I had just dropped off Ben at the airport for a couple weeks to get special training in Florida with the military, and had decided to spend that time with my family in South Dakota. For some reason, I found myself particularly emotional while at home — I was sensitive, teary-eyed, discouraged — the whole works. Those who know me know me to be pretty level-headed, steady, and positive, but this visit, my poor mom and dad had to sit through me straight up bawling at the lunch table . . . phew, what in the world! Finally I thought, you know, I’m going to take a pregnancy test, just for kicks. Wouldn’t that lighten my spirits to find out I was pregnant?!
Five minutes later, my spirits were definitely lightened. They were also tousled, frozen in time, calmed and ecstatic. I was seeing a very faint second line, and sitting on my bed holding that test close to my squinting eyes to determine it was — for real — positive. Just to be sure, I took another. This time the second line was stronger! For the rest of the time at home, I kept those tests in my pockets, pulling them out from time to time to sneak a look, smiling straight from my heart at the thought that I had the tiniest little life already being formed inside of me.
I wanted to tell Ben in person versus over the phone, so I said I had a little surprise for him when he got back. It was “little” alright: about the size of a sesame seed! Eventually the time came to pick him up at the airport and I remember at one point him putting his arm around me and his hand on my stomach while we waited at the baggage claim. My heart leapt inside, thinking of my little secret — our baby — just inches away from his daddy. We walked out to the car in the middle of a bitterly cold Minnesotan January, me holding a big, floppy sunhat Ben brought back from Tampa beach in one hand, and his arm in the other. Once we got to our hotel, he sat down in front of me and I told him my “little surprise” already had a beating heart.
Most notable first trimester symptom: circular tendon stretching! Ouch! They’re no joke. I woke up in pretty bad pain, but only for a few nights. Our doctor did an ultrasound just to make sure all was right with the world inside. Everything was as we expected, just fine, and it was only a matter of my womb stretching in preparation for the growth of a little baby.
Morning sickness: Please don’t hate me, mothers. I didn’t really have much for morning sickness at all, or even food cravings. I did feel nauseous from time to time, but, save one exception (when I took prenatals without food), was always able to manage it no problem.
Listeria: Mother’s Day found me with a terrible bout of listeria. I’d eaten out with my family for lunch at a nice restaurant, but their buffet included potato salad which had been at room temperature too long. I wasn’t the only one to eat it, but I was the only one who got sick, as pregnant women are more susceptible to food poisoning. I was fine my whole six hour drive home, but within an hour of being welcomed home by Ben, I was sicker than I ever have been my whole life. Thankfully, it was very brief, and thankfully, the baby was fine, as listeria can cause miscarriage.
Cravings: Although I didn’t have much for food cravings at the start, I didn’t have much of an appetite, either. I’d be sooooo hungry, but it was a challenge to find foods that I thought I could stomach. Sometimes it was more the thought of cooking than eating that turned me off, and I love to cook! Ben took me out to give me a break from food prep, but for once in my life, warm, cheesy ravioli in alfredo sauce made me gag and I was filling up with bread and salad instead.
Energy: Yay for energy! The second trimester is typically known as the “honeymoon period” and it probably was my easiest three months of pregnancy so far, though honestly, being pregnant has been such a fun season in life! I felt a little like I was coming out of a fog when the sun started shining and I was able to get in some good ol’ Vitamin D.
Hunger: Towards the end of my second trimester, baby must have decided it was time to GROW and grow fast! I had a hard time keeping up with my hunger, but tried to keep filling up with helpful, nutritious snacks versus fluff. Salads, fruit smoothies, veggies, lots of apples, blueberries, cheese, milk, peanuts, and finally a little meat were part of my day as were two mile walks now that the weather got nice.
Movement: At 17 weeks or so is when I first started to feel tiny little fluttery feelings inside . . . how exciting when I realized I was feeling baby’s first movements!! I’ve felt him kick pretty much every day after that, though it took just a little longer for those kicks to be strong enough for Ben to feel, too.
Heartburn: Sweetie, you really are taking a lot of room inside and everything else is being squished to make a room for you. It’s okay though, we’re all too happy to see you’re over three pounds now! As is pretty common with this trimester, heartburn has made its appearance. I’ve never dealt with heartburn before, but I’m told there’s “Heartburn” and “Pregnancy Heartburn” and the latter is not for wimps. Tums don’t cut it, but Mylanta does the trick each time, usually within 15 minutes.
Sleepiness: The bed and I are good friends again, but not nearly like the first trimester. In fact, sometimes we don’t seem to get along too well in the night when I wish we were best buds, but cat naps take the edge off when daytime comes. What can I say, growing a baby is a lot of work, folks.
More hunger: It varies from week to week, but I can tell when this boy is going through a growth spurt because I’ll go from not being very interested in eating to needing six meals a day — albeit, SMALL meals. As much as I’d like to sit down some days and feast on one huge dinner, I’d likely pass out and fall over first. There just isn’t as much room in there as there was a few months ago, and I usually end up lying down for just a bit after a meal just to try and get in a more comfortable position. (P.S. I’ve been making up for little to no cravings in the first trimester — sweets have simply never sounded better. Seriously, if any of you want to be my best friend forever and eternity, bring a delicious, homemade, moist chocolate cake today and I’m all yours. Okay . . . now my mouth is watering.)
Less comfortable: Sometimes I feel like a stranger in my own body trying to turn around in bed with grace, hold my breath while I paint my toes, or open the fridge door without bumping my growing belly! It’s usually amusing, but it’s got its challenges, too.
More movement: Baby went from kicking to rolling around, to doing somersaults, to even getting hiccups and bumping up my laptop while I try to type! I never realized how aware I would be of the life inside of me, and could not under any circumstance deny its humanity or individuality. Abortion has never been such a terrifyingly horrific thought now that I am experiencing what it is to nourish, and be a safe haven for my own child. There is most definitely a separate person inside of me, with his own gender, physical characteristics, and even personality, making independent movements at unexpected times. I can not imagine ending its life for any reason.
Well, now maybe I’ve shared more than you cared to know! Just nine or so more weeks ’til I get to introduce you to this little growing bundle — are you excited, too?!!