I hope everyone is getting through quarantine alright. If you saw my post on Instagram, you know that unfortunately I had to relocate to my parents' house to quarantine for the safety of me and Baby P. You can catch up on the whole story here but the overall gist is that my husband is a nurse and on the front lines helping Covid-19 patient. I am so incredibly proud of him, but heartbroken that we will be living apart until things settle down.
Although it feels like this pandemic is the only thing going on in the world, life is still moving along, and mamas are still pregnant! Today I wanted to talk about something on the lighter side and share the 'must have' items for pregnancy so far. I've pulled together items that have helped me through my first trimester, most of which I still use now 17 weeks in. Whether you are currently baking a little one or are hoping to soon, take a look through my list and rest assured you can safely order all of these online without leaving your quarantine.
My Favorite Pregnancy Tests
Up until I was frantically trying to decipher a positive vs negative results, I didn't realize there was such a thing as a favorite pregnancy test. I also didn't realize why there are so many different ones out there until I started really getting familiar with the whole testing process.
First Response Early Result, in my experience, was best when you were testing before your missed period. They are very sensitive and help decrease that nerve wrecking time you have to wait between ovulation and when you can accurately test. What I didn't realize was that if you are testing very early on, the second pink line may be faint. Even a faint line can mean a big fat positive and it darkens as the pregnancy hormones increase in your body.
If you are a crazy person like me and know you are going to take a ton of pregnancy tests at every moment you can to see if there are any changes in 'your line', I highly recommend stocking up on some more cost effective options like the Accumed Pregnancy Test Strips. There are 25 tests in a box for only $8. They aren't as fancy as the pricier options but they get the job done.
Once I got some promising pink line tests, I confirmed with Clearblue. At first when First Response was picking up a positive, the Clearblue digital tests weren't since it was still early. Once I was technically supposed to have missed my period, the Clearblue tests starting reading positive and gave a very clear 'PREGNANT'. These are very straight forward and there is really no way to misinterpret these, so they are a great way to really confirm you are, in fact, pregnant.
My 'Go-To' Prenatal
I started taking prenatal vitamins before I actually found out I was pregnant since we were trying to conceive. I already took Ritual multivitamins so I easily switched my subscription for the prenatal. The Ritual prenatal doesn't make me nauseous and it easily packs everything I need into two pills. I also love, especially now that I can't go to the store, that they come via subscription so I never have to worry about running out. With pregnancy brain in full force, this is definitely helpful.
So In the first trimester you may not even start to actually show but you will feel bloated and uncomfortable in basically anything you own besides sweatpants. About 6 weeks in, my bloating was out of control so I needed to invest in some basics that would make me feel more comfortable. These maternity tank tops are great because they are longer than usual tanks so they accommodate your growing belly and can cover things up if you need to start unbuttoning those jeans more often. Underwear was also something that just felt entirely uncomfortable to me. On a whim, I ordered these 'under the bump' underwear that were a total game changer for me. They are SO comfortable and don't feel restrictive at all. I can't recommend these enough, even if you don't think you need them, you do.
I debated waiting until I got bigger to buy a pregnancy pillow but I am very happy I got one early on. As someone who always sleeps on their stomach, this helped me get used to side sleeping. It also is great for getting comfy when lounging on the sofa, which you will be doing a lot of in your first trimester. Later on in my pregnancy I may upgrade to one with more support but this is perfect for beginning stages and under $40.
My Everyday Savior
Staying hydrated is so important when you are pregnant but it was certainly not one of my top skills. I literally need to have cold water accessible via a straw to me at all times to enforce hydration. That is exactly what I made happen. I love these Simply Modern tumblers so I ordered the blush pink/baby blue one along with some reusable straws the I ONLY use for water. With my senses (taste + smell) going wild, I needed a cup that would be free of any other smells or flavors. Water only please. This cup keeps my water cold, travels well, and is a fraction of the price of other ones on the market.
That is my roundup of the what you need in your first trimester! I will continue to update with more of my favorites as my pregnancy progresses. If you have any favorite products that mamas to be should check out, feel free to drop them below!
So, if you follow along on Instagram, you know 2020 has been a big year for the Pickens so far. It is weird to be going through one of the most exciting times of our lives while simultaneously the world feels crazier than it has ever been. We announced very exciting news that we are expecting, about a week before social distancing got serious here in Maryland. We had the first 12 weeks to share all of our emotions just with each other and close family and friends. We had been trying to get pregnant so this news was not a shock to us, but the timing kind of was.
I had a visit with my primary care doctor about a cough/cold that wouldn’t go away back in December and during my visit she expressed serious concern about my thyroid being enlarged. She told me to put a hard stop on trying to get pregnant since a lot of issues I was having, lead her to believe that something was wrong. Matt and I were so upset when we heard this news and I started scheduling my follow up appointments and tests immediately so that we could figure things out and get back to baby making ASAP. After already having Crohn’s that played into my fertility and pregnancy concerns, I was terrified of having another hurdle to jump.
Well, I had my imaging done and as I was waiting for my appointment with my endocrinologist we had a little surprise. One weekend after a few glasses of wine at dinner with our friends, I started feeling horrible. I was in bed all weekend feeling exhausted and like I had the worst hangover of my life. I didn’t worry about our boozy dinner out because, well, we had put trying on hold per doctor’s orders. It isn’t uncommon for me to feel like total trash for a few days thanks to my Crohn’s, so there was nothing super alarming about this. What really tipped Matt and me off, was our dog Rhaegar. Usually Charleston is attached to me 24/7 and Rhaegar is a daddy’s boy through and through. Up until this point I was his peasant who cleaned up after him and fed him, but he’s so freaking cute I dealt with his obvious disinterest in me. Well all of a sudden, he wouldn’t leave me alone. He had to be touching me at all times and spent most of our time together just laying directly on top of me. At night he migrated to my side of the bed and just laid on my tummy. At this point I told Matt that I was either dying or I was pregnant because this was so out of character for Rhaegar.
Thanks to his strange behavior I took a test. Well, I took a lot of tests and it was still very early so I had basically a lab set up in my powder room comparing test strips and how dark the two lines were. At first the second line was very light and I thought maybe I was going crazy. I kept taking tests like a crazy person everyday and made Matt go out to get different kinds of pregnancy tests to be sure. Well the ones he got, I read on a mommy blog that they were not the best, so while he was sleeping I ordered 40 more on Amazon. I am not kidding… I ordered 40 more pregnancy tests. So as Matt considered revoking my Amazon priveleges, the new tests arrived and of course, the first one out of the 40 was a BIG FAT UNDENIABLE POSITIVE. I took a few more just to be 100% sure. Now, I didn’t do a whole ‘reveal’ for Matt. He was with me every step of the way, examining my pee sticks, so romantic. But it was for real… we were having a baby!
I made my initial appointments, all the while freaking out because of course this happened the month we were NOT supposed to get pregnant. I was so worried something was wrong with me or the baby. Everything checked out with the OBGYN and my endocrinologist said to put everything with exploring my thyroid on hold until after giving birth. She said to be thankful and enjoy that I was on track with a healthy pregnancy and if there were issues, as long as they weren’t affecting the baby, we were fine. This still really freaked me out, but I understood once she explained if there was something seriously wrong, I wouldn’t have been able to get pregnant in the first place.
It took me a little to get that this was actually real and accept the beautiful fact that we were on track with a healthy pregnancy. With so much anxiety due to my health throughout our whole journey of trying to conceive, it seemed so unreal that this was actually happening.
Our anxiety continued as we would wait from appointment to appointment to make sure our little gummy bear was on track and doing well. It has eased up with milestones like hearing the heartbeat, seeing the baby move, and making it out of the first trimester. Of course, the anxiety still is with us (especially me) but I am learning to cope better and better.
While the first trimester was full of anxiety, it was also full of enjoying our little secret together and even escaping to relax in Hawaii for a couple weeks. I couldn’t wait to share the news with everyone in our lives and especially you all who have been here with me through everything in the past few years.
I’ve had a ton of things I have wanted to share about this journey and I have been taking notes all along the way. I wanted to start sharing all of the details and behind the scenes as soon as we made the news public, but with Covid-19 wreaking such havoc on our world, it took the backseat. After a few weeks in quarantine, realizing this is the new normal, I decided I need to start sharing. It feels uncomfortable talking about anything but the pandemic right now, but I know I have value to share in my experiences and now more than ever us pregnant mamas have to lean on each other.
This is the first post of many and I am going to be completely candid and vulnerable throughout this whole journey just as I am with pretty much everything here. I am beyond thankful to be able to share this story of bringing baby Pickens into the world. If I get too much into it I’m going to start to cry (love those pregnancy hormones) so I’ll put a pin in that for now. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far in this journey and continues to do so. Your kind words and love mean so much to us.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.