The second trimester of my pregnancy really has been lovely, for many reasons. I felt more like myself than I had for the 3 months prior. My appetite returned, my energy increased and with that a return to the gym, which in turn has helped my mental health.
Most of my symptoms lifted by 12 weeks and the second trimester was like a fresh breeze of much needed air. I was lucky enough to say goodbye to nausea and with it, cabin fever as the first trimester drew to a close. Of course, the second trimester comes with it’s own niggling symptoms. All of which, in my case, were must easier to deal with then all day sickness.
Round ligament aches and pains continued into the second trimester along with slower digestion, especially from 5pm onward. I love eating in the evenings when I feel most relaxed and many a night it felt like my stomach was in my rib-cage, putting pressure on my lungs. I could refrain from eating past 6pm but where’s the fun in that?!
The best part by far this trimester was feeling the baby move. There is no feeling more reassuring and joyful! It makes pregnancy feel so real and bonding with the little human growing inside is so sweet. I felt the baby turn quite early at 14.5 weeks, there was no mistaking tiny limbs forcefully moving – full turn. It felt quite odd! After that, I didn’t feel anything that I could definitely say was baby. I mean there were popping and bubbling feelings in my uterus but not too unlike gas bubbles. By week 17 I realised it was baby, as the movements increasingly got a little stronger every few days. For me, it was like popcorn popping or a butterfly fluttering it’s wings!
I knew my appetite returned at Vegfest when I was demolishing anything I could get my hands on and since then I’ve just been thinking about food, everyday, all day long. Although, I often can’t make up my mind what I actually want to eat, especially when it comes to dinnertime. Sweet foods and salty, crunchy snacks are always welcome yet I fear my aversion to seaweed will be a lifelong one and some days I still can’t look at an avocado.
With my insatiable hunger comes a slight predicament – a lack of space. Where a plate full of food used to fit, a child’s portion can push the limits. From a squished stomach to tight skin that’s expanding as much as it can, the after effects of a delicious meal can be quite uncomfortable. My fast metabolism and digestion from pre-pregnancy has morphed into a slow slug.
Heartburn! Apparently I’ve never had heartburn before, only mild acid reflux on rare occasions. The first night I got it, I didn’t know what was happening. The tightness in my chest stopping me from breathing was a little alarming, I thought something was seriously wrong until the burning acid flowed like a river up my esophagus. Apparently the sphincter muscle above the stomach relaxes and allow FLAMES to erupt as you sleep. One sleepless night later, it returned. This time I was armed with Rennie’s (vegan and suitable for use during pregnancy, thank goodness!) During the festive season I realised cooked fruit in mince pies and Christmas pudding enticed my stomach acid to act as a flamethrower. 30 mince pies, 2 large puddings and a burn pipe later, I do not regret a thing!
I started getting a bump low down quite early on in the first trimester. This trimester, the bump is growing so quickly up past my belly button. At about 22 weeks the middle of my belly really started protruding and by 24 weeks my innie was an outie! And very sensitive! My boobs received stretch marks, around 19 weeks which I don’t mind. It did spur me on to oil my bump and thighs more though since I already have stretch marks there on my outer leg since puberty. I can’t say all the oiling up has helped at all, since I found stretch marks on my inner thighs and around my belly button around 25 weeks. I’d be lying if I said that isn’t a little disappointing to my ego but it’s so worth it for the amazing little human growing inside!
My bump has gotten so big now that I can’t see under it anymore, tying my shoe laces or even putting on socks has really become a challenge. I never knew I was particular about the way I tied my laces, until my fiance did it for me! Trying to shave has been a struggle of balancing and reaching. It’s quite funny until you realise you’ve spend 10 minutes trying to shave half of one leg in the shower! Not to mention trying to get to other places.
Sometimes while walking through tight spaces or car parks my belly will rub off something and it takes me a second to make the connection that my tummy further away I cannot fit through said spaces anymore.
At the gym, I’ve had to cut back on the majority of my favourite exercises and weights. Barbell hip thrusts were out the window from the beginning, now squats, dead-lifts and leg press are off the cards too. Hauling the plates to the calf raise machine isn’t worth the risk anymore either. My gym membership is just about to expire and while I’ll miss the gym for the next few months, a set of dumbbells will easily do until baby arrives.
The dreams! Oh, the gloriously weird vivid dreams. One in particular stands out, around 19 weeks, I had a dream there were grizzly bears at my front door trying to get inside to attack my dog. After shoo-ing them away by my waving my un-intimidating limbs, I started to wake up. In my trance like state, I opened my curtains, looked out the window, checking the garden for bears. Awaking fully from my lucid dream, I assured myself there were grizzly bears in the garden before and that’s why I had the dream in the first place. On waking the next morning, I was ready to up all protection of the house and had to google if there were actually bears in Ireland. Ireland… the country where wild animals are cute, not scary.
In another dream, there was a bottle of opened maple syrup on the bed beside me, tilting over when I moved in my sleep. So I sat up, reached for the bottle of maple syrup so it wouldn’t spill and awoke to my rabbit, wondering why I was grabbing him out of his peaceful slumber!
So as you can guess, sleep has been less than restful. Tossing and turning has increased a gazillion percent! Although I try to lie on my left side as much as possible for better blood flow to baby, my shoulder and hips get quite sore. I generally switch from left to right all night and not give in to lying on my back (which is not good for the baby). Although whenever I do accidentally lie back, baby kicks me awake sharpish! Which is great because it reminds the discomfort of pregnancy is worth it!
Back pain is another symptom of this trimester and it’s definitely the most uncomfortable symptom I’ve had this trimester. It feels like a burning sensation in my muscles and spine as soon as I lie down. I’ve have had a little luck with a pregnancy pillow thankfully. My hips have been expanding too which is sore on occasion. I have fairly narrow hips but with all this expansion I’m now walking with a wide step and sitting like a man who thinks his balls need a foot wide space of their own!
My aversions are pretty much gone. I can actually be in the presence of an avocado now and if the mood strikes me, ingest one! Although, I don’t particularly care to put kale in my smoothies anymore, I am enjoying a little spinach again. The only real aversion I still have is Nori seaweed to make vegan sushi. Even typing that is gross. One day I thought I could smell seaweed in the kitchen – phantom seaweed – and had to run out.
I don’t really crave anything in particular that I do actually end up eating. Chinese curry, with egg fried rice and prawn crackers all the time or kfc have been my major cravings, both not vegan so I’m glad we can make our own curries and chicken alternative spicy wraps! While I don’t have other specific cravings, put any sweet treat in front of me and I’ll devour it! I’m gladly accepting apple tart donations from my mother-in-law to be.
I haven’t had much constipation this trimester and I put that down to Oat Bran alone! I eat two bowls of it a day, and if I miss one day of it, I spent two days recovering and gaining some new toilet buddies. Ah hemorrhoids, my uninvited visitors! Welcome to my anus!
Emotionally, I’ve felt great but also really emotionally invested in everything. If I see a someone doing something nice for someone else, I have to hold back tears. I’ve always cried easily, but now, I’m a blubbering mess. It could be a quote, a video on YouTube, a song or just having a meaningful chat with someone and I have to hold back tears, sometimes unsuccessfully.
So while I may have had some seemingly not so nice symptoms in the second trimester, they really weren’t all that bad (aside from the back pain) and most of the time I found myself laughing or smiling at symptoms or our little boy’s kicks.
Yes, our little boy! At our 20 week scan we got to see our, much bigger, little stink who was scratching his nose while we watching him in 3D. We heard the heartbeat for the first time and saw his little bits to confirm what I felt all along, that little human is in fact, a Sir. Since that scan, he’s been kicking up a storm! At first 6-7pm seemed to be his awake time and by the end of the second trimester, he was waking me up at 12am and 6am when his dear fur bunny brother also wakes me up to have a jolly good kick around my tummy and 3 kicks in the ribs for good luck!
His Daddy has been bonding with every kick he feels and well, it’s little moments like that that sum up the amazing experience of pregnancy. Not to mention all the shopping I may or may not be doing for baby. I want all the tiny things!
We count our blessings everyday to be lucky enough to have this wonderful life opportunity and it’s been great sharing the news with family and friends too. It’s not just us that are excited to meet this little boy. As each day passes we’re getting closer to meeting him and then comes the learning curve of being parents!