Birth Stories

The First Trimester – What Nobody Tells you!

Morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning?! My wife may end up in hospital with pregnancy sickness?! The first part of the pregnancy can be worse than the latter?! I wish someone had warned me of what was likely to happen!

I can now see that every woman is different when it comes to pregnancy. Maybe it had never come up because no one in my social circle had come up against terrible morning sickness, extreme tiredness and a feeling of helplessness (that’s me, not the wife).

I can’t clearly recall how it started, whether it gradually got worse or it just happened, but my wife got sick in the first trimester. When I say sick, I mean really sick!

I remember my wife not being able to stand certain smells. Bleach, deodorant, mouthwash. Most things we kept in the bathroom come to think of it. This lasted for ages. It was almost like she gained a super power! Her nose was so sensitive. She could tell what I had eaten at lunch almost 4 hours later. Perhaps she was just implying I should start chewing gum after eating on that instance but it was super sensitive. However, being sensitive is one thing, but retching when using one of your traditional 5 senses must be very difficult.

People often talk about cravings been prevalent in pregnancy,but my wife hardly ate anything for a few months. She began to lose weight. The odd time she did want food it was always something sweet. Pineapple, strawberries and jam featured a lot. There was no requests for me to run off to McDonald’s at 3am (Or at least there hasn’t been yet) which was what I expected to happen.

Coupled with the not wanting to eat, was the sleeping. My wife was always tired. Sleeping for most of the day. She missed a lot of work at this time as well. There were times she wanted to sleep but felt too sick to which must have been awful. The sickness or general feeling of unwell was on going though and in turn came the vomiting which wasn’t limited to just the mornings. It happens all day and night.I woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of her groaning over the toilet bowl. Why the hell do they call it morning sickness? Who came up with that one hey?!

The worse night of it the first trimester was when I was up north visiting family and I received a call from my mother in law saying my wife had been rushed in to hospital in an ambulance. She had passed out! I rushed back down south in the car. It was without a shadow of a doubt the worse few hours of my life. I didn’t know if the baby or my wife were ok so I just started preparing for the worse. In the end, both got the all clear from the doctors shortly after I arrived. Lots of lessons learnt that day.

As we became more aware of the onset sickness, we started clearing the social calendar as the few times we did venture out ended in an early night and generally feeling uncomfortable for my wife. It must be hard to try and seem enthusiastic and chatty when you’re feeling rotten inside. Most of the time it’s too early to tell people you are pregnant so they cannot empathise what she must have been going through. I think the straw that broke the camels back for me was when we tried to get home from the 02 Arena one night and the tube was packed. She didn’t have her “baby on board” badge on and even after me asking if anyone would give up a seat for my wife, people refused. Maybe because they were rude or maybe because she didn’t look pregnant for anyone to warrant given up there seat, but I thought as we got home, ‘it’s not worth pushing her to come out with me if she’ll be uncomfortable for the whole night”.

All these symptoms together, added to the fact she was at home alone most of the time, probably sleeping with the curtains closed really affected her. My wife got very emotional and a little depressed I think. It’s understandable I guess. She couldn’t believe that women went through this and wanted to have more children afterwards. There was solace in the hope that it would end after the first trimester. We read that these feelings were normal and that they would end. I’m not sure I actually believed the comforting words I offered about it ending or if it was just wishful thinking but I had to try something.

Looking back now, I can see how I failed at the first hurdle on the road to being a parent. I wasn’t supportive enough for what she was going through. Had I had the chance again, I would take more time to look after her and to reaffirm more how wonderful a job she was doing in coping with it all.

I guess honestly for me, I thought all women went through this and we were no different. I didn’t seem overly worried at times because although I knew she was sick, I knew what was causing it. My attitude was a little along the lines of, “well women have been having babies for thousands of year, so suck it up and get on with it”. In my defence (not that I deserve one), I had nothing to quantify it against. No baseline for comparison. In the end as I became more aware of the issues, I started asking my wife for a scoring out of 10 about how bad she was feeling so I could begin to gauge how bad she was. For example, if someone tells you everyday they are sick, you have no way of knowing if it is worse or better than the day before.

I should also point out that although the sickness got to my wife, she remained positive and strong and was willing to endure whatever was put in her path so that she could be a mother. I’m very proud of her.

Well that’s enough about the doom and gloom. There were some highlight to the first trimester. You get your 12 week scan and you get to see your baby for the first time which is wonderful. Words cant express the emotions I felt that day.

And, you get to tell everyone you are pregnant in this time. The reactions and happiness people show for you is wonderful.


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