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.