2nd Trimester Check-in

As I near the start of my third trimester (!!), I am checking in on how the second trimester of this second pregnancy has gone. I love reading comparisons of first and second pregnancies on other blogs, and I have a funny obsession with bump pics that show the full progression of mom-and-baby development. I just think it’s amazing what our bodies can do to accommodate growing a tiny human.

12 weeks: Some would say I’m still in the first trimester, but at twelve weeks I’m feeling brave enough to start documenting this pregnancy. I’ve been showing since about ten weeks (a full eight weeks earlier than my pregnancy with Sky), but this is the week people really start commenting.
Feeling: Still nauseous pretty much all day. This pregnancy it started at six weeks, and I’ve actually vomited several times which wasn’t the case with Sky. Seems like a lot of other second-time moms have harder second pregnancies, so I guess I’m not alone in this.
Eating: Cottage cheese with cold cantaloupe, plain bagels, cold water with lemon. Steamed carrots and plain rice; heated chicken broth and dry toast; plain pasta with butter and salt. I want to eat more green vegetables but I just can’t even get near them.
Noticing: Crazy dreams and insomnia.

Week 14: I had my midwife appointment this week and got to hear the baby’s heartbeat again, always reassuring for this post-miscarriage mother. I’ve decided to go back to my regular OB and primary care doctor rather than the midwife practice.
Feeling: Starting to feel a lot better this week! Nausea hits me at about 4 pm and doesn’t let me go until I fall asleep, but it’s lovely to actually feel hungry in the morning.
Eating: Cottage cheese and cantaloupe, oatmeal, bananas, NO more cooked tomatoes (heartburn).
News: I got in touch with our doula to see if she’s available in January. She is! Knowing I’ll have these familiar faces with me throughout the pregnancy is a comfort. It’s starting to feel real!

Week 17:
Feeling: Caught a nasty cold, but otherwise I’ve been feeling really well. Nausea only hits me sporadically now– when I go too long without a snack, or spend too much time in the heat.
Eating: Salads are back! Eggs, beans, and raw tomatoes– all things I’ve missed and also been repulsed by for three long months. Oranges, chia pudding, and peanut butter.
News: I’ve started to feel baby kick! Maybe flutter-kick is a better word at this point. Mostly in the evenings, and sometimes during the day after I’ve had some fruit or cold juice. Speaking of which. Grapefruit! Where have you been all my life?! I can’t get enough.

Week 20:
Feeling: So good! I have way more energy, which is a blessing as I officially start writing grant proposals for a new client this week. Baby is kicking a lot and Lyle has even been able to feel baby’s kicks a few times.
Eating: Everything. My appetite is much better and we’re enjoying some of our old favorites: lentils and greens, grilled salmon, chicken soup, and veggie tacos with avocado. Still steering clear of alliums and going through about two cantaloupes a week.
News: We’re having a boy! I’ve had a feeling there was a little boy spirit waiting for us ever since we began thinking about having a second child, and now he’s on his way. We are thrilled, and looking forward to a new experience. Lyle comes from a family of brothers, and I have one sister, so neither of us really knows what it’s like to grow up with a sibling of the opposite sex. We’ll be learning along with Sky.

Week 22:
Feeling: Meh. This week I’ve had a return of nausea, possibly stress-induced or dehydration-related. I’ve also felt reeeaaaally tired. I think this may be due to officially returning to work for the first time in several years, even if it’s very part time right now. It’s also been hard to get regular exercise due to intermittent dangerous air quality from the 33 wildfires currently ravaging Oregon. BUT, baby is really kicking now, and I just love that. So. Much.
Eating: Cream of wheat, oatmeal, smoothies, homemade bread, oh, let’s see and some carbs.
News: We went for our baby’s echocardiogram this week, following up on what appeared to be a tiny hole in his heart on our anatomy scan. Everything looked normal and healthy!! What a tremendous relief. We also got much clearer pictures of his little feet and hands. He is still head up at this point, kicking my lower belly. I began to feel some relief from sleeplessness and nausea after getting the reassuring news. Also, I don’t fit in my non-maternity green tank top anymore, so stripes it is.

Week 25:
Feeling: More nausea. I had a good two weeks of feeling relatively normal, and then the queasiness returned. It’s different than the first trimester in that I’m not repulsed by everything, but it’s hard to read my body’s cues. Am I hungry? Too full? Oh, I’m starving! Quick, eat something. Hm, guess that was the wrong thing? Maybe I’ll try some ice water… whoops, starving again. Nope, now it’s heartburn? Or am I too full? I give up! I tell you, eating is a a chore right now. On the upside, lots of good kicks that I can see from the outside, which is so reassuring and funny and strange. I had some SI/pelvic pain that resolved with a trip to the chiropractor and being more conscious about how I get up from seated or reclining positions.
Eating: Whatever. Doesn’t seem to matter much. See above.
News: The days are getting shorter and colder now. 100 days until our due date! According to Babylist, baby is now the size of an Academy Award trophy. (Love their quirky alternatives to the fruit comparisons.) I’ve been planning a low-key baby shower with my sister, finishing up the mini-nursery in our bedroom, and sorting hand-me-down onesies from friends. Lyle and I are having a hard time deciding on a name this time. We checked out a 2017 name almanac from the library, but most of them are a little too out there for our tastes. (Yes, even for parents who named their first child Sky.)

Week 27:
Feeling: Last week of the second trimester. We’re heading into the last stretch. I’m wondering when baby will arrive, enjoying his kicks, and feeling like I’m starting to slow down a bit. The light is leaving us a lot sooner in the evenings as we head toward fall, meaning it’s a scramble to get this weekly pic done, and no time for a costume change. 😉
Eating: Pretty normal stuff, in small snack-sized portions, with occasional nausea.
News: We have one name that we both like. No middle. I’ve started thinking of this as his name, and talking to him with it, just to see if it feels right. I got a haircut from a friend, and I love it. She took out a ton of weight, so it feels better and I can actually get it into a swim cap now. Plus I love having bangs! Instant style for this low-maintenance mama. I just spray on some coconut sea salt spray and go. Looking forward to a cozy fall and winter with Sky and Lyle as we get closer to our due date.

Continue Reading

On Worry and Motherhood

 

“Worry is the work of motherhood,” Pam England writes in Birthing from Within. For me it began well before birth, before I ever held my first child for the first time.

My first pregnancy was ectopic, so when pregnant the second time with Sky, I experienced a lot of anxiety in the early days and weeks. I was afraid it would happen again, and even after early ultrasounds showed a healthy pregnancy developing in the right place, I worried I would miscarry. My first experience of pregnancy changed how I thought about its relative risks. I didn’t share the same kind of innocent confidence many of my friends seemed to enjoy when pregnant for the first time.

But the more I’ve moved into the wilderness of motherhood, the more I’ve come to understand that worry is part of the territory. It isn’t the only part, and it’s certainly not the characterizing trait. But I think my pre-birth self would have been surprised to discover that many of the women who seemed to sail fearlessly through their pregnancies also worked with shadows and fear. Even when you haven’t experienced loss or complication, pregnancy by its very nature is powerfully vulnerable and mysterious.

A few weeks after Sky was born, on our first outing together in the car, we were T-boned by a driver who ran a stop sign. Sky slept safely through the accident in her car seat, but my door was rendered inoperable by the collision, and I panicked trying to get out to check on Sky. That was my first and only thought after we were hit, after my car stopped spinning. Though my car was totaled and I went through several months of physical therapy, we were more or less fine physically. Emotionally is another story. I still have nightmares about that feeling of powerlessness in trying to get out and get to my baby.

And I still think about the woman who hit us, seven months pregnant at the time and unsure if her baby was okay. She couldn’t see her baby, and I think it’s that quality of the unseen that impresses on us how completely outside of our control most aspects of pregnancy really are.

I read this poem by Kelli Russell Agodon not long after the accident, and it has stuck with me. She has generously allowed me to print it here. Thanks, Kelli.

 

Patron Saint of Worry

For an hour we complained
about everything, about saints,
about the fact no one had invented
a babyproof lock for the bathtub faucet.

You said one morning you found
your two-year-old waist deep
in the tub; you were still

in bed—you had slept late—a tired mother
who three years later, still carries this guilt.

We hadn’t even considered the hot water,
the chance of third degree burns.

For an hour, we said much
of our anxieties are from
being Catholic, from our mothers

who grabbed for baseball bats
even at the slightest sound.

You said your mother made you keep
your two fingers on the panic button

of your home’s alarm while she explored
the basement to make sure no intruders
were around.

We still hear the noises.

We still say grace
at the holidays.
We still pray though worry that God
thinks we’re hard to please.

In the middle of dinner,
you asked me how my daughter
knows her spirit animal is a heron
and how mine is a kingfisher.

I said how sometimes I trade saints
for totems, though

I still wear a St. Christopher medallion
around my neck: Pray, hope, and don’t worry.

Tell me if one day we will live
without carrying our history of grandmothers
next to the mace in our purse,
the other life of a bathtub drowning,
how that might have felt?

Will we ever sleep without wondering
if there’s a door we forgot
to lock? You wear a locket of your son

and think up inventions
for hazards. I keep finding new deities
to keep our family safe.

I want us to invent a god
who hands out winning lottery tickets,
who wakes us each morning
from a dream about a solstice

party with good hummus and red wine,
and tells us there is a forest
of doors we never need to lock.

Kelli Russell Agodon


This poem was one of my first inklings that maybe this specific texture of worry wasn’t confined to pregnancy, but was something I would deal with for the rest of my life as a mother. And in some ways, that’s been true. We worried about SIDS her first year, about choking hazards when she started eating solid foods, about our choice of a first baby-sitter. She’s just over two, and I still go into her room to check her breathing after bedtime most nights.

Each milestone brings new worries along with new joys, and for me that is just the pace of motherhood: a steady walk with worry on one foot and enjoyment on the other. I don’t think it’s really possible to abandon fear entirely– it’s part of our brains, our history, our being made in the image of God. I am interested in simple, practical ways of working with worry, though. And that’s where this phrase, “Worry is the work of motherhood,” has changed for me as Sky has grown. I’ve had to learn to work with my worry, to allow it to be part of me without letting it consume me. Prayer is a big part of that for me.

Lately I’ve been ruminating on Hebrews 11, thinking about how through fear God draws us closer to him. We learn to lean on our faith and trust– our belief in the unseen– to move through fear of things seen and unseen. And it’s startling for me to discover that this is for our good, that we are rewarded in choosing to trust God– by a deepened relationship with him, by the experience of his response to even the smallest details of our lives.

Maybe the forest of doors Kelli writes about is the place we enter after we leave earth. Or maybe the forest is part of our world here and now: God’s kingdom where it interrupts and overlaps with this world. I lock my doors but I try to keep my heart unlocked, to feel both my fears and the intensity of my love for my children. I’m not sure we get to have one without the other in this life.

Continue Reading