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 and constant nausea, 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.
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.