Pregnancy Update – 2nd Trimester

21 weeks – my favorite picture of the little-but-visible bump!
28 weeks on the beach in St. Augustine

Note: I started writing this when I was 22 weeks, and then proceeded to spend all my spare time & energy working on the baby registry for the next 2-ish months (it’s like a part-time job!), so now I’m 28 weeks today and officially in the 3rd trimester! I’ll leave what I originally wrote and then add some current updates as well… so this will be pretty long, but hopefully enjoyable!

Gender

We chose to find out at our 20 week appointment… he’s a BOY!

We were late to our appointment (despite my efforts in not being late because we were late to our 12-week ultrasound and it was made me cry and was so stressful!), and right before the technician called me back, they told me they were going to push back the appointment another hour and 45 minutes. With Covid protocols, Whit drove separately and was waiting in the parking lot, so that news almost made me start crying. Fortunately they took us anyways, and everything during the anatomy scan looked great. The technician asked us if we had any guesses on the gender and we really had no idea! When she showed it was a boy, I wasn’t too surprised because we had been referring to him with male pronouns. He just seemed like a guy, especially on the previous ultrasounds.

But then… Whit had to leave (Covid regulations), and I went on to the doctor appointment by myself… and then home by myself before Whit finished work for the day. And I realized how even thought I THOUGHT I would be okay either way, I really wanted a girl first, and kind of expected that for various reasons. The night before I had been so anxious for the appointment, and almost didn’t want them to tell me, because we have NO say in deciding the gender! And can’t change it either! So this was really the first thing we had NO control over, but is completely permanent. I spent some time grieving – maybe not ever having a girl, not getting to see Whit melt over a daughter, boy clothes not being nearly as cute, the name I had picked out – and when Whit came home we finally got to process together. It helped me to know that he was feeling a lot of the same things!

I was able to process more the following day (see: special moments), and now I’m psyched that he’s a boy! I mean, I love guys ๐Ÿ˜‰ and think he’ll be so fun and ADORABLE! There’s so many precious boy toddlers and little kids I’ve loved over the years, so I’m hoping he’ll be even better than all of them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Symptoms

As soon as I hit 18 weeks, the constant need to pee snuck up on me. There was one day we were getting ready to leave the house and I went to the bathroom before I started getting ready, and then went one more time before we left the house. Then AS SOON AS I WALKED OUT THE DOOR, I felt like I needed to pee again! What! Since that day it’s been a constant struggle, haha. So it really is true, pregnant women need to pee ALL the time. (Another reason I’m SO thankful to not be living in Paris while pregnant! Public restrooms are so few and far between.)

Update: During what I think was one particularly big growth spurt at 25.5 weeks, I was feeling all kinds of slight pain and dull aching in the bottom of my belly. Since the crampy/aching feeling didn’t go away after a day and a half, I went in to see the doctor. This ordeal stressed me out SO much, because in my gut I felt like everything was fine and it was just ligament pain and/or growing/stretching pains, but every search and inquiry to friends/nurses suggested I go in to see the doctor. I did not want to make a big deal out of nothing, but eventually I went in for peace of mind! Fortunately everything was totally fine (and I got to see the baby on a brief ultrasound!), but the doctor never followed up and didn’t give me a lot of reassurance that everything was normal.

So, I hate that things in pregnancy can be totally fine or normal but everyone wants you to be anxious about it!! What is with that? My greatest desire in this pregnancy was to be calm and relaxed, but I am also definitely a “Safety First” person (with underlying anxiety), so it’s been a challenge to find the balance between “don’t make a big deal out of it” and “don’t ignore it because something could be wrong.” Ugh! Any wisdom from experienced mamas??

I’ve also started to identify periods of stomach tightening as Braxton-Hicks. I think that I’ve been having these all throughout my pregnancy. I still don’t feel super confident about identifying them or how long they last (sometimes like 5-10 min?), but I’m assuming it’s all normal and fine.

My cousins came to visit for spring break, and we took a day trip to the west coast of FL to spend time with other aunts and uncles

Movement

I’ve been feeling the baby move since around week 16. I wasn’t completely sure that was it until a couple of weeks later when I realized the bubbly feeling in my stomach wasn’t just indigestion, and started to be more consistent (babies typically start moving a lot when you lie down, so that was helpful in figuring it out! Also, there was one time I felt a huge swoosh like a fish, and one kick that really felt like a tiny foot!). The bubbly feeling really throws me off, especially since I had such trouble with indigestion in the first trimester (praise God that improved!!) – it feels like when your stomach is doing flips and rumbling due to gas. I often think I ate something wrong! It’s fun to know the baby is in there and moving around.

Update: He is getting so strong!! Sometimes when he’s getting cozy, he presses his rump really hard into my belly. I love that feeling even though it makes me go, “Oof!”. Occasionally he’ll shift a little bit sideways and it feels like one of those massage chairs where the rolling massagers go up and down but it’s stuck at the bottom – but that’s happening in my stomach. So strange! He has busier/stronger days than others, but even though I have an anterior placenta that is supposed to make me feel less movement, he’s active all day long. Crazy little guy! I love him. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will also say for any other FTMs (first time moms) reading this, when he’s facing inward or down and jumping on my cervix, that feels so odd and a little painful, and is not my favorite thing!

Belly

The bump is definitely growing! Even though my belly is getting rounder (and sometimes feels sooo stretched out), I haven’t gained that much weight, compared to what I expected. I actually didn’t gain ANY weight until 16 weeks, which has worried me from time to time. I thought the only weight-issue I had to be aware of was not letting it get out of control. I’m not eating significantly more than I normally would, but I’m definitely not holding back when I’m hungry. It’s harder than I expected to maintain a balance of making sure I’m getting some extra calories but not overeating (and gaining extra weight unrelated to the baby) just because I’m pregnant.

As of yet, no strangers have commented on it, but I do feel like I’m noticeable as the lady who might be? is probably pregnant? as she walks down grocery store aisles gently rubbing her slightly-oversized tummy. It’s weird, I hadn’t noticed before that seeing pregnant women out and about isn’t that frequent, even though it’s common. So far I’ve only seen one other pregnant woman out in public since I’ve been pregnant! Was it the same for you when you were pregnant? Or did you suddenly feel like pregnant women were everywhere? Either way, it’s fun to be the token pregnant lady!

Update: Have definitely been gaining weight steadily at 1-2 pounds per week since I started around week 16. Last week I gained like 3 pounds, but haven’t consistently stayed at that weight. I feel good about my weight gain now and feel like I’m right on track. By the way, how is this baby supposed to gain about 1/2 pound per week from this point on?? We are both going to get a lot bigger!

Still haven’t had any comments from stranger, but I’ve noticed a few more stares. And I’ve seen 7 other pregnant ladies now. Just think it’s interesting to note!

Celebrating Easter at my parents’ new house

Maternity clothes

Still loving my Gap maternity jeans, but we’ve pretty much moved into summer in Florida over the past couple of weeks, and now it’s shorts weather, I can still pretty much fit into my regular clothes, though I’m aware they won’t necessarily last much longer. I have a few pairs of maternity shorts now, and have been thinking about investing in some more, since I’ll be living in them for awhile including post-partum. Pretty much all of my shirts still fit, but I typically opt for maternity tees over regular clothes because they show off my little bump! I did a quick wardrobe assessment and thankfully I think most of my dresses will last until late in pregnancy, so we’ll see if I’m correct about that because I’m pretty sure I’ll be living in dresses once it gets super hot here.

Update: I was getting tired of my current wardrobe – the 3 maternity shirts I had and all my regular clothes, since I hadn’t bought many new tops over the past 3 years, and this being Florida you end up wearing all your tees year round. So I bought a few cute oversized/loose tops as well as some maternity tanks. I still have a couple tees that fit but I can tell they won’t cover my belly much longer! I also took one night to try on every dress I own and assess how long each of them will work. Oh, the ever-changing wardrobe of a pregnant lady!

Cravings

What are pregnancy cravings?? Are they different from regular-people cravings? Jury is still out on that one. I have two theories: 1) Because you are growing a baby, when you crave something when you’re pregnant, you just lean into it and go for it because your body is going through so much, and you’re going through so much emotionally, so why not just treat yourself if you think of something you really want? OR 2) There’s some maternal instinct that makes you more fierce (see my story about the railroad crossing), so there’s a strong desire AND a strong will to fulfill the desire when you have a craving.

Anyway, theories aside, I haven’t had any consistent cravings for weird foods or anything like that so far. But I have experienced the, “wow I really want this food let me go get it right now” plenty of times. In the Target checkout line one time, I was feeling ravenous… even though I wasn’t too far from home, I knew I’d have to wait on dinner, and when I saw a bag of Cheetos I realized how much I wanted them, and thought about going back to the grocery section to grab a big bag. Instead I just bought the snack-size bag, and DEVOURED it on the ride home – all 3 servings worth! And then ate a whole dinner. It was amazing.

Another funny story – the other day, we went to an outdoor picnic at church, and since my weight was a little down that day, I made no hesitation to grab a soda instead of water out of the cooler (normally I try to stay away, but had no reason to say no, so this felt like a wonderful indulgence), especially when I saw that they had cherry cola. The weird thing is, after we finished eating and drinking, I looked down at the can in front of me and noticed that mine WASN’T cherry, it was just regular (off-brand) cola, but Whit’s can WAS cherry, and I had been glancing at it every now and then as we ate. The surprise was that I thought I was drinking cherry the whole time! When I said that, Whit said that he thought his was regular soda. What were our brains thinking?? We tricked ourselves into thinking it was the drink we thought we had grabbed. We were still laughing and pondering about that on the drive home when we had to stop for gas. As Whit was filling up, I casually mentioned, if you bought me a cherry soda, I would totally drink it right now. When he responded, okay! I was like wait, no, I don’t really need it (already ate a lot / acid reflux / indigestion from soda bubbles)… but I would still drink it because I really want to see what cherry soda ACTUALLY tastes like and compare it to what I thought was cherry. So a few minutes later Whit came back with a Cherry COKE (wow, the real brand) (plus a Chipwich for himself), gaining himself some points as a great husband/dad. That felt like the most pregnant moment so far. A craving and a totally unnecessary indulgence.

Also, shoutout to holiday SweeTarts (the Valentines hearts and the Easter chicks/ducks/bunnies) – they are addictive, pregnant or not.

Update: Cravings are getting much stronger! I am feeling more of theory #2 – fierce, maternal instincts and knowledge that “XXX is EXACTLY what I need right now!” The funny thing is, this also applies to other people! I have a super sense for knowing what the perfect thing to eat is, haha. For example, we were getting ice cream when my cousins were visiting, and my cousin said she was thinking of ordering the banana pudding flavor. I was like “YES you have to get that!!” I just knew, haha. Also, yesterday my mom mentioned Hostess cakes, and I suddenly had a strong craving. I told her, “Oh man, don’t mention something around me if you can’t promise it to me!”

Baby on board! (Oh cringe at how cheesy that was…) Paddle boarding with my adventurous guy ๐Ÿ™‚

Surprises

Something I did not expect was the major change in my risk assessment level!! There must be some instinctive, hyper-sensitive risk awareness that cuts on when you’re about to have to watch out for a fragile baby. The evidence for this? One night we were driving home, and the red lights and warning sounds started flashing to signal that a train was coming. We were very close to the tracks when the lights came on, so Whit went through it instead of stopped. This caused me to absolutely FREAK OUT. I had no sense of the normal logical risk assessment that allows you to calculate how much time you have to stop versus go through before the gates come down, and only an all-encompassing sense of danger that we would most certainly be hit by a train if we passed through the red warning lights. I’ve also felt this sense of fear going through yellow lights. Maybe don’t drive with me in the passenger seat if you want to get places quickly without being freaked out by how freaked out I am at the slightest sense of danger. (Am I the only one this has happened to?? Is this what I’m in for? The mama-bear instinct? Say it ain’t so!)

Preparations

So much of my spare time has been researching ALL THE baby things – it’s like a full-time job! A full-time job I would love and be great at (<3 research). I’ve been obsessively pinning, organizing, reading, and comparing all the things – at first it was fun, but now I’m actually narrowing things down to make our registry, which is a bit more stressful (I hate eliminating good options!!!). I can’t say this is great for overall life balance, as I tend to quit 3 minutes before going to sleep and end up tossing and turning all night dreaming about breathable baby blankets, but I do enjoy it and feel like I’m contributing a lot to our household as this is definitely my interest and skill-set, so Whit feels totally confident letting me handle it.

I feel like I’m FINALLY making progress on the registry instead of just gathering up options and being overwhelmed by them, so that’s great! There was one night of total despair when I decided I’d pick a crib mattress, realized I didn’t have any options and didn’t know anything about them, and immediately became stressed and overwhelmed by the HUNDREDS of extremely similar but completely different options, most of which cost way more than we were planning to spend. I normally feel energized, not burdened, by research, so this caught me off guard and felt crushing. In the end, it drove me to *humble myself and ask for help on* Instagram, and I was so thankful for it because I had so many helpful, encouraging responses from friends who made me feel not alone and supported and less anxious! So thank you if you were one of those people, I really needed that.

Also, I requested a bunch of parenting books from the library a couple months ago, and had so much fun reading them in January! Expecting Better is the only pregnancy book I’ve read so far, and I really liked how she didn’t come from a one-size-fits-all medical perspective (no thanks to you, all of the first results that come up when you Google anything), but really weighed the research and the options/risks you have. There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather is my favorite, very rare genre of book – parenting in another culture. It made me excited to have preschooler-aged kids and be bold about letting them play outside. It did scare me off a little bit from the American schooling system… sigh. Speaking of that genre, I re-read (after like 6 years, yay!) one of my favorite books, Bringing Up Bebe. I read that after I discovered how much I’d love to live in France, about 3 years before we moved to Paris. The baby advice seems really solid, and I can’t wait to implement the rational, seemingly stress-free approaches. I also picked up Great with Child, but I can’t say it’s resonated with me so far. Some of the stuff she said really weirded me out. I plan to give it another try though. Other than those, the only practical book I’ve read is Babywise, but I’m hoping to order some childbirth and breastfeeding books this week. It’s coming, eek!

As for the nursery and such, we haven’t bought anything yet other than a few pjs and yes, we picked out a lovey and blankie, which I have been dying to get for so long. Pretty soon I’ll start looking for a dresser on Facebook Marketplace that I can refinish to use as a changing station. But that means I’ll have to decide on colors for the room too….

Update: I unexpectedly took a few weeks off from working on the registry due to starting attending our small group in person again, starting to not feel as well (see: aches & pains), and having more going on with work. But I finally finished it, which feels like such a huge accomplishment!!

Otherwise, we have done little to nothing to prepare – ha! I always saw people finishing the nursery/preparations a couple weeks before the baby comes, and thought, you have so much time, why would you wait until the end? But I get it now. There’s a lot to do and decide! Our strategy is to put everything we could think of on the registry, and after we see what we get or don’t get, we’ll purchase what we need. I know a lot of people like to just go ahead and buy things, so that would make it easier to get things done sooner.

I also have gotten childbirth and baby care books, but haven’t gotten too far into them yet. I’m feeling nervous that we need to sign up for a birthing class soon and decide on/hire a doula. Now that the registry is done, we can move on to those conversations when we have time & energy to make decisions!

Spending the weekend in St. Augustine with Whit’s parents, who flew down from VA after getting fully vaccinated!

Special moments

A few days after finding out the baby’s sex, we had a full-on baby gear discussion. It was the first time it really felt real, as we realized, wow, we will actually need to decide and obtain all of this stuff for our tiny person! Whit really trusts all of my decisions and research, and has some preferences about color & style, but mostly is fine with any of my picks, but I still wanted to discuss things with him so he’s informed and to make it easier on myself and feel like we’re on the same page. I had so much fun (finally) telling him about things and showing him ideas (typically I keep all of the research phase to myself since it overwhelms Whit to hear about all the options that we won’t need), and left that conversation feeling so energized and excited about our soon-to-be-coming little BABY! It could actually imagine our baby instead of just enjoying looking at pictures of cute items, and was super glad to feel excited about it instead of nervous or hesitant.

At week 21, I realized I could feel the baby if I put my hand on my belly, so Whit put his hands on my belly and got to feel the baby move for the first time! It was just a faint flutter but definitely him!

After finding out the gender, I needed some time to process, so I took the baby down to the beach, which is an hour away. I was so thankful for time to myself to listen to music, process my feelings, and pray in the car and walking along the shore. As I walked in the water and found different shells, I was struck by how God creates every shell – and more so, person! – to be unique and loved. I am amazed to think how this little guy will be his very own, brand new person, and I can’t wait to see who he becomes! Also, there were so many babies and little kids there that day, and it was so fun to think about introducing him to what I hope will be one of his favorite places.

Update: A few weeks ago, I was reaching up into a cabinet and my belly bumped into a glass on the counter. I am so clumsy already – I can’t imagine how many things I’ll accidentally hit once my belly gets huge!

I feel like there are more but I’m not thinking of any at the moment. I feel like I’m bonding with him more and more and every time I feel a big kick or swoosh or bum against my belly I feel so connected to him!

Looking forward to

Like I said, while we were doing the registry, I kept seeing all the pictures of little babies using so and so product, and it made me so excited to see our little guy not just as an idea but an actual BABY!

I’ve never been into tiny babies, but as I sort through little clothes and think about breastfeeding and him developing onto different stages, I’m already SO sad thinking about how short the newborn phase will be!! Who am I?? This is not more surprising to anyone than me! I’m so thankful that this season of life is when it is… any other time of life I would have been so afraid to miss out on work, travel, friendships, etc. But since not much is going on right now, I’m excited for 3 months off of work to just spend time with our baby (like summer vacation but summer baby time haha) – snuggle him, care for him, be awake at any hour. Everyone says they aren’t little for long so I want to soak it up! I’m sure I’ll be frustrated and tired, but I’m so thankful that I’m looking forward to that time instead of going into it knowing I just want to move past it (like I thought I would feel!).

With all that, I’m starting to get more curious about what he looks like and what kind of personality he’ll have! I have somewhat of a feeling for his personality in the womb (Whit can’t really experience that yet though), and I can kind of see where that might go but obviously not as clearly as when we actually meet him. (Side note – that makes me think of Heaven and how earth is but a shadow of the realities we’ll experience in eternal life!)

It’s also frustrating knowing that we’ll start seeing his personality but won’t REALLY know who he is and what he likes until years from now, especially when he starts talking. I wish we could know who he’ll become before choosing his name, so he has a name that’s perfectly fitting. That’s one of the hardest things, to me!

Some of the people dearest to me – my sister-in-law, mom, and one of my lifelong best friends are throwing me a baby shower in Virginia next month! I was so afraid we might not have one, being in the middle of the pandemic and having just moved to a different state. I feel so, so thankful, and I’m so excited to see loved ones and celebrate baby J! And, a new sweet friend in Orlando offered to throw me a shower here as well! Feeling very loved!

We were really hoping to travel somewhere amazing for a babymoon, given how much more complicated travel will be once Baby J is here (and I have been dying to go to St. John since we picked a different place for our honeymoon 10 years ago!), but everything is actually super complicated now with Covid, our work schedules, and pregnancy timeline, so we are going to stay local for now and hopefully go to the USVI or France as soon as things open back up more, and bring the little guy along! So we’ll have a nice week together at one of the beaches in Florida and stay in my parents’ beach cottage there. Thankfully it’s close, and I have great memories there already. I’ll be kind of far along, so I’m hoping I won’t be too uncomfortable, but at least the water will be warm then so I can float around in the ocean to cool off.

Well, that was probably about 3 chapters in a book, so I’ll leave you until the next update, which hopefully I get around to writing sometime around that beach vacation, otherwise who knows if I’d ever finish it. See you then!

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