This has got to be one blog post that took forever to materialise!
Being sort of a perfectionist that I am, I like my blog posts to be topical and...complete. Complete in a sense that when I look back, I can get everything about that topic in one post. For this First Trimester blog post, I created a vlog episode just on that topic and I wanted to embed it in my post so that you guys could read and watch in one place!
The vlog took much longer to be edited. The filming itself took only about an hour, but the one with the most work is the post-production. The editing and publishing of the video, and filtering unwanted, not-so-important parts to make it as short and concise as possible (cos people don't have long attention span on Youtube. Or...anywhere else for that matter). And I had been swamped with so many things!
I tried my best, and with everything all in, the video came down to 13:40!! :') It's really a tough feat cutting it short when I have so much to share!
In this second vlog episode, I shared about my First Trimester symptoms, the nasty and the good (which was really limited), how life was like on a daily basis, and with an ultrasound scan video of our baby in it, the first time we saw baby's full body shape taking form with baby waving hi to us :')
Hope you'd enjoy the video!
There are many other details not included in the vlog, simply because I couldn't (and thought I shouldn't) try to fit more into the already pretty lengthy video. So here's what this blog post is for! To share with you in more detail and different accounts of my First Trimester that were hard to forget.
The lethargy was real, and the lethargy was bad. I had never experienced anything quite like it.
During the first two months of pregnancy, I stayed with my family 90% of the time cos Boon was attached to a project out of town. It was really not easy to be constantly feeling uncomfortable, yet not having your partner around. Boon did his best to be as comforting and supportive as he could from afar and I was truly moved by his effort. It must not have been easy on his part, worrying about me from day to night, and having to juggle with his work at hand. As much as it sucked to not have him being with me during the tough period, I thank God for my parents and sisters who took real good care of me. I didn't have to worry a thing about doing the laundry or making meals for myself. Everything was well taken care of because they know I was suffering.
Basically I felt like a patient in the first trimester. Like I mentioned in the vlog, my days in the early weeks of my first trimester were spent sleeping, eating, sleeping, and trying to poop, fart, burp, and vomit just to feel better and less bloated. I had no strength to do anything apart from the above. Work and blog drafts were done in the early parts of the day when I could muster a bit of strength before I complete crashed. It's funny how I could SUDDENLY feel tired, and my mind just shuts itself down. It could be within 30 minutes from the moment I woke up in the morning. When that happens, I had to quickly get upstairs and throw myself onto the bed before I became nauseous. Sounds dramatic, eh?
2. The Evil Sisters: Nausea + Bloating
During the first few weeks of my pregnancy, whenever people asked if I had morning sickness, I would happily and proudly reply, "No I don't have morning sickness, just a bit of nausea when I'm on an empty stomach that's all."
I wasn't lying. That was truly the situation. I just had to constantly munch on something to keep my stomach occupied, putting nausea at bay. Easy peasy!
Not until the later weeks when occasional nausea became full blown morning sickness that does not occur only in the morning, but throughout the day.
The favourite times of the day for nausea to strike were:
Early in the morning:
Vomiting bile when I brush my teeth. My reflexes became extra sensitive and I'd gag and gag while brushing teeth, and choke on my lack of "vomit". Nothing much to throw up early in the morning, so yellow, ultra bitter, cruel bile it is.
Before lunch time:
Around noon time, when my parents are still getting lunch ready and I have already fully digested my breakfast. I'd be super restless and there the opportunistic nausea strikes!
Way before dinner time:
Around 5-6pm, I would go and find food to eat cos I'll be hungry by then, and slightly nauseous.
Around 7-7.30pm, that's my favourite time to puke! I'd be too full and bloated for dinner from the food that I consumed from 5-6pm. The bloating would cause dizziness and difficulty in breathing, so I would have to eventually relent and just puke it all out. Right after I puke, I would feel like a new person and be hungry right away.
After a few times, I got the drift. So whenever I have dinner appointments with friends, I would puke first before leaving the house because I know if I didn't, I wouldn't have the appetite to eat, I'd be bloated to the core, and have vomit stuck at my throat until I let it out. All while suffocating and drowning in dizziness. It sucks.
It got so bad at one point that I had to vomit after every meal, to a point where I got so used to the routine, I accepted it and just eat anything I liked, enjoy my meal and then puke it all out 1 hour later.
3. Emotional Wreck
As much as I accepted the fact that I had morning sickness, the act of vomiting all the time itself indirectly affected my emotions.
Not sure how familiar you are with puking, but growing up, I puke pretty easily. My mum always told me that since my toddler days, whenever I cried I'd vomit, which frustrates the hell outta her cos she'd have to clean my puke all the time. There was one point when I got a viral infection in my teens that caused me to puke and diarrhoea everything that I consumed. That was one whole month of vomiting nonstop, and from there I sorta mastered the art of effortless and silent puking.
And now in my first trimester, I have PERFECTED the art of puking! Somebody give me an award!
Each time I puked, depending how hard I gagged, it'll be messy with tears and mucus all streaming down my eyes and nose (sorry TMI but, it's true). All these tears and mucus are natural bodily reactions but somehow when my tears roll down my face dripping into the toilet bowl, I'll feel a sense of sympathy upon myself. It's the stupid tears, I tell you!!!
There was once when all of us 7 sisters plus Sung (sister's bf) went for a Jap dinner at Parade. It was one of those 7pm nausea moments but it was still early on in the pregnancy and I hadn't figured out how to tackle it yet. So I sat there trying my best to finish the Chawanmushi that I ordered and finding interest/appetite in what I ate.
All of a sudden, a big gush of vomit started forming up in my throat and I quickly fled to the nearest toilet. Gladys followed me from behind but I didn't realise. Was just way too dizzy. Met an acquaintance right outside the washrooms and managed to hold it together for a brief hi-bye conversation. Excused myself for the need to vomit, ran into a cubicle, hugged the toilet bowl and threw it all out. It was a major vomit, and I felt more suffocated than ever. As usual tears and mucus all streamed down my face, and unlike normal times, the tears did not stop. Oh no they didn't. In fact, they just kept flowing more and more and the next thing I knew, I was crying, and I ended up sobbing like there was no tomorrow.
There were other people in the washroom but that didn't bother me at all. I knew I had to let it out, and at that moment itself I just indulged in my crying. Spent a good 5 minutes in the cubicle vomiting, crying and sobbing, then vomit again while crying and sobbing. It was a messy wreck. I was a messy wreck. At that point I felt overwhelmed by so many things- constant bodily discomfort, emotional instability, worries and anxieties, and I was basically just overwhelmed with a great sense of sadness and sympathy on myself. Gladys knew I was crying and would softly ask me if I'm okay every now and then in between, to which I didn't even have the strength or breath to answer.
It was a dramatic evening. Went back to the dinner table with a red face and swollen eyes, and I just wanted to go home pronto. Went home, washed up and threw myself onto the bed by 9.30pm. Messaged Boon and told him what happened, and I started crying again. This time silently on my pillow. Boon called from offshore and I just couldn't contain myself when I heard his voice. I told him I really wanted to be happy in this pregnancy. I know how people say happy mummies bring up happy babies, and I want us to have a happy baby, but truth is I was just not happy. I was miserable and sad and suffering. Cried and cried til I was out of strength, and then slept. That was the most dramatic day of my pregnancy yet. Hopefully ever.
Those were the few miserable weeks, until the last 2-3 weeks of my first trimester where things started to normalise- less intense and frequent nausea, less bloating and vomiting, and more strength and ability to focus and be productive.
4. Lost Opportunities
The lethargy and other symptoms did not only affect me physically alone, but my lifestyle and my commitments too especially in the area of work.
I didn't even want to open up my laptop, or have the strength to reply any emails. During that period, a lot of apologies were made to various people. I had to keep apologising to my talent managers when I had to discontinue some ongoing campaigns that weren't suitable for pregnant ladies, get some extension on my blog/social media draft submissions to clients, and turn down jobs that I once agreed on taking up. Altogether in my first trimester, I rejected many opportunities to make money, and pulled out last minute on 3 emcee gigs simply because I could not hold myself together, let alone dress up, show up and host an entire event looking cheery and presentable in heels. I couldn't even prepare any emcee scripts to begin with. So yeah, that was pretty sad. But thank God for understanding talent managers who always sorted things out for me, clients who understood and asked me to take good care at home, and friends who turned up at the very last minute to help me out.
It was quite an emotional season for me. Apart from the crazy hormones, I battled a lot in my mind with a lot of 'what ifs'. With a baby on the way, we're expecting to spend quite a substantial amount from now on, to buy baby stuff, hire a confinement lady, and many other expenses along the way. At the same time, with so many job opportunities turned down in such a short period, I felt really sucky that I could not bring the money home and contribute to our little family's "baby fund". I knew in my mind that turning the gigs down were the right and sound things to do, but I couldn't help but feel real lousy in my heart. I felt useless, helpless, and having absolutely no control over my body and feelings.
But thinking back, I see that God has His plans, and he really knew what He was doing. Throughout the first trimester, I got lesser engagements than usual cos many of them weren't suitable for preggers like myself. I felt a bit stressed out and sad about that, but to thank about it, it was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps God already knew that even if I were to be engaged, I might not have been able to manage them like how I usually do. With my busy schedule of sleeping and sleeping and vomiting, guess it was a good break to just be pregnant.
5. Cravings / Appetite Change
Now, on to the slightly lighter things. Throughout the first trimester, I felt hungry easily, but didn't have the appetite to eat at all. I mean, what did I expect when I was vomiting all the time? Eating was not done out of the usual hunger or a strong appetite, but mainly to prevent or stop the nausea. And to make sure I don't starve my baby.
My taste buds changed and I became repulsed by many food that I once loved: Omelette, milk, ice-cream, fish, mushroom soup (anything creamy and thick), the taste of plain water, and many others. I felt sad that I didn't like them anymore. All my favourite things (except water la lol I have no feelings towards plain water).
My mum made a plate of omelette for me cos I needed lots of eggs during pregnancy. I took one bite and I almost puked. Left it there and didn't touch it since. My little sisters were more than happy to help me finish! My mum then made me a bowl of oatmeal, and to my surprise, I gobbled it up like it was the tastiest thing on earth. I never liked oatmeals, but yeah that just proved that my taste buds were all over the place!
Bad food were my happy food: McD's, Domino's pizza, KFC, chips, fries, soft drinks, barbecue meat, salty foods, etc etc. I knew they were bad but I was feeling so miserable that I didn't care. I just needed to be happy for a while :') Boon was the happiest kid on the block when he found out about my love for bad food then. He happily took me to McD and KFC for dinners when he ate all of them guilt-free.
I'd always been an advocate against bad food like fast food and processed food, and I always preach them to him. So that was a breath of fresh air for him, what a pleasant surprise. He said baby must be like the daddy. Hahaha too bad baby still doesn't like durian cos I still don't like them!
Craved for a lot of fruits and fresh juices too, so cravings were not entirely unhealthy! Knowing how I loved eating grapes during my first trimester, my daddy made sure that our fridge always had premium quality grapes for every meal. They're the best :')
Throughout the first trimester, I learned a few things:
#1: That I don't always have control over things
On non-preggie days, it's easy to have control over things in my everyday life and 'push' myself through bad days just to get things done, such as braving through a busy day with massive period cramps, sleep a little longer and ignore the morning hunger pangs, and picking myself up to get work done no matter how tired I am or how much I don't feel like it.
But when I'm pregnant (esp first trimester), I can safely say I did not have much control over how I felt. I had no control over my body, only gotta learn to work around how my body works, which is different every other day. I had to constantly remind myself to be happy and think positive thoughts, relax and be at peace, but truth is, I had little control over my emotions.
That made things a little scary, that things are spiralling out of my control, and I just gotta do things based on what my body does to me or tells me to. That's when I learned to leave everything to God and let him take control, and I just go with the flow. And it's also when I learned to listen to my body.
#2: That it's okay to not feel okay
One of the greatest things Boon and I wish for, is to have a healthy and happy baby. Very simple requests. And the most I can do as a mum right now is to make sure that my emotions are in check, and my body is healthy to care for a baby inside.
But during the first trimester, with all the craziness that was going on in my body, I did not feel one inch healthy at all. Sure, I didn't have any complications at all thank God, but I sure did not feel like my body and health was at tip top condition. Being tired and bloated and uncomfortable all the time sure did not seem like healthy signs to me, but they were part and parcel of my first trimester symptoms and I slowly accepted it.
Emotionally, from the very beginning I told myself that I gotta keep myself happy because I want our baby to be a happy bub. But when I struggled to keep my happiness level up, I struggled and felt like I was being a bad mum for being emotional. I felt guilty for feeling miserable and sad at my physical condition. I mean, I'm pregnant! It's what I had been hoping for, so why am I feeling sad right now? I should be feeling happy and appreciative to be pregnant no matter now sucky I felt!
That's what I told myself, but no matter how I tried to brainwash myself, I still felt sucky. Now that I've come outta the first trimester period, I must say that it's really alright not to feel alright. I couldn't have forced myself to be happy. The most important thing is that I tried my best to be at my best, and for that, I give myself a massive pat on the back.
#3: That I should learn to encourage myself
I was living by the day everyday in my first trimester. I hear how second trimester was always much easier, how it's a honeymoon period for pregnant moms, and how I would enjoy it. I was counting down to it cos I couldn't wait to get out of this period. People tell me, "OMG it's been 3 months? Time flies!", but I told them honestly that no, time did not fly on my end. It went by slowly and everyday was a battle.
At the end of everyday when I lay down on my bed and prayed for baby and myself, I give myself some form of silent comfort and encouragement that I'm doing well. I'm giving my best to grow my baby, and all that I'm going through will be worth it.
And indeed it's true. Everything, all the nasty symptoms that I went through were completely worth it. Because right now my baby is growing well and healthily, kicking and punching from the inside every other moment of the day. So it was all worth it. And I give myself credit for giving my all then.
#4: That I should surround myself with loving and encouraging people
I was blessed to be surrounded by people I love, and people who love me throughout my first trimester. Boon wasn't always around, but God substituted that by showering me with love and encouragement from my family, close friends and supportive mother friends who cheered me on and celebrated every milestones with me.
My tolerance level for bulls*t was at an all-time low during my first pregnancy, and I knew what and who makes me tick, so I made extra conscious effort to stay away from them. It's important to protect yourself from negative things and people. My emotions were extra vulnerable, and I really didn't need more things to bring me down.
Supportive momma friends who have gone through it all really helps in reassuring me that all I'm going through is normal. I guess as human beings, sometimes we just want to know if what we're going through is normal. As long as we know they're normal, we're fine.
I, for one, did not know much about first trimester symptoms other than the very popularised 'morning sickness' by Hollywood and TVB. Other than that, I was wondering why I was constantly tired and bloated and emotional. Not every pregnant lady goes through these symptoms, but when I heard from momma friends who did, I felt a little better. Not because they went through the same suffering as me, but because I know now that it's normal and I'm not alone. I'm blessed to be surrounded by many caring momma friends from church who would text me every now and then to ask me how I'm doing, when my next trip to the gynae is, what books I should read that they can borrow me, etc. Talking to them always makes me feel a little better.
That's the story of my first trimester! It sure wasn't easy, but I'm just glad that I saw some light at the end of the tunnel and now I'm totally enjoying my second trimester! No more nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, and am now fully able to focus on work and getting my life back to normal. I always tell people that now in my second trimester, I'm feeling human again. Apart from the increased frequency in peeing and a little human kicking and moving inside of me, I pretty much feel like a normal human being :P
Thank God for His grace! I know of mothers who suffer nausea throughout 9 months, and I can only imagine how sucky it would be. For now, I'm just extremely grateful and happy to be at where I am currently. Don't know what the third trimester will be bringing, but for now, I shall just enjoy this honeymoon period to the fullest :)
To end the post, here's a photo of our Little Bean Bean sucking fingers and then waving hi!
If you can't tell which part is which, here's an edited version done by Boon to show his family, using good ol' Microsoft Word :')
Look at the Nos(e) with a missing E that fell to the bottom!! Hahaha edit fail la :P
More updates to come! Thanks for being ever patient with the rate that my posts are coming up. Will try my best to get as many up before I pop! ;)
Til the next one!
6 August 2015
Week 20, Day 5