As some of you may already know, I found out I was pregnant minutes before I thought I was going to be going into surgery. (If you didn’t know, check out the story in my blog – “God Knows the Desires of Our Hearts!”)
It was one of the happiest moments of my life! The amazing blessing of a child! …the product of the incredible love between my husband and I. What a beautiful thing! <3
We were as giddy as can be – all smiles! We left the hospital and promptly went to get some celebratory ice cream! (Because every happy moment deserves ice cream, right?!;) We could hardly contain our elation! In 2 days it would be Christmas and it couldn’t be a more perfect holiday to be able to celebrate Jesus’ birth, and the new life growing inside me!
The next day we bought some baby balloons, wrote “Baby Arriving August 2017”, wrapped a giant box and had the balloons ready to pop out once it was opened. We were set for the “great reveal”. I couldn’t stand my excitement and was dying for the day to come to be able to surprise both of our families!!
THE GREAT “REVEAL”…
Well, that day finally arrived and we took our giant festive-wrapped box over to my husband’s parent’s house. We were greeted warmly and met with a lot of suspicion over the large box we came bearing. Everyone thought we had a puppy! (LOL!) Much to their surprise, we had some news far better than a puppy… A baby! Such excitement was shared!
The next day my family met the box in a similar way (minus the puppy idea! haha.). We let the nephews and niece open it this time and everyone thought it was a funny gift of balloons. After about a minute it finally clicked with what it was all about and we were met with such cries of joy and excitement! It was a Christmas to remember!!!
This is how my pregnancy journey started. I guesstimated that I was about 6wks along and I was in awe of the fact I had a tiny human inside of me!
Already we had past some amazing milestones….
Week 3 – The baby is a group of cells the size of a pinhead at this point, but rapidly growing, and it’s sex has already been determined!
Week 4 – Different layers of cells are forming and the baby is the size of this –> “o”
Week 5 – The central nervous system, muscle and bone (skeleton) are forming. It’s 1.25mm long.
Week 6 – The brain is forming, as well as eyes and limb buds.The heart is beating strong. The baby is 2-4mm long.
I was dying to hear the heartbeat for the first time!!! I could not wait!
Scheduling that first 12 week prenatal appointment with a midwife, getting books on pregnancy (thanks to my sister and sister-in-law), choosing the best prenatal vitamins, etc… made me realize more and more that this was really happening!
I was going to be a MOTHER!
That Christmas morning, the day of surprising family, was the first time I felt that sickening feeling in my stomach. I deal with Crohn’s disease so having a lot of abdominal pain and just feeling sick is normal, but this felt different. A nauseous, seasick feeling. It only lasted about half the day (thankfully), and then I didn’t have any sign of it for days. I thought I was good to go! (LOL!) Little did I know…
10 days later it came in full force, as well as many other pregnancy “symptoms”…
Morning sickness – Well, really 24/7 sickness. It never went away. I was dizzy and felt on the verge of vomiting all the time, day or night (and would regularly). The feeling even intensified when I would brush my teeth, which resulted in throwing up and having to start the whole process over. So weird!
Extreme exhaustion – I was sleeping 10+ hrs a night and needing to take a couple naps during the day, if at all possible, just to be able to make it through most days.
Intense revulsion to chicken – Chicken is my favorite meat, so this was really weird!!
Heart burn – So horrible it felt like my insides and esophagus were literally on fire.
Headaches – The kind that make you want to take lots of Tylenol.
Cravings – Mac and Cheese was a big one! I hardly ever eat it but I had to have Kraft’s Mac and Cheese and lots of it! And of course it couldn’t be the regular kind… my pregnancy hormones had to be specific and tell me I could only eat the spiral kind or they would make me feel sick with anything else. How odd is that? Kiwis and apples were a few other things I craved, as well as a certain kind of ice cream.
PREGNANCY IN ALL IT’S GLORY…
These are a few things I dealt with, but really just about anything can happen when you’re pregnant. Pregnancy is so different for everyone and even for some people it’s different for each baby. Your entire body completely changes when it’s trying to grow a human!
Blood flow changes, your body goes into fat storage, hormones rage, significant amounts of nutrients your body uses for yourself all began to transfer over to supplying your little bundle what it needs to get started, etc… It is a beautiful, but difficult and sometimes painful process!
As the baby is developing, every day is a miracle…
Week 7 – This week the baby doubles in size and is the size of a BB pellet. The heart has divided into 2 chambers, the arm and leg buds have grown longer. Nostrils are developing, an appendix is already present, as well as air passage ways in the lungs. The intestines have developed in the umbilical cord that will later return to the baby’s abdomen.
Week 8 – The baby is the size of a pinto bean! Eye folds are forming, the nose is present, ears, fingers, and toes are forming. The heart valves are present and the body, arms and legs are lengthening.
Week 9 – The baby is now the size of a medium green olive. The whole baby overall is growing and all it’s parts are becoming more defined.
Week 10 – The baby is the size of a prune. Organ systems are well underway and the critical part of the baby’s development are behind.
Week 11 – Fingernails have appeared and the baby is the size of a lime. You can now start to tell the sex of the baby.
Week 12 – The baby weighs between 1/3-1/2 oz., is almost 2.5 inches long and the size of a plum. All of the structures of the baby have been formed by this point and will continue to grow and develop throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Hair is also starting to grow!
WEEK 12 – MIDWIVES…
The day had finally arrived! I was 12 weeks and bursting with joy to be able to go to my very first prenatal appointment. I had looked into various different options for prenatal care and birth options and had decided on working with local midwives. I heard many amazing things about them and was excited to meet my first midwife, and to see how my pregnancy was progressing.
My anticipation was high and I was nervous! I met a delightful woman who put my nervousness to rest. I was doing what I should be, and everything looked great! But when it came time to listen to the baby’s heart, we couldn’t find it.
In that moment I felt sick. We tried and tried, but couldn’t hear anything. So, she went to get an ultrasound machine. (Longest couple minutes of my life!) She came back and tried the ultrasound. It took several minutes but she eventually found the little peanut and we saw that perfectly precious, little beating heart! It was good and strong and I was so relieved.
She thought I must have had an anterior placenta that was covering the baby and that was the reason why it was hard to hear and find. We were thankful. One things she did notice though, was that the baby looked very small for 12 weeks but she wasn’t too concerned. She thought everything looked good though and the next appointment was made for 16 weeks. The month long wait to see the baby again, and have a full ultrasound (and to find out the baby’s gender), began.
More amazing development took place over this month…
Week 13 – The babies eyes and ears have moved closer together on it’s face and the intestines withdraw from the umbilical cord into the abdomen. It is also now the size of a peach.
Week 14 – The baby is continuing to develop and grow and is now almost 4″ long (crown-to-rump), roughly the size of a lemon.
Week 15 – The baby is the size of an orange. It’s bones are now visible if an x-ray were done. It’s skin is thin, but you can now start to see blood vessels through it. In some ultrasounds, they’ve even seen babies this young sucking their thumbs! (WOW!)
Week 16 – The baby is the size of an avocado and it’s body is now covered with a soft layer of hair. It’s starting to move and the feeling of “butterflies” might be felt at this point.
Longest month EVER! I am the kind of person who can’t wait to know something. Lol. Like… If you have a secret, don’t tell me you do. I probably won’t ever sleep again. (Haha.)
I wanted so badly to know what the gender was, and time just seemed to inch by. Was it a boy or a girl?! Up until the week before the appointment I had been thinking I was having a boy. Then, out of nowhere, I began having dreams that I was having a girl. At this point I just knew it was a girl.
Well, the day finally arrived! My husband and I were SO excited! Our first “official” ultrasound! I drank the amount of water they instructed me to, and avoided using the bathroom as they also said to do as well. I wanted to make sure that we could see the baby good and clear! Well, we arrived and checked in and waited with anticipation… and waited… and waited.
Now I must say… after drinking as much water as I did/was supposed to, it is just not humanly possible to contain it all in your bladder! This, I will say, was by far the most horrific wait of my life. I literally felt like I might pass out and explode! Pacing the room and hallway were about all I could do to try to avoid making an embarrassing public spectacle of myself.
Finally we were called back and a very kind ultrasound tech lady said it was ok to take care of things before we began so I didn’t feel like I was going to die. 😛 (She is my hero! lol.) Then the ultrasound began and we were able to see the baby just fine! (Why did I have to wait to use a restroom and drink that gallon of water??)
Anyway… as we (my husband and I) saw that precious little beating heart again ours melted and we were filled with an un-explainable love for our little one! Those perfect arms, legs, little body and head… our little baby! After the ultrasound we had our second appointment with the midwife. She shared with us that the baby was measuring very small. Too small to find out gender (and the legs were crossed the whole time too), and she figured that the baby must be about 3 weeks younger than originally predicted.
So, our due date changed. I was only 13 weeks now and had to wait another 3 whole weeks to have another “16 week” ultrasound and find out the gender! Yikes! This was beginning to be torture not knowing! (Haha. Perhaps I was being a little dramatic, but pregnancy will do that to you! ;P)
I was a little disappointed I wasn’t further along, but was in such awe at all the amazing things that had happen each week up to this point as my little baby had been growing and forming inside of me! From the first grouping of cells to now, being a fully formed little one, barely weighing an ounce but with finger prints and possibly already sucking a thumb!!
I was now ending the first trimester. This is when morning sickness typically starts to taper off. (I was excited and hopeful as it had been going strong since week 4. I was ready to be done with it! ) My waistline was definitely growing and I was starting to show a little bit, and soon I would be able to feel my baby wiggling!
Being pregnant was such a miracle! God gave me such a new perspective on His love, as an unconditional love for my child grew. I prayed everyday for a healthy baby and perfect development, and for it’s little heart to know, love, and serve Jesus.
Upon my refection of the first trimester of my pregnancy I learned and experienced so many things. Despite feeling mostly exhausted and miserable, and feeling like I was just trying to survive, it was such a blessing that God chose me to be the mother of this child, and an honor to be able to pray for and grow this child for the Lord’s kingdom!
I also learned some practical tips that I would like to share with you before I end this blog. (Links for some of the products can be found below.)
1. Morning sickness hacks – Preggie Pops! I’ve heard they work amazing for some people! For me, they weren’t the magical cure, but they did take the edge off and I was able to get through my days a little easier.
Also, coconut water works well for hydration when there are days of lots of vomiting.
2. Other great pregnancy resources I would recommend – “Praying Through Your Pregnancy” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” are a couple other books I absolutely LOVED!! Definitely worth getting and so helpful!
3. Essential oils good for the pregnant mama – Spearmint (achy muscles/tension/heartburn/headache/nausea), lemon (swelling/fatigue), lavender (relaxing/calming/sleep aid), frankincense (emotional support). They can be a little pricey but last for years and it’s totally worth it to go the natural route for remedies!
4. Heartburn – Don’t eat anything acidic (anything tomato based was a BIG no-no for me!) too close to bedtime or at all if you are having trouble during the day. Don’t drink a lot of water without something in your stomach. It can make it worse. Eating bananas or yogurt are great to help calm the burning feeling, or an antacid if it’s really out of control. Also sleeping propped up can help a lot!
5. Vitamins – Make sure you are taking a good prenatal vitamin with lots of folic acid (essential to good development for a baby)! For me, any of the “swallow-able” ones made me throw up right after taking it, so to keep the vitamins down, I took the gummy prenatal vitamin. It worked well for me!
6. Pregnancy care – I would definitely recommend midwives over doctors! I saw midwives for my prenatal care, but had a doctor when I delivered (I have been to a birth with midwives though) and would say that midwives are by far a better choice when it comes to prenatal care and delivery. I would also HIGHLY recommend seeing a chiropractor regularly! My chiropractor saved my life so many times throughout my pregnancy with adjustments and physical therapy care when I dealt with horrible round ligament pain.
7. Cooking food when it makes you sick – My crock pot saved my life! Toss the food in, let it cook, and then in a few hours food was ready to eat! There were many times I could not stand even looking at the food, but at least my husband was fed and I didn’t have to be involved for too long making it and feeling sick! lol. Tip – make a HUGE crock pot full and put away food in the freezer for meals to pull out later on a day when you are too tired to cook!!
8. Exhaustion – You got this!! I can completely relate and can tell you that you WILL make it through. Take as many naps as you can! If you have a bunch of little ones, this makes napping all the harder. But it is possible. Schedule nap time for your little at the same time, and train the older ones to take a 1-hr quiet time. It may take some time to get into the swing of things with all the kiddos, but keep at it. It will be worth it to get in at least 1 good nap a day!! Something else that helped me sleep a lot better in general was getting a new bed. I was especially grateful for this once I got to the 3rd trimester and it felt almost completely impossible to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.
9. Food – It is SO important that you are eating HEALTHY so your little one can grow healthy and strong!! Lot of fruits, veggies, nuts, fish, dairy, healthy whole grains, etc… Try to stay away from the processed foods and sugar. I know it’s hard! Trust me, I struggled a lot and on many days lost, but you (and baby) will be thankful you didn’t eat ice cream or mac and cheese everyday!! You will be especially grateful once the baby has come and you don’t have a ton of extra baby weight to have to try and lose! It can be really hard to get back to where you were before being pregnant.
10.Exercise – Be active! I know it can be hard when you feel awful and don’t even want to move, but your body will thank you! This will not only help with weight gain, but will keep you in tip-top shape for when you have to deliver your child! It is definitely a workout to deliver and you will be thankful you kept active!! In the pregnancy books I recommended they have different exercises to work on every week – don’t dismiss them (like I did sometimes…:/)!! Once again, when baby is here, you will be so glad you took the time to do them no matter how simple they may seem, they really do help!
Well, I think that is about it. If you are pregnant, congratulations and well done so far! You are going to be an amazing mother and I wish you all the best with your pregnancy and birth! If you aren’t expecting a little one, I hope you enjoyed reading this anyway! 🙂 Have a beautiful day and stay tuned for the next post where I will share about weeks 13-23!
Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Thanks for reading and subscribing and remember…You are beautifully and WONDERFULLY made!