"Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be."
Or, from a different perspective:
"A ship under sail and a big-bellied woman,
Are the handsomest two things that can be seen common."
Too bad I'm just a staff of 1, because my Build-A-Baby Workshop is expanding and operating overtime.
I'm still getting used to this ever-growing belly, and it's still hard for me to believe that I'm this pregnant. Nearly 26 weeks down and 14 or less to go means hello, 3rd trimester! The summer is flying by -- I've been in Michigan for almost 8 weeks already -- and I'm trying my best to really be present during this time and savor all of the memories: the good, the bad, and the sometimes not so pretty.
Before I break it down week-by-week, below is a summary of some updates from the past 6 weeks following the halfway mark of my pregnancy:
- I started using the Boppy Contoured Pregnancy Wedge, a mini pregnancy pillow, which helps to keep me from tossing and turning at night. It would be great if it were made of memory foam, since it's a little hard and unyielding, but it's portable and less expensive than those large pregnancy body pillows.
- I began doing prenatal yoga at Karma Yoga. The classes are calming and peaceful -- and a nice way to connect mind and body with baby -- and involve poses to increase flexibility, lower body stretches and hip-opening movements, and plenty of breathing and relaxation meditations.
- I joined the Member Benefits Program at LaVida Massage, which offers discounts that my husband has taken advantage of too, since he gets occasional back spasms. 9 reasons pregnancy massage is good during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, according to Fit Pregnancy:
- Enhances the circulation of blood.
- Calms nervous system.
- Alleviates stress on weight-bearing joints and musculo-fascial structures.
- Stabilizes hormones.
- Decreases blood pressure for both mother and baby.
- Increases blood flow to uterus, placenta, and heart.
- Enhances proper posture and alignment.
- Alleviates common pregnancy physical complaints and ailments.
- Time of self-nurturing.
- I feel lots of great little kicks and jabs, and periodically listen to my baby girl's heartbeat on a borrowed BabyBeat fetal doppler, since I went longer than usual between appointments after moving from NY to Michigan and needing to find a new doctor, and it took me a while to figure out if the baby's movements were actually movements. I realized I started feeling slight flutters around 16 weeks, but it wasn't until 20 weeks that I was sure enough it was the baby.
- I couldn't resist, and have been buying baby clothes and accessories -- even though I've said that I don't want to buy her any new clothing and she can just wear hand-me-downs as an infant -- and also sorted through and selected some gently worn baby clothes from my sister and sister-in-law.
- I finally broke into my maternity wardrobe. As I've mentioned in earlier posts ("Spring Things..." and "Half-Baked and It's a Girl!"), most of my maternity clothes are casual, from Gap, Old Navy, and Target, but I've added some items from ASOS and Motherhood Maternity, as well as a few hand-me-downs from my sister and sister-in-law.
- I saw The Book of Mormon at the Detroit Opera House, spent 4th of July weekend in Chicago, picked cherries and enjoyed other fun things in and around Traverse City, MI, and traveled to NY for my friend Angela's baby shower and my nephew Peter's birthday party (the subject of my last post, "July Celebrations in NY/NJ").
- After a month and a half with no doctor -- and also a period without health insurance, since I went part-time before we moved out of NY -- I met my new Michigan OB and had my first appointment with her.
- Sam and I celebrated my birthday with dinner at Coach Insignia at the top of the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit.
- I continued working remotely for my NYC nonprofit organizations, but just officially ended my employment, which is bittersweet.
We also have a name! Ava Yejin Son. We've actually known both the first name and middle name for a while, assuming we were having a girl, but wanted to confirm the sex before deciding.
I like the name Ava because it's simple and strong, but still feminine, and will work well in adulthood; and as my friend Vivien pointed out, it will be easy for her to learn how to spell, since a lot of kids switch their letters around. It is of different origins and uncertain meaning, but according to various sources, can mean "living one" in English (as a variant of the Hebrew name Eve), "desired" in German, "voice or sound" in Persian, or "like a bird" in Latin.
Yejin is her Korean name, which my mother-in-law already calls her. Ye refers to Jesus, and jin can mean "treasure or jewel," "truth," or "bright and beautiful," so she can signify a treasure or jewel and the bright and beautiful truth of Jesus.
- Baby is the size of a pomegranate.
- As her digestive system preps for the outside world, she is manufacturing meconium, and her womb is already stocked up with a lifetime supply of 6 million eggs (which will drop to around 1 million by birth).
- Symptoms: Heartburn.
- Cravings: BBQ potato chips, cookie dough, cherries, watermelon.
- Started using the pregnancy wedge pillow.
- 1st prenatal yoga class and prenatal massage at 21w1d.
- 21w5d: Heart rate of approximately 150 bpm (varying from around 148-153); recorded audio clip.
|21w4d on the 4th of July in Hinsdale, IL|
- Baby is the size of a papaya.
- Is sleeping in cycles, about 12-14 hours a day; has more developed eyes and lips, looking even more like a newborn.
- 22w0d: Heart rate of 143-147 bpm.
- Symptoms: Short-lived but sharp stomach pain (while at a Detroit Tigers baseball game at Comerica Park); belly feeling big and stretched out; shortness of breath when hiking up a sand dune at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
- Cravings: Cookies 'n cream ice cream, Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappucino (I hadn't desired or ordered a frappucino in years).
- Started wearing maternity clothes, as my regular clothing options were dwindling.
- Sam was able to feel baby's kicks externally.
|Picking cherries in Traverse City, MI at 22w5d|
- Baby is the size of a grapefruit.
- Face is fully formed; forming nipples; listening to our voices, my heartbeat, and loud outside sounds.
- 23w2d: Heart rate of approximately 145 bpm.
- Symptoms: Aching back when trying to sleep.
- Cravings: Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts.
|Leaving for the airport to fly to NY at 23w3d|
24 Weeks, V-Day!
- Viability Day: Baby has higher chances of surviving outside the uterus if born prematurely at this point.
- 1st appointment with my new OB at 24w2d: Handed in pre-filled paperwork and past prenatal records, and filled out a risk assessment for Lynch Syndrome and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome, and family genetic illness questionnaire; urine screen, weight and blood pressure taken; chatted with doctor, who then checked my lungs and heart, measured my belly (fundal height), checked baby's heartbeat (heart rate of approximately 152 bpm), and explained the glucose screen test at my next appointment, and the form for pre-registering at the hospital where I will deliver. Assistant gave me a choice of fruit punch or orange oral glucose tolerance beverages (50 g), or a bag of 20 large jelly beans, to take home -- I chose the fruit punch-flavored drink -- as well as the doctor's own Obstetrical Handbook for patients, then I filled out the hospital form and scheduled my appointment.
- Baby is the size of a cantaloupe.
- Almost a foot long; skin is becoming more opaque, and has a new pink glow from the small capillaries that have recently formed.
- Symptoms: Tired and extra congested at night, maybe from the hectic traveling schedule over the weekend.
|24w5d, smuggling a large melon|
- Baby is the size of a cauliflower.
- Sense of equilibrium is kicking in, and she knows which way is up and which is down; also growing more fat and more hair.
- 25w2d: Heart rate of approximately 145 bpm.
- Symptoms: Short but sharp stomach pain (while walking into the public library) -- not as strong as at 22 weeks -- which is likely to be round ligament pain; heartburn.
- Cravings: Cookie dough, brownies, caramel apples.
|Birthday dinner overlooking the Detroit Riverfront at 25w5d|
26 Weeks, 2/3 Done!
- Baby is the size of a head of lettuce.
- Her eyes will soon start to open, and eyelashes are now grown too; she's getting her immune system ready for life on the outside by soaking up my antibodies; and she's taking breaths of amniotic fluid.
- Started to feel small, firm lumps around the surface of my belly -- a tiny little foot, knee, fist, elbow, head, or bottom here and there -- which means there's less space for baby who is pushing against my uterus more, since she keeps getting bigger (currently 13.6 to 14.8 inches long). If I gently rub the area a little, she repositions.
- 26w2d: Prenatal massage; heart rate of approximately 148 bpm.
|Evening stroll at 26w2d|
Some moms or moms-to-be might disagree, but I wish things weren't moving along so quickly. I'm certainly not one of those mystical/mythical glowing pregnant women, but I think I'll be a little sad when it's over. I really have no complaints; I'm feeling good overall and so blessed and thankful for this experience.
At this point, I don't have any pregnancy stretch marks or linea nigra yet, and my belly button is still an "innie," but I know a lot can change now that I'm starting my 3rd trimester. I'm not a weigher and never have been, but most prenatal appointments include stepping on the scale, so I know I gained about 3-4 lbs. in my 1st trimester and around 11-12 lbs. in my 2nd trimester, for a total of approximately 15 lbs. so far. While I'm a non-exercising carb fiend with a daily ice cream habit, at least it seems like I should be on track for the average recommended weight gain of 25-35 lbs. overall. As long as the baby and I are healthy, that's all that matters.
I would love to take a tropical beach babymoon, but because of work and money, we're staying fairly local and will spend a couple of nights on Mackinac Island along Lake Huron in northern Michigan. We'll be lodging at Mission Point Resort, a bigger hotel than a bed-and-breakfast but still friendly and casual. I hope Baby A is safe, warm and cozy, well-fed and taken care of, and happy in her own little B&B, aka my belly! More to come...