Here we are on the edge of entering into the third trimester of our first pregnancy. A good time to take a moment and reflect on the past few months and document the personal experiences along the way.
Overall pregnancy for me has been a positive and gradual change. Honestly there hasn’t been any major dramas or changes that were overwhelming to deal with. Changes are slow and steady, just what we need when our bodies are changing shape, hormones are being produced, extra blood created and a little human growing inside.
Before getting pregnant I had a completely different perception of what pregnancy would feel like. Uncomfortable, large, sweaty, swollen, tired & different. These are some of the words I would have used to describe how I would predict I would feel during this experience. The reality is none of these apply…..yet! Right now, I am really enjoying the whole experience and living each day as it comes. Sure, towards the end, all of the above may apply but I want to remember that that was just the end, a small percentage of the time. I think sometimes we can remember the not so great parts of an experience better than the regular everyday “how it really was” parts. This is one of the major reasons I wanted to document my experience so I can pass on my experience to other new moms and my daughter in the future. We need to document how pregnancy really is so we can create an accurate picture of the whole experience instead of just the later not so great part, a tiny portion of the journey.
The following is a memoir of my second trimester, the highs and lows and how we (myself & George) dealt with everything that came our way.
The first major exciting event for us in the second trimester was seeing our baby for the second time. The ultrasound this time round was far more detailed and we got to see our baby’s heartbeat, legs, arms, feet, hands, spine, head and all the facial features. At first our baby was shy and was facing towards my spine so all we could see was the back of the body and a side profile. The technician asked us to go for a walk so that the baby would turn around as she needed to take photos of the baby facing away from the spine. After our walk the baby moved and we could see it from a different angle which was really nice. The baby was super active and was moving and kicking the whole time. It was really funny & emotional seeing the little legs on the screen back kicking my belly and feeling it at the same time……surreal.
We were both so happy to hear that our baby looked healthy and had a strong heartbeat. We had decided we wanted to find out the sex but were disappointed that day as the technician could not tell us. She would pass the scans along to our midwife and they would tell us. That meant we had to wait another week. Disappointing but not the end of the world. Just relieved our baby was so healthy looking.
After the scan George and myself went for a cup of tea and a sweet in an afternoon tea café called “The Secret Garden” and we were both beaming looking at the baby pictures from the scan. We both had to go back to work after so it was nice to have that time together before going back to real life.
The weeks leading up to the scan were a little bit stressful as we got a positive result back from our genetic screening test that meant I needed to get additional tests to confirm if our baby had down syndrome or not. Apparently 80% of women who take a 1st genetic screening test get a positive result but only about 10% or less of those babies would have a genetic defect.
At first, I was not worried because the odds were so low but as time went on it was the only thing I could think about. The worry if our child did have down syndrome, what would we do? We would have to research a lot about raising a child with down syndrome and connect with other families who had down syndrome children, find professionals to explain how having a child with downs would be different and how we would have to adapt. It took 2 weeks to get the results back from the second screening and those 2 weeks I have to say were emotionally hard. Of course, everyone wants their baby to be born healthy and free from any genetic defects. However, the reality of life is we have no control. It was completely out of our hands and for those 2 weeks myself & George really did have to come to terms with the fact that we may be having a baby with down syndrome.
First of all, we both had made the decision very early in the pregnancy that no matter what kind of baby we have we would be keeping our child & abortion or termination would never be an option for us. This is a totally personal choice and not associated with religious or spiritual believes, it was just our choice. We confirmed this decision when we got our genetic results back. Georges reaction to the news was so comforting, it wasn’t even an option for him that we would ever give up our baby. Nothing changed in those 2 weeks about how we felt about our child. We both loved the little human so much already that we couldn’t imagine losing it. The connection was there and no matter what, we wanted to parent this child, even if the road might be a little different or more difficult than what we had first imagined.
We finally got the call from our midwife at 7:30pm on a Thursday to confirm that our baby did not have down syndrome and that we no longer needed to worry about it. Honestly, I was so relieved. I cried. Going through this experience was a huge eye opener for both of us. Right away it puts life into perspective. The little worries you may have on a daily basis fade away and all that matters is your child and your family. How can we provide the best for our child and how we as parents can cope with unexpected news. It was definitely a growing experience for us and one that personally I won’t forget.
Life can turn all your expectations upside down in minutes, it’s how we deal with this unexpected change is what’s important. This is something I want to keep close to my heart for the rest of our lives as our child for sure will test us in ways we will never even imagine. This experience has thought me to be open, to not be cemented into my own expectations of what my child will be, we as parents really hope that we will let our child be whoever it wants to be without placing our ideals & expectations of what our child should be onto it.
Even though those 2 weeks were emotionally though, I wouldn’t change a thing as what we gained from that experience was invaluable. When I told my parents that there may be a chance, we may have a child with down syndrome my mother automatically responded saying that down syndrome children are wonderful. That’s who I want to be for my child.
The next big memorial moment from the second trimester was when we found out about the sex of our baby. We really didn’t care wether our baby was a boy or a girl. We wanted to find out so we could refer to it by he or she and not by it! We are those people who could not wait until the birth to find out the sex. We needed to know. We were told after our second scan that our midwife would call us in a week or so to let us know about the sex. However, we didn’t get a call and I followed up with our midwife to see why and they had made an error on the ultrasound forms and forgot to tick the box that we wanted to know the sex of the baby.
However, because we had done the 2nd screening for the genetic testing they can tell by those blood samples whether our baby was male or female. It took a few extra days but we got the call from our midwife around 11:00am midweek to let us know we were having a little baby girl. That moment I was on my break from work on my regular 30min walk. I was so happy! It felt like a real surprise as everyone was convinced, I was having a boy, even my dentist! Lol! George was certain we were having a boy, apparently, he could feel it in his bones! So funny! He is from a family of boys so the idea of a girl was alien to him.
Straight away I couldn’t wait to tell him…..he was in a work retreat that day and I could not get through to him until the end of day. When I told him, it was a girl he was so surprised! It was so great to hear him thinking out loud of how he was going to be a father to a little girl. “I don’t know how to deal with little girls” was his reply, I was laughing so hard and told him he would have to learn. He was so happy! Again, our expectations were turned on their heads. We only had boys’ names picked and had no idea of girl’s names. Our little girl is testing us so much and she isn’t even born yet! It was the best surprise yet. Now we could call our baby our little girl.
Over the 3 months in this semester I felt great. I had lots of energy and was trying to get in my 10,000 steps a day, going to a prenatal yoga class at the weekends and snow shoeing here and there when I could. I love moving and walking was my preferred choice of exercise throughout my whole pregnancy so far. Being outside and moving makes me feel so good and I really think our baby likes it. Before my 11am and 2pm break in work baby begins to move and kick as if she is telling me it’s time to go for your walk, get up and go! I have the same routing in work, I go for walks on my breaks just to get energy following and get outside in the fresh air.
Don’t get me wrong I would not be up for going on major hikes like what we would normally do but walking along the beach and up moderate hills feels good. Elevation is where I really feel the difference in my breath while being pregnant. I’m much slower going up the tougher hills than I used to be but I am pregnant so I just take it slow;-)
Emotionally I would say I have been stable throughout so far. I believe George will agree! Lol! The one thing that I really have to work on is getting my iron levels up, a common problem in pregnant women, except my Iron levels are extremely low and I may need transfusions closer to the end if I cannot get the levels up. Right now, I am on 300mg of iron a day and take it in the evenings as it is supposed to absorb better at night. Fingers crossed the levels rise. Even though the iron levels are really low, I am feeling great, I don’t feel tired and forget I am pregnant sometimes, until I go tie my shoes or move too fast to turn in bed and my belly muscles start telling me to slow it down.
Food wise we have been eating really well and haven’t been craving anything weird. We are eating lots of whole foods. I love to cook and really love cooking healthy, hearty meals that are tasty. I believe this is probably helping with how I feel too. Food is so important to help nourish mommy, daddy & baby. Both of us haven’t been sick at all during the pregnancy either so we are doing well.
Meditation is something we do every day in the mornings but since becoming pregnant I have been drawn to it even more. Yoga Nidra is something I had never tried before pregnancy and now it is a class I look forward to every week. My friend Aisling provided a 6-week course of Yoga Nidra sessions for 1 hour on a Sunday at 6pm. I looked forward to Sunday evenings just to get that hour to fully relax and meditate. Her new class series begins again this week and I cannot wait.
The below are some other little highlights of the second trimester:
- Feeling our baby kick for the first time and every day after (around 20-21 weeks)
- Choosing our babies name which we love so much but wont’ reveal to anyone until she is born
- George reading our babies first book to her every night. I swear she stops moving when she hears her Daddy read. The first book we bought her was of course on Irish Mythology
- Sourcing the stroller, bassinet, car seat and chair from Facebook market place (a blog coming soon on what we bought and why)
- Starting to read some books on how to plan for the 3 months after the baby arrives (will give the list of all books I read in the third trimester blog)
- Asked my Mum to come over to help with baby once George goes back to work after taking 2 weeks off…. super excited as my parents have not been in Vancouver for about 6 years…. we go home every year
Overall the second trimester was a hugely positive experience and we learned so much about being a parent already. We are looking forward to the next phase and what it may bring. We are enjoying each day as it comes and trying to savour our time together as a couple before our world is changed forever. A duo becomes a trio, a family.
Thank you so much for reading.
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Have a great week.