Hi! It’s been a while. I paid the hosting bill for my blog a month or two ago, and thought to myself, “oh yeah, I still have a blog. Maybe I should update that.”
Mostly because there’s one pretty major update: Joel and I are expecting a daughter in February <3
We are over the moon excited and I’m feeling pretty good, but it’s been a very anxious time because last fall, we got pregnant with a baby that we lost to miscarriage at 10 weeks, just before Christmas. Due to some complications from the procedure that ended that pregnancy, it took about six months before we were able to get pregnant again, which I realize is very average and not terribly long and we were actually very fortunate. But those six months stretched out like an eternity when I was in the middle of it, and it sometimes feels like I’ve been pregnant forever.
I’m currently 29 weeks along, which means I’m officially into the third trimester and slightly overwhelmed about how much we have to do before we have a small human being living in our home! I don’t have a fun story to share about finding out that I was pregnant, or about telling Joel – my emotions were all over the place, particularly in the earliest weeks. I was grateful and relieved, and a little hopeful, but mostly anxious and in denial and trying not to get my hopes up.
We’d learned from our previous experience that we’d want to share with our families regardless of the outcome, so we decided to share with immediate family and a few close friends pretty much as soon as we knew we were expecting. It was a weird place to be, hearing their excitement when I wasn’t ready to let myself feel excited.
The First Trimester
Due to our previous loss, my new doctor was willing to see me earlier than normal. At approximately six and a half weeks, we saw on an ultrasound for the first time a tiny embryo with a beating heart. Everything looked good, but the doctor reminded us that we weren’t out of the woods and encouraged us to come in more often than the “normal” once monthly schedule in the first trimester, mostly for my peace of mind. At nine weeks, approximately when our first pregnancy stopped developing, the little embryo had tiny arm buds flailing around and a little heart still beating. We scheduled our nuchal translucency scan at another ultrasound clinic in the eleventh week, and by then, our baby looked like an actual human baby with arms and legs and sass (direct quote from Joel!)
Morning sickness started in the sixth week, and I was SO RELIEVED every time I ended up with my head over the toilet. I turned my nose up at scrambled eggs, red meat, and melted cheese (I still can’t stand pizza.) There were a few weeks I survived on chicken nuggets and waffle fries, or really, potatoes in any form. But I didn’t really realize how bad I felt until it started to lift, somewhere in the twelfth week, so I was stuck in this weird mental limbo of feeling bad but worrying that I didn’t feel bad enough.
I know most women complain about fatigue in their first trimester; I struggled with insomnia due to the anxiety. In between the two pregnancies, Joel and I started seeing a therapist who specializes in maternal mental health, miscarriage support, and pregnancy after loss, and her help has been invaluable.
The first trimester wrapped up while we were on our road trip to see the solar eclipse, celebrate our wedding anniversary, and be in/at my friend Morgana’s wedding! I plan to write about our road trip in a separate post.
The Second Trimester
Lucky for me, the morning sickness let up – if I remember right, I only got sick one time after I reached the second trimester. Most of my food aversions subsided, and my appetite ramped up dramatically. The hunger is 0-60 – one minute I’m too full from my last meal to even think about eating, and a few minutes later, I’ll be so hungry it’s painful. As far as cravings … just chocolate 🙂 It’s funny because I never wanted chocolate in the first trimester, only gummy candy and jelly beans, and now it’s exactly the opposite.
We were surprised (although not disappointed) to find out at our 20 week anatomy scan that we’re having a girl! Although we never got to find out, I had a strong gut feeling and frequent dreams that our first pregnancy would have been a boy. I never had a strong feeling either way this time around. One person made a prediction: my dental hygienist, when I got my teeth cleaned at 12 weeks, proclaimed, “your gums aren’t bleeding very much — it must be a boy! Women who are pregnant with girls usually have more bleeding.” Most of our friends and family who’ve had babies in the last few years have had girls, so it follows that someone would have a boy.
The sonographer started by showing us the spine, the extremities, the heart and lungs and kidney and digestive system. Baby’s head was low in my pelvis so the tech said she’d want me to get up and use the restroom to see if that encouraged baby to move so we could see the skull and brain. “But first!” the tech said, “let’s find out what you’ve having,” and zoomed in on baby’s bottom. It was a very anticlimactic moment – baby’s little ankles were crossed so we couldn’t tell for sure. I got up to empty my bladder, thinking “I’ve only ever heard of baby girls crossing their ankles …” and sure enough, it turns out she’s a she.
Oh, and I passed my gestational diabetes screening! I had no real reason to worry that I wouldn’t, but the prospect of needing to change my diet was giving me a lot of anxiety. Between eating gluten free, the pregnancy diet restrictions (no soft cheese, smoked meats, sushi, etc.), and some lingering food aversions, my diet feels pretty restrictive to me. I’m relieved that I can eat peppermint bark and bake gluten-free cookies this Christmas.
I’m not great at remembering to take pictures, but here’s the progression from 17 to 22 to 28 weeks.
In spite of my doubts and anxiety, baby is doing really well. We chose to have genetic testing done in the first trimester because we don’t know what caused our miscarriage and the overwhelming likelihood that it was due to a chromosomal abnormality. It’s helped my anxiety so much to have had that extra screening and know that our baby is normal/low risk for Down’s Syndrome or neural tube defects.
She’s remained as active and wiggly as when we saw her on those early ultrasounds. Joel said to me at one of them, “you’re going to love that when baby is bigger,” which I think he meant sarcastically as in, “you’ll love it when baby is big enough to punch you in the bladder!” But actually, I do! Feeling her movements has been very reassuring, and I think I actually started feeling her really early (around week 14) which is not typical for first time moms.
At first, I could feel movement only occasionally, and only when I laid really still on my right side and my bladder was completely empty – the best way I can describe the sensation is like champagne bubbles, if that makes sense. Within a couple of weeks, I was sure what I was feeling was baby, and the sensation was stronger, like popcorn popping. A couple of weeks after that, I started feeling distinct movement, like “that has to be either an elbow or a knee,” particularly just after I ate. Now I can not only feel but see her movements from outside my belly – Joel jokes that she’s destined to be a powerlifter.
Until next time!