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18 weeks – Week 18 has been all about kicking. I feel it every once in a while if I’m super still during the day, but the most times I feel Baby Girl kicking is at night when I lay down to go to sleep. I lay down on my left side nice and still and just wait. Before I know it I’ll feel that first little bump somewhere very low in my belly (she is a super low carried baby). I usually get about 3-6 kicks as I lay there before I fall asleep, and it’s turning out to be this amazing little ritual. I can totally see how once they’re super big all those kicks as you’re trying to sleep can be uncomfortable, but right now I can’t get enough.
Symptoms? You guys. I found varicose veins. There are like three tiny little ones near the back of my thigh kinda near my knee. They’re maybe half an inch, but still, they are THERE. I kept reading on my app about how varicose veins could become a thing, but I just had this thought I wouldn’t get them, and clearly this is not true. So, that’s cool. Also, I think I’m going to be one of those people with the linea nigra line on my belly. I can see it very faintly now, so I can only imagine it’s going to get more and more pronounced as the pregnancy continues. Another cool symptom this week (week 18 is turning out to be a weird one) was on Friday I had to pull over on the side of the freeway on my way to work to vomit. Multiples of times. That was super weird. I didn’t vomit even once during my first trimester, but suddenly vomiting on the side of the road in week 18 is a thing! Thankfully after I’d left my breakfast on the side of the road I actually felt much better, and since I was almost at work anyway I cleaned up, got back in the car and went to work. Felt basically normal the rest of the day. SO. WEIRD. So yeah. Week 18. The week where the shit got real.
19 weeks – Week 19 was the week of baby’s first vacation! This week we packed up and headed to the Upper Michigan Peninsula or the “Yooper” for four nights in the middle of the woods on a little lake. We slept in. We fished. We “hiked” (Adam hiked, I walked slowly behind him panting like a dog). We floated. We read. We relaxed and it was blissful. Taking a road trip of that length definitely was altered by being 19 weeks pregnant. I’ve always had a small bladder, but now I am a once an hour gas station stop kinda lady for pee breaks. I’m also finding that I am carrying Baby super super low, which means most all pants and underwear are trying to kill me by strangling my lower belly. At one point in our trip while driving to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore I may, or may not have taken off my shorts in the car because I simply couldn’t stand another moment of my maternity shorts cutting into my belly. I think I’m going to have to get really serious about searching for maternity clothes/pants that ride ridiculously low. Or just buy things 5 sizes too big because pressure on my lower belly while sitting is not my friend.
Symptoms? Not sure it’s a “symptom” but this week was all about the kicking! I had felt Baby Girl tapping around in there since about week 15 I guess, but it was like receiving the tiniest tap from inside my belly. This week though girlfriend is getting some muscle finally because on Tuesday while sitting at work I suddenly felt a real live THUMP. Bitch kicked me! I remember asking a pregnant friend of mine a while back if the kicks were creepy. I mean, something is inside you moving around! Aliens!!!! And she of course told me that in fact it’s super amazing and not weird at all. At the time I couldn’t fathom, and now I understand completely. Receiving kicks can stop a thought. I find myself just staring off into space when it happens thinking, You’re really in there aren’t you little girl. I can’t wait for Adam to be able to feel her moving around in there too. Based on his reactions to watching ultrasounds (he looks so confused and horrified and is super anxious afterwards) the kicks will creep him out at first, but still, I can’t wait.
20 weeks – Halfway. We’ve made it halfway through this pregnancy on our journey to meet our daughter. It has been a total roller coaster so far filled with fear and the unknown and elation and wonder, and it’s already half over. The first trimester felt like a snails crawl, and here we are almost closing month 5, chugging away closer and closer to meeting this little girl we made.
On Wednesday, 20 weeks and 5 days we had our anatomy scan and it was the most amazing experience. The last time we’d seen Baby Girl was 12 weeks. At 12 weeks she looked more baby-like in her profile, but her arms and legs were still just little blobs, and her movements seemed to be completely out of her control. This time though, there’s my baby.
It’s so amazing as the tech moves through the process, checking for abnormalities to see that at only about ten inches and around 10 ounces our daughter is fully formed in all her perfect glory. Her little lips, ten fingers and ten toes, correct amount of bones in her legs and arms, kidneys, heart, bladder, liver, all there already and all already doing what they should. During our ultrasound she opened and closed her mouth swallowing, gave herself the hiccups, put her hands in her mouth and touched her face, kicked her feet up near her head and then violently straight out into my belly where I could both see and feel the action at the same time, and generally did baby things. For the first time Adam wasn’t anxious in the ultrasound but fascinated, calling out body parts to the tech, joking he could take over. Something about this appointment solidified something. We’re halfway, she’s halfway, she’s perfectly, wonderfully healthy and before we know it she really will be here in our arms. I was on a high for hours afterwards.
Symptoms? Does elation for making it to the halfway mark count? No? Fine. These last couple weeks I’ve definitely been feeling the ultimate stretching of my lower stomach muscles. When I wake up in the morning I feel pretty good. My belly doesn’t really take up much thought, it’s just there, but by the end of the day and especially after dinner I feel like a sausage that has been stuffed beyond the limit. And it’s not my skin, it’s the muscles in my lower stomach near my pubic region that feel like they’re under attack. I am carrying this baby so damn low and she’s stretching the hell out of muscles that apparently refuse to stretch. I’ve been trying some new nightly stretching, walking seems to help keep things loosen up a little, and ultimately I think prenatal yoga is going to have to be my lifesaver. I have got to get my body to accept that we’re stretching out! Other than that, severe acne has been my constant pregnancy companion/nemesis, my hair and nails continue to grow at an alarming rate, I found MORE varicose veins, this time near my ankle bone (WTF body), and my appetite is ravenous. Packing my lunch for work is hilarious because of the volume of snacks I need to include to keep from going hangry on my coworkers.
21 weeks – I feel like the excitement of the anatomy scan ultrasound has completely and totally bleed into week 21. My belly feels nice and big now and I can’t help but rub it while sitting at my desk, absentmindedly exploring the surface of this large thing I carry around now. I still find that I’m just the perfect size that basically all the clothes I put on feel adorable. Maybe I’m a crazy person, but dressing this bump has just been fun so far. I’ve been lucky with very low weight gain (which the doctor at the appointment told me I needed to 200% not worry about seeing soon enough, I’ll pack it on here in no time) which has left me feeling pretty comfortable and just basically bumped out. The amount of free maternity clothes my amazing friend has gifted me has enabled me to feel like getting dressed in the morning is a daily wander through someone else’s great closet, so unfortunately for those who think sticky sweet is nauseating, at this point today I’m kinda a no complaining happy little preggo lady.
I think the most amazing thing that happened this week was Adam finally felt Baby Girl kick! I swear since the ultrasound I have been feeling stronger kicks every single day and lately even quite a few about 20 minutes after I eat that I am sure someone could feel if they had their hand on my belly. So the other night we had dinner and sat on the couch and I propped myself on my left side (Baby’s favorite kicking side) and had Adam put his hand on my belly. Sure enough after a few kicks only I could feel, BAM! She got him. And I loved it because Adam jumped back and yelled, “WOOOOOOAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH I FELT THAT!” To him it was still only like feeling someone very softly flicking him, but still, that my friends was a baby kicking! He put his hand back on my belly and over about 5 more minutes felt a variety of pressured kicks, but never as hard as that first one. But that’s some baby book shit man!
Symptoms? Acne is still my buddy, my constant companion. I basically am trying not to look for more varicose veins on my legs because it’s apparently going to be a thing, there’s less than nothing I can do about it, so might as well just play ignorant and hope they stay small and disappear afterwards. The tightness in my lower belly continues, and sitting in a chair at work all day, and then commuting home 45 minutes isn’t helping. I think I might get to a point here soon where after work I change into yoga pants to just take some of the pressure off my belly on the drive home. I’m also kind of expecting that some time in my third trimester I can imagine a point where I can’t make it the 45 minute drive home without needing to stop for a pee break, so I need to start thinking about where my best midway stop will be. Other than some little stuff, still chugging happily along and loving each week we get closer to meeting this little girl.
22 weeks – Week 22 is all about kicks, round ligament pain, a growth spurt and the realization that carrying a baby super low like this means that dresses are going to be my friends. Baby Girl is a low rider for sure, and this means that there are a lot of kinds of clothing now that just feel downright uncomfortable to sit in. Standing doesn’t seem to be an issue, it’s the sitting in the car or at work for long stretches that make me hyper aware that my pants/underwear are cutting into my lower belly. I have already had to abandon a few pairs of maternity pants because they put serious pressure on my very low belly region when I’m sitting and I just can’t handle it. There is a whole collection of underwear I had to put aside because the elastic cuts into my lower belly, and under no circumstances can I wear maternity pants/shorts that don’t have a full panel. Things without a full panel just put pressure on my lower belly when I sit and it makes me feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I have started bringing yoga pants with me to work and changing into them before my drive home, so that has been helpful. And mostly, I need to get up and walk/stand every hour. Sitting for long periods of time just will not do. I had a conference I had to attend this week and in the last hour I thought I was going to lose it. I think the person sitting next to me thought I had a tick I was shifting around in my seat so much!
So, with the Labor Day sales in full swing I’ve ordered some more maternity tights and a couple dresses/tunics. I really think the best way to survive getting bigger and bigger with this low sitting baby is going to be dresses. Adam and I went to a Cubs game on Sunday and I was really worried that all the sitting would drive me crazy, but by picking my most comfortable underwear and a dress I was actually totally ok for the whole game. Dressing for comfort is my new goal. A coworker with another low baby swears by her maternity belt, so I ordered one of those as well. When she said it felt like it pulled the baby up off her bladder I was HOOKED. I don’t care what it costs. Give it to me.
Symptoms? Clearly my main issue I’m working through is how to stay comfortable over long periods with this low baby, but other than that nothing too wild. Acne is the beast that will never leave me, this whole chin hair thing is driving me crazy, still no stretch marks (knock on wood). I’m definitely in the three times a night peeing zone, but overall sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs has been working out ok for me. I feel like the belly DEFINITELY had a growth spurt the last week or so, and even people at work have been like, “WOW, you’re really starting to look pregnant!” Which weirdly makes me feel proud. Also I finally saw two weeks in a row of the recommended 1 pound a week gain which made me feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Overall, just chugging along!
So there we have it you guys! Today marked the start of 23 weeks and the official step into Month 6 of growing our daughter. See you in another month for another bump update!