Friday, November 24, 2017

Pregnancy: Weeks 17-20

Greetings faithful blog readers,

When we last left off in week 16, I was starting to feel baby movements and my morning sickness was wrapping up. We also enjoyed seeing baby girl during a recreational ultrasound. Now, we had another month stretch until the next doctor's appointment. Perhaps this is a first time pregnancy feeling, but if I had my way, I'd be visiting the doctors once a week. They say "see you in a month," and I'm thinking "Are you kidding?! Do you have any idea how many days that is?!" Here's how the month went:

17 Weeks
Baby Size: A Naval Orange

We announce the big news on the blog and even though it feels scary, I enjoy reading the comments of love, support, and prayers. A few days later, over a year after our loss, I open up about our experience. It's a story I've been preparing myself to tell for a long time, but finding the right words is a challenge. Sharing brings me a sense of relief and further healing. Our first loves are an important part of our story, and I wanted to be able to write about how much we will always love them. People wrote to me about similar experiences, and people wrote just to share condolences and words of support, and with every interaction, I was reminded of how we're all doing our best to make it through life, and we owe each other much gentleness and compassion, and receiving that in abundance was so meaningful: so thank you, dear friends.

Symptoms wise this week, I nearly pass out at acupuncture, (which my doctor has, of course, told me is safe to continue). I think I was simply hungry, but my acupuncturist says no more sessions lying on my back. Waking up in the morning with back pain is a thing, and I become officially reliant on my snoogle to sleep. I feel exhausted after work days and even nauseated one morning (but no vomiting, thankfully!)

18 Weeks 
Baby Size: A bell pepper

I've been making it to yoga routinely, which has been good for relieving my back pain. I still have anxiety, but talking to my therapist and Brendan about it helps. Brendan tells me to cool it on reading the baby books, and that has been good advice. It's easy to get a little too baby focused, and staying busy and focused on normal life (hello grading and manuscript editing) is a good strategy. I trade reading baby books for a terribly written thriller novel, but it surprisingly does help me relax to have my mind otherwise occupied. At dinner on Friday night, Brendan and I get excited about nursery plans, and I make us a pinterest board, so we can share our southwestern theme with friends and family. We also have a handful of top name contenders, though we aren't sharing. It'd be a bummer to get less than excited opinions about the names we love, and it's been so hard just to find a few we like, so mum's the word until baby girl makes her big debut. Brendan starts to talk to our baby (now that she can hear), and those are my favorite moments of the pregnancy (and probably the sweetest moments of my life). I still feel movement, but it's not everyday and is more likely to happen at the end of the day or first thing in the morning, which sometimes leaves me confused about if I was just dreaming.

19 Weeks 
Baby Size: A Mango

Recognize the outfit? Yeah, not as much fits these days! Work is still exhausting (I'm not sure I've mentioned it here, but I took on an overload class halfway through the semester, which has entailed four hours in a row of teaching every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. It's a lot, but I know I can do it). A new symptom pops up this week: heartburn. My cousin Amanda is planning our baby shower, and she gently gives me the nudge I need to start our registry. I'm lucky to have Amanda because, like Brendan, she understands my neurosis but gives me gentle encouragement to think past it. I reach out to friends Lauren (mommy of two), Peggy and Eric (parents of two), and Laura (mommy of twins) to get advice on all things registry. Laura refers me to Lucie's List, which is the most helpful website ever. I take a lot of Lucie's advice, plus the advice from our friends, and it makes registering a lot easier (less time wasted making decisions). On Sunday morning, at about 5:30AM, baby girl is doing gymnastics, so I wake Brendan up, and he gets to feel her move for the first time, which is awesome. We start cleaning out the office to make way for the nursery. Sleep is not the best this week: I'll wake up in the middle of the night and find it hard to get comfortable again, so I'm just awake. Still occasional feelings of nausea, but no vomiting!

20 Weeks
Baby Size: A small banana

We're halfway there, and it feels like a big deal. The baby bump is pretty obvious now. Today is my last day of wearing high heeled boots. I almost fall down a flight of stairs (Brendan is behind me) but catch myself on the railing. It scares us both a lot, and thankfully, my new booties arrive from DSW and are much more comfortable and stable with a lower heel. Heartburn is still hanging around. On Friday, we buy some stuffed toys for the baby's room. Saturday is a big day for baby stuff: our friends Dagan and Steph invite us over and generously give us a rock n' play, pack n' play, exersaucer, play gym, boppy (nursing pillow), bumpo (floor seat with tray), bassinet, and tons of adorable baby girl clothes, shoes, bibs, and blankets. I can't wait to go through it all, but for now, it's stuffed in the office (soon to be nursery) closet.

On Monday, the day before my 20 week anatomy scan, I feel really anxious all day. Even my coworker asks me what's wrong. I can't stop myself from imagining every worse case scenario, and I feel close to tears just thinking about it, so I try to NOT think about it and force myself to go to yoga after work, and then we watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, which always makes me laugh, before bed.

Thankfully, everything on Tuesday goes great. Baby girl's brain, heart, kidneys, stomach, bladder, spine, feet, profile, and all her bones look good. Her measurements put her in the 46th percentile, so she's a perfectly average size for her gestational age. Length isn't measured anymore, but we get baby's first weight measurement: 13 ounces (right where it should be). I'm so thankful.

Baby girl loves to keep her hands next to her face!
It's a good thing I wrote down my questions for the doctor because I'm flooded with relief and all kinds of emotions and probably wouldn't remember them otherwise. I ask if it's okay that I've only gained 6 pounds so far. My doctor says I'd have to lose 20% of my body weight to adversely affect the baby and that most of the weight gain will come in the third trimester. This is why I've got to stop reading the pregnancy books: they are filled with generalizations when every pregnancy is so different.

With the doctor's appointment behind us, we start prepping for Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I've never been more thankful in my life. I finish week 20 by prepping for the holiday and attending a yoga class. Baby movements are more noticeable now, especially at night, and I look forward to feeling her when I'm unwinding from the day. I try to get Brendan to be able to feel it again, but she stops moving as soon as we're waiting for it!

I'll be back next month with more pregnancy updates. With finals and the holidays coming up, I'm sure this next month will go by fast.


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