Friday, August 16, 2013

20 Weeks // My Journey Through the First Half of Pregnancy


My Journey Through the First Half of Pregnancy // Bubby and Bean

It feels weird to be saying this (especially since I didn't publicly break the news until a month ago), but as of tomorrow, I will officially be half way through my pregnancy.  Has it really been that long since that morning in April, when I sat in the bathroom with my jaw dropped, staring at the positive pregnancy test, then running full-speed down the stairs to show Robbie?  I can't remember the details, but I do know that I jumped on top of him and laughed and cried.  It was a pretty special day. 

As I mentioned before, I am one of those people who 'waited' to have children.  My 20s and the first half of 30s were spent firmly focused on my career and travels.  Then suddenly, about a year and a half ago, the overwhelming desire to be a mother hit me and didn't let up.  Shortly after that, we started trying.  At this point I was already considered 'advanced maternal age,' so between that and Robbie's work schedule (his time off the road and my fertile times did not tend to align, I'll just say that), we had a lot working against us.  Looking back, I feel silly for assuming that the first month we tried, it would magically happen for us.  It didn't.  And although I know that there are many people who have to try for much longer than we did, it was still very emotionally draining to chart everyday, and wait months for my husband to be home when I was ovulating, only to have to stare at a negative pregnancy test a couple of weeks later.  Over and over again. 

When it did happen, it was actually kind of a surprise.  We'd finally made the decision that I would have to start traveling to meet Robbie on the road during my fertile periods.  In April, I'd purchased plane tickets to join him in Florida, where the band would be playing a few shows.  It wasn't going to be a vacation by any means  - it involved several different cities several days in a row and a lot of complicated logistics.  The trip would have one purpose, and that was to get the job done.  Before he left town, we decided to make the most of the couple of days we still had together, just for fun.  Then the day after he left for tour, something crazy happened.  I'd been charting and using ovulation kits (you pee on a whole lot of sticks when you're trying to make a baby), and oddly, it looked like my normally clockwork-like cycle was happening early that month.  The good news was that there was a very slight chance that something could have happened before he left.  The bad news was that it would now be too late if I flew down to meet him in Florida in a couple of days like we'd planned.  So I canceled my flights and tried to figure out how and where I'd meet up with him on the road the following month instead.  It turned out that I didn't have to. 

After getting our positive, we only told our parents and siblings the news - but not right away.  Back in December, I had an early miscarriage.  I had only known that I was pregnant for a few days when it happened, but it was still devastating, especially because we'd already told our families.  My heart sincerely goes out to those who lose their babies after many weeks or months of being pregnant, because for as badly as it hurt to lose ours after a few days, I can only imagine the pain of the loss after having so much time to grow emotionally attached.  I did stay positive after our loss, because now I knew that we could get pregnant.  But we both agreed to be very cautious with sharing if/when we got pregnant again.  So when we got our positive in April, we wanted to give it at least a week before we told family, and go from there.  I ended up going to the doctor after a few days to get a blood test just to confirm.  It was positive.  A week passed, and all continued to be well, so we shared the good news with our immediate family.  And after about ten days, we had our first OB appointment.  It was really happening.  Over the next ten weeks, we slowly shared the news with extended family and very close friends.  I told my grandmother Maggo (who passed away a few weeks ago) on Mother's Day, and I will never forget how thrilled she was.  Each time we told a loved one, it felt a little more real and amazing.

This period of time also brought with it the not-so-joyful parts of the first trimester.  I'd read a lot about what to expect, but it was a whole different world to actually be experiencing it.  I have never in my life felt such intense exhaustion.  It was a massive struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and getting through the workday often felt like torture.  I even fell asleep at my desk on several occasions.  I tried to go for long walks to combat the fatigue, but never could make it more than a mile at the very most, and would crash the second I walked back in the door.  I was also one of those lucky ones who was very sick.  My gag reflex was off the charts, and the slightest whiff of certain smells (Robbie's chewing gum, campfires or grills, greasy foods) sent me running to the bathroom.  (The worst episode involved blueberries, but I'll skip the gnarly details of that one.  It wasn't pretty.)  Oh, and despite my almost 24/7 nausea and frequent vomiting escapades, I actually put quite a bit of weight.  I found that I was sickest when I didn't have food in my stomach, so I was constantly eating (mainly saltines, fruit, yogurt, and peanut butter toast - but a lot of it).  Between the pregnancy hormones that slow down the metabolism and me shoving whatever I could tolerate to eat down my throat all day long, I piled on the pounds - about three times what they recommend for the first three months.  Thankfully the exponential weight gain has tapered off somewhat in my second trimester, but regardless, I've learned to trade in vanity for focusing on baby's health - newly big butt or otherwise.  We had our first trimester screening (aka the high risk/'old lady' ultrasound) at twelve and a half weeks and got to see our sweet little bean move and suck his/her thumb!  Even with the excessive fatigue, constant nausea, and a two week period of partial bed rest due to a small internal bleed, I have to admit I generally felt pretty great in my first trimester.  I didn't have mood swings or weird emotional spells.  I actually felt an overwhelming sense of calm and well-being. 

My Journey Through the First Half of Pregnancy // Bubby and Bean

At fourteen weeks, the first trimester had officially come to an end.  We no longer felt the need to keep our pregnancy a secret, and were thrilled to be able to share the news with all of our extended friends in real life and online.  Around this time, I began to feel less exhausted, and the nausea slowly subsided.  (I haven't barfed since fifteen weeks - knock on wood!)  I'm not going to sugar coat though - the second trimester hasn't been quite what I'd hoped for in terms of all of the 'it's the honeymoon period!' stuff you read.  First, I definitely don't have that 'second trimester glow.'  I look pale and washed out and tired, my skin is dry and itchy, and I feel bloated and gross the majority of the time.  And speaking of tired, that burst of energy they promised hasn't come either.  I'm no longer falling asleep at my desk, but I still feel sleepy all day long.  Thankfully, I'm able to walk a couple of miles most evenings now, which helps.  And although I still have insomnia, I'm no longer waking up to pee every two hours at night.  But for the most part, I'm still consistently tired.  The nausea has also been replaced by headaches.  Peppermint oil on the forehead helps, but they can be severe.  The worst part though is that the glorious sense of calm and well-being of the first trimester decided to go on vacation, and I have been possessed by an emotionally unstable crazy lady.  I cry because I'm happy.  I cry because I'm sad.  I cry because the neutral grey paint in the nursery looks powder blue now that it's dried.  I cry because the sunlight hitting the garden just looks so beautiful.  I cry because I dropped my special decaf vanilla latte all over the floor and those two remaining sips were wasted.  I full-on ugly cry because Robbie has to go back on the road for three weeks.  I cry because I feel completely overwhelmed with love every time I feel my baby move.  I also, of course, do the stereotypical pregnant cry at every single cheesy television commercial that involves the subjects of love, babies, puppies, or cute outfits.  At least I'm not throwing up, first trimester style, in the midst of these second trimester crying spells.  I do have that going for me.

And that brings me to twenty weeks.  The half-way point.  It's crazy how fast this has all happened, and just as quickly, our little one will be here.  The second trimester ultrasound is Tuesday, which means that in just a few days, we will find out if we're having a little boy or a little girl.  We're pretty sure we already know, but we're not telling until we find out for absolute sure.  Any guesses? :)

I've heard that every first time mom feels like she's the only pregnant person in the world, so if you've gotten this far without dozing off from boredom, you rock.  Although this journey is one that billions of women have had before, it has been the most incredible time of my life, and it feels good to share it.  If anything, I'll always have this as a special journal entry (albeit it an over-sharing type of journal entry made available to the entire world) to look back on when I want to remember my personal pregnancy experience.  And despite what may sound like complaining, any sickness, fatigue, or random crying spells are beyond worth it in my opinion.  In my mind, each symptom - enjoyable or otherwise - is just a reminder of this amazing little being growing in my belly.  I love being pregnant.  And I'm so excited to see what the rest of the second trimester and the third trimester (eight more weeks!) brings. Thank you all so much for following along, and for your support and well wishes over the last few weeks.  If any of you have your own pregnancy stories to share, I'd love to hear them.     

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50 comments:

  1. So happy for you - you look wonderful! xxx

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  2. Congrats Mel!!! :) So don't you worry about that weight - you are every bit as gorgeous as before! You just happened to be a super skinny rail in the past, and now you have a few more curves like a lot of the rest of us. I did drop back to my pre-pregnancy weight for a short bit after having Tru but in general I've run about 10 pounds more for the last few years... but nobody cares, I am fit, and it's actually amazing to get some perspective on just how small I used to be - what was I worried about? Which has made me not worry so much about where I am now either.
    I also had a lot of insomnia during my pregnancy, which is the pits. My whole month 4-5 I couldn't sleep more than 3 hours a night. That was delightful. :/
    I'm so happy for you, and you're going to be a fabulous mama!! xoxo

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    1. Thanks Julie! And yeah, it's actually pretty cool to finally have boobs and a bootie :). Pregnancy insomnia is the worst - I don't know how you survived on 3 hours!

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  3. Congratulations on reaching the half way milestone! I never had children and part of my wants to experience all the crazy things you are experiencing so I can fully empathize with others. It must feel so amazing, nauseous aside!

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    1. Thanks Val! It is definitely an amazing, strange, awesome experience.

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  4. I can't believe you're already halfway through! It sounds like you're handling all of the changes really well, and I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your journey. You look great!

    And since you asked us to predict the gender, I'll say girl. :-)

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  5. i love your honesty. you are so so so beautiful pregnant!!! i cant wait to find out what this little one will be :) xo

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    1. Thank you Laura! You've been a wonderful friend throughout this journey!

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  6. You look great! I love how you keep it real about pregnancy haha the world needs more of that. My guess is a girl! - Sarah

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    1. Thanks Sarah! It's definitely not all rainbows and butterflies. But it is pretty incredible. :)

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  7. You look wonderful!! Grateful your morning sickness has subsided. Wishing you the best as you waddle into your third trimester!

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  8. Hooray!!! Melissa, this is so great to read.

    I wish I had not just taken the time, but also made the effort to write down memories for myself & my Little Mister. Your post is making me feel that it is not too late!

    Unfortunately, my pregnancy has been mega-complicated, & a little backwards: I was on bed rest from weeks 8 to 12, & on restricted activity ever since due to a broken blood vessel. Since I spent a lot of my time focused on mainly NOT MOVING MY BODY I didn't have much time to feel any typical symptoms whatsoever. I was spared the barf-o-rama (though I went through about 6 weeks of eating anything in sight, & intense fatigue I assume will probably just be a part of my life for the next 18 years or so!)

    I feel so much love & compassion knowing that you & Robbie experienced a loss... I really do not know how in the world I would have handled things if my 4 weeks on bed rest had ended differently.

    Feeling your little acrobat flip around in your tummy is sincerely one of the best things in life - EVER. All the worry, the barfing, the excessive eating, sleeping, & crying seem so trivial in comparison to knowing that your little Baby Bean is growing & healthy.

    Thank you for posting; I love watching for your updates!! I am about to round-out to 26 weeks myself, & I am increasingly exited day by day. I can't WAIT to find out if you & Robbie are expecting a Little Mister or Miss!

    xoxoxox

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    1. I am so excited for you guys Liz! And it's a boy?! Congrats! :) I was on partial bed rest (mainly restricted activity) for two weeks for a small bleed and it sucked. I can't imagine what full bed rest for a month was like for you! I'm so glad all is well though and that you and baby are doing great. xoxo

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  9. I hope you continue to feel good the rest of the way! I hear a lot of horror stories about pregnancy, particularly from women in my own family, which scares me off a bit. My SIL was vomiting the entire pregnancy with her 3rd baby, usually like 3 times a day, and I marveled that she was even able to keep enough food down to continue to put on weight for the baby. Both her and my sister said their pregnancies were totally different with each child also, which I guess can be both good and bad...meaning, if you did have a hard time with the first one, that doesn't mean the 2nd pregnancy would also be bad...could be totally different. I don't know why I'm talking about 2nd and 3rd pregnancies; I'm getting ahead of myself! Anyway, I'm glad to hear you and baby are healthy and I'm sure the paint will look just fine! Also, your striped shirt is really cute! :)

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    1. Some people have horrible pregnancy experiences for sure. So despite the difficult parts of mine, I feel lucky for the most part. I also get ahead of myself and start talking about the next pregnancy - my husband is like, "Whoa, slow down!" ;)

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  10. Congrats on the half way mark! I'm currently at 35 weeks with my first baby. It's all so exciting but it's true, you do kind of feel like the only pregnant woman around! My husband and I are the first of our group of friends to have a baby so I get my "all things baby" need filled by the internet through blogs, online friends, and pregnancy forums. It's amazing how different pregnancy can be for different women!

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    1. Congrats on 35 weeks Marisa! You're almost there!

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  11. Congrats! :) Super excited for you guys

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  12. Right?! You think you're the first woman to get pregnant and it's a big ole deal for you and the rest of the world is like... "yawn".

    I'm at 15 weeks and reading everything I can get my hands on. Thank you for your honesty. If nothing else, it makes me feel like someone else things this is a big deal. :)

    P.S. Don't know what the "before" looked like, but your "after" is still beautiful!!

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  13. This is a beautiful story, I just passed it on to my friend who has been trying to conceive for over a year. Her husband is gone away from home for work often too and it's been a real struggle for them especially because a few of our other friends have gotten pregnant in just a couple tries. I think this will encourage her! I am sorry for your loss but happy that you have a strong healthy baby in your belly now! =) You look great too, tiny still but with a nice bump!

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    1. P.S. I'm going to guess girl. =) Just because I could see you with a little girl. But a boy would be great too! =)

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  14. Reading this brought me to tears and made me laugh out loud~ I'm so glad you wrote about this, especially because I feel like I know you so well, it was very touching for me. I'm so happy for you, and love being able to share in this special time in your life! XO to you and Robbie, stay healthy and full of love!!! XOXO

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  15. you're the most beautiful pregnant woman sis! love these photos. :) your story is beautiful

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  16. Oh I definitely understand why people don't like sharing too early. It's funny how pregnancy can make you feel like total crap but amazing at the same time. Exhaustion is always the worst part for me and it's so hard since I have a soon to be 3 year old as well. Honestly I think the energy thing in the 2nd trimester really depends on the pregnancy. I was hoping to get that burst of energy like I did the first time around, this time nope. I was fine for like a week and then the exhaustion hit me like a truck again.

    Such a great post and it didn't come across as complaining at all, you're pregnant, it's tough sometimes! lol

    I vote girl though! Enjoy your anatomy scan, we just had ours this past Tuesday and it's so great seeing baby growing. Hope you have a great weekend and yay for the halfway point! :)

    J.

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  17. Such a sweet story! Thanks for sharing! Wishing you well on your last few weeks!

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  18. Such a sweet story! Thanks for sharing! Wishing you well on your last few weeks!

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  19. Congratulations!! This was a heartfelt post. I'm in my late 20's and I'm really not ready for children and want to wait until my mid 30's. It's nice to hear a story like yours for my own peace of mind. I fear waiting will make it much harder to get pregnant. I'm hoping to have a similar situation to you. You look beautiful!!!

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    1. Thank you Feda! I think waiting until you are ready is key. Mid 30's is not too late at all. :)

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  20. Such a great post Melissa! Thank you for being so honest and open with your thoughts. My husband and I are at a point where if it happens, it happens. I'm also in my mid-30's and hearing your story is so great. I can't wait to hear more and congratulations again!!

    Sandra
    www.notesfromtheslife.com

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  21. Melissa, how wonderful that you are documenting your pregnancy here on your blog. It's easy to forget the details and I'm sure you'll love revisiting these precious moments a few years from now :)

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  22. What a great post! It's so cool hearing about your journey. I can't wait to hear whether you're having a boy or a girl! My vote is on a little girl :)

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  23. How exciting! Congratulations.
    I think this post will be one you will want to come back to and remember for years to come.
    Please share with us when you find out if you're having a boy or girl.

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  24. Hooray for no more puking! Every pregnancy is different, and I really enjoyed reading about the first half of your journey. Lots of women are having babies later now, and I think your story is a great one to share! You look beautiful. I'm excited to find out the gender. I'm guessing you'll be having a little girl. And I'm dying to know what names you and Robbie have thought of - boy or girl. =0)
    ~Kim

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    1. I agree that lots of women are having babies later these days, whether through pregnancy or adoption. And I think it's great! Thanks for the kind words! xo

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  25. You are one of the most beautiful and sweet woman I know and the pregnancy glow makes you even more beautiful Melissa, can't wait to "online meet" baby your little one. Haven fun and enjoy this amazing jorney.
    xx Lexie

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  26. what a journey you've been through! you worked so hard. melissa, i'm wishing you and your family the best. is everyone telling you are glowing radiantly? that photo of robbie holding your tummy is beyond precious.

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  27. I loved reading this post and find it amusing that you keep referring to yourself as an old lady. You dont look a day over 25! :) I'm currently 14 weeks (and will be 35 when the baby comes) and can totally relate to the lack of motivation you experienced. Im struggling with that now :)

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