My first trimester with baby number two
I started writing this post one year ago. Well, not this exact one. When I found out I was pregnant last year in May, I started a different online journal. I called it Growing Baby Number Two I can't bring myself to look at it. The blind optimism breaks my heart. During that pregnancy, and also when I was pregnant with Joan, it never crossed my mind that things wouldn't progress. I knew miscarriage was a possibility, I just didn't think it would happen. But then it did.
This time around, I didn't keep a journal. Being present with my pregnancy was scary, as I was afraid all the wonderful and hard things I was experiencing would suddenly stop. Taking notes felt presumptuous. So I distracted myself in the hope that the weeks would pass quickly and the pregnancy would progress. I felt so connected to this little person, and certain that he or she would be in my arms in October, but I also knew that even when you feel sure about these things, it might not happen. I tried to not think about how much I wanted this baby, because if I did then I started to worry. And worrying was useless, of course, because there was nothing I could do about it. I just had to wait. The weeks dragged, as tends to be the case in early pregnancy. And although I started to believe fairly early on that this pregnancy would progress, I still didn't keep a journal. It wasn't until our twelve week scan that I began to open my heart to it all. And then at fifteen weeks, when I saw our baby again, I finally felt free - free to acknowledge and FEEL everything that was happening, as well as everything that had happened over the past few months and everything that may happen in the future.
I wasn't going to do pregnancy posts this time around. Not too long ago, when I wasn't pregnant and so dearly wanted to be, these sort of posts were precisely what I didn't want to read. And so I hesitated, because in my mind are all the people who don't want to read about someone else's pregnancy. If this is you, I hope you will protect their hearts and skip past these ones, as I did when it wasn't my season (also, skip past them if they're just generally not your thing). Because I really do want to write about this time in my life. I have kept a journal for as long as I remember; it helps me to process my world, my experiences, and it's also a lovely thing for me to look back on (I recently read over the notes I kept when I was pregnant with Joan and I am so grateful to have that record). So I will be sharing my pregnancy on the blog, starting with a recap of the first trimester. While I didn't keep a journal, my memory is quite good and when I look back over my camera roll I can recall the kind of things my body and mind were going through.
I believe I ovulated right before our Point Leo camping trip in January, and I didn't test until I was around 5 weeks, so we'll start there (as the first few weeks of pregnancy are spent menstruating, ovulating and implanting). Lastly, in terms of supplements I have been taking these two for months and months: a prenatal and a fish oil (though I'm not consistent with the fish oil).
I mentioned in my pregnancy announcement post that I took a home pregnancy test one Saturday morning while Ben was in Sydney. What I didn't tell you was how I shared the news with Ben. Later that day, when he arrived home, the three of us sat at the kitchen bench discussing the weekend ahead. I suggested we go up to the city the following day to do a bulk shop at Terra Madre (which is something we tend to do every six weeks), and he agreed. I asked him to grab me a pen so I could make a shopping list, and while he did this I suggested we go out for breakfast before the shops so that we could celebrate. He started to ask me what we'd be celebrating while reaching into the drawer for a pen, but stopped when we saw the positive pregnancy test, which I had put there in place of the pen. His eyes doubled in size and he kept repeating, "No way!". Later on he told me that earlier in the week he wondered whether I may be pregnant, as I hadn't mentioned my period coming (and he knew it was due), but he NEVER expected that it would actually happen straight away. The look on his face said it all - I can't believe this happened, I am so happy, we are so lucky, this is AMAZING.
I tested positive on February 17th, and that night we celebrated a friend's birthday. My parents were there, too, and outside in the garden, as we watched Joan play, I told my mum I was pregnant. "I know", she said. There was no reason she should know - I hadn't told her my period didn't come and Ben hadn't let the news slip, and yet she was entirely unsurprised. Excited and thrilled, but unsurprised. She knew.
Symptom-wise, the things that led me to suspect I may be pregnant were a change in cramping pattern/sensation and persistently tender breasts, but that was all I felt at this stage. I longed to be bowled over with sickness (as I felt like nausea would provide me with some comfort that the pregnancy was progressing), but I knew most people don't tend to feel queasy until about week 6.
This week I began to feel twinges in the area around my uterus. I felt the same thing with Joan, only when I was a little further along. These sensations always felt so good, giving me the feeling that my body was busy growing a baby. In anticipation of impending nausea, this week I made sure to eat lots of vegetables and quinoa (like in the picture above). I assumed I might go off those foods for a while and wanted to get as much goodness in before the desire for McDonalds kicked in (more on that below). And to my delight, towards the end of week six I began to feel queasy. It wasn't intense, rather waves of nausea throughout the day. I took this as a sign I should rest on the couch and watch Law & Order while Joan napped.
I also stopped going on morning walks at this time. The area around my uterus felt heavy, and walking for extended periods wasn't comfortable. My morning walk aversion didn't last long, only around two weeks. In terms of other symptoms, I felt quite bloated this week (and for the next month!), and my bowels were all over the place. I was also really gassy, but unable able to expel it, so it'd just sit in my tummy, making me super uncomfortable.
Oomf, the nausea really kicked up a notch this week. No food or fluids appealed, and the only foods that sounded ok (not good, just ok) were potatoes, tuna casserole (see below), baked beans (see picture at the top of the post), berries (above) and popsicles (I went to the shops and bought a bunch of these). With my miscarriage last May/June, the nausea never really got too intense. It was there, I certainly felt sick, but it wasn't like how it was with Joan. And with the loss in November, I wasn't far along to develop those kind of symptoms. This time around, I felt sick like I did with Joan, only worse. And that wonderful/awful feeling was such a comfort.
I could tell the nausea was getting stronger when I began fantasising about McChicken burgers. When I was pregnant with Joan, I developed a strong desire to eat McChickens. French fries and a sweet, syrupy coke also sounded great, but really, it was all about the McChicken. As a kid I'd eat them occasionally (on road trips or after ballet concerts), but not often. And ordinarily I NEVER feel like them - they just don't appeal. So I'm not sure why they become so intensely desirable when I am pregnant. Probably because they're the PERFECT FOOD. Ha, just kidding. But when I'm pregnant, that's precisely how I feel. With Joan's pregnancy, Ben and I went on one McDonald's date at 12 weeks and it was glorious. This time around I only went once, also (on our road trip up to Bright when I was 10 weeks). And it was freakin' amazing. I expect I would have gone a few more times in the early weeks, had I not always had Joan with me (I didn't want her to learn what those golden arches mean just yet). Ben would offer to do an evening Maccas run when he got home from work, but I didn't want it at that time because I really wanted the coke and because I was off caffeine, I knew it'd keep me up at night and I didn't think it was worth feeling tired the next day (serious problems here, folks). So, once it was. I would still picture them, though. If I felt nauseated or was having a dry retching attack, the thought of a McChicken and french fries would instantly make me feel better (like seriously, it was magic). When I was researching recipes for clients, I would have a google images page open of McChicken burgers, just to glance at every now and then. I realise how odd this may sound (though I know there's some ladies out there who get me!), but they really made me feel better. So I will forever have a soft spot for the old McChicken.
This week started with a long weekend in Red Hill, where we visited a winery (obvs just water for me) and ate fish & chips by the beach. I was also fortuitously sent a box of Thomas Chipman organic chips - hurrah! I always love potato crisps, and during pregnancy my love deepens. Often I'd crack some open after lunch when Joan was napping. Potatoes in general tended to go down a treat. I'd often roast a tray of dutch creams, which I'd cut into wedges and serve at dinner alongside some fish or an omelette. Oh, and speaking of fish, I purchased some frozen, crumbed fish fillets, which were brilliant. Again, they're a food I don't ordinarily find appealing but when I'm pregnant and feeling like crap, they sounds really good.
Towards the middle of this week we had our first appointment with our Obstetrician. Heading into it I was nervous - worried that we'd have the same, devastating experience as last time. I also felt numb, which was perhaps my mind's way of protecting myself from the heartache that could very realistically lie ahead of me. However as soon as my OB put the wand on my belly, she told Ben to come and have a look at our baby, who was growing perfectly and had a healthy heartbeat. I was so relieved to hear those beautiful words. I did feel that everything was ok, but you just never know. I told her my estimated ovulation date (which was later than most women) and based on how far along the baby appeared to be based on the scan, we added a few days onto my estimated due date, making it October 24th. So at this point, rather than being 8 weeks 3 days, I was actually 7 weeks 6 days. It's only a few days difference, but at that stage of pregnancy, hitting a new week feels like a HUGE milestone, so it was certainly noteworthy.
Symptoms-wise, those twinges would come and go. Eventually the heavy feeling went and I was able to resume my morning walks. I felt slightly more tired than usual but unlike many women, I'm not someone to be overcome with fatigue during early pregnancy. Though I did my fair share of couch hanging. Ordinarily Joan doesn't watch much tv - maybe 1-2 episode of Play School a week. When the nausea came on, though, I was SO up for a bit of couch time/tv distraction. Joan tends to play better on her own and be less whiney when we don't watch screens, but the short-term benefit to me totally felt worth it. Most days we watched an episode of Play School or two (or this newly re-discovered Peter Rabbit show from my childhood) and perhaps some Olympic figure-skating or gymnastics. We also watched this movie a couple of times.
The nausea and gagging continued this week. I couldn't use the stove or the oven, or open the fridge (and especially the freezer) without gagging. And not just one gag, as was the case when I was pregnant with Joan; it was either multiple gags in a row or full-blown retching over the sink. I only had one intense retching episode with Joan, whereas this time it was at least a daily occurrence from about week 8. Even talking about food would bring it on. Needless to say, meal planning went out the window. Ben stepped up to cook dinner most nights, or we'd eat food I had made and frozen pre-pregnancy. My gagging would also be triggered by clothes that were too tight around my neck, or when I was brushing my teeth. The gagging was also much worse when my blood sugar levels were low. While the nausea would be there all day no matter what, the gagging was much worse first thing in the morning when my stomach was empty (in addition to being in the kitchen, etc), so I tried to eat something like fruit or toast as soon as I woke.
Salad sandwiches were actually really tolerable, so we ate a lot of those (like the curried egg salad sandwich pictured above). And porridge became appealing again, for the first time in over two years! Though the thought of hemp seeds and other fancy toppings made me feel sick, so I kept it pretty basic with either maple syrup or honey, a little ground cinnamon and maybe some nut butter. Fish and chips continued to be a highly appealing dinner option (ooh, maybe we'll have that for dinner tonight!), as did curry from the freezer with rice. Ohhhhhh, but I banned Ben from reheating leftover rice the following day. One time he did that and the smell sent me into the most violent gagging episode. In terms of vegetables, I didn't have any crazy aversions like last time (where beetroot and zucchini were so sincerely offensive), however I certainly didn't love veggies. The ones I could most easily tolerate were carrots and peas. Often I would need to eat dinner in two sittings - half with the family, before retreating to the couch to lie down, and then half when Joan was in bed. And, like last pregnancy, I would sometimes cover my veg in tomato sauce.
Joan became quite interested in the belly this week. Ben and I didn't discuss when we'd share the news with her, I guess we both thought we'd just do whatever felt right. Well, at our 8 week appointment, as soon as we saw our healthy babe on the screen, Ben told her what was happening. I'm glad he did, because it felt so good to include her in this process. Joan decided on our baby's womb name, as I mentioned at the bottom of this post, and over the next few weeks she began to wrap her head around the idea that there was a baby in my belly. She would constantly ask to see the baby, which meant I had to pull up my top and show her my bare belly (she would not accept seeing my belly covered in clothes). And after about a week of looking at the belly, she started patting it and talking to the baby, "Hi, Croissanty!". Those moments would (and still do) completely melt my heart. It feels like a really big deal to be able to give her the gift of a sibling.
So while we loved the fact that Joan knew about the baby, having her keep our news a secret was tricky. I mean, obviously, she's two. After nearly outing me at a family lunch, I told her that for now, we were only mentioning the baby to her grandparents. I suggested that if she wanted to tell someone, she could first ask me by whispering in my ear. Magically, that worked. After that conversation, whenever we were around friends, she would come up close and whisper, "Can I tell there's a baby in your belly?". And while most of the people I permitted her to tell already knew, I loved watching her share our news, all the same.
Right before we ticked over to 10 weeks I had an appointment with my OB to quickly see the baby. She kindly offered me an extra appointment between weeks 8 and 12 to reassure me all was ok, and I am so pleased she did! Seeing bubba again was another magical moment, and at this point it slowly started to sink in that this might just be happening.
We spent the first half of this week camping in Bright with my cousin, her husband and their two young boys. The trip was wonderful; we had so much fun and it was great to be out in fresh air. Oh and on the way up, while Joan was asleep, I GOT MY MCDONALD'S HIT. It was amazing. What was less amazing, was the fact that people in camping grounds love to cook on BBQs. The smell of onion cooking was utterly repulsive, and I ended up buying a bag of Killer Python lolly snakes that I would keep in my jacket pocket and sniff like a mad woman whenever I could smell people cooking.
This week I definitely noticed a little belly happening that was more than simply bloating, which made me so happy. Other than that, I cannot recall much, symptom-wise. The nausea and gagging continued, and the thought of food remained just meh. Except for soup! I started craving soup, which I was really pleased about because it was a way to stay hydrated (drinking enough water is hard for me in pregnancy) and get in some nutritious food. Mum kindly made us two batches of soup (one vegetable, the other pumpkin), which I frozen and ate for lunches with grilled cheese toast.
This week was pretty non-eventful. Much to my relief, I began to feel more productive with work, and was busy in that regard. Again, the nausea and gagging continued. Oh and my belly totally popped this week, becoming a real, little bump. Halfway through the week I posted the picture below, which I now know raised some suspicions from people with a keen eye for pregnant bellies.
We started this week with our 12 week scan. Although I felt nervous going into it, Ben was so confident and sure, and I think his calmness rubbed off on me. I was grateful to have scheduled the appointment for first thing in the morning, so we didn't have to spend the day waiting. At 9:45am on Wednesday 11th of April, we saw our little babe in my uterus, dancing around the screen. I was in such shock, seeing this perfect being - even more so than when I saw Joan at 12 weeks. After everything that had happened - the two losses and then getting pregnant without medication - it felt completely surreal that it was actually happening. It still does, to be honest.
After the appointment I sent a text around to all the friends and family I hadn't yet seen and told in person, announcing our happy news. Over the weeks I had seen a number of friends and told them I was pregnant, but many good friends still didn't know and it felt so good to blurt it all out and receive such excited responses.
The rest of the week passed in a blissful blur. Curiously, instead of just dry retching I started vomiting this week. Three times in total, I think. That was weird. I ate much of the same things (fruit! salad sandwiches!) and I started going on more walks. I also took Joan out for a cake date to celebrate her becoming a big sister. She is so excited to meet her baby brother or sister (though she's pretty sure it's boy), and tells me she wants to rock the baby when it comes out in October. Previously she wasn't interested in dolls but now she's all about them, laying them down to sleep and cuddling them when they cry. And even though she does this really strange, loud, slightly disturbing Dinosaur-like cry when pretending to be a baby, it's really sweet.
Finally, the last week of the first trimester! It's about time! This week I announced on our pregnancy on Instagram and the blog. I also started wearing more bump-hugging clothes and bought a new pair of maternity jeans from Just Jeans using a voucher Ben had. They're not the best pair of jeans I've owned, but they're doing the job.
Every now and then I'd have to remind myself that from this point on, statistically speaking, we should be ok. Our baby should keep growing. I never had those concerns when I was pregnant with Joan, but they were there this time. And I'm lucky in that when they crept in, Ben would comfort me by perfectly articulating that everything would be ok.
This week I started to get some nausea-free moments throughout the day, which was awesome! Food started to get a bit easier and I found myself enjoying certain things, like fried eggs and avocado toast, whereas previously it was a case of what I could or couldn't tolerate.
I also started daydreaming about the birth. The thought of giving birth again gets me so excited, as we had the most wonderful experience the first time around. I know it won't be exactly the same with this bub, in fact it could be wildly different, but I'm excited all the same. This week I met with one of the midwives at the hospital where I'll be delivering (which is the same place I gave birth to Joan), and it left me wondering whether will this baby be breech again...and whether it be a fairly quick labour, like last time (dear Lord, I hope so).
That's it, folks! I'm now 17 weeks and thrilled to be in the second trimester. I now only gag occasionally, when thinking about food or brushing my teeth. And last night I felt our baby kick while resting my hand on my belly. I've been feeling movements for a while now, but this was the first time I felt it from the outside. I cannot tell you how happy it made me.