Sunday marked 28 weeks for my pregnancy, which means no matter what guidelines you are using, I am now in the third trimester and on the final stretch. WOOHOO! In comparison to the first trimester (and then some), which as I detailed was extremely difficult for me, the second trimester was a piece of cake (I will take peeing 100 times a day over wanting to throw up all day). That being said, it wasn’t without its tough moments and “annoyances”. A few thoughts on the “magical” second trimester….
WEIGHT GAIN: Once my severe nausea finally subsided around 18-19 weeks, and I was able to start eating with some regularity, I slowly started regaining the 10-12 pounds that I had lost. By the time I hit my 22-week appointment with my OB/GYN I had finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight. Since then I have gained another 7-8 pounds. While my total weight gain is at about 18-20 pounds, thanks to the weight I lost, the net gain is only the 7-8 pounds. While I am still significantly behind where the average person is in terms of pregnancy weight gain (recommended for a woman with a normal BMI is a net gain of 25-35 pounds), my doctor is not concerned, which is what matters. Thanks to the way society has conditioned women to think about gaining weight, it’s tough for me to think of this weight gain as healthy and necessary. That being said I DO know it is necessary, and I am happy to tell society to stuff it, particularly while I grow this little alien critter. Speaking of that alien critter…
BABY’S MOVEMENTS: I started feeling little kicks/movements around 16 weeks. In those early weeks it felt like it could be gas or stomach rumblings. By 19-20 weeks they were much stronger, and it was much more obvious that it was the baby moving. Despite the fact that they felt incredibly strong to me, Shiraz wasn’t able to feel them from the outside regularly until about 25-26 weeks. Now these kicks and movements are constant and incredibly obvious. Sometimes I will be sitting at work and will see my stomach suddenly move out of the corner of my eye. Despite that I have been feeling movement regularly for almost 12 weeks, it is still jarring every single time. I know a lot of folks really enjoy being able to feel the baby move around in-utero, but to me it quickly goes from feeling neat to feeling….odd. I am seriously waiting for the baby to burst out of my stomach “Aliens” style. I can only imagine how it’s going to feel once there is even less room in there for the baby to move around. The first time I see a clear outline of its foot or hand on my stomach, I know I am going to be creeped out….and then feel the urge to poke it.
HORMONES! EMOTIONS! MOOD SWINGS!: I was wondering when these would hit. Well, over the last month it has finally happened. I definitely have significantly more limited patience than I used to, and find myself more easily frustrated by the stupidity/ignorance of others (this seems especially true when in the car…so many bad drivers on the road). In addition to this, I have started experiencing these so called…EMOTIONS. Most who know me well will tell you that I am not one who often experiences “emotional moments”. I don’t cry easily (I believe I may have done it once for 2 minutes in the last year), I rarely get excited, and while I can get annoyed, I move past it quite quickly. Basically, people joke that I am a robot. Well now this robot has had an emotion chip installed and I am struggling to figure out how it all works. While I have not yet broken out into tears over seemingly random and small things, I feel as though it is only a matter of time, especially with 12 weeks still left. I find myself feeling sad for no good reason at the most random times (and when I felt like I was on top of the world only 15 minutes earlier). The other night I was so physically tired that I felt like crying as I was trying to fall asleep. At some point the emotions will bubble over, I am sure of it, and I might actually shed a couple tears. And the trigger will probably be something to do with puppies/kittens, I would bet money on it. Shiraz seems to be a mix of concerned and amused that I am suddenly experiencing these….feelings. Me? I am just annoyed. How do people deal with experiencing emotions on a daily basis their entire lives?
SWELLING & PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT: The swelling started about halfway through the second trimester. I would start the day off with my body feeling ok, and my joints/body parts at a normal size. By the end of the day I would notice a bit of swelling in my ankles and feet, all of which would disappear by the next morning. As of 3-4 weeks ago the swelling is around the clock and everywhere. I stopped wearing my wedding ring about six weeks ago (I had nightmares about it getting stuck on there). I tried to put it on a couple days ago and it wouldn’t go over my knuckle. Womp Womp. I now wake up with my ankles and feet already swollen and it gets worse as the day goes on. Most of my shoes are now too tight (width, not length) and I basically live in those few pairs that are still comfortable, like my Converse and Birkenstocks. In addition to this I have started to to experience the usual myriad of aches and pains that come with a growing stomach. Bras have become my arch-nemesis (seriously, I want to burn them all), my upper back and the area between my breasts and stomach are constantly in pain (which makes sitting a desk quite tough during the work day), heartburn occurs almost daily, I tend to have a waddle no matter how hard I try to walk normally, I move significantly slower regardless of what I am doing, and doing simple things like getting out of bed or trying to put pants on has become laborious. I can’t wait until I am no longer able to get dressed by myself or stand up without assistance.
JUST A MINUTE, I HAVE TO PEE…AGAIN: If you need me and are unable to locate me, I am probably peeing, for the umpteenth time that day. I knew this was going to be a problem for me as I had a smaller bladder prior to pregnancy (I would wake up at least 1-2 times every night to pee). Well now it’s just ridiculous. To keep myself sane (and from crying), I have made a game of it, to see just how many times I wake up during the night to pee. So far my record is six times in an eight hour period (after going three times in the hour before falling asleep). Sometimes I pee and then immediately feel like I have to go again after I am done. At some point I might just take up sleeping and working while sitting on the toilet. Or perhaps I will invest in adult diapers.
OH HEY, YOU’RE PREGNANT!: Around 22-23 weeks it became undeniably noticeable to the average person that I was pregnant, rather than just having consumed too many burritos and burgers. What this means is that people now are more likely to offer me seats on the BART (that’s a whole other post for another time), more and more people are asking when I am due and what the sex is (and then try and make conversation with me about the pregnancy), and the occasional person will now look at me and ask if they can touch my stomach (which is met with a resounding NO, luckily this has only happened a couple times). I have also been getting more comments/compliments about how I am “glowing”, how I still look great (why wouldn’t I still look great), how I should cherish the time I have now because once the baby arrives it will all change (duh), and how once it is all over I will miss being pregnant (NOPE).
Now that I am in the final trimester and the countdown has begun, I am trying to stay focused on not letting the growing discomfort and pain get to me, which is no easy feat. There are still some things around the house that we need to get done before the baby arrives, which with how slow I move, might take some time. We also have to put the final touches on the nursery, purchase the final items we need (such as a car seat, diapers, etc.), and of course do a tour of the birthing center and attend a childbirth class. For the most part, as my mobility becomes increasingly limited, we will probably stick close to home on the weekends, and keep it low key on weekdays after work (I intend to work up until the final week or two before giving birth). We are definitely excited (and anxious) to meet the baby, but if I am being completely awesome, I am most excited to no longer be pregnant. I know I am not the only pregnant person to feel this way, but I still do feel a bit bad that I haven’t enjoyed this experience as much as others. I guess pregnancy truly is different for each person.