Monthly Archives: November 2014

First Trimester Recap

Hi Friends! Thank you so much for sharing in our excitement over the news that we’re having a baby boy! Everything just feels so much more REAL now. What’s more, I *think* I’m starting to feel some movement in there. It’s so different from what I thought it would feel like and it’s pretty soft so far. It doesn’t feel like kicks, exactly, but it’s more like flips or turns or twitches. Twice this week, the movements have actually made me jump! It’s so cool! I especially can’t wait until we can feel them on the outside!

Anyway…I’ve had this post ready to go for ages now and I’m finally getting around to publishing it. At 22 weeks, I’m more than halfway through the second trimester and the pregnancy (!!), but I still wanted to share my first trimester experiences. I also want to mention that by no means are any of these symptoms I describe below complaints. I couldn’t be happier to experience each and every one of them. I’m just so fascinated by how pregnancy affects the body in so many different ways (and yet so many women experience similar things). Plus, I love reading about others’ experiences. So here it goes!

In early July, the very same day we found out I was pregnant, Robert learned he’d be working on a client located in Louisville, KY starting immediately. That meant he’d be traveling every Monday (sometimes Sunday) through Friday until at least September. What timing, right? At first I was really bummed about him being gone during this time. Now, with the experience of the first trimester behind us, I can say that if Robert had to be away for one trimester I’m glad it was the first. Here’s why:

Fatigue Within about one week of finding out I was pregnant, I became SO tired all the time. I’ve never known fatigue like that before (I have a feeling I’ll become all too familiar with it once babykins is here). I’d heard the first trimester really takes it out of you and that’s no joke. I found myself planted on the couch by 4 or 5pm most days, counting the hours until it seemed acceptable to go to bed. In other words, I wasn’t exactly the most fun to be around. I took quite a few naps, sometimes two or three per day on weekends. Quite impressive for someone who’s typically a terrible napper.

One of my favorite napping buddies

One of my favorite napping buddies

Food aversions/cravings The other thing that made his traveling during this time not so bad (as much as I missed him) is that meal prep became nonexistent. My lack of energy and bizarre appetite—I’d be hungry, but nothing sounded good to me—made it tough to make any real meals, especially in the evening. I had some cravings such as fruit and carbs (more on that below). I also had some aversions, especially to soft foods like eggs, avocado, fish, and slowly cooked meats, which explains why I abandoned the Whole30 right away. Plus, I wanted to be sure baby is exposed to all kinds of foods in there. I also couldn’t stomach the taste or smell of coffee, which is normally one of my favorite things in the world. By the end of my first trimester it started to appeal to me again, but I try to limit myself to about three or four cups per week now. As for classic cravings like pickles, that never hit me. I definitely had hankerings for pizza and pancakes, but I crave those foods normally anyway : )

Other symptoms I experienced…

Nausea When it comes to morning/all-day sickness, I think I got off pretty easy. I definitely had bouts of nausea (I still do every few days), but I never got sick. I’m not sure if that’s because it wasn’t that bad or because working from home meant I was able to immediately eat something if it was due to hunger, pop a ginger chew (love the ones from Trader Joe’s), drink a ginger ale, or lie down if needed. But to be perfectly honest, as yucky as nausea is, I was happy for it. I’d feel terrible and ecstatic at the same time. It was a welcomed reminder that there was really a baby in there and it was doing what it was supposed to do.

Fear I am a worrier through and through so I probably shouldn’t be surprised at how afraid I was that something bad would happen. But I was terrified. I wish I could’ve had an ultrasound every single day to check on baby (still do, but I’ve been much better about managing my fear lately). I almost caved a few times and wanted to buy an at-home fetal heart monitor so we could listen to baby’s heartbeat for reassurance, but as soon as I thought about how I’d feel if I couldn’t find it (they can be very tricky to find/distinguish from your own pulse), I decided against it. Probably a smart move. Without going into too much TMI detail, I also had a subchorionic hemorrhage (Google at your own risk..) that appeared around week six. Although my doctor assured me it wouldn’t affect the baby, it was extremely scary for many weeks. Fortunately, it appeared to be resolved by our 20 week ultrasound and everything looks healthy–thank goodness.

So those were my big symptoms: Fatigue, nausea, and fear. I also had terrible skin breakouts and could cry at the drop of a hat. Robert’s been keeping a list of quotes I’ve said throughout the pregnancy and one of them was, “I feel like I have to cry, but I have nothing to cry about.” Ha.

Here are some of the things (mostly foods/beverages…because of course) that I couldn’t get enough of during the first trimester:

FRUIT! I craved ALL THE FRUIT ALL THE TIME. Happily, in July and August all the good stuff was in season!

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Cereal. I joke that the first trimester turned me into a teenage boy. All I did was sleep and eat cereal. A few times I woke up in the middle of the night starving and would eat a big bowl of cereal and then go back to bed. (Somehow I didn’t gain any weight in the first trimester. I don’t seem to have any problems packing it on now, though…) I tried to stick with healthier, whole-grain, organic choices, but I also had my fair share of Honey Bunches of Oats, Crispix, and Raisin Bran.

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Instacart. It’s not a food, but a service. And I don’t know how I would’ve gotten by without it. With Instacart, you pick out your groceries online and they go to the store (including Whole Foods!), get the groceries for you, and deliver them to your house. Normally, I LOVE grocery shopping (fortunately, I’m back to doing it again), but the combination of exhaustion and nausea made it difficult to do. Side note: any situation where there was A LOT of food, like the grocery store, made me queasy – I couldn’t even look at Pinterest or Instagram for most of the first trimester because of the onslaught of food. All of that combined with a husband out of town and no family nearby made Instacart my BFF.

Oatmeal & anything toasted with peanut butter. This is my classic pre-ski breakfast in the winter, but I was craving it even when it was 90-plus degrees outside. Also: Toasted cinnamon raisin bagels with peanut butter. My parents brought me some bagels when they visited in August (I was 11 weeks then) because you just can’t get a decent bagel outside of New York, amIright? One of my first pregnancy purchases was a toaster because we didn’t own one before. Now I use it all the time!

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Whole Foods REAL ginger ale. For nausea, this stuff works WAY better than the kind in the green bottle. I still make sure to always have a few on hand just in case.

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Iced tea & lemonade. A Starbucks unsweetened iced black tea lemonade became my favorite drink in the world especially since I was off of coffee for a while.IMG_5508

Protein Bar Superfood Vegan Salad with Chicken. I had at least one, sometimes two of these per week. They’re not cheap so it was a total splurge (not to mention about a 10 to 15 minute drive from our home). For most of the first trimester, vegetables (cooked or raw) rarely appealed to me, but for some reason I could always stomach one of these salads. They made me feel slightly better about not consuming as many vegetables as I wished I could.

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Turkey and Fig Panini

Turkey & Fig Panini

My parents have a friend who has a recipe box filled with sandwich recipes. They go something like this: Take two slices of bread and spread with mustard. Add ham and Swiss cheese. Cut in half and eat. I always got a kick out of this guy because, I mean, who needs a recipe to make a sandwich?

Except here I am now posting a recipe for a sandwich. But…BUT…consider this more inspiration than a recipe because you can use any quantities you like and switch up the ingredients however you see fit. It would just be wrong for me not to share it with you.

The inspiration came from a wedding we attended two weekends ago in Kansas City where they had a panini bar during cocktail hour. How cool is that? I’ve been obsessed with paninis pretty much since then. While cold cuts aren’t recommended when you’ve got a bun in the oven (and I’d avoided them up until that point), the turkey, fig, and mozzarella panini looked way too delicious to pass up. So I hoped for the best and shoveled those things in as quickly as the panini guy served them up (sorry, other guests). Fortunately, I lived to tell about it–and make them on my own!

To avoid eating cold cuts this time (though you can absolutely use them!) I roasted a turkey breast the night before and served a mini thanksgiving with mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and roasted beets. But the real reason for all of that effort was just so I could make this sandwich the next day. True story. It’s all about the leftovers, isn’t it? And oh man, was it ever worth it.

Gooey, melty mozzarella combined with sweet fig butter (find it at Trader Joe’s!), crisp spinach (you know me–always finding a way to add some greens), all smooshed together on toasty, golden whole wheat bread. I just used a regular loaf from the grocery store, but you can fancy this up with any kind of bakery bread. Pop this baby into a panini maker or George Foreman grill. But if you’re like me and don’t have either one just use a cast iron skillet with a heavy pan pressed on top (instructions below). It totally worked! As soon as I sunk my teeth into the very first bite I was already plotting when I’d be having my next sandwich (lunch today, duh). You’ll definitely want to make this when you’re drowning in leftover turkey later this month–if you can wait that long!

Turkey & Fig Panini

Makes 1 Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or any bread of choice)
  • Fig butter
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese
  • Roasted turkey or chicken (cold cuts are fine, too). If you use roasted, though, heat it up a little before to help the cheese melt
  • Small handful of spinach, arugula, or other leafy green (optional)
  • Pat of butter

Preparation:

Prep the sandwich: Smear a generous amount of fig butter on one side of each slice of the bread. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of the fig butter on each slice of bread. On one of the slices add the turkey and then spinach. Top with the other slice of bread to form a sandwich.

Use a panini maker or George Foreman grill and cook until desired degree of tastiness.

If using a cast iron skillet: Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a small pat of butter (less than 1 Tbsp). Place the sandwich on the skillet. Place the bottom of another pan on top of the sandwich. Apply pressure, if needed. Cook about 2-4 minutes, until bottom slice is golden brown, being careful not to burn. Use a spatula to flip the sandwich over and cook the second side, again with the pan stacked on top, another 2-4 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.