I’m heading into my 29th week of pregnancy and just finally sitting down to write this post! So delayed, but better late than never. (PS. didn’t end up publishing until 4 months after Zayn was born!) Truthfully, this pregnancy has really knocked me down. I have not had an easy time of it, which I’ll share more of in this post below and also my second/third trimester recaps.
Pregnancy is the most magical, beautiful experience. I say every day how absolutely wild it is that the body can do what it does and create life! I am awed, amazed, and deeply grateful to be able to have this experience. That being said, that doesn’t mean that every day is sunshine and rainbows and I want to do my best to be as transparent as possible because there was so much I wasn’t expecting.
Below, I’ll be answering the questions we received on Instagram about our TTC journey and first trimester. Thank you for following along with us during such a beautiful and vulnerable time in our lives.
First Trimester and TTC Recap
How did you deal with the TTC process?
The TTC (trying to conceive) process was really difficult for me. I shared in detail about our almost 12 week miscarriage here. After that, it took a lot longer for us to conceive again than I expected. I had always heard that people usually conceive again quickly after a miscarriage, but that was not the case for us. Our due date came and went and we were still not pregnant yet.
I am someone who really likes to be able to control and plan things in life. Our TTC journey was a big lesson in letting go and letting be. In trusting that everything would work out exactly as it should.
I felt like a mother. I knew deeply that it would happen for me in some form or another, even if it didn’t look exactly how I envisioned. I knew I had to let the rest go. This was a daily practice for me and an extremely challenging lesson for me, but one that I knew I needed.
There were two things that helped me the most during this time.
The first is reading the book Spirit Babies. This is an extremely woo book and not for everyone. I normally gravitate towards science, but I do like it with a side of woo. Even though I didn’t resonate with absolutely everything in the book, it helped me realize that my conception timeline wasn’t just mine or Bassam’s, it was our baby’s too. There are three souls and journeys involved in this chapter and it has to be the right time for all of us. The book also helped give me a lot of peace about my pregnancy loss.
The second thing that helped me was thinking about all the times in my life that I regretted not being fully in the moment and enjoying that chapter because I was worried about what was to come. Before Bassam and I got engaged, I stressed so much about my marriage timeline and if we’d be together. Now I wish I fully enjoyed my single years. When my mom was diagnosed with ALS, I stressed so much about what was to come that I didn’t enjoy every second with her. While the first situation worked out and the second one didn’t work out as I hoped, in the end, everything was OKAY.
Everything in life will always be okay. Whether it looks the way we want it to or not. I didn’t want to regret not fully cherishing this time of just Bassam and I because I was looking so much ahead to the chapter of us as parents. Once I was able to fully sink into appreciating and fully enjoying our time alone, I was able to let go of my stress and control over conceiving.
What did you do that helped you conceive?
This is such a loaded question. While the science shows that there are things we can do to optimize for conception, there’s also a lot that’s out of our control as well. I got into a terrible headspace of blaming myself when the conception process took too long, so I want to start this answer by saying please don’t blame yourself in any way. It’s not your fault and it will happen at the time it’s meant to happen. I received so much well meaning advice from people, but it just got me in my head more and had me blaming myself.
That being said, there was quite a lot both Bassam and I did to optimize for conception. Here are a few resources I found helpful.
It Starts With the Egg – optimizing for conception
Real Food for Pregnancy – the ideal way to eat in pregnancy but before as well. It was such a relief to me that I started eating this way prior to conception because I could barely stomach nutrients in first trimester. I was relieved that my baby was still getting nourishment from my past stores.
I shared a post with all my favorite pregnancy books.
Kelly Leveque’s Pregnancy Course – cannot more highly recommend this! This is the one resource you need for pregnancy nutrition and she also has a fantastic conception module. She sometimes offers zoom calls as a special, try to sign up when that’s being offered. Being able to ask her my pressing pregnancy questions brought me so much relief! I tell Bassam weekly how grateful I am to have discovered Kelly’s work prior to and during pregnancy.
Be Well by Kelly Podcast – really her WHOLE podcast which teaches you health best practices, all great for conception. She has tons of pregnancy episodes that I’ve found so helpful, but here’s a specific preconception episode:
- 33: The Primester to your Superbaby
The Melissa Ambrosini Show –
- 313: Yes you can get pregnant
How did you find out you’re pregnant? How did you tell Bassam?
As I shared above, we had been trying for awhile and I drove myself CRAZY with taking pregnancy tests. I started to get really depressed over the negative pregnancy tests, so I decided to stop taking them and just wait and see if I got my period each month.
The cycle we conceived, I just had a feeling and decided to take a test. Bassam used to get upset in the past when I would take tests without him present, so I woke him up early one day and said I have to take a test now! I just couldn’t wait any longer!
The line was so extremely faint, that neither of us believed it. I took a test 3x a day for the next few days and each day, the line got a little darker. We still couldn’t bring ourselves to believe it, our past loss brought us a new sense of anxiety that we didn’t have before.
We finally bought one of the tests that says “pregnant” instead of just giving you a double line and that finally got us believing it!
It wasn’t until my doctor tested my HCG levels and confirmed things were looking great that Bassam really started to believe it. I continued to have a hard time and felt very anxious which I’ll share more about below.
Did you tell your family right away or wait?
A combination! I’ve never subscribed to the idea of waiting until second trimester to share the news because I wouldn’t keep a miscarriage a secret and also I believe in close people being part of the journey. That being said, it was so hurtful for our family when we had to tell them about the loss the last time and I didn’t want to go through that again. Seeing how sad my dad was broke my heart. Shortly after my aunt heard the news, she had a stroke and she passed away a month later. Logically I know it’s not my fault, but it’s also hard not to connect the two events.
We told my dad, sister, and brother and Bassam’s mom and sister right away, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide how I was feeling from them. I waited until we heard the heartbeat to tell the rest of my family. It was easier to keep it a secret because we were in quarantine and weren’t really seeing anyone, so no one knew how sick I was.
What milestones are you most looking forward to in this journey?
During first trimester, I was most looking forward to our first appointment and hearing the heartbeat at 9 weeks. It felt like FOREVER until that day and I had so much anxiety leading up to it. Even though I had so much nausea and that’s normally a good sign, I also had so much nausea with the pregnancy we lost so that didn’t help me feel better at all.
I cried the whole morning leading up to the appointment and I’ll never ever forget the first time I heard our baby’s heartbeat. I burst into tears and said “we’re really having a baby?” My wonderful OB who I’ve seen since I was a teenager said, “yes, my girl you really are.”
I also couldn’t wait to find out the gender! We shared our gender reveal here.
For the rest of the pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to see the kicks! Basically, any milestones that make everything feel more real.
But mainly, I fantasize more about our baby being here than pregnancy milestones. I constantly dream about the amazing things we will do with him. I cannot wait to discover the world through his eyes and watch as he discovers the world. I can’t wait to see what his personality will be like and get to know this little soul who is joining our family! We’ve waited so long for him and I’ve wanted to be a mother my whole life. I still can’t believe this is really happening.
How are you feeling? What helped with nausea if you had it?
Oh boy oh boy (no pun intended), I felt TERRIBLE first trimester! I was nauseous all day and threw up 15 times a day. I constantly had broken capillaries from how hard I vomited. I couldn’t drink any water and could barely keep anything down. Looking back, I really don’t know how I worked during that time. I’m so grateful that I was working from home. I used to keep a bag next to me wherever I went in the house because I often couldn’t make it to the bathroom. I would be in a meeting and would need to quickly mute myself and turn off my camera so I could vomit. I remember crying almost every day because of how insanely horrible I felt.
I wish I could say there was something that helped. I truly tried it ALL. If you’re in the thick of it, I’m so sorry. It’s so much harder than you ever expect it to be. It’s purely survival mode and you just have to do whatever you can to get through it. Literally eat whatever you think you can stomach and don’t stress about it! Baby is getting what they need.
I put so much pressure on myself wanting to eat well and exercise during this time and it just wasn’t possible. Getting outside for a walk helped some days, but other days any bit of movement made me vomit. I really needed to be gentle with myself and just honor how I felt and that was so hard for me.
I wanted so badly to eat well for the baby and I couldn’t. I ate whatever I could stomach which was often bagels, plain crackers (and not the healthy versions), and sour candy. I couldn’t stomach any water. That was probably the hardest part. I was so thirsty, yet I couldn’t drink water. I would take small sips of ice cold juice or suck on ice cubes. I remember thinking I just can’t wait for the day I can down a big glass of water. I’ll never take that for granted ever again! I couldn’t even take my prenatals because I couldn’t take enough liquids to swallow them. I felt SO much guilt over that.
I had to keep reminding myself that pregnancy is a long 40 weeks and I have so much time to make up for this dumpster fire of a first trimester. That being said, I was still so hard on myself and I really wish I had more grace for myself. It was not easy at all to go through what I went through and I didn’t make it any easier on myself by beating myself up constantly.
What types of tests did you do and what did you decline?
I really gravitate towards natural living and being as intervention free as possible. We have so much to be grateful for with modern medicine, but I believe we should use it when it’s needed and in conjunction with natural remedies. Not always have interventions be the go to. That being said, I did all the tests recommended in first trimester.
The biggest reason was for my mental health. I’ve had so much anxiety in this pregnancy, I wanted to make sure I could do whatever I could to improve my mental health. The first trimester ultrasound helped me so much with the anxiety I was feeling.
I wasn’t going to do the genetic testing and all that, because the outcome didn’t matter to me. I would love and keep the baby no matter what. My doctor had a great point though. She said that if something was wrong, it would be best to know so we could prepare for it better. That really resonated with me, so I did all the recommended testing.
In my second and third trimester updates, I’ll share more about what we chose to do and not do.
Did having a loss beforehand affect you and how did you deal with it?
The reason why I’ve been so delayed in publishing this post is because of this question. Every time it comes time to writing my thoughts on it, I stop working on the post. Having a loss prior to this pregnancy really really affected me. I wish I could say I found a good way to deal with it, but I really didn’t. I was so anxious every day that something was going to happen and I was going to lose the baby.
I had to work really hard on trying to be in the moment, trust my body, and trust my baby. I don’t have a magic answer or even anything really helpful to tell you here. Just know that if you’re finding it difficult to be pregnant after a loss, you’re not alone.
What is it like being pregnant in today’s situation? Did you delay pregnancy because of the pandemic?
We did not delay pregnancy due to the pandemic. We’ve already delayed pregnancy for so long due to lots of different life circumstances and nature also delayed more than I would’ve preferred. I truly believe there’s no best time to get pregnant. There’s always going to be some reason why it’s not the perfect time. We were so ready to grow our family and didn’t want anything to stand in our way.
Being pregnant in today’s situation (pandemic and what’s going on politically) is really hard. I have this underlying sense of anxiety constantly with everything that’s happening in the world. I’m trying to find a balance of being aware of what’s happening and also not getting too stressed because I know that affects the baby.
In terms of the pandemic, there’s a real sense of loneliness. I’m trying to be as cautious as possible because I want to care for this baby as best as I can, while also having whatever normalcy I can. I haven’t been seeing my family much, especially my extended family, and that’s been really hard for me. It feels so weird to go through this huge life event without them. I also don’t feel like I really have a “mom network”. I hear so many people say they loved going to prenatal yoga classes and other places to meet mom friends and that’s just not an option for me right now.
That being said, I am so incredibly grateful and consider myself so fortunate that I have family members who understand and who are cautious around me. I am so grateful that Bassam has been allowed to come to my doctor’s appointments and will be able to be in the delivery room with me. I really can’t complain.
As I said, there’s never a perfect time. There’s only the time that’s meant for the three of you.
Did you drink before finding out?
I found out at exactly 4 weeks, which is much earlier than you normally find out. I did drink prior to finding out, but honestly didn’t worry about it too much. I wasn’t drinking that much at the time, probably just 1-2 glasses of wine once a week. When I had my pregnancy loss and was running through a laundry list of reasons why it might’ve been my fault, my doctor told me that so many women TRY their best to lose their baby and still don’t. It’s not your fault, it’s just nature.
That being said, it is ideal not to drink when trying to conceive. Some of the preconception resources I linked above go into this in more detail. I tried for a bit not drinking during the period of my ovulation cycle and waiting to find out, but after so many months of TTC I just decided to just live my life normally. The only thing I did differently was focus on an organic nutrient dense diet, limit my toxin load, get plenty of exercise, and track my ovulation.
That’s it for our first trimester and TTC recap! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like us to talk about that we missed!