At 22 weeks pregnant, I'm more than half of the way through carrying the tiny new addition to our family. We are making slow progress in our baby preparations, but Rob and I talk about the baby between ourselves and with Dessa all the time. I often find myself answering questions from friends and family members about how I am feeling and how this pregnancy is progressing. It seems like the perfect time to share a little of my journey with you, along with a few of my reflections on how this pregnancy compares to my first pregnancy with Dessa.
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It's funny how distinctly similar this pregnancy is to my pregnancy with Dessa, and yet also how incredibly different it feels. I am notably more exhausted this time around. Ironically, I'm sleeping better at night but I wasn't already a Mommy to an active toddler the first time around. Even the craziness of kindergarten can't compare to chasing and wrestling with one small, headstrong toddler around the house. I am wiped out by mid-afternoon every single day.
And then there is Dessa. The first trimester was so much more of a challenge this time around because I had to be functional enough to take care of Dessa. I got lucky (just like last time) and dealt with the worst of my nausea in the late afternoon and evening. My goal during those first few months was just to keep it together until Rob got home from work. Once he walked in the door, I could curl into a ball and do whatever it took to get comfortable.
Being pregnant with a toddler was hard, but it was also entertaining and did come with a few perks. I only threw up once during my first trimester, but I spent lots of time gagging with my head over a garbage pail. It was during those moments that I was most miserable that Dessa lightened the moment with a big bundle of toddler cuteness. Every time she saw or heard me gag, she would quickly reply with an enthusiastic “bless you!” as if I had just sneezed. Dessa often imitates our household behaviors, so I shouldn't have been surprised when she started to copy my interactions with the trash bin. I would often hear her fake cough, then yell “garbage” while she ran over to my little garbage pail. Dessa still doesn't quite understand how spitting works, so she would just hold her head over the can for a moment and make a little /p/ sound with her mouth. Her little mannerisms were so cute and funny, I couldn't help but feel a little better each time Dessa pretended to gag over the garbage just like Mommy.
As for the more specific questions of my pregnancy, here's a quick update of how everything is going so far.
How far along am I?
Today I am 22 weeks and 3 days into the pregnancy and the bump seems to be growing at a much faster rate than it did when I was pregnant with Dessa!
How much weight have I gained?
Surprisingly, I have only gained about 5 pounds from the pregnancy. Every time I look in the mirror and see the size of my bump, I wonder how it's possible that there is so much more of me if I have only gained five pounds. But then I remember that I ate really small portions during the first few months of this pregnancy and I started taking daily walks with Dessa once I started to feel better. I hadn't made any effort to get exercise during the winter, so I'm pretty sure a few areas of my body have slimmed a bit and the weight just redistributed to my bump.
How am I feeling?
Tired and out of breath! But otherwise, really good! The kind of good that makes me think someone should pinch me because I don't have any significant discomfort to report. The heartburn hasn't kicked in and nothing has started to swell yet, so I am going to enjoy this phase while it lasts.
How are my emotions?
There were a few weeks during the first trimester when my emotions felt like they were flying through the roof, but thankfully I seem to be back to normal. Rob might disagree, but I'm pretty sure I've been acting like my usual self most of the time.
Am I getting any exercise?
Informally, yes. I try to take Dessa out for a walk in the stroller every day. Sometimes the walks are relatively short, but I usually try to aim for 30-60 minutes. She enjoys the fresh air and scenery and I'm happy for an excuse to be moving. I'm doing much better with my daily walks during this pregnancy because it is much more motivating to get out of the house for Dessa's sake than it was to try and walk by myself before she came along.
How am I sleeping?
Pretty good! When I was pregnant with Dessa, I was often plagued with intense hip pain during the night. The pain lasted for weeks and made it impossible for me to get a good night of rest. Thankfully, my nights have been pain-free for the first half of this pregnancy. I sometimes go through a week or two where I toss and turn far more often than I would like, but right now I'm sleeping quite well (with the exception of my middle of the night trip to the bathroom.)
How did the ultrasound go?
So well! We brought Dessa along with us for the baby's 20-week anatomy scans. She had her moments of restlessness and it certainly added a different dynamic than the last time when it was just Rob and me waiting to get a good look at her for the first time. But baby appears to be healthy and developing without any issues. I found out that the baby is currently measuring in the 93rd percentile which makes me a little nervous for delivery, but a healthy baby is what I have been praying for so I think it's safe to say that God is answering my prayers.
Are you having a boy or a girl?
We don't know. Rob and I wanted to be surprised by the gender when we had Dessa and we are looking forward to the surprise once again when Baby #2 arrives this fall.
Are you feeling much movement from the baby?
Yes. Baby seems to move my clockwork first thing in the morning and around 8 pm. It's very possible that the baby also moves at other times throughout the day, but those are the two blocks of time that I am sitting still to pray, work on the blog, or finally sit down to rest after a busy day. I love the feeling of those tiny little kicks and squirms. I've grabbed Rob's hand several times in the past week to let him feel the little bumps and ripples, but the movements are so subtle, he rarely feels anything.
Am I craving anything?
Just like last time, I don't have any of the eccentric cravings that pregnant women seem to be known for. Right now I'm fighting off a pretty intense sweet tooth, but I think that's fairly normal for most of the population (pregnant or not).
Any food aversions?
Thankfully, no. There were several weeks that chicken and vegetables sounded like the least appetizing foods on the planet, but I've been enjoying a diverse and fairly healthy diet for the past few months.
Do you think you'll have gestational diabetes again?
Right now, that seems to be the big question of my pregnancy. It's something I wonder and think about far more often than whether or not this baby is a boy or a girl. Since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Dessa, I had to take an early glucose test at 16 weeks. My sugar levels for that test came back normal, but that doesn't mean I'm out of the woods yet. I still have to take another glucose test at 28 weeks (which is typical for any pregnancy.) I'm not sure whether or not I will have gestational diabetes again, but I know that even if I do, it will be ok. My first journey with the condition came with a few unexpected silver linings so I will try my best to be optimistic if and when the time comes. That being said, I am considerably more active this time around than I was for my first pregnancy and I'm hoping all of that extra activity will help to keep my sugar levels under control. In the meantime, I can't tell you how many times I've been thankful for the ability to eat mac & cheese, bagels, and the occasional dessert without having to count carbs or limit myself to a tiny portion.
Are your feet swelling?
When I think about the three biggest challenges I faced during my pregnancy with Dessa, hip pain, gestational diabetes, and foot swelling all come to mind. I can't believe all three of those undesirable effects are still at bay. My right foot first began to swell in early May last time around and just kept on growing through the rest of my pregnancy. At one point, the doctor even ordered an ultrasound for my right leg because he was concerned I had a blood clot. All was well, though – it was just the way my body handled the strain of pregnancy. The left foot started catching up a few months later. By the time Dessa arrived in mid-July, I looked like a hobbit and had to tuck my beloved leggings away because my feet and ankles couldn't fit into them. Right now I am pleased to report that my feet are still their usual size. I didn't start swelling until I was about 30 weeks along with my last pregnancy, which means there is still a lot of time for them to grow, but my fingers are crossed that I can avoid the hobbit look this time around!
Baby Gavin isn't scheduled to arrive for another 18 weeks and we still a lot of work to do while we wait (like selecting a name and making room in Dessa's nursery), but things have gone remarkably well during the first half of this pregnancy. I'm hoping the trend continues in the weeks ahead. Thank you so much for all of the kind words, reassurance, and prayers sent our way these past few months. I can't tell you how much Rob and I appreciate the support.