It felt like I spent most of my first trimester harbouring this secret that felt like it lasted 112 weeks not 12 weeks, especially as we decided to keep the pregnancy to ourselves as much as possible after we found out at around 5 weeks. We only told our parents and some of our closet friends at around 8 weeks and then told the rest of the world after the 12 week NHS scan via a cute cat Instagram post.
As mentioned in my previous post, anxiety was (and still is) the dominant feeling during the first trimester. I didn’t know how to be pregnant. I felt unprepared, uneducated and somehow alone… even though I knew I wasn’t at all. And to top that off it wasn’t just a normal singleton pregnancy but a Monochorionic/Diamniotic (mono/di) aka twin pregnancy. These babies share the same placenta but have separate amniotic sacs, therefore always being identical. Mono/di twins are considered mid-risk in the twin world due to the risk for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) which I will cover in my next blog post.
Nobody tells you about those ‘first trimester blues’. For the first few months you are invisibly pregnant because you’re not quite showing to the public yet. You make excuses as to why you are not drinking (dry January came in handy that month). You’re bursting to say something when people at work are talking about babies (why does it suddenly seem like everyone is talking about babies? Did this happen before?) You’re also not ‘supposed’ to talk about it all yet until you reach that ‘safe point’. That safe point is somehow socially ingrained into us as a suitable time you can tell the world of this incredible thing happening to you. But surely the world would be there for you if something bad did happen? But still we went along with this tradition.
I spent the weeks leading up to this ‘safe point’ which takes up the entire 1st trimester thinking about what could go wrong, the statistics of such, along with constant googling of symptoms that I should be feeling and experiencing. Everyone spoke about morning sickness and how it’s one of the first signs of pregnancy and should be stronger with twins. But I had none of that. So I started to think something was wrong with me. I did however suffer from extreme fatigue those first 12 weeks and headaches with the occasional mood swing. The answer for me being a a bitch was “oh its the hormones” but again couldn’t admit to that until the pregnancy was out in the open…… (my poor team and boyfriend!) Apart from that, I didn’t feel like a traditional pregnant woman throwing up every few hours of the day to cause my co workers to talk behind my back wondering if I was indeed pregnant. I kind of wanted that but again chastised myself because throwing up all the time for 12 weeks is awful and again should count myself lucky! I was learning a lot of terminology and facts I probably should’ve known like how many weeks were in each trimester, how sperm can live up to 5 days, that the baby is called an embryo for the first couple of months until its then called a foetus. Yolks, sacs, anterior placenta (front placed placenta), the amount of bacteria that can live on food prior to washing it, certain cheeses to avoid and that these type twins are usually delivered a whole month early! And that was just a few things I came across in the first trimester.
Having a twin pregnancy also meant additional folic acid supplements, extra scans (every two weeks) and obstetrician appointments (also every two weeks), although booked in, didn’t start until after 12 weeks. That was a lot to remember whilst working full time managing a team pre Coronavirus pandemic. With the extreme tiredness that left me yawning in meetings came the intriguing cravings of beige food, strawberry milkshake, kale and gravy and mash potato. I enjoyed this part of pregnancy a lot. All I wanted to do was eat and blame it on the babies. (I still do). Heartburn and constipation was not my friend however but soon disappeared along with the tiredness and cravings towards the end of this trimester.
When people asked me how my pregnancy was going in the first trimester, I tell the truth. It’s been okay…… it hasn’t been as bad as I thought so far. Yeh it’s still scary having two humans growing inside me and I still have no idea what I’m doing, but as time goes on I am able to compartmentalise the negative feelings and concentrate on what is going well. Every week that passes it gets better, especially as I learn more and more. As the first trimester merged into the second (and especially now, writing this at 26 weeks), weeks 5-11 and those first trimester blues felt like a lifetime ago.
Then the pandemic happened…….
My first trimester was pre Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown happened when I was already a month into my second trimester. In my second trimester blog post I’ll be talking more about being pregnant during a pandemic. Next will about Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.