I have no idea if these posts will become a regular thing on NCK, but I haven’t written much since announcing that I’m having a baby, and I’ve been having some strange behavior and cravings that are worth recording. It’s probably more interesting for my own documentation and family and friends, but, then again, it’s fun comparing pregnancies so maybe other mamas, mama-to-be, or future mamas will enjoy reading. I can’t say there’s necessarily any good wisdom to offer, but we’ll see how it unfolds!
Baby Schatteman is doing great! Steve and I are so thankful that midwife appointments and ultrasounds have been entirely uneventful. At the anatomy scan (i.e., 20 week ultrasound), which will likely be our last ultrasound, we found out our baby is about 12 ounces and that my placenta is high posterior–both good things. I had read a bit about placenta previa, so I was relieved the position was fine.
He or she (we’re finding out the gender at birth) is moving around a fair bit. It’s definitely hard to say how much when it’s your first pregnancy, since there’s nothing to compare it to, but the last week or so I’ve noticed much more clearly when baby is movin’ around. It’s usually when I’m most relaxed: laying down, sitting, or indulging in a little dessert. Steve felt the movement externally before I was able to decipher it, but now I’ve had plenty of turns, too. It’s the weirdest feeling, but it’s already started to help me connect with my baby as we respond to each other’s activities. Judging by movement, I think pillow talk time might be one of its favorites, listening to Mom and Dad (okay, mostly Mom) chatter, and, for some reason, I think the movement in reaction to excessive dog barking is in protest. Quiet down puggies!
Okay, so here’s where we get to the fun stuff. My first trimester wasn’t anything out of the ordinary: I was nauseous every day but never threw up, and not much food sounded good besides cheese, crackers, and bread. I was exhausted and urinated constantly. Turns out the second trimester is a lot more interesting!
The Belly/Weight Gain/Body Changes
I thought I’d be a candidate for massive pregnancy weight gain, being that I showed early (maternity clothes at ten to twelve weeks) and gained well in my first trimester: about a pound a week. However, the second trimester has seen my weight really level out at about 15 to 18 pounds of total gain up to this point, despite hoover-like tendencies. I’m only tracking about two days past my original due date, so all is well with the baby, and I think given my intake, my weight is about to take an upswing again soon!
Physically, I love the bump! I have been waiting since I first found out I was pregnant to start showing, and it’s so glorious that everyone notices now. It’s weird, though, that it’s hard to judge the bump size myself. As early as 14 or 15 weeks, I still felt like there wasn’t much, but people started commenting without reservations, or asking if I needed help with things. I’m constantly asking Steve, “Are you sure you can tell I’m pregnant? Even in a sweatshirt?” Ummmm, yes honey, you’re definitely pregnant. I do feel like the bump size leveled out when my weight gain did, but these days it’s coming out more and more. Good/bad news: I can barely zip my winter coats, but I’ve had several mom friends offer me their maternity jackets, which I now admit are a total necessity in cold climates.
The rest of my body is holding up pretty well. I’ve been out of exercise for a few weeks, thanks to sickness, but I’m excited to get back to my routine of gentle walking, yoga, and lifting. I know it’s going to make a huge difference in labor so I don’t want to fall off that wagon.
My weight gain is going mostly to my lower body (booty and belly), and, although it’s superficial, I’m pretty pumped I haven’t blown up in my face or arms yet. I also have no swelling to speak of yet! I’m seeing a chiropractor twice a week to give myself the best possible pregnancy and labor, even with a mild case of scoliosis, but I’m still having some mid-back pain, especially at night, after a day of sitting or standing. I’m hopeful that it’s partially due to the chiropractic work shifting my body back into alignment after years of curvature and unevenness.
One final minor, but impactful, observation: instead of plopping down onto the floor to put on my shoes, it’s become essential that I sit on a step or chair. At least I can still put on shoes besides slip ons!
During October I had a severe cold and maybe a touch of the flu. It was as miserable as you might expect, not being able to take anything for the pain or congestion. I ate Boston Market mashed potatoes and gravy, soup, and applesauce for nearly a week. Steve was a saint, waiting on me hand and foot and handling almost all of the dog duties (and putting up with a complete lack of real food in the house).
Fast forward to now, and, at every meal, we’re laughing about how my appetite has gone through the roof. I think about food like my dad thinks about coffee: I must know when the next snack or meal is happening, and preferably what I’ll be consuming. Pre-pregnancy, I ate heartily at meals, but I actually wasn’t a huge snacker. Maybe some fruit or nuts or a little cheese between meals, but I didn’t depend on it most days. Now I’m eating at least every two hours, in large portions. Our six hour drive to Vermont saw me eat a bagel and cream cheese, decaf almond latte, half a bag of TJ’s trail mix, Greek salad, tropical broccoli salad, and then a little more of that trail mix. Second breakfast has become commonplace. Despite the cravings below, I’m trying my best to keep at least some snacks healthy and protein packed, like hard boiled eggs, leftover kale salad, trail mix, and…you guessed it…cheese.
Now being pregnant, I can’t imagine what it’s like being the people who said they didn’t have pregnancy cravings, because I’m having some very distinct “cravings”. Although, I think they’re better described as new tastes that I just want all the time. Here are two standouts from the last couple weeks:
- MAYO!!!! Specifically, mayo on toasted bread as part of a sandwich. I wasn’t that crazy for mayo before pregnancy, but now a thick slather of it on toast sounds like a pretty appetizing breakfast. Over our anniversary weekend in Vermont, a BLT with herbed mayo and a veggie burger on brioche with plenty of plain mayo (and sweet potato fries dipped in it) rocked my world. I’m not the biggest stickler for traditional pregnancy food safety rules, but I try to consume the pasteurized stuff or even vegan mayo when I can.
- Sugar. Ugh, it’s so bad, and I know it’s not great for me (or my impending glucose test), but I have developed THE biggest sweet tooth in the second trimester. Pre-pregnancy, I almost laughed at the “you-can-quit-sugar” diet programs, as I was just a salty snack person and never had a problem with self-control and sugar. Now, though, I go into deep thought over which candy bar to buy at the checkout, my car doors are jammed with mini Snickers wrappers, and when we went to the Vermont Farmers Market over vacation, I stopped to ohhh and ahhh over every candy, donut (see photo above), cookie, pie and brownie, before deciding to take home some PB chocolate fudge and a maple frosted yeast donut (that didn’t make it even five minutes into the drive back).
If I could paint the entire interior of our home gray, I would, so we (okay, I) thought it would be a good idea to branch into some warmer neutrals in the nursery. I pinned a few things before seeing that I liked a warmer, cream and tan color scheme. Because I’m terrible at decorating, have high hopes for the baby’s space, and we have construction work to do in the room (hard wood floor replacement and closet design), we sprung for hiring a designer. Beth has been awesome to work with so far: she found us a rug that Steve would like to roll around on all day long and a truly gender neutral crib that I’ve never seen before. It converts through to the late teen years, from crib, to toddler bed, and finally to full size bed headboard. It was the easiest decorating decision I’ve ever made to go with that crib! More nursery updates as the process progresses. The plus side of hiring a pro is that she’ll have pro photos taken of the room! Interiors photography is a true art, and not my strongest area.
Speaking of cribs, the nursery timing isn’t crucial, because we’ll likely sleep the baby close to us for a while. The pugs are currently working on sleeping like good little boys on the floor, so it’s not a total shock when we bring home a tiny human who’s above them in the pack order.
Up until a year or so ago, I was the type of person who was sure that I wanted an epidural. I had no confidence whatsoever in my ability to birth a child, and, in my mind, it seemed like a pretty dangerous affair. That all changed when I started thinking about babies, followed a couple birth accounts on Instagram, and eventually found my way to Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I realized that birth is amazing and I want to experience it as intervention-free as possible. Actually, it became a factor in my readiness to even attempt having a baby, fearing that my local options for the type of birth I wanted were almost nonexistent. All I heard around me was talk of hospitals and epidurals; nothing about midwives or natural birth. It was scary, but we decided to open ourselves to the possibility of a child without a solid plan for the birth.
When I found out I was pregnant, I guess I just did what I had to do. I know the hospital is not the best option for me, but Steve, and me to some extent, wasn’t comfortable with a home birth for our first child. Essentially, we want a natural experience with emergency care available quickly if it’s needed. That lead me to the only freestanding birth center in Connecticut, which just so happens to be located across the street from a large hospital. Luckily, it’s a small state, so the 50 minute drive is possible. Not exactly the 15 minutes to the nearest hospital, but our preparations will include lots of logistical and labor planning to be as prepared as we can (for contractions in the back of a truck! yay!). Steve is in the midst of plotting all 17 routes from our home to the birth center, just in case there’s traffic.
So far, I’ve been so thrilled with the relaxed, hands-off approach of midwife care. Yes, I’m sure it has something to do with my so-far complication free pregnancy, but I don’t feel like I’m going through an interrogation every time I have an appointment, which has always been a major issue for me with OB/GYN care. Almost everything, from genetic testing to ultrasounds, is presented as an option, not standard procedure, and I haven’t felt pressured to decide strongly one way on anything.
Another big development is that we hired our doula very early on–before the end of the first trimester. A big reason for that is that, as an outpatient facility, the birth center typically admits women around 5 or 6 centimeters dilation, so there will be a lot of laboring at home, as well as the need for an educated decision on when to leave for the drive to the birth center. Although Steve is highly competent and level headed, we know that all births are different and that emotions will definitely come into play, and we’re opting for an objective, experienced (400+ births!) third party to help us make those decisions.
Okay, so that was a TON of baby info and thoughts, but I have a lot of catching up to do being halfway through the pregnancy with no blog updates. Next time may not be quite as detailed and will hopefully not be another 22 weeks away!