The First Trimester | Joy, Fear + Change
The hives should have been the first thing that tipped me off that I wasn’t handling things as well as I thought I was. We had just received the life-changing news that we were not only expecting, but expecting quadruplets while on a cross-country road trip. While my husband and parents celebrated by hugging, crying, and laughing, I sat there in what I can honestly say now was shock. I didn’t have a ton of time to process the flood of thoughts I had rushing into my head before we were sent over to see the high-risk team. I just kept repeating to myself that everything was going to be ok. See, in situations that I find truly overwhelming, my emotions take a backseat and my “crisis” self takes over. Crisis Britt is calm and collected, asks the questions that need to be asked, and tries to find the best solutions for the problems at hand (all-around super helpful in short doses but can come across a bit icy and unfeeling). This self has no time to be bogged down with pesky emotions and feelings, there’s business to take care of! The only problem with pushing all these things down and not processing information in the moment is that it ends up catching up with you and coming out somehow (hence the hives).
The first trimester was a scary yet wonderful time for me. I had a difficult time with nausea, fatigue, and severe tension headaches that made it difficult to handle my day-to-day tasks which included a full-time job and finishing the final weeks of my Fall session of school. Carl and I were introduced to words like selective reduction and congenital abnormalities before moving onto discussions about the increased risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy complications. The brief flicker of immense joy I felt when first finding out was soon overtaken by fear. Dr. Brené Brown (who I just adore) describes joy as being “the most terrifying, difficult emotion that we experience as humans.” And I agree with her! Check out the video below for her full explanation.
The second I started to feel true joy, I began dress rehearsing tragedy. The what-if questions like “What if my body can’t support four little beings? What if they aren’t healthy? What if I miscarry?” and so on began to creep their way into my daily thoughts. My body had failed so many times before, what was to keep it from failing now? For my sanity and health, I had to try to shut down that endless negative loop. So, I opened up to Carl about what I was thinking and was met with never-wavering love, support, and encouragement. I cried for the first time since finding out. I joined a support group called “Pregnancy after Infertility” through @infertileafstories on Instagram that connects expecting TTC (trying to conceive) community members and gives them a safe space to open up about their journey, struggles, anxiety and triumphs they’ve experienced since becoming pregnant. I started praying and thanking God for every day we got with them. Thinking about all the awful things that could happen wouldn’t stop them from happening. All it would do was take away from the incredible miracle we were getting to experience every day.
If I had one word to describe the first trimester, it would be change. In a matter of weeks, we made a number of life-changing decisions in order to do what was best for our growing family. We would sell our home, make the temporary move to be closer to family, and sell our vehicles (none of them could accommodate 4 littles). In addition, I would need to leave the job I loved and take a break from school. Carl and I got to see our babies for the first time, littles A, B, C, + D! We found out they were each in their own little yolk sacks separated by a strong membrane (both really, really good signs!). So much change. We were stepping out in faith and into the unknown, full of gratitude, hope, and a new-found strength.