It’s crazy to me that I’m more than halfway through this pregnancy because it is going by so fast. I attribute this feeling to a number of things, most notably the fact that for the first 18(ish) weeks, I really, really tried not to think about being pregnant too much. This is obviously easier said than done and was 100 percent a self-preservation thing, though I know by now that trying to “disconnect” yourself from a pregnancy isn’t possible nor should it be. I want to think about being pregnant and I want to think about what life will be like when our little one enters the world. Slowly but surely, I’m allowing myself to do this and it feels good.
I’m trying to let the anxiety and fear I feel surrounding loss subside and now that I am feeling our baby move daily, I’m focusing on those flutters and each one feels like a beautiful mini-kick to my heart. Keep on movin’ and shakin’ in there, little one. We love you so much and prayed so intently for you. When I think about holding you in my arms for the very first time, I am already a mess of tears.
I know I previously mentioned my varied reasons surrounding not sharing weekly pregnancy updates on the blog this time around and just want to reiterate something that feels incredibly important to me to say in this space: If you are not in a place where reading about pregnancy is good for your heart, I get it and I am sending you so much love. I don’t want to be the source of heartache for any of you. Please skip the blog posts you need to skip, take a break from this blog if you need a break and take care of yourself.
I still struggle with talking about my pregnancy and being open about it because everything continues to feels complicated. When I went to title this blog post even typing out “Baby #2” feels wrong to me because this is baby number four. But here we are… and I’m so grateful to be here.
So many of you have been incredibly kind and encouraged me to share what I want to share about this pregnancy when I want to share it and right now I think sticking to pregnancy recaps every four weeks sounds good and feels right to me. I really do want to let all of you in and share about my pregnancy in this space so today’s pregnancy recap is a weekly update on the past four weeks of my pregnancy, from weeks 20 to 23. I hope this isn’t too confusing, but I’ve been adding to this post weekly since my 20th week of pregnancy, so all of my updates each week were written in “real time” during that week of my pregnancy.
PBF Baby #2: Weeks 20-23
- 20 Weeks
Flashback: 20 Weeks Pregnant with Chase
Not taking into account the fact that I’ve been a lot more stressed and anxious this pregnancy, from a physical standpoint, this pregnancy has been noticeably more difficult than my pregnancy with Chase as I’ve felt more nauseated and tired. From weeks 7 to 17, I felt nauseated nearly all day long (especially in the evenings) and had to eat at least every 90 minutes to keep myself from heaving. The only foods that sounded good to me were often rather bland carbs and citrus fruit. I don’t want to jinx it by writing this now, but I seemed to have turned a corner within the past week or two and I feel SO much better. Nausea is still there first thing in the morning but typically dissipates the instant I eat something (usually oatmeal). Other physical changes I’ve continued to notice include widening hips (and arms… anyone else feel me on this one!?), ever-growing breasts and feeling softer all over. I love looking back on my belly pictures from my pregnancy with Chase because I’m definitely showing much faster this time! My 20-week bump looks like my 25-week bump from my first pregnancy and I am up about 16 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.
I am back to eating a much wider variety of foods and try to take advantage of the time of day when I feel most in the mood for nutritious eats which, for me, is lunchtime. I’ve been loving anything Thai and chopped salads are my favorite way to consume vegetables. While eating meat is no longer repulsive to me, I still don’t love cooking it – too many smells, textures, etc. – so we’re eating a lot of meatless meals and crock pot recipes ( <—minimal prep + cooking) around here which I enjoy a lot!
I also feel stronger and am back to really enjoying my workouts. I missed them a lot! I’m typically making it to the gym around four days a week which feels like a sweet spot for me right now.
Aside from our 20-week prenatal appointment which went so well (so many prayers before and after that one!), the highlight of this week of my pregnancy has been feeling our baby move. The movements are still the lightest little flutters and I only feel them when I’m reading at night or relaxing and very still but they’re unmistakably our baby dancing up a storm. I find myself rubbing my stomach multiple times a day and love feeling our little one move around in my belly.
- 21 Weeks
Flashback: 21 Weeks Pregnant with Chase
Part of me feels a little bad that I didn’t document the first half of my pregnancy on the blog because I feel like right now I’m in a really good place from an energy standpoint and that soooo was not the case for 10+ weeks. I guess I just feel the need to share this because while pregnancy is a HUGE blessing (x 10,000) sometimes it can really kick your butt and it kicked mine for several months. I say all this because I don’t want anyone to think I’m painting this rosy picture of pregnancy this time around but I also know from my pregnancy with Chase that it’s incredibly important to notice and appreciate the weeks when you DO feel good because who knows how you’ll feel the next week (or day or hour).
This week was a good week as I only had one day where I felt really exhausted by the late afternoon. The biggest thing I’ve noticed this week is that I am an absolute bottomless pit! I feel like I am eating all day long and snacking my way through every hour. Thankfully my diet now seems to be a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy foods, but that’s a big step up from my all-carb diet from the first trimester, so I’ll take it! Cravings this week have included chocolate (NEEDED it every day), oranges, cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, just get in my belly already) and cream cheese. Aversions are much more mild this week and I haven’t found myself repulsed by much other than the thought of ground beef and burgers.
I also documented a week of my workouts during this week of pregnancy, so if you’d like to see them, check out this blog post: A Week of Workouts (February 2018).
Oh! And THE SNOOGLE is back in my life this week!!! I missed that monstrosity of a pregnancy pillow so much and it made a BIG difference in my sleep the minute I busted it out of the attic. Bless that pillow!
- 22 Weeks
Flashback: 22 Weeks Pregnant with Chase
I’m receiving more and more comments from people about the rapidly-growing size of my belly! I feel like my belly grows by leaps and bounds every single week right now and I’m curious to see just how big it will be by the time I’m ready to go into labor. With Chase, I was almost always measuring behind and gave birth to a 5 pound 10 ounce baby which, after delivery, we learned that Chase’s smaller size may have been linked to two issues with my placenta. I’ve had two appointments with a specialist to monitor my placenta this time around and all looks good and I’m measuring right on target, so I’m kind of curious to see if this little one is a bigger baby than our first tiny peanut! Time will tell!
As far as how I’m feeling right now, my biggest issue this week was sleep. I wake up constantly in the night to pee (we’re talking at least four times) and usually one of those times will result in me tossing and turning and lying awake in bed for at least an hour before I eventually drift back asleep. My dreaded wake up time is anytime after 3:30 a.m. because half the time I can feel my adrenaline kick in as I think about my to-do list for the day and wonder if I should just get up.
Also, I’m not sure I ever went through a nesting phase when I was pregnant with Chase or if I’m too early on in my pregnancy for this to count, but I cannot stop cleaning out and organizing various closets, drawers and cabinets all over our house. It gives me an odd sense of satisfaction as I make my way through different spaces and end up with a big bag of stuff to donate and another to simply throw away. I tackled boxing up Chase’s 6-12 month baby clothes this week and all of the little footie zipper pajamas made me feel all the more excited for baby snuggles in the months to come!
- 23 Weeks
Flashback: 23 Weeks Pregnant with Chase
I began to experience some round ligament pain on the lower left side of my belly this week which initially startled and scared me. I wasn’t sure if it was pregnancy related or if I maybe did something at the gym that strained a muscle because the pain was so focused in one spot but went away the minute I’d sit down and rest. Thankfully it only lasted for a couple of days and I just took it easy and opted out of my normal workouts.
I also had another appointment to visit my doctor at the end of this week and it was incredible to immediately hear our baby’s heartbeat again. Chase lit up at the “boom booms” and now that he’s “in the know” about the baby, involving him in these appointments is really neat! I learned that I’m up about 20 pounds already from my pre-pregnancy weight. This didn’t surprise me at all, especially since my belly is noticeably larger and I’ve also been an absolute eating machine. I seriously feel like I need to eat ALL the time and it’s often not just a little snack here and there. Even though the average weight gain at this point of pregnancy seems to be more like 13-15 pounds, my doctor said she wasn’t concerned at all and to keep listening to my body. You got it!
Experiencing some of the body changes that come along with pregnancy can be challenging but I feel pretty relaxed about the way my body looks right now and way more wrapped up in what’s happening INSIDE my belly. (I say this but also want to mention that I am certainly not one of those women who “feel most beautiful” when I’m pregnant! There’s a ton of cellulite and softness going on over here but my body just isn’t my focus at all.) The main thing I’m struggling with is dressing myself and I am just really uncomfortable in most of my clothes, including many of the low-rise leggings I loved when I was pregnant with Chase. (I definitely prefer leggings I can pull over my belly right now.) Is it cool to just wear sweat pants and pajamas pants all day!? I’m ready for warmer temperatures so I can live in maxi dresses again!
Oh! And I probably should’ve mentioned this in previous recaps, but I’ve felt incredibly emotional for a few weeks now. It’s mostly just weepy and I find myself crying at the drop of a hat over things like a random Olympic athlete’s story or a video someone shares about kids or motherhood on Facebook… and don’t even get me started when something is legitimately cry-worthy. Open up the floodgates!
FIRST TRIMESTER FAVORITES
I did a lot of research into high-quality prenatal vitamins before Ryan and I began trying for a baby after our first loss and while I liked the prenatals I was taking before (they were gummy vitamins and totally delicious), I switched to Rainbow Light after reading so many wonderful things about them online. (I bought them through Thrive Market which helped with the cost a bit.) It is a plant-based vitamin that provides all of the standard essentials (folic acid, Vitamin D and more) and seemed to be easier on my stomach which was VERY welcomed during the first 17 weeks of my pregnancy when I was constantly nauseated.
One important note: The pills in the original bottle of Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins I purchased were HUGE. We’re talking horse pills, people. I had the hardest time swallowing them every night and was MUCH happier when I switched to their mini tablets.
I cut caffeine completely out of my diet right when I found out I was pregnant just to be on the safe side so I made the switch from coffee to caffeine-free tea very early on in my pregnancy. (Coffee was also an aversion of mine once I hit around 8 weeks which helped me not long for my morning cup! I’ll now occasionally have a decaf latte since coffee sounds good to me.) I’ve always enjoyed tea and had fun trying some new flavors, especially when some teas seemed to really help with my nausea.
My pregnancy tea favorites: Traditional Medicinals Organic Pregnancy Tea (a comforting combination of raspberry leaf, strawberry leaf, spearmint, rose hip and more), Earth Mama Organic Morning Wellness Tea (my go-to when I felt extra queasy), peppermint tea, chamomile tea
This was a discovery during my pregnancy with Chase and I still swear by Quease Ease as an incredible natural nausea fighter. I still keep it in my purse at all times.
These little candies are my first and second trimester obsession. I feel a bit like the grandmother who always has some kind of a candy at the bottom of her bag because I always have a Preggie Pop Drop at the bottom of my bag these days! They work well for me, especially when I am somewhere that I cannot immediately eat something substantial and need something to help dissipate nausea until I can eat real food again which always seems to help the most.
SECOND TRIMESTER FAVORITES (So Far)
Bless you, ASOS Outlet! I discovered this site after Kate shared some pictures of an adorable and affordable dress she bought from ASOS Outlet online and I immediately bought a handful of inexpensive but cute maternity dresses for some baby and bridal showers I have on the agenda.
My orders: Parachute Maxi Dress (My fav! I’ve paired it with a duster cardigan and ankle booties for the winter but think it will be great with sandals in the spring and summer.), Floral Cold Shoulder Dress (Only $18!), Double Layer Stripe Dress (So breezy!)
This pillow is worth its weight in gold. I don’t know how I could sleep comfortably without it and swear by this pillow. Sadie is also quite happy the Snoogle is back in her life!
- Belly Butter
I began using belly butter on my stomach and breasts again around 22 weeks when I started to notice some rapid growth! I stuck to my favorites from my first pregnancy and continue to like Mambino Organic Belly Butter and Burt’s Bees Belly Butter.
- Thayers Witch Hazel (Alcohol Free)
This was a second-trimester natural beauty find and I am borderline addicted! I apply it to a soft cotton pad and use it on my face and neck every morning right when I wake up, immediately when I get out of the shower and then again after washing my face at night. It’s so incredibly refreshing and I love that it contains aloe vera which is naturally moisturizing so the toner doesn’t make my face feel tight or dry. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Vitamin A – great for natural skin brightening and anti-aging! While I cannot claim that this toner helped my skin since I know my hormones are all over the place right now, I have not had any break outs or cystic acne since I started using it which is awesome.
I tend to sweat a lot during pregnancy and I’m sure this will only escalate as the temperatures outside get warmer. In addition to the witch hazel toner, I love spritzing my face with this rosewater spray and use it as a natural way to cool my face and help myself feel a little refreshed.
Love reading your pregnancy updates! Thanks for all the product recommendations 🙂
I love reading these posts so much. I am so happy for you that you are feeling good right now and that your pregnancy is progressing so well. 🙂
Also, I just ordered that witch hazel on Amazon – my skin has been crazy lately and hopefully it will help. Thanks for the recommendation!
I am right there with you on the cinnamon toast crunch lol – I craved it so bad from weeks 23-25 and probably hadn’t had it since I was 8 years old! I just bought the snoogle because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in what seems like weeks – do you put the long supportive part behind your back or in front of your stomach? I feel confused by it ( as I do about most things these days…) Thanks for the updates! I’ve always found them so helpful, and when I found out I was pregnant I went back to read your recaps with Chase to put my mind at ease about how I was feeling and what to expect.
i actually use the snoogle both ways every single night! sometimes i like to have the long part along my back to take pressure off my hips and seem to default to using it that way, but sometimes i basically spoon it and like it in front of my stomach. we have a very intimate relationship — haha!
Burt’s bees belly butter and the snoogle were my two favorites while pregnant too!
Kaci @ Kaci’s Healthy(ish) Life says
Julie, I have to say I love the way you so beautifully write about your pregnancy after loss. I lost my first pregnancy at 12 weeks and now have a wonderful 3.5 month old boy. It’s so hard to describe how it feels to be pregnant after miscarriage and is one of those things that I don’t think you can understand until it happens to you. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for continually and openly sharing how you feel. I’m looking forward to future pregnancy posts!
thank you for your sweet comment, kaci. <3 i'm so sorry you know so well the pain of miscarriage and appreciate you sharing this with me. i'm also so happy to hear you have a healthy 3.5 month old and hope you are enjoying those baby cuddles!
My doctors think I had placenta/cord issues with my first too toward the end of my pregnancy. My son was born at 6lbs 10oz. My second was 2lbs larger at 8lbs 9 oz. I was shocked! I had no known placenta issues the second time.
so interesting! my doctor said there’s no continuity with the placenta and cord issues i had with chase so i am SO curious to see if this little one will be a bigger baby, too!
I also had placenta and cord issues, and ended up with an induction at 40w2d with my son. He was a giant, but my doctor told me after the fact that i had an OR reserved for me during delivery due to potential emergency complications and if we had waited another 24 hours to deliver we both may have had serious or life-threatening complications. I don’t want to pry if it is something you don’t feel comfortable discussing, but would be interesting to hear more about your issues. In regards to my issues, they were things that I started noticing but didn’t think enough of to mention to my doctor, so when they were discovered they caught me very off-guard. Particularly with pregnancy, more health education is always better! <3
Elissa Quilici says
Because of your recommendation I got the Burt’s Bees belly butter and love it! My due date is just 3 days after yours so it’s been fun to follow along.
Do you have any thoughts on taking collagen while pregnant to help skin elasticity? My doctor said it was fine to take so I figured why not since it has so many health benefits but just curious if you know of anyone that took it while pregnant and if it helped with stretch marks.
i’ve been using collagen during this pregnancy (i also had my doctor’s approval) and really like it! i especially appreciated the added protein during the first trimester when i felt like i was existing solely on carbs.
I love that you use Quease Ease! I had never heard of it and when I delivered our second baby last week my anesthesiologist used this under my nose when I felt nauseas. Miracle worker! Wish I had known about it when I was pregnant.
You’re glowing, mama! So excited for you.
isn’t it great!? my mom actually turned me onto it during my first pregnancy because it helped her immensely during her chemotherapy treatments when she struggled with nausea. it’s amazing!
I can relate to so many things in this post. A year ago we had a miscarriage around 8 or 9 weeks. When we found out this fall we were pregnant it was so hard, and I felt so detached. I also felt horrible. I also feel weird saying this is my second baby, because I dont feel that way. But I also hate when the ultra sound tech asks me what pregnancy this is. Thats the worse. I Got bigger faster and I have hated all my low waist band pants/jeans from my first pregnancy. I pretty much live in full panel target leggings at the moment. I am so happy to see these updates again and appreciate your care for those who might be in a tough place.
Did you have the weight gain in your arms during your first pregnancy? I ask because my first baby was a girl and I definitely had weight gain allllll over my body. I couldn’t even wear any of my blazers or structured jackets because my arms got so big! My second baby is a boy and during that pregnancy I ONLY gained weight in my belly. It was SO different I am convinced it was a gender difference. I realize this is in no way scientific, but just sayin’ 😉 Anxious to see what you end up having to see if it confirms my theory!
Ok, I feel like I experienced the same thing… we were team green for all of my pregnancies, but now looking back I had some major differences. My first pregnancy was a boy and I only gained belly weight, (in fact, I totally lost my butt that pregnancy). Second baby (third pregnancy) was a girl and I gained everywhere, bigger boobs immediately, kept my butt, wider hips, broader shoulders (and actually really great skin!)… I attributed it to it being my 3rd pregnancy and that my body knew what to do, but now I think there may be some relevance to how you carry based on the sex of the baby. (I do not know the sex of my 2nd pregnancy, but it was a late term -17 weeks – loss so it’s interesting to speculate based on symptoms and how I carried… I have always thought that pregnancy was a girl, a gut feeling AND I was sicker than I was with my son,, but I was carrying belly only at the point of our loss, so who knows!)
Love hearing your pregnancy updates. My son is to the day one year old the Chase and then we also had our struggles waiting on God’s perfect timing for our second child. We are due one month after you are so following along with your journey is so fun for me. Experiencing so many similarities as I had such an “easy” first pregnancy and delivery” and this second one has been kicking my butt- very sick from weeks 5-18, NO energy, getting big so much sooner, already experiencing a ton of round ligament pain. Anyway, all of this to say, very very excited for your family and thank you for your posts. Hope you continue to experience that second trimester bliss that it sounds like has maybe finally arrived. Best wishes!
I also loved low rise leggings pre pregnancy, but felt like they were digging into the belly during pregnancy. The lululemon align pant (or crop) are the softest, most comfortable thing, and they are magic. I wore the same pair throughout my entire pregnancy, to and from the hospital, and they still fit now one year postpartum. They are definitely an investment, but I think you’ll love them. I wore them to work out and with long tops and sweaters.
Hi Julie! I don’t comment often but I’ve been a regular reader for about 3 years. My heart was broke for you and your family as I read about your miscarriages and I was ECSTATIC when you shared the news of this pregnancy!!! I’m prgnant with my third but I’m about 4 weeks behind you. I’ve felt better this pregnancy than I ever did with my previous two, which I’m so thankful for, and I’m actually able to continue my workout routine! But I’m struggling to find some good workout bottoms that are comfortable and stay up! What do you wear; just bigger sizes of non-maternity leggings or do you wear maternity leggings? Thanks for sharing your life with us 🙂
Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups says
You look so beautiful and glowy. Love the pregnancy updates!
Julie, I’m SOSOSO happy reading this! We’re pre-TTC and your glow is just making me so happy! I know that you guys had a very rough go and I know you’re thinking of the two babies that didn’t come to term, but I am so happy that this pregnancy is going well!
You talked about eating more meatless meals – we’re currently meatless for Lent. Can you share some of your favourites from around the web/on your blog that you’re chowing down on? Always looking for new inspiration.
Again, hugs to you and your family! I hope this pregnancy continues on its healthy course and we’re excited for this little one’s arrival!
Glad everything is going so well. Are you guys going to find out the gender? Sending big hugs to you and your family 🙂
You are so kind in your words when you still keep others in mind who are going through tough times. Thank you for this understanding and concern. We had a miscarriage with our first pregnancy. Then we had a beautiful perfect healthy baby girl, Cailie, who is now 16 months old! Then, very recently, we learned that we lost our third pregnancy. The awful ultrasound appointment (you know the one all too well) showed that we actually had TWO embryos there that failed to continue to develop. The second miscarriage was easier than our first because A) we knew what to expect and B) we had our ball of energy little girl at home that just brings a smile to the saddest face. I remember all too well the first half of the pregnancy with our daughter where every ultrasound and dr apt was terrifying as we prepared for the worst. Gone were the carefree excited early pregnant weeks I had during the first pregnancy. Now, each pregnancy comes with excitement but equal parts anxiety and worry. I’m so sorry you (or anyone) has to experience these feelings. I am so excited (and a little envious, If I’m honest) for my girlfriends who have had multiple successful pregnancies and have that elated excited feeling each time without the worry and the flashbacks to the awful appointments when you learn the awful news.
I still love reading your updates and recaps event though they come with some tears at this point. I’m looking forward to circling back on baby #2 recaps when I’m eventually at the same point with our baby #2! I re-read your pregnancy updates and Chase development updates as my Cailie is coming up to the same stages, too!
QueaseEase and the Snoogle were lifesavers for me last time around as well!
I’m so excited for you and your family in this time! Can’t wait to hear how big brother, Chase, is with his little baby brother/sister 🙂
Julie! Thank you for your wonderful update. I am pregnant now as well (26 weeks with my second boy, but this is technically my third pregnancy since I had a miscarriage as well ❤️) Your feelings and experiences resonate with me SO MUCH! From not knowing if I should call this little one Baby #2 or #3, from trying not to get too excited at first but being so excited as the weeks progress, to being much more nauseated and fatigued this pregnancy than the last, to waking 4+ times a night to pee, to being a bottomless pit around the same time you were, and to showing sooner and gaining weight more quickly this time around (I was also up 20 pounds at week 23!). Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences! You have made me feel totally normal and understood! And your positive attitude is so uplifting and encouraging. I hope you will continue to share as much as you feel comfortable as the weeks progress so we can continue to share in this exciting journey with you 🙂
I am so happy for you and understand the feelings that come when expecting a rainbow baby. Hugs to you and I wanted to share this…
I’m so glad everything is going well for you! One of the best purchases I’ve made during my pregnancy has been an at home baby heartbeat monitor. It is SO reassuring to be able to hear our baby’s heartbeat any time we want, especially in the earlier weeks when I couldn’t feel him move yet. I highly recommend! This is the one I ordered: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073WKDT2H/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The Curious Frugal says
I can’t imagine that it was easy for you to keep up such consistent blogging through early pregnancy, and you have a toddler! And the snoogle! I loved that thing so much, haha. My husband first made jokes about it when I got it (I mean, it’s huge), but then I caught him lying it one night after I came back from a middle of the night bathroom visit. I don’t blame him, it’s so comfortable!
Julie I didn’t even read this post yet but just wanted to comment that with this pregnancy you are literally glowing and gorgeous!!❤️
Louis Reese says
You look so much pretty. And congrats to you for your pregnancy. I’m so glad everything is going well for you. You are so kind in your words when you still keep others in mind who are going through tough times. I hope most of the pregnant mom are getting inspire to looking you. And it is a helpful pregnancy update. Thanks for the sharing such a helpful and informative article. Congrats again for your safe pregnancy.