As I head into the final phase of this pregnancy, I thought it was time for a second trimester update. I write to you from the waiting room of the blood lab where I will be sitting for the next 60 minutes, post ingestion of 50g of glucose. There’s nothing like a 9am sugar rush to get the day started. May the gestational diabetes gods be on my side today when my blood is drawn an hour from now. They told me to bring something to do. So here I am.
Glucose testing aside (which really wasn’t that bad, by the way, despite the many cringes I've received at the mention of it), it is true what they say: the second trimester is, thus far, the honeymoon phase. Although it took a few weeks longer for the benefits of this blessed stage to really kick in, I have zero complaints when I think back to the challenges of my first 12 (*cough* 18 *cough*) weeks of pregnancy. By no means was a switch flipped over night, but very slowly, my energy levels began to increase and my nausea subsided. Some women experience insatiable hunger, particularly during the second trimester. I am somewhat appreciative that this didn’t happen for me, but am happy to report that some hunger sensations have returned in the past month or so, something I didn’t think I would ever be so excited to feel. I was beginning to think I would never enjoy eating again—one of the great pleasures in life.
With most of the unpleasantries behind me (with a few new ones to come, I imagine), it has given me the opportunity to really reflect on this pregnancy. Here’s what I’ve come up with: I continue to be amazed by the female body. To be fair, I don’t actually feel like this is my body, because I don’t recognize it, seeing as I’ve never done this whole, growing-a-human thing before. It feels more like a rent-a-body program. I’m just borrowing it for a few months. Before becoming pregnant, I would wonder if it would be difficult to watch my body change and adapt to this stage of life, experience more curves, a growing belly and a little increased padding. But, as it turns out, I am left more in awe, fascination and admiration than anything else. I am neither upset by the changes, nor am I in love with pregnancy (you know the women: “I LOVED being pregnant!”). I am, however, extremely appreciative of what the female body is capable of doing. I looked at Dave the other day, in one of those ah-ha moments and said, “there’s a human inside of me, and we made that! We haven’t even met her, but we made her!” Oh… it’s a girl by the way… did I mention that? More on that story later. Listen, I know this is nothing new. Obviously women have been making babies since the beginning of time. And yet? I am still amazed by the process. It’s incredible. By far, the best part has got to be feeling her daily kicks and punches, regular reminders of the life that is being grown and sustained inside of me.
In my last post, I wrote about how I struggled in the first trimester, feeling like I had kind of lost myself. I was unable to eat or stay active in the ways I had done for so many years. Heath and fitness are a huge part of who I am, and when I had to let go of that to merely survive (ironically), it was very difficult for me mentally and emotionally. However, minus a few lingering food aversions, I feel more like myself these days. Albeit, a pregnant version of me, but me, nonetheless. I am so thankful to be back at the gym several times a week and that my body is allowing me to do the things I love. I mentioned to my husband yesterday that I wasn’t proud of myself for maintaining my strength and fitness through this journey. I always knew I would want to do that—I wouldn’t struggle with motivation. But, I told him I was extremely proud of my body for allowing me to do this. I know it will help me during my delivery, as well as through the postpartum period. It also makes me happy. It allows me to feel like I’m still me.
Finding out the gender of our baby was an interesting process. First of all, we quickly learned that everyone has an opinion on whether you should or shouldn’t find out. In the end, I encourage you to block out all of those voices, because none of them matter. It should be a decision between you and your partner. No one else. Dave and I are beyond happy that we decided to find out. It has truly helped us to bond with our child before she has arrived. We speak about her as a “she” and are already dreaming of our sweet little girl and what she will be like when she arrives. We didn’t care either way, of course, whether we had a boy or a girl. But it’s been fun knowing this early in the game. When we went for our anatomy ultrasound, baby M was being “a little rascal,” as the tech continued to call her. She wouldn’t stop moving! This made taking the many measurements they needed very difficult. So difficult, in fact, that we were told we would need to come back in a week to get the rest of them. The tech knew we were interested in finding out the sex, so, after a few painful seconds of attempting to get the right view of our squirmy monkey, she said, “Well, my best guess is… the same as next door.” What? Anti-climactic at best, right? What does that even mean? Well, earlier in the test, when Dave had yet to be invited into the room, the tech and I could hear the very excited gender reveal of the baby in the next examination room, which happened to be a girl. Since Dave obviously didn’t hear this, I turned to him and said, “That means it’s a girl.” Not quite the moment we were hoping for. Regardless, we had a good laugh about it on the way out of the hospital. Isn’t that just the way of life? Definitely not like you see in the movies. A week later, we returned and our babe was a bit more chilled out this time. The tech was able to get the pictures she needed and agreed with the previous prediction that we were, most likely, having a girl. Ok. We’ll go with that for now. If it turns out to be a boy…. well, I wouldn’t be surprised at this point.
So here I am: 28 weeks (it’s taken me a couple of weeks to finish this post since starting to write it—life has been busy) and feeling pretty great, overall. The reality of becoming parents is certainly starting to hit us a bit harder, as the nursery comes together and the weeks seem to fly by. But it’s been so nice to be able to appreciate and embrace this stage of our lives, preparing for a life we know we are leaving behind, but excited for the incredible journey ahead. People keep saying that life will never be the same, and I believe it. But, through good times and bad, we are ready to take on life as a family of three.
When Dave and I found out we were pregnant, we were filled with a myriad of different emotions: joy, wonder, excitement, nervousness, anxiousness… the list goes on. With all of life’s uncertainties, nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming feeling that comes from knowing that, together, you created life. And now that life will continue to be sustained inside of you for the next nine months. To say that this is a miracle is an understatement. Even now, 17 weeks in, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not amazed by what is happening inside of my body. There are so many couples who have difficulty conceiving. I think about these individuals daily and am sure to never take this miracle for granted. Even through the difficult days (and there have been quite a few), I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to become a mother.
Excitement is an emotion I have felt every day since finding out we were pregnant--excited to meet our little bean, excited for the ways in which our family is about to change, and excited for Dave and I to take on our next big gig: becoming parents. That said, my first trimester was anything but easy. As many mothers-to-be do, I experienced a variety of unpleasant symptoms that early pregnancy brings. Of course, I knew all of the possible symptoms that I may be faced with and how common they were. I knew about the ongoing nausea and un-heard of levels of exhaustion and inability to eat or live in ways you were used to, pre-baby creation. And yet? It still hit me like a ton of bricks.