As the saying goes, there’s nothing quite like the first time—especially when it comes to a woman’s first pregnancy. There is so much a woman learns during her first journey to motherhood, from how their body changes during pregnancy week by week to what labor really feels like. And then there’s the matter of actually becoming a mother: It’s an experience that changes a woman’s life forever, in ways she could never imagine.
In many of mater mea’s personal essays, articles, and interviews, we learn what happens years after the baby arrives. But with our new series Chronicles of a First-Time Mom, we’ll get to follow moms at the beginning of their journey. Every month, we’ll provide you with an update on three moms-to-be as they navigate their first pregnancies. We’ll share their birth stories and check in throughout their babies’ first year of life up until their first birthday. Now, let’s meet our three first-time moms and hear about their first trimester!
Patrice King (Due April 8, 2015)
A chance meeting through a mutual friend brought Patrice King and her husband Errol together, and the two have been inseparable ever since. The Kings currently live in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan with their two dogs Mega (short for Megabyte) and Umi. King works for the Center for Educational Innovation-Public Education Association (CEI-PEA) as their assistant project director of Network Independent Charter Schools (NICS). She’s also the director of operations and education for the company she and her husband, a Google student experience manager, started together called Hidden Level Games.
Nic Campbell (Due April 30, 2015)
Nic Campbell is a lawyer who works for a private foundation in New York that works to create vibrant and tolerant democracies throughout the world. Her speciality is nonprofit tax law, specifically laws affecting private foundations. Nic has been married for the past 2.5 years to her husband Kevin, an investment consultant. The couple live in Jersey City, New Jersey with their two adorable cats Soleil and Helios.
Rochelle Dorset (Due May 10, 2015)
Rochelle Dorset is an account supervisor in public relations and events for the UniWorld Group, a multicultural advertising agency based in downtown Brooklyn, where she also lives. Dorset has been married to her college sweetheart Delon, an Avis operations manager, for two years, and they are both more than excited to be expecting their first baby.
FIRST TRIMESTER Q&A
How far along were you when you found out you were pregnant?
Patrice: I was five weeks.
Nic: It was right after my missed period.
Rochelle: I actually found out very early. I was only four weeks.
How did you feel when you found out?
P: I was super excited. We had been trying to get pregnant, so it was a pleasant surprise. My period usually comes on schedule. According to the calendar, I was a little bit over a week late, so I figured that was a good time to take a pregnancy test. We took a home pregnancy test—the digital kind without the lines because we didn’t want to mess with any fuzzy results—and it was positive!
N: There was frequent urination and I was really tired. It just didn’t make sense. I’d actually said, “If I’m not pregnant, I need to make an appointment with the doctor because this is not normal.”
R: I missed my period and that was abnormal for me because I’ve always been pretty regular, so I thought I would double check. My husband went with me to Duane Reade, and I bought the test, took it, and it was positive.
Who was the first person you told?
P: We told our moms first.
N: The first person I told was my husband, but after him, it was actually my assistant at work. I found out I was pregnant when I was on vacation in Barbados, where I’m from. I was supposed to be back to work a week later, but I could not get out of bed. So, I called in sick, and then the next day I called in again, and she knew that was not like me, and asked what was going on. So I told her.
R: The first person was actually my little sister. She’d come over to my house, we were making dinner, and I said, “We have something to tell you.” By that time I had had my first sonogram, and so I showed it to her and she freaked out. She said she knew because when we’d gone grocery shopping to get the ingredients for what we were cooking, I was reading the labels a little bit harder than I normally do.
The most memorable was my mom. She started crying. She was very happy and excited. My dad just smiled ear to ear. Once we got married my mother would always ask, “When are you going to have kids?” So, she had been waiting for this day.
N: Everyone reacted the way that I thought that they would, based on their own personalities, and it was all these different versions of happiness. We have all these different people in our lives, with all these different personalities, but they were all so happy and excited in their own way.
How have you been feeling physically and emotionally?
P: Physically, pretty mild. I only threw up once, well, technically twice, but the first time I didn’t know I was pregnant yet. Other than that, I just felt a lot of queasiness. I did develop a little bit of sciatica [pain in the lower back and legs caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve], which was not fun. Emotionally, I was super short tempered, which can be confirmed by my husband.
N: The first trimester has wiped me out. Before I got pregnant I was really active. I exercised several times a week, I ran, I lifted weights, I did spinning, pilates… a whole bunch of stuff. And at first, even though I was really tired, I was still pushing through it. But between weeks 4 and 6 I just couldn’t get out of bed. I’d been so active and thought I was going to be able to remain active, but I just couldn’t. I always felt nauseous and tired. Things I usually loved to eat, I no longer wanted. I was a vegan, but then I didn’t want tofu, I didn’t want seitan, I didn’t want a bunch of beans. So to get protein I’ve started eating eggs and fish.
R: During the first trimester I was nauseous all the time, but I’m starting to come out of that. I don’t quite have a bump yet, but I’m definitely feeling bigger. Emotionally, it’s all about making sure the baby’s healthy and making sure that everything is ready when he or she gets here. There are definitely times when I worry too. I think about whether we need to move out of our one-bedroom apartment. I wonder what I’m going to do about work, because I travel a lot. I worry about day care and the costs associated with having children. All of those things flood in from time to time, but everyone tells me the baby can feel your stress, so I try not to worry too often.