The First Trimester

With this being my third pregnancy, I thought I'd be well versed in what to expect. But I soon learnt that each pregnancy is very different. With the twins, I breezed through the first trimester, having a few food aversions and very little nausea. With Henry, I experienced a little more nausea, but it was manageable and I could still eat a variety of foods. I never actually got physically sick with either pregnancies, and besides being tired, it was an easy first couple of months.

This time around, I was expecting more of the same. What happened instead when I hit the six week mark was severe nausea and vomiting that lasted from the moment I woke until the moment I fell asleep. The list of foods I had aversions to quickly grew until the only things that I was able to eat were apples and chips - the two foods I could actually stomach, and even then I sometimes couldn't keep them down. I was retching or being sick around 6 times a day. Retching was possibly even worse than being sick, there was nothing to bring up to provide some relief. I lost around 10lbs in two weeks, and didn't leave the house for the duration, being too ill to move. My days were spent lying on the sofa focusing on breathing through the nausea, and running to the bathroom. Anything and everything caused me to be sick - changing Henry's dirty nappies, the many food commercials on TV, the sight of Henry's food, and the time he chewed up a pancake and then spat it out (!)

The start of my sickness frustratingly coincided with Matt starting work in the US after a two week break, so we wasn't able to take time off to help out with Henry. I was alone in a new country with no means of help or respite. It wasn't the wonderful introduction to America that I'd imagined. Poor Henry spent a lot of time watching TV, as I just couldn't engage with him as I usually would. Then there were the times I'd would be bent over the toilet and he'd run over with a toy, asking me to play, not understanding why I wasn't able to.

It was a debilitating and horrendous experience, yet also somewhat reassuring to know my hCG levels were rising accordingly. I suspected hyperemesis gravidarum due to the severity of the sickness and the weight loss, and would have sought medical help if it had not eased off a little after a few weeks. It was a relief to see the end of the sickness, although the nausea continued for the remainder of the first trimester. 

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The first trimester also meant being introduced to the maternity services in the USA. Without knowing anyone that could advise us on hospitals or obstetricians, we picked based on some internet research, and luckily landed with a lovely OB/GYN and a highly regard hospital. We soon discovered that screening here in the US is a lot more thorough, and they test for a number of things that aren't included in the UK, presumably because the NHS can't cover the cost.

I agreed to have my blood tested for everything they mentioned, without giving it a second thought, so it came as a shock when our obstetrician told me I was a carrier for cystic fibrosis. We were advised to get Matt tested too to see if he was also a carrier. If he was, our baby would have a 1 in 4 chance of having the life shortening disease, and we would be referred to genetic counsellors to discuss next steps. It was an anxious wait for Matt's blood test results, but thankfully, they came back negative, allowing us to have one less thing to worry about.

Overall, not the most enjoyable first trimester, but an appreciated one, as I'm so thankful to blessed with another pregnancy. Much to my relief, the second trimester has been a lot more manageable, and I'll be back soon with a pregnancy update and gender reveal!


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