My First Pregnancy Blog
It was Monday December 11th, and I’d just finished my busy morning of running two group sessions, and doing a couple of coaching calls with clients. I’d realised the day before that my period was about 5 days late, and thought, ‘I can just keep waiting to see if it arrives, ORRRR I can see if I still have that old pregnancy test in the bathroom, and bite the bullet.’
So I checked, and I still had it. Dan wasn’t home, so I thought now’s a perfect time. No one tells you how weird it is to be holding something to pee on, while trying not to pee on your hand! I sit, I wait. The ClearBlue digital stick flashes PREGNANT. Immediately my heart beat rises, and I can’t help but smile. I just sat there on the toilet stunned with a thousand thoughts flying through my head - ‘oh my goodness, it’s real! It could be wrong, don’t get too excited yet Alisha…it now says 2-3 weeks pregnant, well that makes sense (as I was secretly tracking when we were having sex in a ovulation app called Kindara)…how will I tell Dan…when will this make me due…it’s still really early…what do I do next…this is awesome! …this is the BIGGEST change that will ever happen to me…are we ready…too late now if we’re not!
It’s crazy how immediately you start imagining your life with the new person in it who you’ve never met before, but that you know you will love like nothing else. Dan didn’t get home for another few hours, and by then, I’d had about an hour of sitting on the couch trying to do work, but completely distracted by the new revelation of the stick. But when he did arrive, I’d composed myself enough (happy tears dry and massive smile back to normal smile) to keep on with my day. I didn’t tell him straight away. I was waiting for the right moment, but things came up and we ended up going to the gym together, then hanging out with some friends for a swim. All the while this one phrase kept repeating itself over and over in my head: I’M PREGNANT…I’M PREGNANT…I’M ACTUALLY PREGNANT!
Finally we had a moment to ourselves back home between socialising, so while Dan was chilling on the lounge, I nonchalantly said, “Hey wait here I have something for you.” As I went to the bathroom to get the pregnancy test, my heart rate again began to rise as I had no idea how he was going to react. Before I walked back out I said, “Close your eyes.” I walked over, knelt in front of him and held the test saying “Pregnant 2-3 weeks” in front of him. He opened his eyes, looked down, then said “What? You’re pregnant? Wow that’s great!” with a big smile on his face. We hugged, I cried, and we sat there kinda stunned together. And so began a whole new adventure for us!
Although we hadn’t been actively “tracking and trying” to conceive, about 6 months earlier we had begun checking in with our health professionals about our health with the purpose of being as healthy as possible before starting to try falling pregnant. I’d found out that my iron was quite low, as was my zinc, vitamin D and B12.
I re-tested my iron and zinc levels in mid-November (having no idea that’s when I actually fell pregnant) and my iron had only risen one count in 4 months. I was pretty shattered, as my prayer had been that we would fall pregnant before the end of the year (2017). So in my mind, I let go of all expectations of when we might start trying, and decided to just keep focusing on getting as healthy as possible. Well, God was onto answering my prayer, and even though my health wasn't 100% where I wanted it, it was pretty close.
In retrospect I’m now SO happy that we made the decision to be proactive about checking our hormones, bloods and micronutrient levels because I believe it’s helped my body be ready to grow this little bubba better than if I hadn’t. I highly recommend to anyone wanting to start a family in the future to give yourself a minimum of 6 months, and more like 12 months to prepare your bodies and your relationship for giving your bubs the best chance of growing healthy and strong in a loving family.
FIRST TRIMESTER FEELS
The first week or so after finding out I was pregnant I really didn’t feel that different. Things I started to notice were the need to pee more often, growing boobs, and I began to feel more tired. I downloaded the Baby2Body, Ovia Pregnancy and the Baby Centre apps to track what changes were happening in my body and my baby, and found everything I was experiencing was pretty normal. Then around Christmas time, I began getting SUPER tired, little bouts of nausea, frustration about figuring out what I actually felt like eating, and then being bloated half the time from eating so much fruit (and some actual naughties I’ll get to later). This mix of tiredness, bouts of nausea, and taking forever to figure out what I wanted to eat lasted probably about a month or so. So really, I’ve been super blessed and can’t complain about my first trimester feels.
THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I’D DO
I always imagined (like most of us probably) that I’d be the picture of perfection and health during my pregnancies….well, that hasn’t really been reality if I’m honest. Especially when it comes to food. I’d thought I would eat mostly vegan, avoid all sugary and processed foods and diary, while still eating good quality eggs. Well, I found for a while there that my go-to breakfast was gluten free Weetbix with Chobani yoghurt. Now you might think ‘what’s wrong with that’ but for me this was massively out of character from my usual green smoothie, chia pudding, buckwheat porridge, or vegetable omelette for breakfast. When I told my naturopath, she cringed and said ‘at least add some bee pollen to it so you’re getting some high-nutrient food in your breakfast.’ Hahaha, so one more week of weetbix with bee pollen, then I kicked the habit. Back to buckwheat or quinoa and oat porridge and I was good again.
One afternoon I was driving home from work and caught the whiff of fish and chips. That was enough to see me pull into the next fish and chip shop and order Barramundi and chips for dinner. What the heck!
Then one day I ducked into Officeworks to get something, and on the way out they were giving out free Chuppa-Chups. I literally haven’t had one since high school, but when the lovely cashier offered me one, I didn’t even give it a second thought! Strawberry and cream thank you very much!
All in all, I definitely had my moments of making choices I normally wouldn’t, but instead of beating myself up about it, I just accepted it, chose to be kind to myself, apologised to my baby, and moved on for the most part keeping it clean and healthy. I’m a huge believer in the effects of your nutrition on your baby during pregnancy, so I don’t want to just excuse away being lazy and promoting “eating for two” because that’s a load of crap, however I accept that none of us are perfect, and every choice can be learnt from and better choices made from there on out. So that’s what I’ve aimed to do. In fact I came across an excellent little mantra for eating during pregnancy that rings much more true: ‘I need nutrients for two’ - I’m sticking with that one.
WHAT EXERCISE HAS LOOKED LIKE
I’ve always been curious to know how I’d go with keeping up my regular exercise while I’m pregnant. And I honestly think especially in the first trimester it really does come down to your energy levels and how sick you feel. So for me, tiredness being the main enemy, I’ve still basically been able to keep up my normal exercise routine. This has comprised of 3 cardio workouts a week and 3 strength/weights workouts a week of about 30-45 minutes per workout. And I’ve probably averaged 4 out of 6 workouts a week during my first trimester. Some days I just really wasn’t feeling it, so I didn’t do anything. Most of the time I aimed to get my workout done in the morning before 9am so that it was done and even if I was tired after, I could nap and know my exercise was done.
In terms of doing weights, I haven’t really changed much at all. I’ve just been listening to my body, and not trying to overdo it with heavier weights, but I've kept up a good 3-4 sets per exercise or circuits, and focused mainly on full-body functional training.
My husband bought me an Apple watch for my birthday, so it has been so helpful with tracking everything. I noticed in the early weeks of the first trimester my heart rate would rise very quickly and I’d get puffed really easily. But by about week 9 or so it was back to normal.
I also started reading and researching exercising during pregnancy (currently reading Your Fit Pregnancy by Erica Willick and Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, the classic by James F. Clapp & Catherine Cram). I was surprised to find that for the most part you can pretty much continue with your exercise program with only a few modifications particularly later in the pregnancy. This is a big area I’m loving exploring and experimenting with myself, and I’m finding it to be true. Aside from what I mentioned above (sickness, and fatigue), exercising through your pregnancy should be a priority and can be done safely with only some basic modifications.
FEARS I'VE HAD
In the first few weeks, I was really aware that miscarriage is a very common thing, and tried to hold my excitement about the pregnancy in check, in case I experienced it. I still told all our family and friends however, as I’m the kind of person who would want the support and care of my family and community if I did experience that trauma and loss.
I also remember doing hip extensions one day at the gym (glute raises) with the bar across my abdomen, then freaking out that I might have squashed my baby!
Around the same time, I accidentally ate some soft cheese, then remembered I wasn’t supposed to! Same with kombucha, then read that you should be careful with fermented foods and drinks.
One morning I was running a HIIT class and was doing some of the exercises along with the class to demonstrate, and felt really wrong about the jumping. I felt a little wetness in my undies and excused myself to run to the bathroom and check if it was blood, as I freaked out that I’d somehow ripped the baby from its safe secure spot from the jumping! All was good, just wetting my pants (something to get used to I hear?!).
After some of these instances, I messaged a close friend who's a mum of two littlies and shared my concerns that I thought I'd harmed my baby and I was a bit worried. She replied, 'Welcome to motherhood!' Haha so true hey, the worrying has begun. But she also shared some wise words of wisdom with me, that stressing isn't a good thing either, and that I just need to rest easy and remember that I'm healthy and fit and the baby will be fine (thanks Dee).
Another fear I’ve had is how I will go balancing bringing up our child while running and growing a business. Both require a lot of my time and energy, and I can foresee that overbalancing on one or the other will be to the other’s detriment. The day I found out I was pregnant, though, I decided that I would still aim for the goals I have for my business, but, if I find I can only do 10% of what I want to achieve, that it’s ok. Because more than anything, I want to bring up my child being a present and intentional parent in helping them become a beautiful, God-loving, human-loving person.
Probably the biggest fear, however, and one I’ve had even before falling pregnant, is whether I will be a good enough mum. I have very high ideals and expectations on myself, because I truly believe that parenting is the highest calling and largest responsibility we can have in this life, which has been part of the reason Dan and I held off for years having kids. We both come from broken homes and have seen the devastation of that in our own lives and many others, and we just don’t want to repeat our parents mistakes or screw up our kids like so many others in society today. So, knowing that we’re imperfect, and won’t make the best choices every time, we plan to do our best, with guidance from our Heavenly Father every step of the way. This child we believe is a gift from Him, so we need all the help we can get from his Creator.
THE MOMENT IT BECAME REAL
From early on, we had decided we wanted to do the 12 week scan just to be sure everything was okay and if there were any health concerns we could be prepared for it.
However from about week 9 or so, as my symptoms started to subside and my energy levels started picking up again, I started to wonder if I’d just imagined this whole thing! Was I really pregnant? Could I have just fluked the pregnancy test, the blood test, the skipping periods, and the symptoms?? It was this weird few weeks where I didn’t feel pregnant.
So Monday February 5th finally came and we were off to Queensland Ultrasound For Women (best reputation on the Gold Coast for pregnancy ultrasounds). The moment the screen came on, there right in the centre, just chilling out, was our little baby! I’m tearing up just thinking about it again, because in that instant that I saw bubs, I realised this whole thing was FOR REAL! Somehow, a miracle had taken place, and this tiny human already so developed only in 12 weeks (no wonder we are SO tired!!) was kicking and squirming and having a good old time right there somewhere under my belly button! I instantly fell in love. Dan grabbed my hand, and it really became real for us.
WHAT I’VE LEARNT SO FAR
So pregnancy, wow! What a truly unique, wonderful experience it is! I’m blessed to have a mum who is a doula (birth coach - check out her website to learn more), which has really instilled in me what an exhilarating experience pregnancy and birth is meant to be.
I’ve learnt so far that our society paints pregnancy and birth in a terrible light - we most often hear the horror stories, all the bad things that happen, all the negatives of the experience, and are made to think that pregnancy and birth is something only achievable and do-able with medical intervention, and any of those wonder stories are just flukes and freaks of nature. Well I totally reject that!
I believe we were designed to procreate and bring healthy, beautiful babies into the world with love and joy. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, and for most of that time, pregnancy and birth were sacred, honoured experiences, almost deified.
So I have learnt that if I want to experience a truly amazing natural pregnancy and birth, I must educate myself and not rely on the medical system to do it for me.
I’m learning to strongly believe in my body’s ability to birth naturally on it’s own terms, and that pregnancy and childbirth are normal, natural processes, NOT a disease! Our bodies were made for this! If we support it and our little bubs with the right environment, nutrition, exercise, love, and positive, empowered mindset, it can be the most amazing thing we ever experience as women!
I just love this mantra from a book I’m reading that says (I’ve slightly modified), “Better mindset, better food, better exercise = better pregnancy = better baby!”
I'm excited to share the journey with you going forward over the next several months, and into the new world of motherhood! I know it's not all going to be roses, and I won't pretend that it is (I'm a pretty real, upfront person, so if you like that, you'll like what I share). I plan to share how I'm going with my nutrition, exercise, mindset, some behind the scenes stuff of ultrasounds, nursery set-up and more. I'm also super happy to share what I'm reading and learning about doing this as naturally as possible along the way too.
If you would like to follow my pregnancy and mumma journey, please subscribe to my emails (don’t worry I share LOADS of other helpful stuff on thinking, eating & moving well for busy women in general), and you can find me on Instagram @unleashfitliving and Facebook at Unleash Fit Living.
If you have any questions or just want to connect, I would love to hear from you - especially those experienced mumma’s AND if you’re also pregnant with your first! Get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org