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I’m a mother, wife, educator, speaker, traveler and absolutely obsessed with God’s creation.

I'm ashlee!

holistic lifestyle

The Realities of Trimester One for A Vanlife Mom

The realities of trimester one are hardly talked about, so I’ll take it on! When you’ve dealt with infertility for – really – any time, pregnancy goes a bit differently for you. After 4 years of chasing wellness and finally finding it in the quiet, natural healing God provides through proper nutrition, supplementation, sleep and a few other things… here’s how it looked for me!

  1. find out you’re pregnant
  2. take 5 more tests (I used these)
  3. share with close friends and family
  4. let it soak in and ask how
  5. don’t fully believe it’s possible
  6. thank God and pray for health

It took me a good three months to believe I was actually pregnant. Despite the tests, blood work and 100% pregnancy symptoms like nausea, lethargy and inability to eat anything. It was really a mind bomb for me.

Realities of Trimester One: Weeks 6-8

Somehow in the weird math of pregnancy, my time of being pregnancy goes back to before we even conceived? We won’t talk about that though haha. Here’s how these two weeks looked for me:

  • extreme nausea
  • exhaustion

I could eat anything Tommy put in-front of me but nothing he ever offered sounded good, fun huh? He learned quickly and started making meals, serving them and we were good. Here’s a look at the the extreme nausea while living in an 80 square foot van… here are the realities of trimester one when you’re living vanlife!

Since our bedroom is our kitchen is our bathroom is our workout room, there was nowhere I could go to escape the smell of breakfast, lunch and dinner being cooked by my sweet sweet husband. I would open all the windows, turn on the vent van and cover my face with the blanket. Yeah, I could have gone outside but you forgot about the exhaustion part. The exhaustion made it difficult for me to get out of bed and since our van has no comfy spots to sit, why would I want to anyways?

Wellness Content Creator | Wellness Travel | Vanlife

Another fun thing that was happening at the onset of these symptoms was our GIGANTIC road trip from the lower 48 to Alaska through Canada during a pandemic… I mean, I guess you can call it that. They started the day before we left; how convenient! 12 hour days driving through Canada’s empty and closed country roads. No hiking allowed. Camping? Nahh, not allowed to stop there. Wait, we forgot to grab apples. Sorry, you can’t go to grocery stores. Oh and you have 24 hours to get through the Yukon. It was lovely.

Weeks 8-10

Luckily, I made it through that nausea spell without every barfing even though sometimes I wish I could have. My body has this inability to barf, I swear. When week 8 rolled around, I experienced:

  • extreme hunger
  • inability to eat
  • lethargy
  • fatigue

The first two are a pretty winning combo; hunger + inability to eat. It was terrible. My stomach felt empty yet I couldn’t even handle the thought of eating anything. Definitely not anything warm and I couldn’t even eat meat which was super sad because that’s what I live off. High fat or super savory foods were a no go. Instead, I feasted on carbs, carbs, carbs. Give me all the carbs!

I understood that the fatigue and lethargy were coming from my inability to eat and therefore having absolutely no energy… I just couldn’t do anything about it. This is yet another one of the realities of trimester one. So, I (Tommy) prepped up some food for me. I started eating before bed, the second I got out of bed and every two hours in between. That’s when things started to get better.

Here’s what my diet consisted of for these two weeks:

  • organic cereal (frosted corn flakes.. cool)
  • the cleanest organic fruit snacks I could find
  • local, GTs and Health Ade Kombucha
  • organic dates and organic almond butter
  • Perfect Bars

This was no easy task because – you see – we were in a small Alaska town that has close to nothing when it comes to the food we usually shop for. Raw milk is illegal here. I couldn’t find a dozen organic eggs for less than $9 and a box of cereal costs $7 (and it wasn’t even sprouted or anything!). We spent 3x our normal grocery budget.

When I Could Function, I Researched + Starting Looking Into Where We’d Have This Babe #vanproblems

I started researching midwives, doulas, home births and birthing centers. Another weird part of my research included finding where we would have the baby. Since we don’t live anywhere permanently, an extra little something was throw in there for us to juggle. Picking a location. I thought to myself “Ya know, most moms get pregnant and never think about what city or state they’ll have their baby in because well… they live in one place.” Not I! So, the hunt began.

Here’s our criteria since we live in a van and baby is due in the middle of winter. This is the criteria if we do a home birth in the van:

  • must be warm since the van isn’t build for winter conditions
  • must be in a low EMF area and away from cell towers
  • preferably out of town where we have our own space
  • needs water, electric and sewage hook-ups
  • can’t be california because… no thanks
  • won’t do Florida because.. been there, done that
  • I need a space I can get a big freezer so I can prep meals before hand
  • close enough to a midwife for delivery purposes
  • near the other complimentary care I will be seeking
  • must have a wellness market for the work we do
  • needs to be close enough to a internet source so we can work

Other Choices for Care

We had all sorts of ideas to make having a baby in the middle of winter in a van during a pandemic happen. Despite all the hurdles like running water, the fact that it will be freezing in most of the nation and that the store clerk might tackle me for not wearing a mask… we have a pretty good idea of what we’ll do. Here are some of the ideas we had:

  • rent in Arizona for the months surrounding the babies birth
  • park our van in Arizona out of town at a property we found
  • go park and build a tiny home on our property we own in Arizona
  • buy an airstream and park that in Arizona
  • fly to Kauai.. wait that was my dreamworld
  • rent in Idaho to be near family, friends, community, good care
  • live in the airstream in Idaho, it’d do better in the winter
  • rent in SoCal (that was a short lived one.. I wish Cal government didn’t suck so bad!)

Weeks 10-12

Praise the Lord, I returned to better health. I was able to eat, walk, get out of bed and keep my blood sugar stabilized. Here’s what I experienced during these four weeks:

  • restlessness at night (lasted about a week)
  • more frequent urination (lasted about a week)
  • some residual fatigue
  • lots more energy
  • I was able to cook again
  • 2 hours naps were regular
  • found the trick to keeping alive and full
    • small meals every two hours, snacks didn’t cut it

I had my blood work done during this time and that – like everything – was tainted by C0v!d. I am Alaska native so, I called the native wellness clinic and they had me pickup a urine test kit from a C0v!d tent that I had to bring home since I couldn’t go inside. Once that came back positive, I needed to get my blood work done.

They told me to come in for a C0v!d test, I kindly declined and stated I would have nothing to do with the skewed and corrupt testing system that would likely provide 17 false positives to inflate their numbers even though it came back negative. She was shocked and came up with an alternative solution, to draw my blood from my car haha. I was looking for anemia and thyroid problems but everything came back great!

Remember, always look at optimal ranges on blood work not their reference ranges.

Recipes by Yours Truly, Tommy (my husband)

Tommy became the cook, maid, Gilligan caretaker, laundry clerk, shopper and basically everything else while I was glued to our bed. He is the sweetest man alive; God is so so so gracious and good to bless me with him. Here are some of the yummy recipes he kept me fueled with. He’d ask “hey babe, does this sound good?” and I’d respond with something like “no” or “oh my gosh, don’t even say that food again”. He would make it anyways and I’d love it 🙂

Basically all of our ingredients come from Thrive Market because we spend literally 50% less when I shop there. Here’s my link to get you a free gift when you sign up for an annual membership, yeah girl! + you get free gifts each time you make an order that’s $22+

Sprouted Cereal Bars

Base: 4 cups sprouted corn flakes, raw local honey and organic peanut butter

Topping: chocolate chips and raw local butter (or ghee)

Gently mix base ingredients and press down into a dish. Melt the topping ingredients and spread over the top. Place in the freezer or fridge and the cut once they’ve hardened. We like to keep ours in the freezer.

Chicken Wraps

All you need is some crockpot or Instant Pot cooked chicken that’s shredded up, mayo, pickles and a wrap. He used grain-free coconut flour wraps for ours. Get a pan warming up (no non-stick!), make up your wrap, fold it up and place it on the heat to crisp it up. S O D A N G G O O D. Plus, it gave me the protein I was majorly lacking in.

Raw Milk Chocolate Milk

I’m a sucker for this one. It’s three ingredients and you can get the full recipe here and I used this cacao powder! We get our milk from a reputable local raw milk farmer that has grass-fed cows out on pasture. It’s what I missed the most during out time in Alaska. BTW: raw milk in Alaska is illegal and if you want to buy it you have to become part owner a farm ($150) and pay per gallon ($19). Holy crap, most expensive milk I’ve ever heard of.

Trimester One Recap 😉

  • weeks 6-8: all my days spent in bed but I never barfed!
  • weeks 8-10: all my days spent starving but unable to eat
  • weeks 10-12: getting back to my normal energy and returning to normal life after almost three months of being out of routine

So, there is my humorous bit on the realities of trimester one. I can’t wait to hear the summary of your 1st trimester! Please humor me or educate me below in the comments. It’s so fun to compare notes 🙂

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  1. Deb tupper says:

    Congratulations to you both! Tremendously joyful news! Sounds like arizona is likely to be the place, yeah?

    • Ashlee says:

      THANK YOU! Weather wise, yes! But we just don’t know the area well enough and they are crazy there with this covid stuff. We prefer Idaho 🙂

  2. Shenda says:

    Literally barfed the whole 9 months. Couldn’t get off the couch the first trimester. Couldn’t handle food smells or cooking, ate cold food, carbs, mostly toast and bagels. Felt so bad I couldn’t eat healthier for my baby but there was no way I could stomach anything else. It was so tough and even tho I have a sweet sweet baby, and would love to have a bigger family I cry everytime I think about doing it again.

    • Ashlee says:

      Oh my goodness, Shenda! I’m so sorry to hear that. I was weird with the hot foods too, couldn’t do them. I’m so glad to hear you’ve bonded with your sweet babe! You’re a momma, you did it!

  3. Jenny says:

    I understand the not being able to puke/wish i could puke thing! Three pregnancies- not a single episode of throwing up. I just never have been able to throw up. To be honest, I feel like I hardly had any real symptoms in my first trimesters. With the third, I was pretty exhausted, but then I also had 1 and 2 year olds to deal with, so I think that accounted for some of it. I remember days spent hoping I could keep them alive while my body just craved sleep. My biggest issue was always kidney stones during pregnancy

  4. Jenny says:

    I understand the not being able to puke/wish i could puke thing! Three pregnancies- not a single episode of throwing up. I just never have been able to throw up. To be honest, I feel like I hardly had any real symptoms in my first trimesters. With the third, I was pretty exhausted, but then I also had 1 and 2 year olds to deal with, so I think that accounted for some of it. I remember days spent hoping I could keep them alive while my body just craved sleep. My biggest issue was always kidney stones during pregnancy

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Pain-free cycles, peaceful pregnancy, healthy clear skin and actually feeling warm were far off dreams for me just 3 years ago. I couldn’t even imagine having a glass of raw milk or enjoying a bowl of garden salsa (it made me bloated just thinking about it!). Worst of all, I was unsure if I’d ever get to start a family. From being passed out on the bathroom floor from the pain of rupturing ovarian cysts to a vibrant and healthy mom.

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