Seeing as I have been telling the story of my pregnancy, I decided to continue on today. I have already filled you in on the lead up to me getting pregnant and then all about the first trimester, so today I am taking you through my experience from weeks 14 to 26, commonly known as the second trimester.
Just to update you on my real time progress, today is my due date! But for now, back to the story…
When I left off I had announced my pregnancy to the world at twelve weeks and one day, and immediately started to feel the cloud of nausea and fatigue of the first trimester float away. I sincerely felt like a new person. I had all this energy and really my only symptom was an expanding bump which, at the time I thought was ginormous but looking back was laughable.
I downloaded The Bump app on my phone pretty much the day I found out I was pregnant so I followed it religiously learning all about what was happening inside me. I imagined the baby the size of an orange at week fifteen and discovered that babies can suck their thumbs by week sixteen. What I really anxiously awaited was that first kick. I would lie in bed and try to feel something, frantically Googling when it would happen. Forums told me that some people felt movement at twelve and thirteen weeks, it was usually felt earlier in second pregnancies but here I was on my first, dying to feel it! I am sure I felt flutters early on but I have no firm memory that sticks out in my mind. Then, at seventeen and a half weeks, I felt one solid kick. It came out of nowhere and wasn’t repeated for another few days but it stood out to me because it was the first one. I was a little dismayed when I had a doctor’s visit a few days later and when she found out I was eighteen weeks, she said ‘okay well you’re probably not feeling much yet’ and when I said I had, I felt a little dismissed. I am telling you here and now, you know your own body so don’t let anybody make you feel that way!
Those first few weeks of kicks were so incredibly special to me. They felt powerful and assertive at the time (although they are nothing compared to what I feel now!) but the best part was that they weren’t strong enough for anybody else to feel or see. They were like a little secret between the baby and I that only we shared. I had to be lying in bed very still to feel them but it was such an amazing bonding moment between us, I can’t even express it. Of course I wanted to share them with my husband and the rest of my family but I secretly loved that they were just between us, for a few weeks at least.
From the get-go, I said that I wanted to find out the baby’s sex. I couldn’t have cared less if it was a boy or a girl but I wanted to know. Up until that point, people would ask if I had any inkling but I honestly had no idea. I felt a little weird when people would tell me that the second they conceived they knew deep down it was a boy or girl. I had no clue and I felt a little guilty about it. Should I have instinctively known? People constantly guessed that I was having a boy. This was based on little more than ‘I could imagine you with a boy’ or simply ‘I bet you’re having a boy!’ but it was something that stuck in my mind. I didn’t realise how much the idea had stuck or how much I really had started to envisage a little son, until I went for a scan to find out the sex. I learned online that they can usually tell the baby’s sex from week eighteen which just so happened to be when my husband’s birthday fell so I booked a scan at Ultrasound Dimensions where I had gotten my early pregnancy scan. I could have booked an ultrasound that purely looked at the sex but I decided that for an extra €20 I would prefer to have an Advanced Early Pregnancy Scan where they check the baby’s overall health as well. My cousin had been for one of those when she was sick during her pregnancy and that was when she found out the sex of her baby so I knew I could ask about the sex during this scan even though it doesn’t specifically state on the website that you can.
We were delighted to hear that everything looked great and healthy with the baby. At the very end I asked if she could determine the sex and when the ultrasound tech said ‘girl’, we were both utterly gobsmacked. We had no idea how much everybody telling us we were having a boy had influenced us but we genuinely could not believe it was a girl. Two weeks later when I went for my twenty week scan at the hospital I omitted the fact that I had gotten the private scan because a little part of me still felt that it might have been a boy and I wanted to test it. I pretended I had no idea of the sex and that I wanted to find out. Sadly with the way the baby was sitting, the ultrasound tech couldn’t see so we had to just believe that it was a girl. We had started buying the pink things anyway…
I know people’s opinions sway on whether or not they would want to know the sex of the baby. Obviously it is merely a personal choice and there is no right or wrong but this is how I feel about it; I was already feeling an amazing connection with my baby. I liked seeing what triggered her movements, sharing our little moments when she would perform for me. I really felt like I wanted to know more about her as a person. Finding out that she was a girl made it a little more real for me because I could imagine what she would be like a little bit better. I was also sick of buying white and grey already. There were only so many gender neutral pieces of clothing that could hold my interest. I saw the cutest little boy outfits or prettiest girly dresses and while I loved both, I wanted to be able to buy them. I have no idea how people can wait nine months to find out and not be able to buy all the cute things! That is obviously a trivial reason but basically, I just always wanted to know.
At around the same time as we learned the baby was a girl, we started to learn even more about her. I got my first and only pregnancy craving – mango! This wasn’t a sudden craving that woke me in the middle of the night. I was just walking past the pre-chopped fruit in Tesco, spotted it and immediately felt my mouth water. I needed it. From that day forth I was buying a big tub of it every lunch break in work. People say that you crave things because your body needs whatever nutrients they have in them so I did some research on mango and found out it is so good for you. I could nearly write a whole post on the health benefits of mango because they are so numerous but the amount of vitamins and nutrients they provide is insane and it definitely made me feel good that I was eating it every day.
We had started watching the show The Sinner on Netflix at around this time as well and – if you have seen it – I immediately loved the song that they repeat throughout it – yes, the one she murders to! – and looked it up online. It turns out, the baby loved it too. Whenever I played it, she would start to move around like crazy. The song is ‘Huggin and Kissin’ by Big Black Delta, in case you were wondering, and it has quite a bit of bass to it which I think is what got her moving but without fail, she would start to dance in my stomach whenever I put it on. We tried her with many different songs but none had the same effect!
Again, this time in pregnancy is absolutely magical as you start to learn more about the baby. I would do the second trimester all over again in a heartbeat!
Speaking of her personality, at the scan to find out her sex, she had her hands in front of her face the entire time. My husband joked that she is very anti-social like me. Then the twenty week scan was funny. The image on screen can take a little squinting at before it makes sense. The ultrasound technician was pointing out to us where her head was etc. and we both got a fright when she told us the baby was looking right at us. You always see those cute ultrasound pictures of the baby in profile but our baby was staring right at the screen, it was terrifying. Once we figured out what we were looking at, we both jumped. She did look a bit like an alien! We both laughed and shot each other looks behind the ultrasound techs’ back. Sadly the baby was not too happy with that and she turned all the way around to face my back and wouldn’t manouver herself for the rest of the scan. She is a moody one!
This brought us up to December and let me say that one of the hardest things about this pregnancy was Christmas. I adore Christmas. My birthday falls Christmas week. I am an absolute Christmas fanatic. One of my favourite things is having a glass of mulled wine, cranking the festive tunes and decorating the tree. I also love sitting around with mulled wine, mince pies and cheesy Christmas movies. I found being unable to drink over Christmas extremely challenging.
It’s funny because I am not a big drinker in general, I never have been. I have no interest in going out but I do enjoy coming home after a long day at work and having a glass of wine. It is a simple pleasure. One I was learning to do without since I got pregnant. However, Christmas is a time where everybody around you is constantly drinking and when you are not, it is hard. Christmas parties, a glass of mulled wine with a movie, Baileys after dinner. Alcohol and Christmas go hand in hand. The funny thing was, as much as I yearned for a glass of mulled wine, the craving for alcohol wasn’t the worst part. The absolute worst is being the only sober person surrounded by drunks. Even tipsy people are irritating when you are sober as a judge. Of course, I couldn’t expect anybody in my family to not drink on my account but night after night as people cracked into the wine and the Baileys and the port and the hot whiskeys, I found myself getting more and more irritated. I didn’t want to be around people who were on a completely different wavelength to me. They were merry and tipsy and started to repeat themselves. As I mentioned, I love a drink at Christmas. I am definitely not looking down on people who drink or get drunk or anything of the sort but it is difficult to be sober around it all the time. I found myself getting very weepy and emotional. I felt a bit like it wasn’t fair on me! This could have been a hormonal thing but yeah, if I were to get pregnant again, I genuinely would think about planning it away from Christmas. Obviously not drinking for nine months is a small price to pay for the gift of a baby but as someone who doesn’t even drink that much, it has been one of the more challenging aspects!
The end of the second trimester saw things turn a little downhill again. I really started to suffer with back and pelvic pain. My job saw me standing all day and while I could persevere through the pain in work, once I got home I would almost be crying when trying to get up and down from my seat. I also felt the fatigue return like a dark cloud. I would get home from work and almost instantly want to go to bed for the night. I started to nap and felt like no matter how much I slept, I could always sleep some more. Just like at the end of the first trimester when I started to feel the brightness of the second trimester transform me, I could feel the third trimester dark and gloomy looming over me from a week or two before it officially began…
What was your experience with the second trimester? Was it any better than the first?
Nothing to declare. I am not affiliated with Ultrasound Dimensions in any way. They do not know that I am mentioning them in this post. No affiliate links were used.