As I said at the start of this blog journey, part of the reason I wanted to write was to help others who might be facing this challenge. I call it that because I think each trimester is going to have it’s own little list of joys and hardships. I personally had a hard time finding much information out on the web about what to expect and landed on a lot of blogs (some uplifting and some heartbreaking).
For the first trimester I found myself mostly looking for answers to the challenge of eating. FOOOD. What to eat, how much, how often and how to balance all of that when I’m experiencing no appetite, a queasy stomach, and no energy. I was told to expect being 2-3 times more tired, sick and big with triplets. So far that’s been true. Even so, I didn’t puke once during the first trimester. I didn’t get sick with my first pregnancy so I was prepared for the worst. Even without puking, I felt horrid. I remember feeling “hungry-sick” with my first pregnancy. That’s the only way I can describe it. But this time around it was magnified to a point that I never expected. The further along I got the worse it got – to the point where I was literally blacking out on the kitchen floor as I was going to grab food.
SO : I asked for help! I went to a health professional at the clinic to get some food/diet/calorie suggestions and talked to a great friend for advice as well. Both had some wonderful suggestions. I was told that my average calorie intake should increase by 300 calories PER baby. That put me at 2900 calories!!! I started taking notes and counting calories and felt as if it was one of the only things I could actually control to help these babies and myself. Yet it seemed impossible. I know – it’s odd to hear that eating MORE calories was a challenge, but when you feel like crud and don’t have the energy to actually make anything for yourself it was really hard. High calorie sweets weren’t top of my list of choices because I wasn’t craving them at all and I didn’t feel it was a healthy choice. They actually made me feel worse if I did eat them. It’s still a challenge today at 17 weeks and I imagine it will continue. My only advantage today is I have a bit more energy to make things and respond to that hungry feeling.
Things I did to increase my calories while still attempting to eat healthy food: Whole milk (although I was warned it could slow down digestion – which was already a problem), real butter, oatmeal (made with milk instead of water), protein before bed and first thing in the morning (I was SO tired of string cheese and peanut butter but it works), carnation instant breakfast (I still have this along with toast every morning BEFORE I get out of bed and found if I didn’t do this I’d pass out), greek yogurt (I had a really hard time finding one that I liked but I kept searching til I did [love yoplait and chobani] and put granola on it when I had a hard time gagging on food), bananas, spinach with egg and cheese on a bagel, “protein pancakes” (you’ll have to ask my sis-in-law for this recipe – she made them for me and froze them for a quick meal/snack), protein powder or powdered milk added to shakes or oatmeal, shakes shakes shakes (these helped pound down a ton of calories while soothing my tummy at the same time), ice cream, granola/breakfast bars, trail mix, pasta with chicken and white sauce (hamburger and red sauce made me sick), cold chicken as a snack, Fiber One cereal, granola. Anything that you can have on hand for an instant snack or carry along with you is a good thing to stock up on. I gave up on the calorie counting after a very short time because it was nearly impossible to keep track of and I just couldn’t balance it. I needed to focus more on the protein and constant small meals instead of the calories and knew that whenever I had a chance to add calories I did. I focused on at least 3 full glasses of milk a day.
I went to my first OB appointment feeling like I had an ok handle on things but she surprised me when she commented on my weight gain. I was right within the goal of the health professional from the clinic but my OB said that the recommendations from her perspective were different. She’d rather see me gain 1-2 pounds a week. This especially rotated around the fact that I gained a massive amount of fluid with my first pregnancy (I gained a total of 70+ pounds and lost 35 pounds of water weight in 6 days! I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 4-6 months). I immediately changed to 2% milk and felt like my digestion was better as a result. I focused less on adding calories and more on eating a well-rounded, high-protein diet that kept me full and feeling ok. By my next appointment a few weeks later my weight goals were back on track.
More quick advice: Ask for help! If family and friends are willing to make some small portioned freezer meals or a batch of soup for you – accept it graciously! If people ask how they can help in those early weeks – this is a great place to start. Having something quick that you can grab and eat immediately makes all the difference. Next: Listen to your body immediately. If you feel that you are getting hungry act immediately. I got into trouble several times with this. Typically people can either ignore that feeling until a meal time comes around or can hold off til dinner by having a small snack. Well this wasn’t the case for me. Having a toddler in the house made this especially challenging for me as I was used to eating mini meals with her and functioning fine on that. Now I had to strategically plan a second lunch after she went to take a nap so my daughter wasn’t eating all day along with me. Same applied for bedtime. I’d eat again immediately after she went to bed. Have food with you at ALL times.