My Second Trimester World, the sixth month
I think the sixth month is from about week 22 – week 26. Calculating where you’re at, how many months based on weeks, is harder than it should be. Maths was never my strong suit.
I can hear myself repeating the same things each week, but golly our baby has grown! My bump is so much bigger and I just adore it. I’m finding I get quite itchy across the belly, a result of my skin stretching to a crazy cool degree, but applying my body butter twice daily after showers helps. Will it help prevent stretch marks? They say that’s genetic, so I’m not really sure. Perhaps. My mum is stretch mark-free after three big babies so here’s hoping. Though there’s still a tonne of growing and stretching to do, which I struggle to wrap my head around. How can I get any BIGGER?
My appetite this week is a little better, and I’ve found myself excited about food on more than a handful of occasions, which has been nice. I used to care so deeply about food, and since about week 4 of pregnancy I’ve been a bit “whatevs” regarding cooking and eating. The following things got me giddy this week: the ginger cake we made for Mother’s Day, the roast dinner my mother-in-law made on Sunday, the quince I poached (which I served with porridge or yoghurt throughout the week) and a serve of pasta with anchovies. Dad's bread is always welcome and puts a smile on my face, especially when spread with nut butter and sliced banana.
Bubs’ kicks grew certain and strong this week, and now I’m not needing to concentrate so much to feel movement. It’s nice when the kicks come as a surprise, when I’m with a client or driving. They make me so happy, more than I ever thought they could. Over the weekend, while lying on the couch with Ben, I turned to him and said that feeling and seeing our baby kick was my most favourite thing in the whole world – more than food, more than travel, more than anything. Ben smiled and said he could tell.
They say you can figure out your baby’s routines, when they’re most active (which is usually at night), so that’s been fun. 10pm is Parsley’s (our baby’s womb name) favourite time to kick and tumble. And, of course, after I eat. Specifically porridge, juice and pasta. This week I’ve been loving hard on orange juice. Fruit is all I want!
Baby's pram and room
I picked up our pram during the week (which I spoke about in this post). We assembled it, put a jug in it to test out the straps and now it’s sitting in our living room, jug baby and all. Each time I look at it I get a rush of surreal excitement.
Bubs will sleep in our room to begin with, but we’re turning our spare room into his/her room because I’m super into creating a baby space, with a comfy chair and room to hang teeny tiny baby clothes. I’m trying to pick and choose a few sweet details without going overboard. Hopefully we’ll end up with an understated, adorable vibe. We’re starting with a cabinet that’s getting painted, and this week I figured out what paint I want to use. Then I’ll move onto framing a few prints. I’m reconsidering the daybed we’ve got in there, wondering whether we should get a rocker/glider…Our daybed is super comfy and looks just beautiful, plus it’s a daybed which is a dreamy concept (right?!), but it certainly doesn’t rock. And I can imagine it will not be THE best set up for feeding our baby, as I’ll need to prop myself up with pillows so my arms are comfortable and at a good height to support bubs. Hmmm. And as I said, bubs will be in our room to begin with, and so I imagine I'll feed in bed, but I do wonder whether I should bite the bullet and get a specific feeding chair to their room now. If you have any thoughts on this matter, please send them my way!! I know each baby is different and I'll likely need to wait and see, but I wonder whether I'm being a bit silly in not getting a rocker/glider.
Food and exercise
The morning of week 23 started with a workout and a bowl of porridge. Pre-pregnancy I did a lot of dance videos, but even from early on I never felt great or right moving in the same vigorous way as I used to. So I switched my movements and intensity. As a result, I’m finding that certain muscles are not as active or taught – specifically the gluts. This video is a new find and I love it! Deep burn. It’s all about moving, as I say to my clients. Not exercising, moving, with the goal of better energy and lightness in your heart. These are such good and important things.
I’m now being pretty strict about having oily fish 3 times a week. My favourites are salmon and anchovies for reasons of taste, cost and environmental sustainability. Bagna cauda is a dream sauce involving anchovies and butter, and I’ve been making that weekly to pour over steamed vegetables or mashed parsnip. I’ll share the recipe in post soon.
Friday night I was home alone and treated myself to a lovely fillet of salmon, baked on a bed of fennel and topped with lemon. I wrapped it all in a parcel with a little white wine to keep things moist, and served the fish with peas and roasted potatoes. Baking fish in a parcel has changed my fish world. It was one of the simplest and most tasty salmon dishes I’ve made.
Also tasty? The doughnuts I made for breakfast the next morning…
Crying over meatballs
I must have been a bit emotional this week. Saturday night I made a huge batch of meatballs (like, 50 of them) and accidentally left it out overnight (on a severely related note: pregnancy brain is a thing!!). Sunday morning I came down to see the meatballs sitting on the bench and balled my eyes out for a good 10 minutes. “But I loooooove meatballs soooooo much”, I sobbed to Ben. It was heartbreaking/hilarious. Ordinarily I would have still eaten them (food safety officers, cover your ears), but I wouldn’t risk my baby’s health even if I heated the s**t out of them, so I packaged them up for Ben to eat over the next 20 years. Man, that was a sad morning. I really do love meatballs.
Checking in with the bump
Week 23 was a busy one, work wise. I felt a bit distracted and wasn’t noticing the bump so much. But as our baby’s kicks are getting stronger, every now and then throughout the day I’ll get a sweet reminder that bubs is there, doing his/her thing, growing and stretching and dancing. We’ve had a MAJOR growth spurt between weeks 21 and 23. My belly is now SO out there and I’m positively loving it.
Oi! I’m exhausted. Either it’s a big growth week or I’m run down, or both. I had to reschedule clients on Friday as I woke up with a blazing cold sore (certainly not my first *ughh*), feeling really run down and needing a day in bed. Rest, reading books, feeling baby kicks and watching Little Women did the trick. And after a few nights of 10+ hours sleep, I was back to feeling like myself, if not with a little lingering tiredness.
My sister-in-law has been sending sound clips of my nephew singing along to songs. It’s completely adorable and hilarious and gets Ben and I so excited for our little munchkin. They’ll be over from Hong Kong for a month for Christmas and I cannot wait for them to meet their newest cousin. And to hear those songs in person. It’s hard to believe that the next time we see them in person, our baby will be three months old. And I’ll be eating pudding and boozy sauce. Man, I can’t wait.
I’ve slacked on the book front for a few weeks, but this week I got back into it with a few books friends have lent me. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about the birth process and things like induction, along with ways I can hopefully encourage a natural birth. They have all carried a similar message, and I really appreciate the normalising of it all; the empowerment that we were made to do this and our bodies are pretty spectacular. I also love that there are definitely things you can actively do during birth to help things progress.
The messages are getting pretty repetitive, which makes me feel a bit more prepared for what will come, and also lets me know it’s time to move onto a new book and topic – HypnoBirthing. We start our classes in a few weeks and I’m loving this book so far. I’ve been taking a cup of tea up to bubs’ room, sitting on the daybed with sweet baby clothes all around me, reading and daydreaming. I’ll let you know how I find the classes, of course, but I have a really good feeling about them.
This week I’ve been trying to do indulgent things that I won’t be able to do as easily or spontaneously once our baby arrives. Little things, like visiting certain cafes and restaurants that maybe aren’t so baby friendly, and going to the movies. Sunday night saw Mad Max (whoa) and ate choc tops, then went out for burgers. It was swell.
Gender thoughts this week are: I’ll be surprised if it’s a boy, but I’ll be more surprised if it’s a girl. Meaning, I have no major feelings both ways but I think I can hear my gut telling me a little louder that it’s a boy…I think. Does that make sense? Perhaps it’s just my baby brain logic. Ben and I are on the same page regarding gender thoughts and ever so slight gut feels.
This week went FAST, man. We had a particularly splendid weekend, celebrating my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary with family on Saturday, and then painting the cabinet in bubs’ room (the one mum was sanding here). I begged Ben for this retro cabinet about four years ago, which we found on Smith St in the city, and on Sunday we took it from blue, red and yellow to more neutral, soft tones. We kept the yellow and selected Porters Paints (fabulous quality, no VOC, chalk paints) for to cover the blue and red (“chalk” instead of blue and “nut brown” over the red). I’ve never been a home reno type of gal, but this painting and reorganising and planning is quite fun.
? Low iron
My tiredness has persisted for a while, unreasonably so (well, besides the whole ‘growing a human’ thing). My mum mentioned that perhaps my iron levels were low, and I thought “AHHHHHH, of course!” I have a history of low iron, needing supplements (though I do eat meat weekly, my family has a history or poor iron absorption). Prior to falling pregnant I was on a stronger supplement (with good iron levels and stores). Switching to my prenatal vitamin resulted in a drop in the dose I was taking, and I think maybe I’m just now needing a but more. Your iron requirements double during pregnancy, so I’m not surprised. I should have thought of it earlier, actually. I started taking my old supplement every other day and I’ll get a blood test next week. My obstetrician also gave me the referral for the glucose tolerance test, both of which I will do during week 26. Oh, joy. I’m not really looking forward to that test (the sweet drink and the need to sit for two hours after ingestion).
Leg cramps and sleep
The night-time leg cramps continue, though they’re not that bad. A warm bath helps. And I really need to start thinking about getting a pregnancy pillow. I think it will make a whole lot of difference to the sleep situation. My belly falls kind of awkwardly when sleeping on the side (as is the recommendation for good blood flow), and as a result my hips can ache, so sleep is not as comfortable as it once was. But in the scheme of things, it's all pretty good. I just keep propping myself up with pillows and getting leg massages from Ben, the good fellow.
My porridge kick continues, specifically chocolate porridge. I’ll add some raw cacao, cacao nibs or raw chocolate pieces to the bowl. I think it’s the magnesium! At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I’ve also been loving on walnuts and citrus fruits. Most nights I’ll have an orange or grapefruit after dinner.
Last week I didn’t eat pasta once (!!! Who am I?) so made up for it this week by having spaghetti twice. Food is getting more and more enjoyable every day, specifically breakfast and dinner. And though lunchtime is still annoying, usually arriving before I'm ready or have any clue as to what sounds good, I'll usually get around to fashioning a salad (my favourite way to get in lots of vegetables). I'm thankful for Dad's commitment to his sourdough. I get loaves almost weekly and they've been a lunchtime saviour when I'm not salading. Avocado and/or cheese toast with cut-up vegetables on the side is a favourite, fast meal. Or if I'm smart, I've made some of my nut, seed and oat loaf and can simply grab a slice or two from the freezer and throw it in the toaster.
Solo pasta meals
This week started with a lovely walk, as usual, and a day at home working with Ben. He was in Brisbane at the start of the week, which meant I had 3 solo dinners (2 of which were pasta, duh). Clearly pasta is my favourite food, and my go-to solo meal is invariably a bowl of tuna pasta. My pasta portions have always been a sight for sore eyes, but now? They’re even more keen. Especially when I forget to pimp out my snack beyond a piece of fruit or handful of nuts. Monday to Wednesday was crazy busy for me, and so I relied on an eager bowl of pasta to account for the extra calories for bubs. Pretty please send your favourite pasta recipes my way! I’m needing protein-rich, fast pasta sauce ideas that don’t involve tuna.
Belly growth and skin colour changes
In terms of my body, it’s all about the belly and how gosh darn big it seems to be getting. I walked past the mirror the other day and was shocked at what I saw. I don’t feel as though I’m carrying around this extra weight (unless I try to get up off the couch or out of bed), but when I catch a glimpse of myself it’s like WHOA. Also when I see my brother and he giggles uncontrollably and touches the belly. His eyes get wider with each week he sees me grow.
In all these pregnancy posts, I don’t think I’ve mentioned anything about skin colour changes yet. My areolas are super dark (like, super dark), which is not uncommon, neither is the linea nigra I’ve developed right down my belly to my groin. The line is not super dark, but it’s noticeable and kinda cool, I think. Also new? Long dark hairs around my belly button. Sorry/not sorry for the details - it's real life! And honestly I’m finding all these body changes fascinating. My weight’s been steadily gaining, and though I haven’t been weighed (so am not sure of my actual gain), what my body is doing feels good and right and natural, instinctive. There was a slight overall increase in my size early on (legs, but, arms, face, etc), and now it’s all going to the belly.
Some days I’m not that hungry and don’t actually eat more than I would pre-pregnancy. Other days, well, refer to the pasta portion above and note my super keen porridge serves at breakfast. It evens out over time. Stepping back and just listening to what my body wants is a super cool thing to do. Often we eat and select certain foods because of the emotional connection, habit or associations (like chocolate after dinner). Being pregnant and going off certain foods has allowed me to stop and truly listen to what I want at any given time. It’s so neat. As a previous chocolate lover, I’ve only really felt like chocolate a handful of times. What I invariably desire as an after dinner snack is a piece of fruit - an apple, a grapefruit or a few preservative-free dried apricots. Baby likes the fruit!
Over the weekend I went to Portsea with my girlfriends and had a marvellous time. I’m a huge fan of sleepovers with friends, they’re the best - making dinner or getting fish and chips, drinking wine (well, in my past life!), chatting and watching movies. I knew it would be a while until I could do this again and so relished those two nights with my girls. We made a mocha and black bean mousse cake, which was delicious, and a vegetable curry, which satisfied some serious cravings. Rather appropriately, we watched Father of The Bride 2.
Speaking of weekends away, I'm planning a mini vacation for Ben and I later in June. We'll be staying home, not travelling, and I'm forcing him to disconnect from his work for 4 days so he can replenish his stores! Though he’ll take some leave when bubs arrives, I know he'll be focussed on me and the baby, so I want this long weekend to be about him! I'm having a lot of fun planning little things we can do and places to eat...
I finally bought a Snoogle. $90 for a pillow, I know, I know, but it's something I have been lusting after for a while, and many friends have raved about theirs. It's a giant, snake-like support pillow and it feels at once entirely indulgent and entirely necessary. I was lying in bed last night, propped up in every possible and appropriate way, marvelling at how comfortable I was. I even convinced Ben to try it out. Seriously, all I want to do is snoogle. To think my mum and grandmother used a regular pillow to sleep! How marvellous to live in an age when people create products for us to happily get sucked into.
I sent these pictures to my brother and he put dibs on it after I've finished. That'll never happen. But perhaps I'll buy him one for Christmas...
Lastly, the bassinet I ordered online arrived! Saturday morning I proclaimed I couldn't wait any longer so we put on some tunes, sat on the floor and assembled it. Even though we have a few months to go, I'm pleased we put it together now, as it certainly has a strong "new" smell and can do with a bit of airing out time. The Tasman Eco Amore Bassinet came highly recommended (well, as far as I can see...there wasn't a lot of information out there), and though it presently only holds a few soft toys, we're really happy with our purchase. I had a moment as I was pretending to be helpful while Ben assembled it... I've seen so many images of parents-to-be assembling cots for their newborn. It felt really surreal to be doing it ourselves. This is where our baby, this little person kicking inside my belly, will sleep.
And now we're at the start of week 27! The start of my seventh month of pregnancy and the last week of my second trimester. I find it completely bonkers that I will be in my third trimester in a week. And that in about 13 weeks our baby will be here. I cannot wait to meet this little person we created.