Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pregnancy Update: The First Trimester to Mid-Second Trimester

Hi! I am finally 20 weeks today! This is a major a milestone, because it's the halfway mark! It feels like it's been a million years since I found out I'm pregnant, and yet also super fast at the same time. Like I said in my life update, I would like to document this special time in my life, so here's my first pregnancy update! I wasn't able to do it before now because I haven't been well, but now that I'm feeling somewhat better, I can start doing it. Fair warning though -- this is going to be a long post because I'll be recapping all of my pregnancy journey so far. Here goes...

How We Found Out

My husband Aleq and I haven't actually been trying all that much since we got married three years ago. The first year, we didn't think it was the right time. On our second year though, we decided that if it happens, it happens. We started actively trying only about 10 months ago -- back in May -- so we were really surprised come February when I noticed that I was late. 

We really didn't think too much of it, because it doesn't come on the dot for me. However, my cycle usually lasted about 25-29 days, so when it hit the 30s mark, I became curious. I wasn't feeling anything else aside from being more tired than usual, so we thought nothing of it for a few days, but when it still didn't come, we decided to get a pregnancy test. We met up in Makati one night after work to have dinner (and to buy the test), and every place was packed to the rafters with people. We ended up at Army Navy, where I ordered a cheese quesadilla and cheese fries. I didn't think much of it at first but only realized how unusual it was when Aleq commented on it. He said he's the cheese person between the two of us, and I never order those two together. That was the first time we thought, hey, I might really be pregnant!


So we got the test and ended up taking it the next morning as soon we woke up. A second line showed up, so we were just shocked! I think Aleq said, "Really?!" I just didn't have any words. The second line was faint though, so we felt a bit dubious. I messaged my cousin Lek to ask and she laughed and said that was it. She even sent us a pic of theirs, which looked exactly like ours. 

The first test
Still, we wanted to really make sure, so we did another test the next morning. It turned out exactly the same. The second line was there again, so it was really a big, fat positive!

The second test

We wanted to schedule a visit to the OB as soon as possible, but we had a Tagaytay family trip scheduled that weekend. We agreed to keep it a secret until we were able to see a doctor the weekend after. Looking back, I was 5 weeks at that point. We were so (secretly) happy!

Under the pines in Tagaytay

Our parents were the only ones we told. We called the hospital and made an appointment as soon as we could after the trip, and we met our OB that weekend. We talked, she examined me, took the requisite pap smear, instructed us to get an ultrasound and then asked us to come back afterwards. We were so nervous! Our first ultrasound only showed a gestational sac. The ultrasound doctors told us the baby couldn't be seen yet, but things have definitely started. They also found a follicular cyst in my right ovary, but they told me it wasn't scary. 

6 weeks!

When we got back to the OB, she said the cyst would need monitoring but it's pretty harmless. She also told us to come back the next week for another ultrasound for "confirmation of the pregnancy" because it would be the Holy Week after and most of the hospital services would be closed then. She assured us though that it's still very early so we shouldn't worry about not seeing the baby just yet. Then she gave us a prescription for folic acid and prenatal vitamins which I started taking immediately.  

Happy after our first ultrasound

Waiting at the OB's office

Well, we worried, of course! We just wanted that very important confirmation. I also had to take all the pregnancy blood tests required -- we went to a different clinic to do it. It was a lot, from HIV to typhoid, etc. I didn't realize there were that many tests! We were on pins and needles the entire week after our first checkup, just counting the days until we could go back to the hospital. When we did, we were rewarded with a teeny tiny embryo and a yolk sac! We even saw the heartbeat on the screen! They told me I was definitely 7 weeks.

I teared up, and Aleq quipped, "Well sh*t just got real." We went back to our OB with the results, and she happily confirmed the pregnancy, yay. 

Celebratory lunch at the hospital

Happy us after telling our immediate families that same weekend

The First Trimester

I would say I had a pretty normal first trimester. I didn't really feel anything the first few weeks, just some fatigue and random cravings here and there. Then I started getting nausea during car rides to and from work, and there were days when I had to take sick leaves because I was too nauseated. When I threw up for the first time, my office friends actually rejoiced because they said my pregnancy was now real. However, though some days were tough, it was all very manageable. I only threw up occasionally, usually when my system didn't like the food I ate (mostly anything too rich or fried). Lemon candy helped me a lot, and on the days that were worse than others, I just slept the nausea off. 

Work on the other hand, went into overdrive during that time, and the daily stress in the office didn't seem healthy for me or the baby anymore. Dealing with pregnancy symptoms was hard enough, but feeling like I was going into battle everyday felt like it wasn't worth it. I stuck it out for a while, but Aleq and I eventually decided I should quit, and I left my job in April. Other than that, nothing else happened in my first trimester. 

Things started feeling tight in the last weeks of the first trimester -- even my joggers felt uncomfortable on my tummy at that point. So, the first things I bought for my pregnancy were maternity jeans and leggings. I found them at SM Department Store; the brand is called Mother 2 Be. They both have this soft stretchy material that goes over the belly as well as garters that you can adjust as you get bigger. They're really comfy and they seem to be pretty hardy too. 

Free the belly!

The Second Trimester So Far

We went back to our OB in late April for our 12th week checkup. It was an important one because it marked the end of the first trimester, and the beginning of the second. We got to see our little one again in the ultrasound, who was already looking like an actual baby! The cutie was actually wiggling around, upside down. The ultrasound doctors said baby was swimming. Our checkup was uneventful. OB was happy with everything, and she added iron and calcium to my list of daily pills. 

The wriggler

The day after our checkup was a Sunday. We had a nice, lazy morning, so it was a surprise when I started throwing up after lunch, and I didn't stop for the rest of the day. I couldn't take in food nor water. I was thinking, it was just a bad day. Aleq wanted to take me to the ER in the afternoon but I really thought it was nothing and that I only had to wait it out. Around 7pm, I was already very weak, so I finally caved in and we went to the hospital. They hooked me up to an IV right away. We thought they were simply going to give me some meds, maybe have me on the IV for a couple of hours, and then I was going to be sent home, but they didn't. They had me confined because they said I showed signs of severe dehydration, and I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. I was released a couple of days later, and that was when my pregnancy stopped being normal. 

At the hospital

I was on anti-vomit medicine for a week after getting discharged. Then we had a checkup with the OB and she took me off the meds. It didn't stop there. It was an ordeal at home as well. I was stuck in the condo and couldn't do anything. I didn't have any cravings, I only had aversions. Everything seemed like a trigger. I couldn't have anything dairy, oily, or spicy. I only liked very bland, soupy or dry food, like what they fed me at the hospital. The worst was not being able to take water. I would force myself to drink, but most of the time, I lived on frozen orange Gatorade, ice cubes, and sparkling flavored water. Like I said before, I'm not ready to talk about all of it yet, so I won't go into much detail. I'll tell the story of what hyperemesis gravidarum is like down the road eventually. OB did assure us that my symptoms would most likely go away by 16 to 20 weeks, and she was right.  

The symptoms started easing up a month after the hospital, around my 16th week. The nausea started disappearing in the evenings, and sometimes even late afternoons. I was able to drink more water, provided it was ice cold. I was able to tolerate going down to the condo's pool area with the hubby that weekend for about 15 minutes. I decided to finally take my first baby bump pic then. I really wanted to since the beginning of the pregnancy, but my first trimester was stressful, and then with hyperemesis, I just didn't feel like it (well, I couldn't really stand up to dress up and take pics). 

So happy to be out, even if we only went a few floors down and didn't really leave the building. 

16 weeks!

The nausea was almost completely gone by the time my 17th week rolled around. I was still feeling weak, but way better than before. That weekend, the hubby took me on a quick date near our place. I only lasted three hours, and I had to take a lot of sitting breaks in between all the walking around, but it was great. 

A photo posted by Aleq (@namazukom) on

17 weeks!

My baby bump was getting bigger. I still couldn't go to the mall to shop for the things I need so I turned to online shopping. It was a breeze. I ordered some maternity stuff from Zalora, and the package arrived the very next day. 

On my 18th week, we were back in the OB's office for our monthly checkup. A "hypoechoic structure at the anterior uterine wall" showed up in our ultrasound, that was either a "focal myometrial contraction" (scary) or an "anterior intramural myoma" (nothing to worry about according to the OB). On the upside, baby was doing well! 

The little one

I was prescribed a uterine relaxant to take that week just in case. Pregnancy really comes with a ton of surprises. I wasn't feeling anything, so the OB said we shouldn't worry. Hubby and I decided I should take it easy for the next two weeks until our next hospital visit. 

18 weeks!

My 18th week went by uneventfully. I still had crazy fatigue to deal with, and the occasional throwing up, but no more nausea. I started feeling in my belly what people call flutters, but to me they seemed like faint little pops here and there. We started calling the little one our poptart after that. 

19 weeks!

My 19th week just came and went. The pops got a bit stronger and we felt more at ease now that I was able to feel the baby.  

Preggo Favorites

I feel like I only started enjoying my pregnancy these last few weeks. I love this midi dress I got from Chictees through Zalora. I didn't want to buy maternity clothing, but I have short dresses in my closet, and they've been rising up as my belly rises. I can't really wear them anymore. Going a size up was a no-go either. My belly and boobs have been getting big while the rest of me haven't expanded all that much, so loose maternity clothes it is. This midi dress is made of a really cool material (which I appreciate because I overheat a lot these days), is loose with room to grow, and very comfortable. 

I've also been loving Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. I started using it in my 18th week and it has been super nice. Stretch marks are genetic and I actually already have a little on my thighs from before pregnancy, so I'm resigned to the fact that I'm getting them. I'm simply hoping this helps keep them in control, and so far I don't have any pregnancy-triggered ones. Also, my skin has started getting very dry everywhere and this belly butter really helps. It doesn't have much of a scent (kind of like a faint honey fragrance) so it didn't bother me in that aspect. It's rich and creamy but doesn't feel sticky, which is a must for me because I really hate lotion. I also found a couple of rough, dry, itchy patches that popped up randomly on my skin, and slathering this belly butter on those areas for a couple of days made them go away. It's wonderful. 

The Halfway Mark

I'm officially in the middle of my 20th week now. We had our congenital anomaly scan this past weekend, and boy was it nerve-wracking! We were worried about the contraction/myoma and we also wanted to know that our baby's okay. The congenital anomaly scan is like a next-level ultrasound. It lasts around 45 minutes to an hour, and the doctors check the baby's stats, measure everything, and basically do a deeper level of scanning to determine anything we should watch out for. At our scan, the doctors confirmed that what was in my uterus was a myoma since it was still in the same place and looked about the same as two weeks ago. It was a huge relief! The rest of the scan went well too! Everything turned out normal. We were able to see the heart, lungs, spine, stomach, etc. Baby's still a wriggler, and seemed camera-shy -- it kept putting its hand up or turning away! It's taking after hubby already.

Too cute!
As for me, I'm still not 100%, but I'm definitely on the road back to that. I can't take the heat -- I get really weak when I feel hot. Whenever I would try to exert any effort doing something (like sorting our medical and government documents, or blogging for example), I would have to lie down and recover for the rest of the day or sometimes even up to the next day. I still can't travel long distances because the fatigue is too much when I try to do that, and I still deal with the occasional vomiting. However, there's no more nausea, and that's a huge deal. 

As for other symptoms, I have started feeling like my stomach would burst every time I eat a normal portion of food. They say it's because my stomach and other organs have been pushed up so there's little room in there. I've been eating small but frequent meals since the hospital, so when the nausea went away I was excited to be able to eat normally. I've also been able to eat dairy and fastfood, as long as they weren't too rich, but now I have to go back to small but frequent meals because my tummy gets really hard and I have to lie down for an hour after eating just to stretch out and not feel like my insides are being squished. It's worse than the feeling after a buffet.   

On the upside, the tiny pops have become little waves in my tummy. The little one has been pretty active and makes its present felt everyday! Hubby and I are so happy and thankful that we're at five months.  

  20 weeks!

That's it! Whew, this looks like a novel. I am hoping to post a quick update every week after this -- crossing my fingers that I would be able to do it! Thanks for reading. 

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