how we survived: weeks 13 - 27
For the first part in this series, click here.
Oh, second trimester. A lot of pregnant women will tell you that this is the Golden Age of pregnancy. It's like when Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey were all on TV at the same time. Without the booze and meth, though.
Was my second trimester better than my first? Yes, but I was lucky and didn't have a hellacious first trimester to begin with. The major improvements were physical: I didn't have to pee literally every 10 minutes and while I never had morning sickness, any bouts of feeling nauseated were gone probably by around week 14 .
WEEKS 12 - 15
While some doctors tell you your second trimester starts at week 12, we actually waited until week 14 to consider ourselves officially in the clear. By that point, we had had two sonograms: one to confirm the pregnancy and the first trimester nuchal translucency screening, which tests for major genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome. The latter sonogram, paired with a few rounds of blood tests (one in first trimester, one in second), generally gives you a pretty good idea of the likelihood of having a baby with any major genetic problems. Although the wait for results usually isn't very long, you can imagine that this is one of the more stressful hurdles of your late first trimester. I found that it was really the first time that I worried about the baby's heath, as opposed to just being freaked out about miscarrying. And, I guess it's good practice, right? Because it certainly won't be the last time.
Around 13 weeks is also when I started to actually feel a bump, although it wouldn't be noticeable for a few more weeks. The only way I could really find it was when I lay down on the floor and sucked my stomach in. Then, just barely, there was a slight rise in my lower abdomen. But still! It was very exciting.
WEEKS 16 - 19
Week 16 was when I first looked in the mirror and thought, "Oh shit, there's a baby in there." But, with a bit of stealthy dressing (flowy tops are your friend whether you're pregnant or not), we managed to keep it a secret to almost everyone until week 17, when we told our work friends and made it #socialmediaofficial. You can look at the Instagram here.
Weeks 17 and 18 were when we started looking into baby nurses. I'll write more on that later, but what surprised me was how early we ended up having to book someone. I thought we could wait until some point during the third trimester, but, I guess this is Manhattan. People get a little nuts about lot of things. Ha.
And then came week 19: our anatomy screening! While, yes, we were excited to see whose butt she's inherited, the major excitement of this ultrasound is that, if you want, you can find out the sex. We decided against having it revealed right in the room, so we had the tech write it down on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and give it to us on our way out. We could barely get out of the building fast enough before we ripped it open on the street. All that was written was "GIRL" with a circle around it. I screamed. We kissed. And then, unfortunately, we both had to get to work.
WEEKS 20 - 23
The day after finding out Fritter was a Frittata, we hopped on a plane to Istanbul and Greece. You can read more about traveling while pregnant in those links, but it was TOTALLY doable at 20 weeks. The other exciting development that happened while we were on vacation was feeling her first kicks. I had definitely felt movement before then, but it was so subtle it was hard to discern whether it was the baby moving or just random muscles contracting. By the time we got to Santorini though, Mike put his hand on my belly and felt her give a little wiggle. It's a very trippy experience, of course. Knowing you're pregnant is one thing, but actually FEELING her do her thing in there is something I'm still wrapping my head around.
I'd say around 19 weeks is also when I started to actually LOOK pregnant, at least to people that knew me well. At the time, I thought I was already huge. Now, when I look at those pictures, it is the TINIEST bump.
Mike and I are both not very big people, so it shouldn't be a surprise that Baby Lewin is on the small side, but the one downside of the anatomy screening was that she was small enough that my doctors wanted more frequent ultrasounds. So, starting at week 20 (and continuing right now, at 36 weeks), I've had to go in every 3 weeks or so to make sure that she's still growing appropriately. Obviously, I wish she were bigger and it was a bit stressful when we first found out, but she's been gaining weight steadily and her vitals have always been strong. She's just bite-size. My doctor also made me feel a lot better by telling me that the growth charts that they use to track percentile measurements are based only on white women, so that if you are Asian, for example, your baby will always end up at lower percentile than if you were looking at a chart of, say, just Filipinas.
Of course, I asked if there were anything I could do to help her bulk up and every doctor I talked to basically said the same thing: keep eating well, get enough sleep and try not to stress. Has it been really fun to eat more grilled cheese and lasagna? Hell yes.
And, in more fun news, week 21 was when we registered for baby things. I opted for Restoration Hardware Baby for all of our bedding and pretty much everything else at Buy Buy Baby. I'll write more on this later, but the major takeaway? BABIES NEED SO MANY THINGS.
WEEKS 24 - 27
I wish I could remember the first time someone gave up their seat on the subway for me, but it must have happened somewhere around this point. Now, in my third trimester, I have no shame about sitting down when someone offers (which they almost always do). But, at first, I was kind of like, "Oh no, don't worry, I'm totally fine!" Fellow pregnant people: don't do this. Just take the seat. It's awesome.
Week 27 was the dreaded glucose test. This is when you get tested for gestational diabetes, which, although a big pain in the ass, generally goes away after you give birth. There are two rounds of testing: a one hour and a three hour (which you only take if you "fail" the first). In the one hour test, you drink a glucose solution exactly one hour before they draw your blood. If your sugar levels come back too high, then you're forced to do the three hour test. Luckily, I passed the one hour, but I think for many pregnant women, this is the time when you start evaluating how many sweets you're eating. Does it make you stop? I guess sometimes, but, I also really like doughnuts.
The only tip I used for the glucose test was to make sure that I had a protein-rich meal a few hours before I drank the glucose. Is that what helped me pass? I'm not sure, but it seems logical that your blood sugar would be more stable if you had eaten a meal at some point in the hours before the test.
And that, my friends, brings us to the end of the second trimester! Questions/comments? Leave 'em below.