I am officially 18 weeks pregnant, which means I’ve reached the four month mark. Only five to go! Baby is apparently the size of an artichoke, which seems like the beginning of what I can assume will be a series of odd produce comparisons. I mean, an artichoke? There was nothing maybe a little more cute than that?
Parents-in-Training: Kid Visits and Mini Golf
This week we participated in a series of parents-in-training events. This wasn’t intentional, but looking back at the week I realize we are starting to do “parent-y” things now. First, I welcomed my best friend and goddaughter over for lunch and a park playdate. I normally head to their house for visits, but last week they came to me, which was so nice! I also had another friend and her three kids over, which also turned into a park playdate.
In both scenarios we tested out my new stroller, which was very exciting. Turns out its super easy to use and very versatile, easily accommodating a 16-month old and a 6-month old. So check that box on getting baby-ready! Already killing this whole mom thing. (We opted for the Chicco Brave LE Travel System – Genesis. We found a gently used one on Facebook Marketplace and got a GREAT deal on it.)
With these visits, I also realized how non-toddler proof our house is. Everywhere you turn there are breakable things little hands just can’t wait to touch. So note to self, purchase baby gates and remove breakable items lower than waist height if you don’t want to have hundreds of tiny panic attacks within an hour.
Another really great thing about these visits is that we are really starting to see how our two cats react to small children. They’ve never really spent any time with kids, so we’ve been very curious to see how they do. To my very pleasant surprise, Liam (my kitty) seems to LOVE being around kids. He’s very tolerable of their unpredictable behavior and even approaches them to rub against them. To any of you who know Liam, this is really great news. It’s no surprise Jeremy and I have been a little concerned about how he will be with the new baby. After all, he is my baby and can be quite territorial. Moose on the other hand, just doesn’t really want to be a part of the whole kid socializing thing, which is fine by me. I mean, I don’t know if I would want to be chased around the house by a little human either. So, this is great news all around. So proud of our little fur babies!
Jeremy and I also decided to play a little mini golf this past weekend. In his words, “it’s low-impact for a pregnant woman”, which is hilarious and quite true. As a matter of fact, we actually saw several other pregnant couples on the course. Turns out, it’s good prep for parenthood. Who doesn’t love mini golf? So long happy hour at chic downtown bards and say hello to places that keep kids entertained for more than an hour. Parenting win.
Week 18 Symptoms: Stretching Skin, Sleeplessness, and Back Pain (Oh my!)
As this pregnancy progresses, I think it’s wise (and therapeutic for me) to continue to update you on the lovely and not-so lovely symptoms I’m experiencing along the way.
I was pleasantly surprised to feel some relief in the skin-stretching department this week. Not sure why this has happened, but I welcome it. However, this is partnered with thoughts such as, “Is the baby okay?” … “Is she/he still in there?” … “Am I not growing anymore?” all of which are irrational, but I am confident any other pregnant woman would tell you these thoughts run constantly in their mind. If you aren’t experiencing discomfort on a regular basis, you automatically wonder if something is wrong. Doesn’t that seem a little ironic?
I’ve also been having a really hard time sleeping. This isn’t really a new symptom, but definitely one that is taking it’s toll as the weeks continue. I find I am tossing and turning so much as I try to get and stay comfortable throughout the night. This often involves flipping from side-to-side, trying to avoid sleeping on my back, and moving my pregnancy wedge and other support pillows around with me. I finally asked my doctor about pregnancy-safe remedies, and she recommend trying melatonin so I’ve been taking it for the last week or so and it seems to be helping. When I wake, I am able to fall back asleep faster so that means less time lying away in discomfort.
In conjunction with restlessness during sleep, I’m also experiencing quite a bit of back pain. I wake up feeling like I am 80-years-old. Once I get moving in the day, it gets better, but I’m now walking around the house with my pregnancy wedge and heat pack in tow. Pregnancy is really glamorous guys. I don’t know if it’s just all the tossing and turning, the added pressure my growing uterus is putting on my insides, or what, but I can only imagine both the sleep and back pain issues are not going to disappear any time soon.
Any remedies or suggestions would be greatly appreciated at this point.
I am still refraining from buying the Snoogle, but if you swear by it, I would love to know more.
Baby Updates: Heartbeat and Flutters
What has made all this discomfort tolerable this past week is a) I heard the baby’s heartbeat again at my 18-week OB check-up and b) I felt baby’s first little flutters this week. Nothing puts those crazy thoughts about whether baby is still in there to rest than to hear and feel him/her inside you. The heartbeat was strong and healthy, which is so great and the flutters feel exactly like you read about. It’s an experience that is hard to explain, but once you feel it, you know exactly what it is. For me, they feel like little pops or wave-like sensations. They are definitely different from cramping or gas (two other common symptoms of pregnancy, ugh). But, man, it’s an awesome feeling.
Now, we await baby’s first kicks, which should start in the next few weeks. I cannot wait to feel those and for Jeremy to be able to feel his baby too. That will be such a special moment for him.
Lastly, I spent some time last week working on my birth plan. That might sound crazy to some, but honestly, there are a lot of different things to consider and having never gone through this before or really spent much time with any new moms, it’s something I am taking very seriously and dedicating the right amount of time to researching my options.
Before I was pregnant, I had always said if I had a child, I just wanted to schedule a C-section and call it a day. This thought process was really derived from my anxiety, which is rooted in a fear of the unknown and not having control of every situation. However, as I have shared earlier in this journey, I’ve really learned to let go of that fear during my pregnancy. With that, I am opting for a vaginal birth, providing that is the safest route to bring our little one into the world. I just really think our bodies know how to prepare for this moment and I want to give my body the chance to do what it’s supposed to. That doesn’t mean I am opposed to a C-section if it’s deemed necessary, but my “plan” is to try not to have one.
One important call out on this topic is that I put “plan” in quotations because, after a great chat with my OB, my birth “plan” is really just a set of goals. A plan feels really structured and finite, when birth is anything but those two things. If you are so focused on your “plan”, you open yourself up to a lot of disappointment when things veer off the path. So my goals are as follows:
- Vaginal birth if safe
- C-section if necessary (also my preference if vacuum/forceps are required)
- Avoid being induced/any labor augmentation unless baby is in distress
- Remain as mobile as possible during early and active labor
- Hold off on an epidural as long as possible (since it restricts your ability to move around)
- Attempt to deliver in alternative birthing positions (squatting, on side, etc. depending on epidural status)
- No episiotomy (would prefer to tear naturally if that happens)
- Immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby
- Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth with support of a lactation specialist (if available)
There are some more details, but these are my high-level goals for now. Of course, the ultimate goal is to bring our baby into the world in the safest way possible (for him/he and me) so whatever needs to be done for that to happen, is A-OK with me.
Did you have a birth plan or birth goals? I would love to hear from other moms about your birth experience.
Well, that is all from week 18. The next few weeks are going to be really exciting with our 20-week anatomical scan coming up (a little earlier than 20 weeks) and a visit home to see my family and friends so expect lots of updates and photos on Instagram in the coming days.