The First Trimester: Où sont les toilettes ?

When I finally arrived at la Gare Routière (the bus station), I was thrilled! It’s always comforting when I make the descent from the bright blue CarTreize bus because I know that after about 10 minutes I’ll find myself unlocking my front door. Despite the fact that it had been a long day at work, I still hiked up the 5 flights of stairs that leads to my home. I really don’t like elevators. Finally, the hour commute was done. The first thing I did was find a chauffrette and let it heat up as my head hit the pillow. The first trimester is really as bad as everyone says.

I’m now well into the second trimester, but I’ll let this post be a reminder of my woes during the first trimester. Maybe when I think about having a second child, I’ll re-read this post and change my mind.

5 First trimester must-haves that will save your life:

  • A heating pad or a chauffrette. It works like magic in getting rid of stomach pain.
  • A bottle of water. Having this on hand is a great way to combat on-the-spurt nausea. A few sips and I noticed a difference immediately.
  • Small snacks. These are necessary for several reasons: on the spurt hunger, an energy boost, and to combat nausea.
  • Clothes that are ‘baggy’ (aka a little bit big) are perfect for those days when anything slightly touching your ovaries/uterus makes you want to hurl.
  • A bed and a pillow and a toilette. Several naps a day are necessary for allowing your body to regain energy. Plus, you’ll be so tired during the day since you wake up several times a night to pee.

So many friends and family have asked me what my pregnancy is like. Well, it all boils down to one question: “où sont les toilettes ?” Seriously, I pee all of the time! During the first trimester, I noticed that if I tried to wait to pee, I felt even more nauseous than before. So, a word of advice: be aware of the location of the bathrooms – they’ll save your life!

In addition to constantly peeing, the embryo took all of my energy. By the time I began to get used to the nausea and the lack of energy, in came the second trimester. Before getting pregnant, I worked out regularly, engaged in fun physical activities (such as mountain climbing and laser tag), and stayed up late. So, this was certainly quite a change. I can’t count the number of times I said, “I’m never having another kid,” “I have a new respect for women – they’ve kept our species alive by going through this pain over and over again!” and “I don’t understand how women could have more than one!” And I really didn’t have it That bad during this trimester (despite all of the nausea, I never threw up). But, apparently this feeling is normal.

All these woes began about a month into the pregnancy. In fact, I still had all of my normal energy until about 4-5 weeks after conception. I was pregnant while I was in Paris for Christmas. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time.

Le Palais de Chaillot.

I walked everywhere and even climbed several monuments without feeling winded…

La Tour Eiffel.

La Tour Eiffel.

The only problem I had was a cold …because it was cold. Oh, and I never got my period… I guess that can count as a ‘problem’.

Speaking of problems, try finding a gynécologue in the middle of winter. My pregnancy declaration ended up late because it took so long to book an appointment. No one was available until March! During the first trimester, it’s obligatory to declare your pregnancy to la CAF. It’s actually simple: the gynécologue gives you the cerfa 50040*05 form (sadly, the médecine généraliste couldn’t give us this form). It’s actually a packet consisting of 2 blue forms and 1 pink form. The pink form goes to CPAM (or, in my case, MGEN). The 2 blue forms go to la CAF. And that’s it! Of course, this was easy because I’m already on file with la CAF. Filing for la CAF is a whole different ball game…best for a separate post.

The good news is that there’s hope! Look forward to the second trimester because it’s exactly as everyone says: you’ll have more energy and less fatigue, I swear! ♦

This is part of a series on my pregnancy in France. You can follow my pregnancy and gain helpful insight on what pregnancy is like in France by reading these blogs:

For more insight on what raising a bilingual baby is like in France, check out these posts: