by painful cramps that will last for a few minutes. That is when I know I will have my menstruation in a day or two.
This time, however, I didn’t feel any cramps that I normally experience. So it was like breast sore for days and days but no menstruation. Then, we did the pregnancy test 5 days after being delayed and as I shared in my previous blog, it turned out I’m pregnant.
Another symptom I have experienced was just this feeling of extreme fatigue. I would choose to stay in bed or on the couch and would fall asleep any time of the day. I have no energy for anything else. Now that I think about it, during the first 3 months or so of my pregnancy, I stayed almost all of the time at home except for work. The husband who is being the wonderful person that he is did all the shopping for both of us.
It probably was during the beginning of my second trimester that my energy was back a bit. We then went out for a walk in the park or had a short trip to the grocery store.
Then, came nausea and vomiting. They are not fun to have at all. My experience, however, was not very specific in the morning. So I wouldn’t say it is the ‘morning sickness that it is known for.
In the middle of the day, I would start feeling nauseated, then it will get worse by the afternoon and worst in the evening. Luckily though, mine wasn’t as bad as the other pregnant women I know because the only time I vomited (sorry for TMI) might be just three or four times in total. A few of the other pregnant women I know said they vomited almost every day in the first months.
I had tried different kinds of remedies such as drinking ginger tea and ginger biscuits which helped as well. As advised by my midwife, we followed small frequent meals rather than big ones as nausea can also be caused by hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Therefore to avoid it, I have to constantly keep feeding my body so the sugar level will be maintained.
Liked and disliked food
In addition, there was a part during my first trimester when my appetite was insanely huge. I was always hungry almost every hour or two. It’s probably because of the hormones getting so crazy as well.
As a result, I always was looking for food and snacks. Because we are trying to eat healthily though, we have a good supply of fruits and healthy snacks at home ready to be eaten. My favorite was apples and actually still is. Now, I am more into mangoes as well.
Oddly, my disliked food on this journey was eggs. I don’t know what happened to me to hate eggs but one day, I just don’t want to see them, smell them or even hear the word ‘egg’. Crazy I know! I even told the husband never to mention the word with me, it is the ‘food that shall never be mentioned. Ha!
There might be a few times that I was also a bit irritable but not yet emotional. I haven’t cried for no reason yet. Luckily, the husband was just so chill about those times when I changed my mood a bit. I am not that bad though. He just laughed at me over my craziness but still supported and cared for me.
The low- visit in A&E
In my 11th week of pregnancy, a few days after my birthday in August, I woke up went to the toilet, and noticed some spotting on my underwear. My first reaction was to worry for the baby because as far as I know there should be no spots nor any bleeding whatsoever during pregnancy. Unless it’s the implantation bleeding which usually occurs way earlier in the pregnancy.
There were no other accompanying symptoms such as pain or weakness or any other unusualities other than the spots. But just to be safe, I rang my midwife’s number and relayed what I found out that morning. She was reassuring that it’s nothing to be concerned about as it is actually common for some pregnant women to have bleeding or spotting while pregnant. Here is more info from NHS.
She said that as long as there is no pain or heavy bleeding with clots on it, it usually is fine. We ended the call that morning with advice to keep checking for the bleeding and the other symptoms to watch out for. And that if we ever have those, we then should go straight to A&E (Accident and Emergency).
Bright red blood
That day passed with a few more spots but that was it until almost 9 PM when I went to the toilet to pee and there was this sudden gush of blood as if I was having menstruation. When I looked down I saw this bright red blood like first-day menstruation blood with a bit of clot. I got so scared for the baby and my heart was racing so fast.
The husband was washing the dishes at that time so I immediately called out for him. I told him what happened, and showed him the blood. He looked panicked and I know for a fact that he got scared as well. We are both nurses and have seen blood all the time but that night was just different. We are first-time expecting parents and we both felt scared and worried for the baby.
We decided to urgently go to the hospital but the problem is we don’t have a car. There was also no bus at that time anymore. We tried calling all the taxi companies in town. Usually, they have availability but at that time there was a festivity happening in another town so there were no taxis for us.
So next, the husband rang 999 which is the emergency number in the UK. He spoke to an operator and answered all their questions. Unfortunately, they couldn’t pick us up because there was no ambulance available as well except for those very very ill people- having a heart attack, seizure, etc. Speaking of short staffing in NHS!
So I had to think of friends and colleagues who have cars that are free to drive us to the hospital. I am so grateful for Kuya Allan who is also a nurse in our ward. It was his day off but after telling him that we needed to go to A&E, without any further questions he offered to pick us up and drive us to the hospital. (Thank you, Kuya Allan!)
At the hospital
We were at the hospital, I checked in and was waiting for my name to be called. I spoke to a triage nurse who took my obs and referred me to another nurse to take my blood. Then we were told that a doctor will come to talk to us soon. After not too long of a wait, a doctor spoke to us and said he wanted to do an IE (internal exam) to see if my cervix is closed or not.
At this time, I had no care whatsoever. They can do whatever they needed to do to me. So they did the ie. His junior doctor who was female did it and they confirmed that indeed my cervix is still closed which means the blood is not coming from the uterus or fetus but could be from outside the womb. Hearing that gave us a bit of relief because that meant baby is fine inside the uterus.
He further explained that the best way to confirm everything is through an ultrasound which he would make a referral for tomorrow first thing in the morning. It was almost midnight so we could go home and come back for the ultrasound in the morning. He would also call us if he found anything wrong with the blood test result.
Before we left, he also told us that since we did the ie I may have more bleeding in the next couple of days but then should transition to be darker or browner in color. We thanked them and left the hospital.
The next day
I received a call for an ultrasound appointment that morning which we promptly attended. From there, we saw our beautiful baby for the first time in black and white. We were so happy to see the baby’s heart flickering on the screen and that he/she was moving and healthy. The baby is alright. We both sighed with relief.
What the sonographer said was that there was a spot she saw that has caused the bleeding and would probably stay for a few weeks or so. It could probably be from the placenta not attaching properly to the uterus. She reassured us that usually it gets absorbed by the body while the baby is growing bigger or that it will just continue to come out.
Since I have another ultrasound booked for my 12th week, we will be able to monitor the spot when I come back the week after. For now, however, she said just to continue with my activities and still be mindful of what to look out for.
First baby photo
We went home with a free copy of our baby during the first ultrasound. We put it in our couple’s photo so we can see him/her every day for inspiration. After the visit to the hospital, I called in sick at work and stayed at home for a week on bed rest. I didn’t think I would be able to work well with what happened the previous day.
The bleeding/ spotting eventually stopped after a month or two. It has become browner and little by little it just stopped.
Those were the highs and lows during the first trimester. Little did we know there are more coming which I will share in my next post.