The first trimester

The first trimester

I have all these notes from pregnancy, I really have no excuse when it comes to finding things to write about. Time and energy are the rare commodities when you’re working (in a paid job) and working (to parent an 18-month-old) and working (to be a good partner and vaguely competent adult). But this evening I seem to be able to give myself the mental kick in the pants to put fingers to keyboard and talk about pregnancy. At least two friends and two colleagues/colleagues’ partners are expecting right now; maybe it’s all the extra baby talk in the air.

I think my first trimester felt longer because of the IVF. You don’t get the experience of a missed period, calculating your cycle length, wondering whether it’s late-late or just had-a-rough-week-at-work-late, not when you’ve had a medical professional literally inject a viable blastocyst directly into your uterus. It’s the awful thing about all those misogynist American laws which cut off abortion access at six or seven weeks: because your pregnancy is timed from your last missed period, which is likely, probably, or just maybe two weeks before you conceive, “for patients with a predictable 28-day cycle, there is only about one week before the “six-week” threshold to confirm pregnancy.” And not many people have a predictable 28-day cycle.

Anyway. My point is, IVF takes all the guesswork out of it. You know when Li’l Blasty arrived. You get told exactly when to go for a blood test to confirm pregnancy. You get a seven-week scan to formally discharge you from the care of your fertility doctor. You get lots of fun early pregnancy anxiety, which I may have had to remind myself I already wrote about. And then you’re rolling happily into the first trimester.

Mine was pretty cruisey (spoiler alert, things take a TURN at about 27 weeks). We met with two midwives: one younger, softer, more homebirth focused and highly recommended by a friend; and the other, bluntly spoken, hugely experienced, fabulous nails. It was a real “the hero we needed” choice, and one we were very lucky to be able to make. I managed to make a lot of very sensible adult decisions in my pregnancy, and picking the midwife who was going to look me dead in the eyes and tell me when I was being silly was definitely one of them.

Aotearoa being Aotearoa, it turned out she was my hairdresser’s midwife too.

I didn’t have much in the way of morning sickness, but it felt very touch-and-go at times, like if I coughed too hard everything was going to explode. No cravings either, just a sudden, very definitive sense of yes or no to eating any given food that was offered to me, which I knew was definitely real and not “just” in my head the first time the smell of pizza made me genuinely want to throw up.

See, babies do ruin everything.

The first trimester can be lonely. We didn’t tell many people, though when your nearest and dearest all know you’ve been struggling for a while and are trying IVF it just gets awkward at some point because they know you know but don’t want to pry because it might not be good news but on the other hand you’ve told them previously when it’s bad news so there’s really only one conclusion to draw especially when she starts ordering ginger beer instead of a craft sour …

But it was also nice to have this thing that was just ours. A little flicker of hope barely making itself known in the world. A moment of quiet before all the drama (seriously, week 27) unfolded.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash