We are officially past the halfway point of this pregnancy! Woohoo! So much has happened in the last few weeks and I’m excited to give you an update!
About a month ago, I started feeling subtle baby movements – tiny little flutters that I could almost mistake as gas or muscle twitches. I had been so excited to feel movement and remember thinking, “I’ll worry so much less when I start to feel her move.”
Those future markers are never what I think they will be! Feeling her move came with heightened nervousness when I didn’t feel her move!
A couple weeks ago, a few days went by without feeling any movement from baby girl. Though movement had been daily, I reminded myself not to worry because it was still early for movement and far too early for things like kick counts.
Then, I started cramping. For several hours, I had intense cramps – they weren’t so bad that I had to stop working or lay down, but they were alarmingand I decided to call the doctor. They decided to have me come in for a urine sample and a fetal heart check. Sometimes cramping can come from a urinary tract infection (UTI) so they wanted to rule that out.
Fetal heart check was fine. Baby’s heartbeat was healthy & strong. I felt so relieved.
Because of the cramping, they decided to do a manual cervical check…holy moly was that more uncomfortable than I thought it would be! Pap smears don’t really bother me but this was something way more intense! My doctor explained that the cervix is significantly more sensitive during pregnancy. Everything seemed normal (except my pain tolerance!)
To air on the side of caution, they wanted to look at just one more thing – the length of my cervix – to make sure it wasn’t prematurely shortening. Basically, if you think of your uterus like an empty balloon…the balloon has a long neck when it’s empty and as it gets more full, the neck shortens. You know how it’s hard to tie it off if you inflate it too much? Same concept. It’s too early in the pregnancy for the cervix to be shortening.
The ultrasound seemed normal in that regard but they were a little concerned about the placement of my placenta. They said it was closer to my cervix than they wanted it to be. Later in pregnancy, that could post a risk of bleeding for me and baby so we agreed to keep an eye on it and they suggested “cervical rest”. I’m still unclear on what that means beyond “no sex”.
While checking on the length of my cervix, they also checked on baby. She looked healthy and strong! However, she looking like she was doing an Irish jig right on top of my cervix! She kept crossing, uncrossing and recrossing her tiny little ankles right above my cervix. As she did, you could see my cervix contracting, which was likely the cause of my cramping.
Ultimately, they sent me home and said we’d take another look the following week at my scheduled ultrasound.
Meanwhile, I’ve noticed some pregnancy related changes!
- Weight gain – everywhere!
- Increased hunger. I’m basically down for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and a big dinner. Ha! True story!
- Round ligament pain, especially at night.
- The return of nausea. Yeah, it’s back. If I start to get hungry, I feel sick. Most times, I also feel sick after I eat.
- Less sleep. I hadn’t been sleeping well in general but it’s definitely worse now.
- Movement! The movement returned and is more consistent and pronounced, especially after I eat and when I lay down at night.
Let’s talk frankly about the weight gain, shall we?
Prior to getting pregnant, I thought I’d be this clean-eating, CrossFitting pregnant woman, much like my non-pregnant self. I envisioned changes in my body but I didn’t envision major changes in my lifestyle.
Hahahahahahaha. We plan, God laughs.
In fairness, I’m not eating terribly, but I’m definitely not living up to my previous definition of clean eating. Veggies are basically intolerable. Chicken is the only protein I can stomach and it can’t be plain. Chicken tenders are my form of choice. Does that even count? I’m saying, “yes!”
Carbs settle my stomach. Pasta. Crackers. Bread. I had some graham crackers today and they were simply PERFECT.
Some “healthier” items are still in play. I love apples and crave them constantly, but, they give me diarrhea. 🤷🏻♀️I had a bunch of carrots last night and…you guessed it. Diarrhea.
So, what do you get when you combine eating more (I’m always hungry now), eating less clean, exercising less and growing a human under very stressful conditions?
Weight gain! Everywhere!
Watching this slow weight creep, I’ve had many moments of feeling disappointed in myself and almost as many moments of simply not giving a shit.
After bouncing back and forth with my thoughts and feelings about it, I decided to sit down and really get into my heart and my best self about it. Instead of just riding the roller coaster of emotions and letting it control my mood, I decided to take control back.
As I usually do, I began with questions:
What is the thing that bothers me most about the weight gain? What is it that makes me most uncomfortable or anxious about getting bigger?
Fear of judgement from others.
That’s the God’s honest truth. If no one else existed, I’d be fine with it. I’d have total peace with eating what feels good and avoiding what doesn’t feel good. I’d be way more comfortable with a larger, sturdier season.
It’s less about me. My discomfort comes from how I’m thinking about other people’s opinions.
Boom. Instant clarity.
That is NOT who I choose to be.
And seriously, who are these people in my life that I think would judge me for gaining weight?
Certainly not my daughter’s father. He thinks I’m beautiful and is concerned only with me and baby being healthy. Certainly not my family. Certainly not my closest friends. Certainly not colleagues who support me no matter what.
I dug a little deeper. Who? Who am I worried about? Who am I thinking might judge or criticize me?
The fear is about strangers, colleagues or clients who don’t really know me.
This realization was so enlightening. Even writing about this, I have tears in my eyes at what an awakening this was.
First, I don’t know that they are judging or would judge. That’s an assumption. I don’t want to be a person who makes assumptions. I practice not making assumptions and certainly not assuming the worst about people as a result of my own insecurity!
Second, if they do judge me, they aren’t people I want in my life. That makes this season a beautiful opportunity to enrich my relationships and enrich the group of people with whom I work.
This is happening for me, not to me.
Beyond that…I explored the question, “What is wrong with gaining weight?”
Am I healthy? Yes.
Is baby healthy? Yes.
Am Iistening to my body? Yes.
Am I eating when I’m hungry and choosing what feels right in the moment? Yes.
Am I being irresponsible? No.
Am I disrespecting my body? No.
So then, what is wrong with weight gain?
This is a season. It’s a miraculous season.
My past periods of weight gain have been steeped in shame, self-loating and hiding.
What a beautiful opportunity for me to navigate this differently…
What a beautiful opportunity for me to choose to love this. To choose confidence. To choose a complete embrace of my body and the fact that it’s needs and wants are very different right now.
I feel such peace and possibility when typing this out.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. That doesn’t mean I am free from frustration or fear of judgement. I certainly have moments of emotion, of sadness, of fear and insecurity.
But this new perspective is a choice I make a hundred times a day and it’s a choice I’m excited about.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this as I continue to grow. 🙂
Back to baby stuff….
Just yesterday I went in for my final (we think) ultrasound of the pregnancy. It was a long one – about an hour – and everything looked great! My placenta even moved! It was no longer “too close” to my cervix!
It was pretty miraculous to see all her fingers and toes, the four chambers of her heart and all her little ribs. The ultrasound tech was super chatty
I am admittedly biased, but I think she’s pretty cute already!
After the appointment, I got a phone call. This is where things get interesting and a little challenging.
The doctor was calling about the urine sample I left last week. The intial dipstick screening was negative for a UTI but they sent it out to see what bacteria “grows out” over time. Essentially, she was calling to let me know I have a “severe” UTI and that she was calling in antibiotics for me.
I was surprised because I don’t feel like I have a UTI. I’ve had them before and you certainly know when you do! While yes, I’ve been urinating much more frequently, that’s super common in pregnancy. I haven’t had, however, any burning, pain or discomfort.
She went on to explain that I had over 100,000 active cultures in my sample but that they didn’t test out for a specific strain. She said that it could be a contaminated sample but since UTIs can lead to infection or pre-term labor, they wanted to air on the side of caution and treat it.
I thought it was super weird that she couldn’t name a specific bacterium that was problematic so I asked,
How do you know it’s pathogenic bacterial overgrowth? Could it be that I just have a healthy, robust microbiome?
She said they didn’t know that it was pathogenic and that it could be representative of a rich microbiome and the fact that I supplement with multiple probiotics. Or, she reiterated, it could be contamination.
Here’s what’s so fascinating to keep in mind about most medical tests: their ranges for “normal” are based on populations, not based on optimal states of health. Here’s what I mean: they determine “normal” levels of bacteria in the urine based on what most people have, not on what is optimal. With this in mind, having a high amount of bacteria in the urine could very well reflect that I have a richer microbiome than most. Yes, it could also indicate an infection, but as they were unable to verify problem strains and I’m not having typical symptoms, I don’t feel comfortable jumping right to antibiotic treatment.
Heck, I’ve worked my butt off to improve my microbiome for my health and the health of my baby so I’m not eager to jump on antibiotics as a precaution.
So, here’s my plan. I have another appointment in just 4 days. Between now and then, I’ll increase my probiotic consumption and supplement with cranberry capsules and vitamin C. If there is an infection, that should help knock it out without antiobitics. My good friend Dr. Beth Westie also told me to drink lots of water, change my underwear 2-3x/day and watch for any symptoms like pain, burning, discharge or fever.
Then, we’ll retest in a few days.
In other baby news…
We painted the nursery yesterday and my mom & her husband are coming down this weekend to help us lay down wood flooring in there. I’ll show pictures on Instagram (in my stories) as we go. While the house is still in total shambles, there are two very small rooms upstairs that aren’t being renovated by the crew. One of those will be the baby nursery so we can get that situated even while we live in chaos.
Speaking of the renovation chaos – this week has been tough. Because of a big 5-day storm cycle, the crew hasn’t been here all week.
I had my first moment of real frustration with our living conditions (not to be confused with a lot of frustration I’ve had about the previous contractor). One particularly restless night, I just wanted the be able to go lay on the couch to watch TV and try to get comfortable. But, we have no couch and we have no TV. I wanted to be able to walk to the fridge and get a cold drink, alas, no fridge in the house.
I’m sure there will be many more moments of frustration as the pregnancy continues, but I’m determined to remain grateful for my home, grateful for my health, grateful for my baby and grateful for my family.
Until next time…I’m off to get some cranberry capsules and vitamin C!