Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. Thankfully however, the second trimester has been considerably easier than the initial few months and from what I understand, it is for most people. 24/7 nausea is, put simply, one of the most tortuous sensations one can experience. Picture having the flu - all the time. And while I haven’t ever felt completely normal, anything is better than never-ending flu.
So, with my new-found energy and growing excitement (and belly), I present you with the biggest surprises of pregnancy, 2nd trimester edition.
1) How much there is to learn about baby “stuff”
By “stuff,” I am referring to literal “stuff”… car seats, adapters, strollers and the like. So, last week we started registering. Our first surprise was learning we will need two car seats. In our ignorance, we assumed our kiddo would use the same car seat from infancy through year 5. At least. But no, car seats are based on the weight and length of the child. So when they are really little they need the rear-facing infant kind and then later when they outgrow that, they transition to the front-facing older person kind. Who knew? After about an hour and a half of car seat education with the nice lady at Buy Buy Baby, we moved on to strollers. It was there that we learned all about the base, adaptor and various other attachments. Oh and about the stroller itself. All in all, our first trip registering took two and a half hours and we barely made it out of the first aisle.
2) Nausea has been replaced with other weird aches and pains. Sleeping has been replaced with… not sleeping.
I can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like when I am all big in a few months. Because right now I feel like a house even though most people say I am all belly. Every time I wake up (which 60% of the time is at 3:37am to pee), my back and hips are stiff as boards. I literally limp to the bathroom, pee and do a stretching regime in the dark. If I don’t stretch I can’t go back to sleep. None of this has been too disturbing so far but the surprise is, I expected this towards the end of the pregnancy not in the middle!
3) The anatomy scan was incredible
Remember in the 1st trimester edition I mentioned how shocked we were to breeze through our first ultrasound, unable to fully revel in the miracle we were witnessing on the screen? Well this one was the opposite. We were there for over an hour. It was ah-mazing. Despite the fact that our little munchkin was only the length of a bell pepper that week, we were able to see the valves of the heart, vertebrae of the spine and so much more. Half the time we had no idea what we were looking at but still, those black and white splotches were beautiful.
4) Knowing the gender makes everything so much more real
The ultrasound tech said she had a feeling she knew what the gender was throughout the entire ultrasound but she just needed the money shot to confirm. That made us think boy for sure. If it was that obvious, I mean. But as it turned out, the money shot revealed GIRL, which, while she apparently knew all along, was very much NOT obvious to us. (Since that day I have seen the ultrasounds of friends’ babies and yes, it actually is pretty obvious what’s what, if you catch my drift). For us though, finding out it was a girl, somehow felt right. I can’t explain it. I wonder if it would have felt the same if we found out it was a boy. I don’t know… But somehow knowing the gender made everything right in the world. We are having a daughter. Our very own, female, mini-us. That day, the bell pepper became a human and we became parents.
5) Her first kick upped the “realness factor” even more
She has been kicking for a while I’m sure. But I have not felt it. Then last week, for the first time, I felt two distinct twitches in my lower belly that somehow I knew were my baby girl. It was unbelievable. One of the biggest oddities in pregnancy is feeling so physically different, with the nausea and aches and pains, and yet not feeling the baby itself. In a way, it was reassuring in the beginning just to feel anything as a tangible reminder that the baby was still in there. But the kicks took away that fear and reminded me that there is a real, live, squirmy person being sustained somehow inside my body. Whaaa?!
Last night my husband and I had dinner with one of our favorite couples, who also happened to have twins 13 months ago. We still remember meeting the twins for the first time in the hospital and now they are over a year old! We picked their brains for hours about pregnancy, the baby “stuff” and parenting girls. They both agreed that while some days are so tiring and feel like they will never end, the year has flown by. I totally get that. I feel the same about pregnancy. Even though some days have felt long and consistently uncomfortable, it is halfway over and in a way that’s kinda sad. This will be my only first pregnancy. So I continue to live each day with gratitude. Thankful to be this girl’s mama.
What surprised you in the 2nd trimester?