The Early Pregnancy Diaries: 5 Weeks

early pregnancy diary week 5

I completely missed out the early weeks when I was writing about my first pregnancy and realised, in hindsight, that really they were the most important. I think that once you get past the first trimester, you settle into your pregnancy a bit (though I still worry a ridiculous amount) and the symptoms and ailments decrease so that you almost – almost – feel normal again. But for the first few months, it can be a really lonely time – Googling every twinge and ache, checking for blood spots every time you use the loo. It can be tiring, stressful and, I suppose, if you don’t have the right support, very scary.

So this time around, I kept notes about how I was feeling and the sorts of symptoms I had. I kept them brief, because I was jotting them into my iPhone (that was about all I could manage, it meant I could type and stay horizontal!) but I hope that they are moderately useful. Here they are, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak…

“Week 5. Already feeling jittery. Every tiny cramp and twinge makes me panic. I remember, after Angelica was born, that I wanted to write a “guide to surviving the first twelve weeks”, but it’s all very well being so cocksure when the baby is born and safe. A different matter altogether when you’re in it. Maybe I should write it now and try to follow my own guidelines!

“Wow. Was I really this hungry and this tired last time around? I can’t believe I was. [Ed: I was.] I’m going to have to hunt out my diaries in the office and see. I can honestly barely function. It’s making me feel very apprehensive about how I’ll manage things with two babies. I keep thinking about asking my Mum to move in and I haven’t even gotten through a week yet!

“Roundup of symptoms: NO sore boobs (never have had them), feeling nauseous, feeling tired, a bit crampy, shaking hands, very bloated stomach, terrible headaches.”

“Idea for post: How to Survive the First Twelve Weeks without Losing Your Mind. (Especially If You’ve Had a Miscarriage.) Tips would include: having an early scan, remembering that the wet feeling in your knickers is probably increased discharge and NOT your body gushing with blood! Cramps are normal. No symptoms? Also normal. There! Post done… I should ask people for their own suggestions and do a sort of collated advice post…”

On that note, everyone – I think I should write this survival post up, so if you do have any of your own tips, could you add them to the comments below? I’ve collected quite a few, but would be great to get some fresh ideas…

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20 Comments

  1. Karen Morgan
    October 6, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Ruth, I found your blog when I was pregnant this time last year (gave birth just 4 months ago) and I always hoped you’d chronicle your early months of pregnancy at some point so i’m so glad you have this time!

    I completely empathise with all of the above and the fear/worry – I think my tip would be to not ‘go it alone’ for the first 12 weeks, they’re the weeks when you need to be able to talk to people and I know that the done thing is to not say anything until the 12 weeks is up but it’s just too much of a worrying time. I had my Mum, sister and best friend (and hubby) to talk to and check symptoms with throughout the first trimester.

    Wishing you well as your precious baby grows!

  2. Marie and Rosie
    October 6, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    I love this blog Ruth and Im so excited to read your experiences of pregnancy all over again. This post resinates so much to me – the constant checking of your pants for anything untoward, the fear of every symptom when it’s there and the fear of every symptom when it’s not there. Unfortunately after 1 late miscarriage (17 wks), followed by 1 missed miscarriage (8 wks but only discovered at 12 wk scan) and then followed by an eptopic pregnancy, these fears will always be with me with every pregnancy (If I am lucky enough to have more). Fortunately the eptopic pregnancy was followed by a healthy pregnancy and I now have a 6 month old baby girl, Rosie. As well as following each stage in your pregnancy with Angelica and comparing it to mine (bad thing to do I know but I found it really helped!) I am now re-reading your body and baby milestones you recorded for Angelica. I’ll also be wholeheartedly following this lovely pregnancy too!
    I wish you so much love and happiness. Thank you for sharing your experiences – you have no idea how much this helps me and i’m sure others out there.

  3. Linzi
    October 6, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    I have literally *just* found out that I’m pregnant for the second time. However, the last time was 11 years ago and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t cacking myself.

    I am also starving. Had a big dinner and was stuffed, and two hours later again, I was ravenous.

    The uphill, which was previously a nice distraction from doing whatever and a logical extension to AMR, is now my bible.

  4. Adrienne
    October 6, 2016 / 11:21 pm

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! Baby A will be a beautiful big sister.

    My advice for pregnancy after a miscarriage is to confide in someone and lean on them when your mind is going crazy. You will convince yourself that you will lose this baby – share this with someone, let them help you to get perspective when you are overanalysing every symptom or lack there of. Also find a supportive and gentle obs who can give you those extra scans and reassurance that you can call anytime. And, although it can really hard to find joy in pregnancy after miscarriage, make yourself take a bump photo and buy something little for baby, believe that your baby will be ok.

  5. Kathryn
    October 6, 2016 / 11:54 pm

    My survival tip would be to ban yourself from Pregnancy Googling. I googled myself into a panic attack at least once a week in my first trimester.

  6. Delphine
    October 7, 2016 / 8:20 am

    I have no idea how to survive those awful first few weeks! especially without the possibility of having a glass of wine 😉
    Next time around though, I think that one major difference I will make is accept the weirdness more, i.e. not feel obligated to carry on as usual (going to dinner parties when all I want is to curl up in bed at 7:30pm), not feel guilty that I am making my boyfriend bring me breakfast in bed the second I wake up because the only thing that will alleviate the nausea is putting food in that stomach
    That and try not to google every single twitch in my belly
    And eat apples. I couldn’t explain why, but apples were my saviors during the first trimester (filling without being stuffy, sweet but not too sweet, fresh but not a glass of water), even though I barely even eat an apple the rest of the time. Go figure.

  7. October 7, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    I’ve gone through a miscarriage and had a few friends who have as well. My number one tip is to remind yourself all the time that every pregnancy is different. A lot of women say, “Well, if you feel sick that means everything is going well!”.. not always true. And the opposite isn’t always true either. I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks before my current one (35 weeks and counting!) and felt fine. And my friend had horrible morning sickness and then found out at 12 weeks she had a blighted ovum (your body thinks you’re pregnant but isn’t so medically not actually a miscarriage but emotionally, very much so).. I’d also agree that telling someone can be very important so you can have someone to talk to. Preferably someone who isn’t a worrier so they can keep you grounded. 🙂

  8. October 7, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    If I ever have kids I am definitely going to come back to you and read these posts! I’m such a massive worrier about twinges and stuff and the only thing I have in my uterus is an IUD…I can’t imagine the stress mums must go through! This was really interesting to read, but massive congratulations! 🙂 x

    Cia | Littleyellowbutterflies.com

  9. E.
    October 7, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    Try to always keep in mind that there is so much variations between pregnancies (even for the same woman), that for EVERY symptom you have/never have/don’t have anymore, you’ll find several people explaining that it was exactly how their miscarriage started, several others explaining that it was exactly what they had and it resulted in a perfectly healthy baby, and others getting worried because they do not experience this symptom/non symptom!
    Also keep in mind that worrying is normal, most people in this situation do, and you will worry more when you are tired/not feeling well, and you ARE tired and not feeling well. So take any opportunity to sleep or just be lazy (sometimes easier said than done). Find someone you can talk to and someone who can help you (do the laundry/cook/take your kids for an afternoon, etc.). And don’t feel bad if you can do nothing but stay on the sofa, that’s your job right now, your body is working very hard, you deserve and need it! (I must say I was really lucky to have a boyfriend who kept telling me that while doing everything in the house . I still felt bad for doing nothing but it helped a lot)

  10. Sarah
    October 8, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    I feel like I never got to enjoy or celebrate my early pregnancy. We conceived with IVF, so even though it was wonderful news, it was neither a surprise nor something that felt safe. I remember my mind wandering to scary, yet seemingly inevitable conclusions that I would miscarry or that this was going to end up another emotional roller coaster like the months of trying beforehand. To top it off, my HCG levels were very low and there were a few weeks of constant blood work and eventually early ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy was healthy and viable.

    As far as symptoms, I had none until week seven when I was exhausted. Not just physically, but the kind of midday sleepiness that made my eyelids the most strained muscle in my body. I was also nauseous for weeks 8-10. Otherwise, my entire first trimester was a breeze. Now I’m 17 weeks and understand why women love being pregnant.

  11. Sarah
    October 8, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    I guess also a survival tip for surviving nausea is to not even bother wish shopping lists at the market. I would just wander around for 20 minutes and buy whatever didn’t want to make me sick. Menu planning for the week also fell by the wayside. I kept the cupboards stocked with essentially mild, bland foods that would fit into a five year old’s diet.

  12. Victoria
    October 10, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    Ruth, the survival guide would be a super help. I am 30 and have had two miscarriages this year, one at 9 weeks and one at 6 weeks, both traumatic and involving surgery. Without any friends going through the same (the few that have had pregnancies have had good experiences) and my husband just on a mission of positivity it was very hard to get through it all and reflect, even when the hospital held a memorial service for each lost baby. Although the second miscarriage did not seem to phase me as much, despite it happening on a plane. I think you just get prepared for the worst and think, ok here we go again.
    There is seriously nothing out there to help someone going through the difficult times of the first 12 weeks.
    Best,
    Victoria x

    • Alice
      October 11, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      I had four miscarriages before finding out I had Leiden gene mutation, in my case it means I have to be on blood thinners for the duration of the pregnancy from the moment two line appear. My 5th pregnancy, first after diagnoses went perfectly and we have a baby boy now almost 8 months.
      Two times I lossed the pregnancy 4-5 weeks, the other two around 9 weeks both of these resulting in surgery.

      Check with your doctor to see if blood clothing gene mutations could be the cause. Its not. Actualy that rare

      Good luck!

  13. Alice
    October 11, 2016 / 4:54 pm

    As you know I followed your first pregnancy journey with hope that I will soon be able to get pregnant. Our journey was similar to yours, years of waiting and pregnancy loss. Although I have had more pregnancy losses. I became pregnant while enjoying your blog and I still think it is one of the reasons I was able to get pregnant as for some reason they made me hopefull and relaxed compared to being desperated and stressed. I was able to follow Angelicas updates before Eliot was born and I still go back to her updates each month and compare how we are doing.
    The only way to survive the first few weeks after loss, is to get checked/scanned as soon as possible, find something that makes you happy (your blogs) and stick it out.

    From medical point of view, if someone has had more than one loss I would recommend to have blood test for MHTFR and Leiden gene mutations as they are not as rare as thought and they often cause pregancy loss, at any stage especially first 16 weeks, both problems are easily corrected for the duration of pregnancy. I have Leiden and “all” I had to do was to have one injection of fraxaparine a day and all was well… 🙂

  14. Anna
    October 11, 2016 / 6:55 pm

    Hi Ruth- firstly, congratulations and secondly thank you!

    Having just found out I’m pregnant with my first, I’ve migrated from your model recommends blog over here and reading this has reassured me so much that I’m not abnormal!

    Today particularly has been awful in terms of nausea and exhaustion! I’m also checking the toilet for blood constantly. I’m a junior doctor and have done 2 years in gynaecology so my view of early pregnancy is somewhat skewed towards the abnormal which isn’t easy but I’ll get there!

    Thank you again, and I will be reading every word 🙂

  15. Ellie
    October 13, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Ruth, I read your blog from time to time and have really enjoyed it – congratulations on your pregnancy, will be lovely for baby A to have a sibling so close in age. My tip for surviving the early weeks if you’ve miscarried is to tell work – my miscarriage happened at work but I had luckily told my boss the day before even though I wasn’t yet 12 weeks. It meant that I didn’t have to hang around to explain, he (yep a he, and he was amazing) totally understood. When I fell pregnant again I had a different boss but I told him early too and gave him the history, it made me feel like one there was one less thing to worry about and if I needed to leave or not come in all I would have to do is say I can’t be here and nothing further would be needed. Thankfully my plan wasn’t necessary and I now have a lovely happy 11 month old boy. Sending positive thoughts to anyone out there going through a tough time xxx

  16. Gillian S
    October 23, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    Hi Ruth, fab blog. An ‘early pregnancy survival guide’ would be amazing. I had a miscarriage last week, at only 6 weeks; my first pregnancy at 34. I am still working to come to terms with it and when we feel ready we might try again. But I know I will be wracked with anxiety. Women have it so tough, but it hasn’t killed me so I hope it makes me stronger, somehow.
    Congratulations, im so pleased for you after all you’ve been through. All the best, Gillian X

    • October 25, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that Gillian, it’s a tough thing to get through. Sending my love. x

  17. Mrs Lohano
    October 27, 2016 / 9:30 am

    Hi Ruth,

    I am at 5 weeks with my first pregnancy. But I have always enjoyed this blog. I feel that this is the time when I need some support since I have told only two people yet.

    Although I feel blessed to have had not so tough time ttc I was trying since Jan.

    I have not had the blood work done at doctors yet but I have test with home pregnancy test 3 times and bought 3 more today. I m going crazy a little.. Also checking for blood everytime I go to loo.

    You are doing a lovely job.

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