25 August 2017

Pregnancy Abroad: First Trimester

The second trimester looms ahead as September approaches, meanwhile, I'm over here so ecstatically overjoyed from looking at the picture from our 12/13 week ultrasound that I thought I'd write an update.

(at the beginning of 12 weeks)

Weight gain: +0. At eight weeks I was -1 lb. but at this last appointment I was back up to normal so I'm trying to tell my mom that's perfectly normal. I even specifically asked the doctor if there was any reason to be worried about my weight so that I could tell all my older family members that it'll be fine, I'll get large enough to please them soon enough. Any corroborating stories I can use as evidence that you're not really expected to gain weight in the first trimester anyways?

Belly: I can tell a difference, and my stalkers (i.e. rather intense family and friends) can tell, since my stomach has always been a completely flat plane, but I think any normal human being who didn't stare at my body to a creepy extent would just think I also look like a normal human being. It might show in pictures if I wore skin-tight clothing instead of my usual round of dresses and skirts but let's be real...if my clothes are tight I will probably throw up. My usual fashion preference for dresses with flared skirts is basically perfect. What's not so perfect is my preference for high necklines, which, let's just say, are not quite baby's style.

Food: Baby appears to take after me as a picky eater, only, in typical overdramatic fashion, takes it to the extreme. Meat of any kind is the most consistent aversion, which makes eating real food challenging. We amazingly found bagels in the frozen food area of a specialty grocery store, so I've been able to eat bagels (even got them  on a 2-for-1 sale), other than bagels my diet still is mostly comprised of fresh fruit, chips and guacamole (I attempted to make a homemade black bean salsa but the baby REALLY hated it. Everyone else in the family thought it was great), and various form of potatoes--chips, fries, and mashed. Also, I cried because someone posted a photo of Five Guys on social media. They have the best fries.

Symptoms: I feel like July and August have passed in one intensely fast blur. I suspect this is because I spent the last two months sleeping. The most adventurous Energizer battery-powered being that is myself has temporarily become a low-energy homebody who doesn't go anywhere unless needed. I've learned to prioritize energy for the most important responsibilities of each day--because if I shoot for more, I'll end up sleeping in random public locations. Two of the reasons I've stayed at home as much as possible are: 1) Bathrooms. Too many places here have utterly terrible or non-existent bathrooms, and I'd rather just throw up in my bathroom at home, thank you. I haven't been back to the grocery store after the horribly disgusting state of their bathrooms made me cry at 7 weeks. 2) Car rides. They feel like riding a roller coaster on the ocean. I blame the constant arrangement of speedbumps and potholes that this island's streets are littered with. So...I only leave the house if I need to lead some event or teach something or if there is no more food in my house. 

Doctors: Three appointments so far and three ultrasounds--the last being by far the most exciting. At the second ultrasound, the doctor and Angel saw the heartbeat, but I never did, and at this last ultrasound, they took the time to show me the heartbeat, and I was like, "No wonder I couldn't see it last time, that's not at all easy to see!" Not being a medical professional, I have no idea how these people distinguish what they see in ultrasound pictures. But I did get to see the cutest five fingers on each hand and two little feet. Baby measures at 13 weeks plus a couple days although by dates we think I'm more like at the end of 12 weeks. I have a strong aversion to doctors and hospitals, but we always schedule them for when Angel can go, and he buys me my favorite smoothie bowl after every appointment and that makes for a good reward.  The first trimester has not been without a few rocky moments--hence the three appointments and all the little extra pills I get to take, but we're so thankful for every new day with baby.

Gender: Rather too soon to know, but my entire family is convinced the baby is a boy, to the extent that they're pretty much convinced me and Angel that they are somehow in the know and the baby is,  in fact, a boy. The fact that Angel's family consists entirely of boys thus far provides further evidence for their case. Family has also attempted to nickname the baby "Churro" but I do not approve.

Preparations: I've gotten several questions recently if we've started buying things for the baby or setting up the room or various things like that. I can't help but be bewildered by such questions. My major preparation plan is to wait and hope people with older families are like, "Oh, we don't need our bouncer anymore, I don't know why I kept it in storage for so long, do you want it?" I'm rather minimalist and I know babies aren't that minimalist, but I kind of plan on making do with whatever people happen to give us and buying whatever is an actual necessity shortly before it's needed, rather than a long time before it's needed and having to store it for months in this tiny home. Also, they don't really have much in the way of sales and coupons, or thrift stores, in this country, so there's no point in looking early for budget reasons. What the baby needs now is medicine and doctor's visits, so I get those--fun fact: prenatal care and childbirth aren't covered either by the Malaysian health insurance companies we've looked at or the international health insurance we ended up getting, so you pay for your own babies. And it's my biggest privilege. One of the things I was sad about with Em was that I never got to spend my hard-earned money on her, as seems to be the right of a parent. I tell Angel with every box of pills he buys--how amazing is it that we get to buy this for our baby! What a gift!


If my joy is annoying, I offer an apology, but not an especially sincere one. I'm having so much fun. I have so loved being pregnant for all these days so far. I praise God for every symptom, because I am so in awe of this blessing and miracle. My favorite parts of pregnancy so far are daydreaming about the baby by myself as I try to nap and chatting with Angel about the baby--about anything from names to suspicions that our child may hate brushing their own teeth given how much they hate it when I brush mine.

The only thing that's been running through my mind since yesterday's good report is:
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15
That verse is referencing, of course, the gift of Jesus Christ and salvation. But in my mind I secretly add another gift that hasn't impacted the world and eternity so much, but, to me, still seems rather indescribable: the gift of a baby--with a heartbeat and cute hands and feet.
Angel said...

Oh Rachel! I am just so excited for you and your hubby! And I live seeing the joy you have for this child come through your writing.😄

I also lost weight (3 pounds) in my first trimester. And like you said, gaining it to please others comes soon enough.😂 And meat was also a big no no for me. Ughh...could not stand the smell of it.

Enjoy every little symptom, even when it's hard. For being given the opportunity to grow a life within, is one of the biggest blessings you can be given.

I will be keeping you in my prayers!!!


Julianne said...

When is your due date? I'm due March 8 with our second so we've got to be close! I also spent my first trimester surviving solely on bagels - but also meat and salt and vinegar potato chips! I also love the daydreaming stage 😊 I remember talking to my husband for many many hours about what we thought our son would look like and what mannerisms he would have - so fun to see what reality is!! Praise be to God for these incredible gifts we are carrying!!

The Lady Okie said...

You are BEAMING in that picture. I love it! Praising God for the healthy baby so far! Thanks for the update :)

The Lady Okie said...

Oh, and also a friend of mine lost weight in the first trimester and didn't get to + weight gain until halfway through the second!

Carolann Chambers said...

I love seeing your joy and I teared up a little bit reading this. Thank you for sharing your joy with us! I like your minimalist approach to buying things and I know that you will spoil your baby in all the ways that matter.

Callie said...

Ah, this made me want to cry! I am so happy for you! And yes, hang in there, people usually do end up giving you stuff, especially for the first baby!

Michelle said...

You look beautiful! I LOVE your dress! Don't worry at all about the lack of weight gain. I lost 10 lbs my first trimester and didn't start gaining until nearly halfway through my pregnancy.

Rachel I am just so happy for you I can't stand it. Praying things continue to go well. I love your joy over your pregnancy. What a wonderful gift!

Natalie said...

I'm absolutely overjoyed for you and Angel! Making it to that 13 week mark allowed me to breathe a little bit easier. And don't worry: you don't need to gain any weight yet. The baby is sooooo small, and, like you said, you'll have plenty of time to get bigger! I didn't really start to gain any weight or show until 17 or 18 weeks, and, even then, I looked like I had a big food baby. It wasn't until 23 or 24 weeks that I was actually big enough that strangers would say "Congrats!" (and then look really awkward when they realized that maybe I wasn't pregnant. Hahaha) Savor every minute of this joy! :)

The Emerald Dove said...

Congratulations!! I'm excited to see more posts about your pregnancy! The symptoms tend to get a bit better in the second trimester and the food aversions calm down - I remember living off of toast and plain tortilla chips in the first trimester! Good luck, I feel really excited for you. It's such a blessed time.

Suzanne said...

Churro! Ha ha!

I'm happy all seems to be progressing as planned.


Beka @ Sunshine to the Square Inch said...

This just makes me so happy. I'm very grateful God blessed you with this child and will pray for your pregnancy. I hope the 2nd and 3rd trimester keep getting better and better and that you can eat more. And hooray for seeing the heart beat and fingers and toes. That is really neat.

I got pretty good at reading ultra sounds because when I worked for the group home I went so often with those pregnant teenagers to their ultra sounds appointments. It was fun. I got to see my nephews sonogram and could see he was a boy! My brother and his sister didn't want to know but it sure was fun to find out. =)

AnneMarie said...

I'm so happy things are going well! You look lovely :) When I was my pregnant with my son, I didn't gain any weight for the longest time. I can't remember when I actually gained weight, but I do recall it being sometime well into the second trimester. And then I lost a couple pounds in the third trimester. It all evens out in the end!

I think people are so funny when they ask/assume that you're busily buying baby things! I'm a minimalist and pretty frugal, and honestly, babies don't need a whole lot, so I had a similar reaction to you. The main things babies need are diapers, a car seat, and food, and I was/am breastfeeding our son, so we just had to buy diapers and a car seat. Other people gave us hand-me-down blankets and some clothes (but honestly, unless we were going to church or the grocery store, our then-baby didn't even wear clothes). I made a baby carrier out of t-shirts and another carrier out of half-price fabric from a store that was going out of business. At some point, my family gave us a baby rocking chair that my brothers used, and that was handy to use but we technically didn't even need it! So I vote for you guys waiting to see if other people give you stuff and to see what you actually need when baby makes his/her appearance!

Sarah Jean @ Pretty Simple Ideas said...

Congrats!! I'm at 8 weeks now so in the middle of morning sickness, but also have a strong craving for fruit :)

Kaitlin said...

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" I think this every single day, beyond our salvation. There are so many amazing gifts He gives us in a smaller perspective, and it's amazing to behold (: I love that sentiment!

You are so adorable, I'm glad things are going well for you in your first trimester!

Rach said...

Don't worry about the weight thing! I lost at first too and then gained suuuuper slowly. But I hit the healthy weight gain by the time baby came so no worries! And one of my best friends here is currently pregnant and she was the same way. Barely gained until halfway through the second trimester. I think it's just how some people's bodies are.

Car rides were rough for me too. And dealing with public bathrooms - gross! Though if bathrooms there are like bathrooms in mainland China then I definitely have nothing to complain about compared to you, haha!

I'm sorry to hear that this first trimester has been rocky. All those extra pills aren't fun. I've been there. But hooray for getting to see baby more! That's so wonderful! I'm glad you got to see fingers and feet and the heartbeat! :)

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" AMEN!

Becky Ginther said...

How exciting!! I love how obviously thrilled you are about the baby. And I love your perspective on preparations too. I know some people who have gone absolutely nuts and spent a fortune before the baby is even born. There will be plenty of dollars to spend later, better to save it now!

Rebecca said...

That is just so much fantastic news! I do love that you have so much joy writing about all the baby details! There will be so many more good things to come!


Unknown said...

So so happy for you guys!

And don't let people make you worry about no weight gain! I also had horrible all day nausea (because morning sickness does not describe it well enough) and I lost 6 pounds during my first trimester and just came out even at around 18-20 weeks. The doctor was pleased at every appointment and always told me that everything is just the way it's supposed to be! Now I am 34 weeks and gained 16 pounds total so far..

I also couldn't stand neither meat nor fish in my first trimester. ;)

Lucky you that you don't feel the urge to start buying and preparing yet and are waiting for friends and family to give you hand-me-downs! I am in total spending mode all the time and can't help myself because all there things and clothes are just sooo cute. But at least here in Germany we have tons of second hand markets organized by daycares, churches and other organizations where you get great deals on things which are not worn a lot or even brand-new!

Can't wait to read more posts on your pregnancy and how it is being pregnant in Malaysia!

Shelby @Fitasamamabear said...

Aw congrats! I'm sitting here at 39 weeks today wondering when baby will come!! Enjoy the second trimester mama- it's fun making a guessing game out of the gender!

Kynia said...

aw, c'mon-- Churro is an excellent name! haha SO happy and excited for this new adventure for you and Angel. You are going to be such a wonderful mother xX

Mary E. Stephens said...

Anyone who could be annoyed by your joy should probably be apologizing to you, sweet lady. I am so blessed to read your happiness and pleasure during this time in your life. May the Lord bless you with a healthy pregnancy and baby. I pray for you when I think about you. :-)

By the way, compared to what a lot of Western culture thinks is necessary, babies can be minimalists. Think of all the babies through history who didn't have all those "necessary" things and yet grew up just fine. :-)

Also, an abundance of boys doesn't "prove" that you're going to have a boy. My mom was told something similar since my dad only had brothers and she was an only girl with brothers. Here I am, their firstborn, and a "girl." :-) I also have two brothers and a sister, so we were an "even" family. Sometimes I think God does things like that because He has a sense of humor. ;-)

Unknown said...

Oh Rachel, how exciting! I'm finally catching up on blogs since Enid won't nap anywhere but on me today, and I've only got to your second post and already want to comment! what a sweet and precious gift, and your outlook is so admirable! I especially like your approach to shopping for baby... because it resembles ours :p I think people look forward to giving away baby stuff (I have boxes of clothes taking up space that need to go!), and they really don't need much more than nappies, clothes, a bed (and even that's optional), carrier of some kind, a blanket on the floor, and arms to hold them.
I hope the second trimester is wonderful!!!

Autumn said...

You're absolutely adorable!! Congratulations again!

Kay R. said...

So excited for you!!! "Churro" did make me chuckle. Im sure by everyone's insistence that its a boy, itll be a girl :P