Currently as I am writing this, I am in the final weeks of my pregnancy. Aches and pains in my back, shortness of breath when I move or walk, and swollen feet (if I stand too long on hard surfaces) are some of the few side effects that I currently am feeling. I find it strange not being able to comfortably bend down to put on or tie my shoe and the warm feeling of my belly on my thighs when I sit is new and quite interesting to say the least.
Nevertheless despite how uncomfortable pregnancy can be on my physical body, I am growing another human inside. Knowing that pregnancy is such a short time in a women's life, it is something that I want to cherish and remember.
At 18 weeks, my baby girl started kicking inside of me. The movements were very subtle and random little motions that felt almost like gas bubbles. I wasn't sure at first if these were kicks, but as the weeks went by, these little kicks got stronger and more frequent. Every time I felt a kick, it reassured me that my baby girl was active and growing. By now, her kicks and movement are frequent and quite strong which can be almost uncomfortable. I feel her stretching and shifting in my belly. At times, I'll see a random bulge right by my navel. I'll gently use my hand to soften it down and then she'll adjust positions.
Feeling her move (even though it can be uncomfortable) is my favorite part of pregnancy. I love the deep connection and bond that I can have with my baby when she kicks. I'm able to let her know that I'm there by rubbing my belly and having her hear my voice. Recently, I find myself constantly having my hand on my belly to make sure she's comfortable and safe.
I realize that throughout my pregnancy journey, I've felt very different emotions at every stage. During the first trimester, I felt so much fear and anxiety because I knew how delicate the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be. My husband and I got pregnant through IVF ( you can watch our whole story here: My IVF Journey ) so we just wanted to make sure that we were on track to having a healthy baby. Right before this IVF transfer, we experienced two failed IVF cycles which included a miscarriage so feeling fearful was real.
Since I got pregnant through IVF, the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy was quite quiet and lonely. My doctor recommended that I don't do any exercise, lifting, twisting, or any major movement that would put my body under stress. I basically went to work, came home, and rested throughout this time. I also was taking hormone shots (you can see the bruises on my belly) and needed to get two intralipid infusions to assist in helping to make our little embryo stick and grow in my uterus. Besides fear, the only other emotion that I remember feeling at this time was fatigue. Reid basically needed to do all the cooking and household responsibilities because I either couldn't do much physically or was too tired to do anything.
By the second trimester, my energy level was starting to rise and I was feeling more like myself again. The only difference was that now, I had a growing belly. We started telling friends and family our good news and I finally started to believe that we were going to have a baby. One of my favorite memories during this time was going to the Fetal Diagnostic Center to see our baby growing inside of me. Hearing her heartbeat and watching her on the screen move and wiggle brought such a relief to both Reid and I every time.
Seeing this 3D image almost brought tears to my eyes because I knew that my body was growing a human inside.
I very much enjoyed the second trimester, as most other women do. Overall, my appetite grew immensely and I started to really crave fresh tropical fruits... and randomly request a delicious hamburger from time to time. The weirdest thing that I started doing during this time which I'm still doing to this day, is buying a whole pineapple (weekly) and eating the whole thing throughout my week. (Reid does not like pineapple) Up until this point, I've probably eaten about 15-20 pineapples throughout my pregnancy!
During this time, I slowly added short walks as exercise to my routine again which helped brighten my overall mood. As the weeks went by, I was able to take longer walks and even throw in some yoga stretches! Sleeping during the second trimester wasn't too challenging. I was debating on purchasing a pregnancy pillow but decided against it after much thought because I didn't know what I would do with it after pregnancy was done. Instead, I began using a body pillow which we already owned. I would prop it between my legs while sleeping and that seemed to give me enough comfort to get a full nights rest.
This photo to my right was taken at 20 weeks. At this point, I started buying maternity clothes since my belly was starting to grow. Some of the most basic and comfortable shirts that I found were from Amazon (maternity shirts) and I still use them to this day.
One of the challenges that I had to work through was watching my body change right before my eyes. After seeing myself for the last 36 years somewhat have the same build and for the last 20 years be around a similar weight, I felt as if I was starting to lose my self-confidence seeing the drastic physical changes that I was going through. I was worried that I was gaining too much weight at my stage of pregnancy and would often ask Reid if I looked okay. He was always gracious and encouraging but having these changes occur so quickly made me feel so uneasy about myself. "Am I supposed to get this big? Are my hips supposed to get wider? Why do I feel like my thighs have gotten bigger?" These are all questions that I constantly asked myself throughout the second trimester. Of course I expected these physical changes and obviously should have felt grateful for these changes because meant that my baby was growing but it was still hard to wrap my head around it all. On many occasions, I also felt guilty feeling this way because I knew that we worked so hard at getting pregnant and that there are still so many other women out there trying every day to get pregnant.
However, everything changed when I felt those first few kicks from my baby. I finally decided to embrace my belly and show my body love and grace for what it was able to do. Her kicks helped to reassure me that everything was going to be okay and that whatever my body had to go through during that time was worth it for her growth and development.
Personally, I feel like this was my first lesson into motherhood: Accept the changes that will have to occur for the health and wellbeing for my future children. Since then, my body has only gotten bigger and I am just grateful and amazed by this beautiful process so far.
So far, the third trimester has been the most physically taxing on my body. According to the doctors and all my pregnancy apps, she is fully developed now and spending the rest of the time in my uterus gaining weight and putting on fat. Supposedly, she is expected to gain about 1/2 a pound per week till she is full term. I am slowly noticing that my tummy's shape is changing a little by becoming more oval and less round.
A random stranger also told me the other day that it looks like my belly is "low" which supposedly means that she is getting ready to make her appearance in the world. I am hoping that she makes it to full term and we deliver mid July.
This trimester has brought on a new range of emotions for me knowing that I will be a mother soon. I have so much anticipation as to what motherhood will look like for me and how she will respond to myself and Reid and her parents. I've been watching so many videos on YouTube about giving birth, raising new borns, and becoming new parents that I don't know if it's making me more or less confident and filled with more or less questions. At this stage, I feel like we are so close yet so far from parenthood.
Also, we have been slowly starting to put together her nursery. The physical process of us spending time in there and adding the basic elements like her crib and dresser also helps me to process that we will soon be entering parenthood. I've washed her newborn and 0-3 months clothes so far and have organized her little toys and books that friends and family have given. Check out some of the items that we will be using for our baby girl here: Essentials for baby
We also started to put together my hospital bag which is exciting because I know that at this stage, giving birth can happen quite soon. Here are some of the postpartum and nursing items that I will be taking with me to the hospital: Hospital Bag Items
All in all, this journey of pregnancy has been one that I am truly grateful for. I've learned so much about myself and am excited to welcome our baby girl in a couple weeks. Please let me know if you enjoyed reading this blog post. I will continue to provide updates and stories about our journey through parenthood as time progresses.
Here's to a new chapter!
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