How far along? Twenty weeks. Exactly halfway! (Or a bit more than halfway if this baby arrives a couple of days early like E. did.)
Vital stats? I’m great. I guess there has been some bloat or digestive issues affecting the scale lately as the reading yesterday showed I’m up 11 lb total, which means I haven’t gained any weight since getting back from Christmas, and I really did gain only 1.5 lb over the holidays. I could gain a pound a week from here on in and still be well within the recommended weight range (currently on track for 31 lb, which is still higher than with E., but I’m fine with that). I am going to try to weigh myself less frequently, but I always feel like I could weigh myself less frequently on Saturdays because I get on the scale on Friday mornings. By Thursday I’m twitchy.
Other than the obvious issue of a likely missing organ, as discovered in our anatomy scan on Tuesday, the baby otherwise looks great. The umbilical cord has three blood vessels, just like it should. My placenta is anterior (again) and clear of the cervix.
How am I looking? Ooh, rather pregnant. Definitely popped a little in the last week or so, which makes sense because the baby’s movements have really gone up a notch in frequency and intensity. I am still dressing creatively to try to avoid having to buy more work clothes and so far I’ve done a lot better than I thought I would. I am going to go and pick up some second-hand nursing tank tops this weekend that I found on a local buy/sell mothers’ group, which should come in handy to layer under my cardigans and will hopefully be useful in the summer as the shirts I lived in during E’s first few months I threw out a year or so ago.
How am I feeling physically? Good. Other than running out of breath whenever I do things that didn’t used to be strenuous (like stair climbing), I feel fine. I’m hungry, but not outrageously so, and have no real food aversions. Still getting some round ligament pain. This is the first week where I’ve been able to feel where the baby is in my uterus just by how heavy one side or the other feels as I’m walking around.
How am I feeling emotionally? Not how I was hoping to be feeling after the anatomy scan, obviously. I’m having a hard time with the constant stream of “I know someone with one kidney and she’s fine!” stories I’m getting from everyone (I think I am up to fifteen). I understand they are meant to be reassuring and I really do appreciate the sentiment, but I feel like I won’t be able to properly appreciate these stories until our baby is born and we know for sure the existing kidney functions. Because if it doesn’t, our baby isn’t going to be fine. S/he could well die. And while the anatomy scan indicated that, as far as we can tell, that kidney is working as it should, we can’t be sure until the baby is born. And so, while I’m not exactly freaking out, I’m not without worry. I’m glad we’re going to have another two ultrasounds in the next couple of weeks, as hopefully we will learn more each time as the baby gets bigger and things get easier to see.
I also think we might get the official word on the sex. I think I need something to help me start thinking about this baby as a person, as my child, and knowing his/her name will probably help. I would say I’m 95% confident I know the answer, but I’m starting to feel that I need that certainty.
The whole mess has definitely helped me with my ambivalence about the baby stage. I always do best when I can plan and learn and prepare and get organized, and this has really raised my mama bear instincts. By the time this baby comes out, you can bet I will know everything I can about the situation and will have all the tests s/he will need lined up.
That said, I’m still not remotely looking forward to the actual day-to-day of life with a baby. I am so grateful this will be another spring baby so we can get the worst part over with in the summer. I don’t even want to think about what it would do to my mental health to have a baby in November.
Movement? I remember reading last time around that the baby has a big growth spurt around 17-19 weeks, and I really feel like this baby has just done that. There has been a huge change this week in the type of movement I’m feeling. Previously the baby was easiest to feel in the evenings when I was relaxing on the couch. This week I feel the baby all the time. I even saw my stomach ripple when I was teaching on Friday. The kicks and pushes are getting stronger and it’s now pretty much impossible to ignore or forget about my extra tenant. I haven’t encouraged E. to try to feel the baby yet because with the anterior placenta it’s still touch and go for Q., and I don’t want E. to be disappointed. But I can tell in a couple of weeks there will be no doubt.
How does it compare with E.’s pregnancy? Last time around I was obviously pretty excited to reach the halfway point, although I did note:
I can’t wait for this pregnancy to actually feel real. I’m halfway, and it STILL hasn’t sunk in that this is really happening.
I remember the second half of the pregnancy going by much faster than the first and expect it will be the same this time around, especially since I’m going to be flat out until classes end in April.
Last time I was also upset that I didn’t look more pregnant:
I have been wearing my maternity jeans all week. They are pretty comfortable, although it took me a while to get used to them. I was actually really disappointed the first night I put on the maternity jeans and a maternity top- it really brought home that my belly isn’t all that big, and that it isn’t one of those stereotypical cute preggo bellies that just pops out- it’s more of an all-around belly. So I just felt that it made me look fat and apple-shaped.
Looking back at the pictures, it is obvious I did not look fat. This time I’ve been out of the pudgy stage (I feel) for ages now.
This was also the first week I was positive I felt the baby move:
I’m 99% positive that I’ve felt the baby over the last couple of days. It’s always on my left side, quite low down, and usually in the evening (8-8.30 pm). The first couple of days it felt like a centipede running across my insides, but on Monday I felt what I really think were kicks.
I’m glad I’ve felt the baby so much earlier this time, but it’s interesting that the kicks and wiggles became so much stronger this week. It must have been the same last time and E. was finally able to make his presence known.
On my mind? Maternity leave. I FINALLY managed to have a meeting with the union rep and the employer’s rep on Friday morning and it was very very interesting. The short answer is I have more options than I thought I did, because the way the employer is willing to pay out the maternity leave is much more flexible than what is actually stated in the collective agreement. But I can’t make a full decision about what I’m going to do until I know what teaching I can expect to have in the fall/winter, which likely isn’t going to be sorted out until May. But it’s nice to have options. I could take an entire year off, as I will have accrued enough hours to qualify for EI maternity and parental leave, but I would lose my incumbency in any courses (although I would still accrue seniority as if I had accepted any contracts offered to me). I can say with confidence I won’t do this, not only because I can’t afford to lose incumbency but also because the idea of being at home for a full year is horrifying. But I may be able to take the entire fall semester off and return to my courses in January. The students will be pissed off because they hate changing course directors, but it’s no different than what I’ve done with two of my three courses this semester. The employer’s rep was confident that we could find a good compromise between looking after the baby and protecting my seniority.
Best moment? Three this week. On Tuesday, before the anatomy scan started, I was lying on the table, poking at my belly (as I am wont to do) and there was this incredibly hard spot on the bottom right side. I kept poking it and poking it wondering what on earth was going on, and then it swam off. Sorry baby! That was the first time the baby’s been big enough for me to identify it from the outside, even though I’ve been feeling movement for a month now. And then on Thursday night, Q. is pretty sure he felt the baby while s/he was doing his/her usual nighttime wiggling. And there was this very cute moment when E. was unwell on Wednesday and we were talking about his medicine and I was saying that you can’t given Children’s Advil to babies and he asked me, very seriously, “Do we have a plan to get the baby medicine when it comes out? Because if it is sick it will need medicine safe for babies. And my medicine is not safe for babies.”
Other stuff? There will be a whole bunch more medical appointments coming up as a result of the anatomy scan. I currently have another ultrasound and then an appointment with a genetic counsellor scheduled for next Wednesday (I need to try to call them to move the appointment as it’s conflicting with both my teaching and Q’s). I think the hospital wants to do its own scan before sending me to the genetic counsellor. And then there’s the follow up ultrasound which should be in mid-February, and will be at the hospital where I will deliver, as that will make it easier to keep everything in the system. And lastly my midwife has referred me for a maternal fetal medicine consult, so hopefully I’ll get that appointment fairly soon too.