This article comes with a trigger warning.
The first trimester of pregnancy was definitely the hardest – the emotions, physical symptoms and general uncertainty made for a bumpy ride! I was definitely not prepared for those first 12 weeks, but the fact I was actually pregnant did make up for it!
I found out I was pregnant about 3 weeks in, and the only reason I found out was because I was battling a stubborn kidney infection – my GP told me that they were looking at admitting me to hospital because they were struggling to find the right antibiotics. But if I was able to confirm if I was or wasn’t pregnant (we thought it was too early, so that’s why we hadn’t done a test), then they could get the ok to give me a super strong antibiotic that would prevent me from needing to be in hospital.
I remember messaging my husband feeling all upset because I’d been suffering with urinary infections since before Christmas, and the thought of needing to be admitted was just too much. Next thing I knew he’d come home with a pregnancy test and we were waiting for those never-ending two minutes to find out if we were or we weren’t. I was fed up with all the negative tests so my husband went and looked and came back with the most exciting news – I was pregnant!
So how did the first 12 weeks go?
Weeks 1-4: I had no idea I was pregnant, but looking back there were clearly signs. Yes, my period was late, but that was not unusual for me. My breasts were painful, I was really tired and my appetite was all over the place. I kept getting period-type pain as if I was going to start my period, but it never happened. I discovered I was pregnant around weeks 3/4.
Weeks 5-6: I started experiencing horrific Endometriosis pain that lasted for days and was so severe I struggled to put my feet to the floor at one point. At first we assumed it was simply growing pains, but it progressed to a different type of pain and some bleeding, so I was rushed to the local maternity hospital as they thought I was suffering with an ectopic pregnancy. Ectoptic pregnancies are pregnancies that establish themselves outside of the womb (typically within the Fallopian Tubes), and are more common in women with Endometriosis due to the location of Endometriosis growths and scar tissue. Thankfully, an ectopic was ruled out, but because I really wasn’t well I was forced to remain in hospital – I think reading between the lines they thought I would miscarry, which again, thankfully I didn’t. So what was going on? Well they wondered if I’d suffered a large cyst/Endometrioma rupture at the start of the week that was causing symptoms, and that because my womb has Adenomyosis as well, it was possible the baby was just implanting itself on a really grotty bit.
Weeks 6-7: I was signed off work for a short period of time on strict instructions to rest (again, I think they were half expecting me to miscarry, so wanted me to avoid anything that might put extra strain on my uterus etc). Then the morning sickness started. Whoever called it morning sickness clearly needs re-educating! My “morning” sickness started more in the evenings and I couldn’t even look at phone, but it progressed to being throughout the entire day- I was struggling to eat and stay hydrated to the point that my GP practice were considering admitting me again. The pain started to become more manageable and I was noticing intermittent bloating of my stomach.
Week 8: I went back to work but not for long as I came down with a stomach bug! I was suffering with this on top of urine infections (which were almost weekly) and morning sickness, so I spent a week hardly able to do anything because I was so exhausted. I also started noticing my skin was becoming more sensitive and I was itching a lot on my arms, legs, chest and back.
Weeks 9-12: The morning sickness continued and worsened in severity, and I was strongly advised to take anti-sickness medication, which did make a difference. I was still struggling to eat, so was relying on snacking (and the odd bacon butty…) and silly things like doing the food shopping was impossible. My pain had really settled by this point and my bump was starting to show around week 10/11, and my face had become more rounded. My skin unfortunately flared up quite a bit around my chin, which we put down to all the hormone fluctuations, and I was experiencing intense fatigue that meant I was in bed so early I hardly saw my husband!
Cravings: my only main cravings were strawberries, pineapple and pizza (specifically from Pizza Hut!). Even now fruit is my most favourite thing to eat.
Scans: we had scans at 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks and 13 weeks (we’ve also had a few extra as the weeks have gone by – keep your eyes peeled for my second trimester post!)
Midwife: I first saw our community midwife at around 9 weeks and we booked into the hospital I would like to give birth in. We also had our specialist obstetrician appointment made due to the complications I have had throughout and my complex medical history.
Medication: I managed to wean off my regular pain relief at around 7/8 weeks – partly because I was battling with severe morning sickness and a stomach bug – and, up until a few days ago, was only taking paracetamol as needed.
Endometriosis: Pain-free for the initial couple of weeks, severe pain from around weeks 4-6, and then almost complete relief until probably week 13. It is a complete myth that pregnant patients with Endometriosis will be “cured”, experience “total relief” or have “no problems”, and I have had this confirmed by my specialist obstetrician team. There is also a lot of evidence online and several forum groups that discuss how Endometriosis can often remain unchanged throughout pregnancy.
Adenomyosis: I’d say it’s hard to distinguish between my Endo and Adeno pain sometimes, however, it has followed a similar pattern to what I have described above.
Interstitial Cystitis: I experienced almost weekly urine infections from the moment I fell pregnant. This can be due to the way hormones change the urethra, however the frequency that I have had them is due to my I.C. I remember my specialist urologist telling me that pregnancy was a bit hit and miss – it would either make it loads better or loads worse. I have been infection-free since the end of February, but have experienced a lot of other urinary symptoms (there will be a future post!).
M.E./CFS: my M.E./CFS is fairly well-controlled, and is definitely linked to my pain – if I have periods of severe pain, my fatigue will often follow in flaring up. Pregnancy is renowned for causing fatigue, so I think at times I have just experienced it being just that bit more intense and often accompanied with the typical M.E./CFS symptoms such as aching legs/muscles, joint pain and brain fog. Initially it was more prevalent in the earlier weeks, and I would get home from work, have dinner then go to bed, but it feels better now.
Keep up-to-date with my pregnancy journey by following my Instagram account, @endobunny!