First Trimester with Ruby

Note: This post was originally written in November 2013 and appeared on my old personal blog, Rebelle of the Ball. It was an unexpectedly popular post, so I thought I’d add it here at a+r. I’m not currently pregnant!

It’s hard to believe that I’m over one-third of my way to cooking a baby. It seemed like it DRAGGED on and on… and now, the first trimester is a thing of the past.

So, let’s start at the beginning. My husband and I have been trying on and off to get pregnant. We were getting to the point of wondering if something was wrong with one of us. Everyone around us was getting pregnant and making babies like it was nothing. We were frustrated.

I decided to take a month off from the chart and calendar and all of that. I was just going to use the stupid ovulation tests from Walgreens that never seem to give me a positive reading, more to use them up than to really count on them predicting my ovulation. Well, it turned out that the strips were working. I was just getting in my own way and starting to test way too late. So, I got a positive test and we did the baby dance. I was so pessimistic that I didn’t think about it again.

About two weeks later, I woke up to puke one night. I’m not a puker. I’ve thrown up a couple of times from hangovers in college and once from food poisoning, but other than that, I’ve got an iron stomach. Still, I was so pessimistic, I didn’t even consider that this could be a sign.

Flash forward another week and I was gassy (too late for a TMI warning?)… I mean, GASSY, like go stand outside in the breeze and air that out, girl… GASSY. I blamed it on the school cafeteria food and wrote it off. (P.S. I had NO idea that being a gassy sass was a pregnancy symptom, until later).

Also, that week was my birthday. My husband gave me a really stupid card (think: little kid picking his nose with a message along the line of “I picked this just for you”) with a nice note scrawling inside… and I cried. No, not because it was such a horrible card. Because it was the sweetest thing I’d ever read. I’m not kidding. But did I think it was baby yet? No. Don’t be silly.

So, that weekend, I think, “Gee, Aunt Flo should be coming in the next week or so, but the puke and the gas and the overall classy lady behavior has been weird… let’s just take a test and get the massive letdown over with”. I told my husband I was going to take one and his response was basically, “Do you really want to waste another pregnancy test? Let’s just wait.” (We are shining beacons of optimism and hope, right?) …but still, I took the test, set it down, and went about my bathroom business. I was so uninterested in seeing another negative test that I didn’t even want to look at it again. On my way out of the bathroom, I pick it up to trash it and… lo and behold… POSITIVE. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I could NOT believe it. I started shaking and crying and had to sit there with myself for a few minutes to even wrap my brain around it.

Then, I went to find my husband who was outside working. I didn’t say a word, just showed him the test. At first, it seemed he knew he would be looking at another negative test… and then he saw “Pregnant” in the little test window. He went from shocked to confused to ecstatic with this smile that on its own would have made me fall in love with him, if I hadn’t already been for five years now. We immediately talked about managing our expectations… not getting too excited until we confirmed it with a doctor, knowing that it could not stick, blahblahblah. We were trying so hard to play it cool.

That day, we told my dad and his girlfriend over lunch. Just on a side note, if you’re going to reveal your pregnancy to older people with bad eyesight, let me suggest that showing them the EPT digital pregnancy test is the worst way to do it. Because you hand them the test, all glowy and excited, and they go “What? What does that say? Let me get my glasses!” It happened to us twice – with them and with my in-laws a few days later.

So, Monday morning, I ecstatically called my OB/GYN’s office to schedule an appointment. You see, I had just started seeing a new doctor who I loved and had the best bedside manner I’d ever experienced. I couldn’t wait to tell her. Well, SURPRISE. The receptionist says, “Oh, she is no longer at the practice. She’s moved out of the state. Would you like to see the doctor taking her place?” WHAT? HOW? WHY? NO! My internal dialogue as the words are being spoken… but I needed a doctor, so I made an appointment.

The couple of weeks waiting for my doctor appointment seemed like centuries. When the big day finally arrived, I have to be honest. I wasn’t that impressed. My other doctor had set the bar SO impossibly high and the new doctor was overwhelmed with taking over all of these patients. It was not the exciting appointment that I thought it would be. I left feeling kind of “eh”, although I did love the goodie bag filled with prenatal samples, a can of formula, coupons, a water bottle, and book written by the practice’s doctors. I almost didn’t go back. I was on the fence. I had made an appointment with another doctor to see if it would be a better fit…

…but then, the worst thing that can happen to a newly pregnant lady happened (or at least, that’s how it felt). I started spotting and having light cramps. I talked to a few of my co-workers and their responses varied from “Oh gosh, honey, I’m sorry but you’re miscarrying” to “It’s not big deal, don’t sweat it”… so, I called both doctors – the one I was considering switching to and the one I wasn’t impressed with – to ask what to do. The doctor I was considering basically said, we won’t see you until you’re 8 weeks, but call us back if it gets worse. Great. Then, the doctor I wasn’t impressed with called back, expressing real concern, asking a ton of questions, and asked when the soonest was that I could come in. Yes! That’s the reaction a spotting, freaked out pregnant woman wants.

So, the unimpressive doctor got a second chance that afternoon. After some questions, she took me in for my first ultrasound. NOTHING can prepare you for that first ultrasound, am I right? I mean, there it was. My own little alien, growing in my tummy, looking perfectly healthy with the little heart flickering away. I practically lost it. What touched me the most, though, was how moved and excited my doctor was. It was my first window into how compassionate she was. Then, she told me about her own spotting during her pregnancy. It made sense then why we were both sniffing back the tears. Also, she is now my favorite doctor in the entire world. She can make me feel 100% sure that everything is going to be okay in one minute or less. If this doctor moves, I am following her wherever she goes because NO ONE will ever be better than her. NO ONE. (Editor’s Note: She moved. Right before my next pregnancy. I must chase doctors away! I was all talk, because I didn’t follow her to Puerto Rico!)

Since my ultrasound looked perfect, the next step was bloodwork. She suspected that low progesterone could be the cause of my spotting, so she started me on oral progesterone once a day, while we waited for the results.

Progesterone, stupid progesterone. My level was low, like low. I doubled my dose to twice daily… and UGH. I was not prepared for how horrible it made me feel. I lived with nausea, headaches, and extreme sleepiness. I could hardly make it through a day in my classroom. I called my doctor and she suggested that I try Crinone, a progesterone cream that’s inserted vaginally. Of course, Crinone is not covered by my insurance and costs hundreds of dollars a month…. but there’s no dollar amount to put on the way I was feeling. My dear old dad offered to pay for the month of the cream. A note about my dad: he is the best dad in the world – not only because of buying my miracle medicine, but also because he’s a living example of what unconditional love looks like. My Crinone got overnighted to me – and WOW. Crinone is magic. Bye bye nausea. Bye bye headaches. Hello world. I could actually function again.

I know I just said Crinone is magic, but holy crap. It’s also kind of gross. It causes, um, buildup and discharge that is gross. Super gross. (I did already give the TMI warning right?) Also, it causes cramping, like menstrual cramping, which I didn’t realize until after I totally freaked myself out. My browser history reads something like “miscarriage symptoms”, “Crinone miscarriage bleeding”, “no bleeding miscarriage”, and so on. My doctor and her nurse banned me from the use of Google for health-related searches until the end of my pregnancy. I don’t blame them. It needed to be done.

The bottom line though? I sucked it up, used the Crinone, followed doctor’s orders, and most importantly…. I survived the first trimester. I hope that maybe some other Googling paranoid freak (like me!) will find my blog, instead of the 940582490831 other forums, blogs, and websites that talk about the worst case scenario. Let me just say: Bleeding doesn’t mean miscarriage. Cramps do not mean miscarriage. Low progesterone doesn’t mean miscarriage. Being prescribed Crinone doesn’t mean you’re going to miscarry. Talk to your doctor, ask to take a peak at your sweet baby, and chill. Everything is going to be beautiful.

Things I’ve Loved:

soup

Sprite

sweet tea

Heath bars

the smell of a fire burning

Chanel No. 5 (in very small doses)

puppy snuggles (our dachshund is on baby guard dog duty already)

The Healthy Pregnancy Book

Pinterest

my students talking to the baby (I haven’t had the heart to tell them that he/she can’t hear them yet)

pillows

Things I’ve Hated:

pickles (even more than usual)

fried foods (especially fast food fried food, ughhhh)

grated Parmesan cheese (I loved it so much before – now it’s grated cardboard to me)

pretty much all other perfumes

brushing my teeth (it’s made me gag pretty much 6 out of 7 days per week)

my car’s lack of lumbar support (never noticed that before)

not having a personal masseur to follow me around

whoever uses so much freaking air freshener in the bathroom at work

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