I had great intentions of documenting this pregnancy in detail from day 1, with beautiful posts every week with my growing tummy and sweet toddler on my hip. I acquired a letterboard somewhere along the line and had great plans to update it every week with clever quips and facts about our growing baby. As they say….the best laid plans of mice and men….you know how the rest goes. I find myself a week away from the third trimester and I have no idea how I got here.
The first 16 weeks were rough. Really rough. The all-day sickness hit around 7 weeks and just hung around until about 16 or 17 weeks. I thought I’d be better equipped to manage this time having survived it with my first pregnancy, at one point in time I actually said, how bad can this be? It was bad, and none of the tricks that I thought I knew really worked all that well. The sensitivity to smells was horrendous. Changing nappies went from being a mundane every day activity to something I dreaded, I was never sure if I was going to survive long enough to get Hannah dressed again. There were times where her actual sweet baby smell that I used to love burying my nose in her neck and hair to take in became enough to send me sprinting down the corridor to the bathroom.
There’s no tired like pregnant tired, or so I thought, until I experienced being-pregnant-with-a-toddler-who-doesn’t-nap-tired. One of the cruelties of pregnancy is that you so desperately need caffeine, but shouldn’t really be having it. I must admit on some days I did cave and ordered a regular cappuccino rather than the advised decaf. At this point Hannah wasn’t sleeping through the night yet, I was up every 2 hours or so with her, and got maybe a 45 minute to an hour window during the day where she slept (and I worked – there’s none of this sleep when the baby sleeps nonsense when you’re a work at home mom!). There were definitely days where I dissolved into a tearful puddle and questioned what on earth we had done by falling pregnant with a second, and was not convinced there was ever going to be any way that I would cope with two.
And then there was the breastfeeding aversion. I was still adamant that I was going to feed her until either she decided to give up, or my milk dried out. Breastfeeding aversion was something I didn’t even know about until I experienced it. Its a strange psycho-hormonal response that happens every time the baby latches. As much as I wanted Hannah to have as much breastmilk as she wanted and needed, every time she started to drink, I felt this massive sense of repulsion wash over me and had to fight the very strong urge to pull her off of me and shove her away. It was incredibly confusing. My mind told me that I was doing the right thing and that she needed this, but my body and my subconscious were telling me a very different story. I powered through, and by about 14 weeks, we were back to normal.
We had a few emergency hospital visits in the first 16 weeks for dehydration, migraine headaches and most scary of all, a bleed at 15 weeks. Those were honestly some of the scariest hours of my life. When you can’t feel your baby move yet, when you’re not really looking pregnant yet, but you’re so in love with this little life that you know is inside you (even though it feels like it’s killing you), and you know that you could possibly lose it all in a minute and very little you could do to prevent it. It’s horrifying. There’s no other way to describe it.
But despite this all, we made it through! And then at about 17 weeks we went into lock-down and lost all sense of time, personal grooming and fashion. Which is a huge contributing factor to why there have been no progress pics this time around! Because of the pregnancy, and not knowing what medications I could safely take if I did possibly get sick, I have left the house maybe 4 times in the past 8 or 9 weeks. Generally I’ve been OK with the isolation. It suits my mostly introverted personality, but it does mean that I’ve missed out on a lot of the “fun” things about being pregnant. There’s nobody except the dogs, an overworked husband and a disinterested toddler to talk to about how big the baby is, what’s developed that week and what odd things are happening to your body this week. There are no co-workers asking you about names and nursery themes and genders and marveling over the size of your belly. There’s no leisurely trips around the shops picking up cute baby grows and blankets and bits and bobs that will sit on the compactum and never be used. There’s no coffee dates and braais on the weekend with friends and family where they can tease you about how big you are and sit for hours with a hand on your belly waiting for a kick. There’s no looking forward to a baby shower (or sprinkle the second time around) because it’s not likely we’ll be able to see our friends before this baby is at least 3 months old.
I feel that life just goes on around you while you’re growing a human, and I feel as if that miracle is going generally unnoticed for so many pregnant women around the world. The entire human population is occupied with illness and death and suffering and the women who are growing life and hope and love within them are hidden away, protecting themselves, protecting our future, going un-celebrated, overlooked, almost forgotten, or worse, suffering poverty, uncertain futures, sickness and despair. And then there’s the guilt for feeling this way. Soul crushing guilt for mourning what small frivolities you’re missing out on when so many are sick and dying, so many are starving and penniless, when so many have it far worse than you. Combined with the infamous mood altering cocktail of pregnancy hormones, it’s a confusing and emotional time.
Most days I completely forget I’m pregnant, until I’m kicked in the bladder or spleen while I’m trying to fall asleep at night. I’m still wearing my normal clothes (either they’re really stretchy, or I was wearing a size too big to begin with!) whereas by this point in time with Hannah I had a complete and very chic maternity wardrobe. To be fair, lockdown is helping in that I can wear stretchy leggings and a baggy t-shirt every day with no judgement! First time round we were almost finished decorating the nursery, I’d knitted blankets, finished cross-stitch artwork for the walls and had an entire wardrobe waiting for our new arrival. I had my birth plan written out, I had my hospital bag packed (yes, I did it that early!) This time round, we haven’t decided on a name, we haven’t made any changes to the nursery, we haven’t looked through what clothes we have for her.
My goal for the approaching last trimester is to try and enjoy it more. Try to make the most of this strange isolated situation the world is in, try to prepare as much as we can for this new precious life to join our family, and maybe find a name for her before she arrives!