Very Early Pregnancy Signs – The Common and Not So Common Ones
Today will hopefully be the first of many pregnancy related posts that I write and I will explain what I mean by this in just a few. I recently learned that when you google “very early pregnancy signs” on google, or similar searches, you find many sites with the typical signs of pregnancy but, there are always the signs and symptoms that are not so “typical”, so I want to highlight some of these very early pregnancy signs that maybe, are not listed because they are less common or rare.
First of all, I need to tell you ladies right away, that I never ever EVER thought I will be where I am today. If you are new to my site, a quick summary on my health, is that I have been living with hormonal imbalances from a teenager. Starting from severe chronic acne in both my teens and adulthood, hair loss, irregular periods in my teens to having no periods at all (ammenorhea) in adulthood and ending with a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If you are not aware of what PCOS is, you can read this post. One of the issues with having PCOS is difficulty conceiving, due to irregular or lack of menstrual cycle.
I am 37 years old and my husband and I who are recently married, decided that before we try to have a child through IVF, we would go and travel for 1 year. We left in September 2019 and had planned to come back late August 2020, but as with the rest of the world, Covid 19 brought us back home earlier than expected – 6 months earlier in fact.
Hormones or Stress?
As we discussed in a previous article, stress and hormones go hand-in-hand. Stress will affect your hormones no matter what. Our body’s reaction to stress is to release a hormone called cortisol and this is actually a good thing as it is a protection for the body to deal with stress. But chronic stress causes a negative impact on the body. For more information on this, read my article What are the effects of stress on the body? Inflammation matters.
So what do I mean by stress OR hormones. Well after we arrived back from our travels in March, I was very disappointed and sad that the travels were cut short. I know I know…. you must be saying that I was blessed to even have traveled for 6 months and that I made it back home healthy and safe. Yup. You are right. My emotions took over and I could only see that my dream to travel for a year, which I always wanted since my teens, was crushed. I mean I never wanted to risk my career or education and that is why I always put traveling on the back-burner.
So finally when I felt that I was financially established to do this, and had an amazing partner to join me, I thought it was the PERFECT time. Well, seems like God had other plans for us.
Why am I blabbing about all of this? Well I was emotional when we returned. A little too much if I were to be honest. Now that I look back, I was being selfish, self entitled and a little irrational. So irrational that I was convincing myself that we would be able to travel “soon” before we were expected to go back to work in September.
Well the hubby didn’t agree. And as like all our other arguments, it is because I think with my heart and him with his head. He was trying to convince me to go back to work now, because there was no point in waiting around at home. I resisted this because I wanted to “wait” and see if borders would open soon.
So while I “waited” for this unrealistic miracle that covid 19 would disappear, I started to notice that my hair loss was increasing…and I mean BAD. Like I wanted to avoid washing my hair because the chunks of hair I was loosing were incredible. The floors in my apartment have visible hair stands EVERYWHERE and each morning when I wake up, my pillow case is covered in hair.
I use Rogaine and Bosley Shampoo and Conditioner for my hair loss, both of which have saved my hair over the past 2 years. Both sides of my family have hair loss, INCLUDING women (my mom and grandmother) so I am genetically predisposed.
But this SUDDEN loss in hair was intense – so what was the conclusion? I was too stressed and anxious about the situation and I was causing the hair loss to myself. Well this was not and is not totally wrong cause as I said, stress = hormone imbalance = symptoms and hair loss is one of them. But it was not actually the stress causing this drastic change in hormones.
Well a couple of more weeks passed and I started to feel a very strong “heaviness” on my chest. I started again to think it was stress or anxiety. It would happen a few times a day, where I felt I had to grasp for air.
Have you every hiked a very high altitude or traveled to Ecuador? If you have, you may have experienced this feeling and it felt exactly like I had to take more conscious deep breaths, to inhale enough air in my lungs.
Now I was thinking to myself: “Cynthia, how crazy are you to cause yourself near anxiety/panic attacks because you are MAD you can’t travel??” I was starting to even be embarrassed with myself and did not mention this to my hubby that I thought I was having mild anxiety.
What Was Really Going On?
Well it was nearing the end of another week, a Thursday, and my husband decided to really push the issue of going back to work. I mean I can not blame him. We were feeling useless at home and the covid situation was not going to turn around any time soon. I also knew that we would not be granted another leave of absence from our jobs so I needed to accept the fact that our 1 year sabbatical turned out to be 6 months, and there was no revisiting this possibility or continuing our travels.
I told my husband that “fine” we could go back to work – now I said this like a pouty little girl who was still being a brat about the situation.
I needed to get some air so I left the house for a LONG 2-hour walk. Now instead of clearing my mind, I actually did a lot of thinking and reflecting and out of no where, the idea of taking a pregnancy test came to my mind. I was very confused because I had not got my period in over 6 months. Without a period, I should not be ovulating, therefore pregnancy, was not possible.
I tried to ignore this thought but it nagged at me throughout my whole walks. I almost didn’t buy the test because each pharmacy or store I passed, there was a long Covid 19 line-up and I thought it was silly to wait for something I really didn’t need. Well just before turning to head back home, I came across a pharmacy with no wait so I thought I had nothing to lose but a few dollars. So I bought one.
The Test – Or 1st One Should I Say
So I got back home, still grumpy and was very …. how should I say this… NOT NICE. I really didn’t say hello to my husband or give him his hello kiss which I usually do after I get home. I also had not given him one before I left. Listen I am not saying I am proud of these moments. I am just being honest.
I went straight to the washroom to take this test.
I didn’t feel the need to tell my husband about the test because I DO NOT ovulate. So why am I doing this? Well I peed on the stick, and before I even had the time to replace the cap on the stick and watch the line or lines appear, the 2 pink, VERY PINK and VERY SOLID lines were there. I was speechless and convinced it was a mistake.
So I yell for my husband to join me in the washroom – I could imagine what he was thinking…probably uttering under his breath that he should not even answer me. Haha
He walked in the washroom to find me still sitting on the toilet bowl with pants down and a positive pregnancy stick in my hands.
He was like “oh you are pregnant”. I snapped at him, and said it had to be a false positive and I did not want false hope. So convinced I was not possible, I wanted to take another test.
The hubby set out to go buy another one…and in fact, he made the right call for his sometimes crazy wife, and he came back home with TWO more tests.
I took one more test that day – positive. And I decided to take the 3rd the next day, because the first urine of the day is supposed to be the most accurate because the level of hormones are highest.
But in this case, if my hormones were high enough mid day and evening to get a positive result, who was I kidding that in the morning it would be negative …again EMOTIONAL = IRRATIONAL.
1st ULTRASOUND – There Is No More Denying
Lucky for me, one of my best friends was able to call her OBGYN and get me in the following morning for a check-up. I don’t think I slept more than 3 hours that night.
I also started to have some other realizations that I did not recognize were part of the puzzle. For instance, I noticed that I was extremely bloated. To the point that I weighed a few more pound on the scale.
I had gone for a run a few days back and I had a very sharp pain in my breasts, specifically the nipples, throughout the run. I had found that so WEIRD but since it happened once I just thought it was a strange occurrence. Now I had a feeling it was related to the pregnancy.
The other thing I remembered VERY clearly was my sudden decrease of interest in red wine. Now I am going to confess, that I drink a glass of red wine EVERY night. And in company, I’ll have a couple of glasses. Well I had noticed that I was not enjoying my wine nearly as much as I used to and that this was very strange. A food aversion? That is an early pregnancy symptom.
So we went to the doctor that morning and I really thought it would be a physical exam and blood test. But in fact, because I had NO IDEA how far in the pregnancy I was in, the doctor decided on an ultrasound.
I was SOOOOOO nervous. This was all becoming VERY real and I was starting to realize how important this really was to me. More important than traveling, or going back to work. That all seemed irrelevant. And I knew that if for some reason, the ultrasound showed that I was not pregnant, I would be very sad.
Well I really could not see the “lentil-sized” baby because I learned that my baby was only 6 weeks and 2 days old. In fact, if I had went to the doctor a few days earlier, the heart-beat would not even have been present.
I think I was really convinced at this point. So much so, that the doctor’s not so very good bed-side manners, of constantly mentioning that it was early and chances of miscarriage were high, made me really nervous because I WANT this baby and I feel blessed that it happened naturally, and with no struggle.
Signs of Early Pregnancy
The most common signs of pregnancy are:
1. Slightly swollen or/and tender breasts
3. Abdominal cramps or slight bleeding
4. Food cravings or aversions
9. Missed period
10. Faint and dizzy
11. Increased basal body temperature (only if you have been measuring for ovulation purposes)
12. Just “Feeling Pregnant”
In my situation I can say I only had 2 of these common signs and they were not very obvious: the food aversion which was less interest and enjoyment in wine and I just “felt” pregnant. Even the last one, I obviously felt something to even have the urge to get myself tested. But I didn’t realize that I “felt pregnant”.
So OTHER signs of early pregnancy, based on my experience and also looking into it further are:
2. Heaviness on chest – feeling of lack of air
3. Nipple pain (one happened once)
4. Significant hair loss
If I specifically google each of these symptoms that I experienced and their relationship with pregnancy signs, I do find 1 or 2 sites confirming that these are possible symptoms, but they definitely are NOT mentioned in any of the commons symptoms list of very early pregnancy symptoms.
As for the bloating, I read an interesting article about this, and it was written from a lady telling her personal experience.(1)
Katie explained in her article that bloating at the very beginning of pregnancy, may be due to not drinking enough water and not getting enough movement.
I definitely am not moving as much as I typically do in a normal day being in self-isolation. I do still do home workouts but walking is much less a priority these days.
The dehydration in fact, I know is true. Not sure if it will help with my bloating, but I am one of those hypocrites that tell people all the time, that you have to drink 2-3 liters of water a day but I myself, maybe drink 1 liter on a good day. Thing is, it never bothered me nor do I ever felt dehydrated.
Well I have went to bed and woken up a couple of times this week feeling quenched.
So I started today, to start to make sure that I “move” more everyday and I will bring up my water level intake from approximately 1 liter to 2.5 and see how I feel.
To Be Continued
Yes I am in the VERY early stages of pregnancy and many say I should not share this with many people, let alone the world through the internet. You know what? My husband and I were blessed with a miracle and there is nothing we could have done to prevent or make this happen. If our baby is meant to come into this world, he or she will.
Whatever the outcome is (and I am staying positive it will be a healthy baby), I know that this will be THE most life-changing event in my life and the time when I will feel the most happy, moody, confused, helpless, inexperienced and more. I have zero experience taking care of babies or children and I fear that I will be so lost.
So I would rather be lost with you ladies and learn from your comments and share what I learn to do and not to do. Just that one article on bloating that I found, from a regular female telling her story, made me feel better and not alone.
Of course, I will try to include as much educational information regarding health issues, products, tips on prenatal and post-natal care and anything I can think of and any suggestions I get from you ladies.
Let hear some of your wonderful stories regarding your discovery of being pregnant for the first time:)