If you’re new here, I have some exciting news to share…we are pregnant! Our little family is getting ready to welcome a baby girl in May of 2022. But if you’ve been around here for a minute or follow me on Instagram, you not only know I’m pregnant with a baby girl but you know this is our second pregnancy. I wrote about our miscarriage back in June and while we are still grieving and dealing with that loss, we are ecstatic that we were able to get pregnant again soon after.
Pregnancy After Loss
Every situation is different when it comes to pregnancy, and especially pregnancy after loss. For us, we had made a conscious decision to start trying early 2021, so when we experienced our loss we knew we didn’t particularly want to wait awhile to try again. This is a decision that’s difficult for everyone- some families need a longer time to grieve. For me, I needed something to hope for and look forward to. I think placing my energy into trying again helped to pull me out of the sadness our pregnancy loss caused.
I won’t lie, the first weeks of pregnancy after a miscarriage are full of a lot of different emotions. While we were thrilled to be pregnant again, I couldn’t help but feel guilty celebrating this baby. I felt like if I got excited about this pregnancy, that meant I was officially done grieving our first. It felt like it wasn’t fair to that baby and that we should have taken more time. While these feelings are valid, this line of thinking is simply not true! A successful pregnancy doesn’t negate the loss and feelings you have with a miscarriage.
In those first weeks I was also filled with a ton of anxiety, especially leading up to my ninth week (the week we lost our first). We happened to be traveling that week in October as we were when I was nine weeks back in June, directly before we miscarried. It was hard for me and felt like deja vu. I remembered traveling back from Philly in June (after telling our families) and talking about names. So I refused to have that conversation with Tyler this time. Being an anxious person already, it has taken a lot of effort (and therapy!) to try to change my thought processes.
A Pregnant Dietitian Walks into a Grocery Store…
From what I can tell, I’ve been pretty lucky with this pregnancy. Though my nausea has lasted all day, it has been mild and able to be managed with some medication. Plus I never threw up (knock on wood)! One of the most frequent questions I get asked is if I’m having any cravings, and I can’t say I’ve really had to have anything. But I have definitely gone through what I’ll call “food phases.” They started with sushi- I would get Wegman’s veggie sushi 2-3 times per week in the early weeks. It got to the point where Tyler finally decided to make me a homemade version to save money! Which is…so sweet, but ended up happening the weekend that sushi went from delicious to disgusting in my brain. My poor husband.
After sushi-gate came the chicken-parm phase. Then most recently was the homemade cheesesteak and cranberry sauce (don’t worry, not together) phase. Basically, Tyler comes up with a food to make me that I like for about two weeks and then become totally repulsed by. So it’s more like an extreme version of my pre-pregnancy eating, where I would eat the same couple things for 4-6 weeks and then rotate. As a dietitian who loves food, the whole not wanting to eat/being repulsed by things I usually love thing is really hard.
I will say, the entire first trimester I have had to try hard to get protein in. Something about a big pile of meat just sounds truly disgusting to me (though I did thoroughly enjoy some brisket at our wedding when I was ten weeks)! So I often have to mix it with other things (burrito bowls are great for this) or get protein in other ways (dairy is my BFF lately). I am still using food journaling tools to ensure I am eating enough of both calories and protein. For me, it’s incredibly helpful, but I can understand why some women might not want to journal.
Energy and Exercise
I have been blessed in the sense that while my energy has certainly dipped, I haven’t gone full blown insomniac in the middle of the day. I attribute this to eating enough and ensuring that I can get at least eight quality hours (minus the pee break wake ups) each night. I am also trying to cut myself a break and not feel guilty about it. If I need to end work at 3 or 4pm instead of 5 because I simply can’t focus, then I let myself do so. The work will still be there tomorrow, and I try to take care of any urgent tasks in the morning while I still have good energy. Most days I still wake up at 4:30 or 5am to workout with my husband, and this routine really works for us right now. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks!
Speaking of workouts- another popular question is “are you going to stop lifting now that you’re pregnant?” and my answer is very emphatically “NO”. To be fair, I think what most people mean is “are you going to change the way you work out and the intensity” and to that I say of course. My body seems to know what it can handle and it’s very easy for me to tell if it’s a day I can push or a day I should back off. I am also working off of “maxes” that are significantly lower than my pre-pregnancy numbers, and continue to focus daily on pelvic floor work. But lifting weights is one of the BEST things you can do for your body when you’re pregnant. Think of all of the baby things you have to lift post-partum: the stroller, the carseat…the baby! And you’re never lifting these things at a perfect angle- you need to be able to balance and rotate with weight. Strength training is incredibly helpful and beneficial for moms!
Announcing and Celebrating
We were really blessed with this baby’s timing, especially in regards to our wedding. We have been married since June of 2020, but decided to postpone our celebration to this past October, when all of our friends and family joined us in Northern Virginia. I knew I would be ten weeks on our wedding day, which is a bit before what many consider the “safe zone” at twelve weeks. But I also knew that if something went wrong, I would be telling all of our loved ones anyway. I said it in my miscarriage blog, but I think there is a stigma around talking about pregnancy loss that is absolutely ridiculous. So to me, ten weeks was a perfectly acceptable time to be announcing, and really when else would everyone we love be in the same room?
I am so grateful we decided to share the news the way we did! I saw another dietitian pose for “photos” where the photo taker was actually taking a video and would say “okay now say 3, 2, 1…(insert name here) is pregnant!” and I just loved it. So we played that trick on everyone from my parents to my bridesmaid that flew in early to our entire rehearsal dinner! And the ultimate surprise: we made everyone at the wedding pose for a “group photo” where we announced the pregnancy! It was such a cool memory that I’ll cherish forever.
Something I hesitated on was doing a gender reveal- Tyler and I both knew we wanted to find out, we just weren’t sure about making a big deal out of it. But something that has helped me manage my anxiety around this pregnancy has been to celebrate things- to treat everything about this baby as a big deal. So I decided to invite some friends and family over and set up a zoom link to do our announcement! My sister tied balloons to our pittie, Phoebe (our first baby, if you will) and voila! Phoebe announced we would be having a baby girl in May.
I am sixteen weeks this week and really starting to feel better in terms of first trimester symptoms. I’ve stopped needing nausea meds and my energy feels like it’s returning a bit. For example, I’m able to stay on 30 minute Peloton rides instead of barely managing the 20 minute ones (LOL). I’ve had some energy bursts where I clean or clean out, but those are often followed by regret and a bit of exhaustion, so I guess we’ll see! While I’m not nauseous as much, I’m now getting more headaches (yay!) and my back pain seems to be returning. So I guess it’s a trade up! But overall I’m just so excited to experience pregnancy and am really enjoying it- people are really nice to you, and have I mentioned the hair growth?! It’s great.
We’ve got some exciting things coming in 2022! I signed us up for a birth class in January, we’re remodeling our kitchen before the baby comes, and super pumped to start thinking about nursery decorating! But the thing I’m most excited about is to meet our baby girl and to see Tyler as a dad. Judging from the way he’s been taking care of me, he’ll be amazing! And I’m pretty sure he’ll be the biggest pushover girl dad ever. Stay tuned- I’ll try to keep you guys updated as we go.