How far along? Eighteen weeks. For some reason I always feel like eighteen weeks is a big milestone, and it really isn’t. But it’s still nice to be here!
Vital stats? Blood pressure at my appointment with the midwife was its usual rock bottom 82/54. My uterus is right up to my belly button now, and when my midwife palpated it, she was able to feel where the baby was. All looks great on the growth end (the food/baby website comparisons claim this week that baby is the size of a sweet potato, which is yet another useless measurement given the wide variety of sweet potato sizes one encounters in a grocery store). When E. got home, he looked at me and said, “Oh my goodness, Mummy! You are so much puffier! Can you get even more puffy?” I laughed and told him, “Just you wait!”
Most importantly, I had a phone call on Thursday from my midwife and the results from the second round of my IPS testing were in. The baby has a 1 in 54,600 chance of a neural tube defect, which I suspect is about as low as you can get. Big relief for me, and hopefully the anatomical ultrasound (only a week and a half away!) will confirm this.
How am I looking? About the same as last week. Q. also commented on how big I’m getting and then asked (with notable skepticism in his voice), “And you’re still hiding it at work?” I was hoping to talk to my chair yesterday but the union representative didn’t turn up for our meeting (and then never replied to my email to explain his absence) so I spent yet another day wearing baggier sweaters and keeping my jacket on. I am not sure I am fooling anyone, but no one’s broached the subject yet. My supervisor, who does know, came back from his conference and was holding court in the main office when I ran into him, so we had to have a rather frantic hushed conversation about how I hadn’t told anyone else yet.
I have been able to make more of my non-pregnancy work wardrobe work than I thought I would, so I am not in a dire state for clothes. My friends on E’s birth club also reassured me that my students are not going to notice if I wear the same two pairs of pants every week. One of them said she spent her second pregnancy in two pairs of black leggings and one pair of jeans, and no one noticed, and she works in fashion! The issue of short-sleeved tops will arise eventually, but for now I can get by.
How am I feeling physically? Not too bad, although I was completely wiped out by the time I got home on Friday. I didn’t do extra walking or extra teaching, but it was just a day where I found it hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve been generally tired this week as my sleep has been disrupted by the jet lag affecting the other members of the household.
I had a terrible, terrible headache early in the week. At first I thought it was because I ran out of tea in the house (I have been drinking one caffeinated tea each morning). This really surprised me because normally when I only drink one cup of caffeine a day I can stop without consequences at any point. I realized what was actually going on later that day: it had been pouring rain all day and then the temperature crashed and the wind and snow howled throughout the night. My head is basically a barometer and that was too much of a change for it to cope with. I took tylenol that night and again the next day to try to get things back in order.
This is officially an avocado baby. I went out for dinner with my sisters on Saturday night and we went back to the Mexican near my sister’s apartment that I went to with her in December. The tacos were amazing, especially the grilled avocado with pineapple one, but I could have just sat there and ate chips with guacamole for the entire evening. The baby also really really likes fruit, so at least it wants food I’m happy to eat.
I’m still noticing how quickly I get full. I have a ridiculous teaching schedule on Mondays, where I’m out of the house for fourteen hours, so I’ve decided I’m allowed to buy my lunch on campus on those days. It’s extremely difficult for me to eat supper as between 4 and 10 p.m. I’m either teaching or in a taxi frantically rushing from one class to the next, so last Monday I ordered this huge plate of Indian food at lunch with three kinds of veggie dishes and rice and naan and a veggie samosa, and ate the entire thing. And then it was ok I struggled to eat anything other than a piece of fruit at any other point in the day, because that giant meal kept me fuelled. I normally try really hard not to buy food at work but to pack my own lunch, but I think Mondays require special treatment.
How am I feeling emotionally? Much better. My boys are back home, my IPS results were excellent, the baby is swimming around on a regular basis to remind me she/he is in there, and I’ve survived two weeks of the semester. Even the fact that it’s been real winter this week (and sometimes bitterly cold with the wind) hasn’t bothered me, because I’ve been enjoying walking in the sunshine (the cold days are usually the clear days, and December was so very very grey).
Movement? I would say I feel movement every day now if I stop and take the time to pay attention. I don’t notice the baby when I’m busy teaching, walking, etc., but in the evening, or right before bed, if I sit down and put my feet up, there s/he is. A couple of times this week the wriggles and pushes and nudges have felt more like a kick. I tried getting Q. to feel one night, but it’s still too early to get them from the outside.
How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? I just checked and my results for neural tube defects with E. also came back at 1 in 54,600!
At eighteen weeks last time around I had this to say about how I was feeling:
Still getting headaches if I’m not careful about how much I drink and how frequently I eat. Just in the last three days I’ve become STARVING. Yesterday I ate my lunch at 10.30 because I was going to lose it if I just ate the apple that was my usual snack. I did read somewhere that the baby has a growth spurt around 17-18 weeks, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by how hungry I am. I am really starting to notice that I get more tired from doing lots of walking than would be normal. But otherwise, I feel pretty good.
The headache this week was a real aberration, so I think I’ve done a better job this pregnancy of staying hydrated. And feeling tired from normal activity is definitely something I’ve been noticing this week. I’m glad the university semester is going to finish right at the start of my third trimester, as I’m not sure I could keep up this schedule right to the end. I haven’t noticed myself feeling ravenous this week, but I’m sure it’s coming.
I still think I’m in the stage where I’m not going to be obviously looking pregnant if I switch to mat clothes, but I’m definitely not looking like I used to. I have had multiple people tell me in the last week that I “look great”, “don’t look pregnant at all”, “don’t look like I’ve gained any weight”, etc., but I am my own worst critic.
That is the difference between first and subsequent pregnancies. The belly pics on my new birth club from first time mums often look like mine used to. Those of us who have been through it before look rather different.
I still haven’t taken a belly pic this pregnancy, so it’s time to start getting out the camera.
On my mind? Not much pregnancy related this week- I was too busy with teaching to really sit and think about anything else, especially since I lost almost all of my work time this week because E. was home from school with jet lag (he arrived home late Monday, so we kept him home on Tuesday, sent him for half the day Wednesday and Thursday and then sent him for the full day on Friday). Q. and I do need to think about where we want to have this baby. We’d be heading straight back to the hospital except our city now has a birth centre. It only opened a couple of years ago, so it wasn’t an option when we were pregnant with E. I’d like to deliver there, assuming everything in this pregnancy continues to be as straightforward as it was with E. I had an easy, uncomplicated delivery last time, so I know I’m a good candidate. I think Q. probably needs to see it to get his head around the possibility, so I need to book a tour. Q. did acknowledge that it would be a waste of the hospital’s resources to deliver there if it went like last time.
We’re also discussing what I’m going to do about our field’s annual conference. I didn’t give a paper in 2015 (did give one in 2014) and I’m hesitant to build too big of a gap on my CV. Plus it’s in a very very nice location. I’ll be in my thirty-fifth week at the time of the conference, and my midwife says she has no reason for me not to go- it’s entirely up to my comfort level. I wouldn’t even consider going if Q. wasn’t going to be there, but he has to go, and we can probably drop E. off at the grandparents on our way through. The abstracts are due at the end of the month, and I think what we decided is I’ll put in an abstract and then if any complications with the pregnancy arise, I can always pull the paper.
Best moment? Coming home after teaching on Monday to find Q. and E. tucked up in their beds. It felt so good to have my family together again.
Other stuff? Nothing pregnancy related coming up this week. I have stepped back a little from my new birth club after getting into a lengthy vaccination debate (I really should know better but I just cannot keep myself from responding- it is like a red flag to a bull). I have picked out the women in the birth club whom I would be friends with in real life and there are days where I think I should just friend them and then quit because I’m not sure I have the stomach for all the craziness again. But sometimes it is nice to have somewhere full of women just as pregnant as I am, as I don’t like talking about it much on E’s birth club. For now I remain on the fence.