~ The Emotional First Trimester
My first trimester was not so much emotional due to mood swings caused by the pregnancy but anxiety that
something was going to go wrong with the pregnancy like so many other times I'd been pregnant and miscarried
over the past 3 years. So here is a quick recap to catch you up to speed before I sprint ahead to my current week and
continue my journal entries from there.
I knew I was pregnant at about four and a half weeks. I know the signs and symptoms all too well from my previous pregnancies - sore breasts, low back pain, some pelvic cramping and lots of fatigue. I wasn't tracking my start and end dates for my periods as they were pretty regular but I knew, instinctively, within a few days of missing my period that I was pregnant.
I didn't feel any excitement whatsoever at this initial stage since I'd been here so many times and received so many disappointments. I didn't even tell my husband for the first few days I suspected I was pregnant. It wasn't until after I took the home pregnancy test that I told my husband something like "by the way I'm pregnant again and we'll see how it goes." I know that sounds terrible and it is not my intention to downplay the miracle of creating life. I just wasn't ready to get my hopes or my husband's hopes up until we somehow knew this pregnancy was different.
After confirmation with the home pregnancy test my symptoms seemed to increase and I experienced nausea quite often. I decided to wait another week before booking an appointment with my family practice doctor even though the nausea was a new symptom for me altogether. So I didn't confirm the pregnancy through a doctor until I was at least six weeks along. I also kept experiencing days where it seemed like my symptoms were waning and other days where my symptoms were very strong. And because this pregnancy caught us my surprise, I hadn't been taking any prenatal vitamins and omega3 fish oil until around six weeks into the pregnancy, only the baby aspirin everyday. I felt guilty about that but none of it seemed real yet.
My family practice doctor hooked me up with a wonderful Ob/Gyn in the Seattle area since I didn't have one with the recent move to the state of Washington. I met my Ob/Gyn when I was 8 weeks pregnant. At this point hope was emerging as I'd always miscarried between four and six weeks and being eight weeks pregnant was amazing. My doctor confirmed a strong heart beat with the ultrasound and said the chances of miscarriage after seeing a strong heat beat were 3%. After my appointment, my excitement burst forth and I called all the family members I could to let them know about my pregnancy. I just couldn't wait until the first trimester was over. But now I was counting down to the end of the first trimester and the elimination of the major risk of miscarriage.
The days seemed to drag on as I felt the first trimester would never end. My Ob/Gyn called my on a Friday afternoon four days after my appointment to let me know that my blood work came back and everything looked good except my progesterone level was low. She had me start taking progesterone pills immediately until about week 10ish because at that point the placenta could take over supplying the progesterone. I stressed out big time all weekend as I knew that low progesterone could easily cause a miscarriage, so I made a list of questions that I should have asked on Friday afternoon when my doctor called me but I was too shocked to respond initially.
First thing Monday morning I reached my nurse and asked how low my progesterone actually was. It was 9.2 which is low but it's still in the good range, barely. Anything below 9.0 is too low. So my weekend worries were somewhat relieved but I felt I was holding my breath for the remainder of the first trimester. I also needed to get past the first trimester screening for Down syndrome among other serious syndromes.
I was happy to take this test as it wasn't invasive at all, just an ultrasound and a finger prick blood test. I could handle that. When I was 11 1/2 weeks pregnant I went for the ultrasound. The technician was great and afterward told me she didn't see anything to alarm her and my only concern should be paying for college. The blood test results would take longer to get back and my doctor would call me. In the meantime I just enjoyed the sensation of knowing I was almost done with the first trimester and everything was looking super good so far.
The doctor called me a few days later and said the ultrasound looked perfect but the blood work came back with a risk proportional to my age, 37, of a 1 in 145 chance of have a child with a chromosome disorder. The odds seemed so high so my husband and I needed to seriously talk about whether we could live with those odds and the possible consequences or we schedule an Amniocentesis to confirm 100% either way.
My husband and I decided we wanted 100% confirmation and scheduled the Amniocentesis for my 17/18th week of pregnancy. The first trimester was at a close and Joel and I were so hopeful about the pregnancy at this point that we sat Ben, our 6 year old, down and told him the wonderful news - he was going to be a big brother at the end of October! He said that if the baby is a boy then we need to name him Luke Skywalker, if it's a girl, Leia, and Ben wants to change his name to Darth Vader when the baby arrives. We'll see.