Of course I had no idea I was pregnant until I finally took a test. I still wasn’t convinced until I went to the doctor, saw the ultrasound, and heard my baby’s heartbeat. I was concerned that it could take us awhile to get pregnant, but I was clearly mistaken. During my first 4 weeks, I was practically clueless to early warning signs. BUT hindsight is always 20-20, so here is what I noted:
I remember getting dressed for Mother’s Day and feeling that my favorite J Brand jeans were a bit tight, and that my new cream-colored Marc Jacobs sweater kept lifting up slightly to reveal too much of my stomach. (My Mom kindly shared at a later date that she had noticed this too!) I definitely did not recall the sweater being too short when I bought it. At this point, I was just barely pregnant. As the time drew closer to expect my period, I figured I had PMS, since I often had symptoms up to 2 weeks beforehand. I had the usual bloating, breast tenderness and swelling, and couple pound increase on the scale. I did not notice anything too crazy at all. At that time I was also very excited and preoccupied getting ready for a long weekend trip to Paris. It would be my first time there! When I clearly missed my period (in the past it came like clockwork), I had a good feeling I could be pregnant, but continued packing for my trip. The doctor wouldn’t see me until I was at least 6 weeks along anyhow, so it was all I could do to carry on with my Paris plans. At this point I already packed a couple of more forgiving outfits, as I felt pretty bloated. (Although I was not aware at the time, I found out from the doctor that early weight gain in pregnancy is NOT baby weight at all, but instead due to changes in hormone levels.)
Eating, Exercising, and Napping (!) in Paris
- I did not drink. Well, I never ordered a glass of anything for myself and only had a couple of sips of my husband’s wine during the whole trip.
- Breakfast was easy: It was offered at our hotel, where I had hard-boiled egg whites with herb and olive oil tomatoes and fruit just about every morning. And yes, I did have a number of bites of chocolate croissants some mornings…..It was Paris-tough to resist. I AM human and do believe all things are ok in moderation. Besides, it wasn’t like I could enjoy the French wine or cheeses.
- Lunches were on the go between shopping and sightseeing, but I stuck to my normal fare: salads with chicken most days, avoiding the bread when placed on the table, if possible. Some days I couldn’t resist if I was starving, it had been awhile since breakfast, and the bread was warm. I was careful with cheese, avoiding it for the most part, as I was uncertain which ones were pasteurized in Paris. In the United States most cheeses are pasteurized; however, it never hurts to ask at restaurants. (In fact, I was recently at Southfork Kitchen in the Hamptons, and was happy that I inquired: The salad that I wanted contained unpasteurized cheese, but they were happy to hold the cheese for me.)
- Dinners were out every night. The first night was the hardest, as we had dinner with my husband’s cousins. I pretended to sip wine, and I couldn’t eat much of what was a delicious, but pregnancy-limiting menu: lots of cured meats and raw and high-mercury fish. I ended up eating mostly vegetable-based items then having a pineapple dessert, and finishing it myself. I also took a few extra bites of my husband’s late night banana and Nutella street crepe. This is SO unlike me (usually a couple of tastes of sweets work just fine) but I was starving due to my lack of protein in my main course. The rest of our dinners were great. I was able to select low-mercury fish, salads, vegetables, and continued to taste my husband’s desserts (He has a HUGE sweet tooth). It was the fresh fruit that we both loved most anyhow! The berries grown in the South of France were unlike anything we had ever tasted before-so sweet!
- Exercise: There was no gym at our hotel, but I did bring some exercise bands. I did a 20-minute workout in our room one morning while my husband slept late. Band work, lunges, crunches, planks and pushups can be done anywhere. I was even a bit sore the next day! Other than that, I could NOT motivate to do much more. We walked for MILES every day, a couple of those days in super hot weather. One day, I think I bought bottles of water from street venders every 30 minutes.
- Sleep: I slept late every day and had a hard time waking up. The one thing that tore me out of bed was that breakfast ended at a certain time. Not that we couldn’t grab something on the go, but it was just easier to eat and take care of breakfast before venturing out for the day. I will make it a point to share that I NEVER skip breakfast, or a meal for that matter. (I also have to make sure my husband is fed, or else he quickly turns into a hungry monster!) I especially needed my energy on this trip: Paris is a walking city, like New York. Sure we took some trains and cabs, but mostly walked. I NAPPED EVERY SINGLE DAY after getting back to the hotel. I NEVER nap, at least not since college or grad school. Every night before dinner, I would pass out on the couch or bed. Jetlag and travel may have contributed, but that was definitely my pregnancy rearing its early warning signs. This was a whole different feeling of “tired”.
- Shopping: Yes, Paris had beautiful shops and clothing stores, but I was uncertain what the months ahead would hold for me. I ended up only buying a button down khaki shirt dress, which definitely had a bit of extra room, and a straw hat, which I knew I would use plenty in the summer days to come.
- Photos: I noted that my stomach was sticking out a bit more than normal. Some of our pictures include me with my purse or shopping bag in front of my body or show me from my waist up only. Any full length pictures have me in a less-form fitting outfit!