It felt like the first trimester lasted for ten years, so I was surprised when the second trimester just flew by! It seems like yesterday that we were announcing at 13 weeks…and now here we are at 29 weeks tomorrow!
E and I publicly shared our big news on March 10th. I felt so elated that I survived the first trimester, and I was ready to emerge from my first trimester cocoon of fatigue and nausea. I couldn’t wait to head back out into the world and get back to normal! But then, just two days later (March 12th), the coronavirus news had changed so much that I felt it was safer to stay home instead of going to the office. E started working from home the next day.
It seemed like the world shifted overnight. We went from feeling slightly concerned about a few local cases and being careful about washing our hands, to watching the nation shut down from our TV. We went for one last grocery run on the 12th and haven’t stepped foot in a grocery store since. I didn’t think that it would be hard to find toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or a thermometer during pregnancy…but that’s COVID life for ya!
Although things feel challenging now in a different way, the first few weeks of the lockdown were definitely the hardest. Like everyone else, we had to adjust so quickly to our new reality. I went from feeling concerned that I would be missing the busy season of my job in the fall due to maternity leave, to wrapping my mind around the fact that I would be unemployed for nine whole months of 2020 and eating into the savings that I worked for years to set aside for our first child. I spent hours and hours researching government assistance, from the PPP loan to unemployment benefits. I never thought this would be my reality while pregnant with my first child, but here we are!
It’s been hard to lose so many normal experiences of pregnancy. I wanted to be able to go to my OB appointments without wearing a mask or weighing the risk of getting sick against the benefit of seeing the doctor. I wanted to wander the aisles of the grocery store and give in to silly pregnancy cravings. I wanted to hug family and friends in person and celebrate this baby with them. I wanted to make Target runs, test-drive strollers, and pick out baby clothes that I waited so long to be able to buy. I wanted to attend local mom groups and birthing classes, and do simple things like go for a walk without fearing for my health.
I grieved the loss of all of those things, AND I grieved the loss of normal life before the pandemic. I missed (and still miss) seeing my clients, riding the train, grabbing iced coffee and walking around the city, and just being able to do things spontaneously. Someday I’ll get to do all of those things again, but by then I’ll be a mom and will have different priorities. I would give anything for one last pre-pandemic weekend to take a road trip with E, visit an amazing restaurant, and just enjoy the last year of my 20s without worrying about a pandemic.
Sometimes (and I’m not proud of this) it’s easy to fall into the “why me?” mindset…we had such a hard year last year with the miscarriage and then waiting to get pregnant again. I was ready for a stretch of good luck, and then COVID hit and boom! We were dealing with hard things all over again.
But also, I realize how insanely privileged we are to even be able to stay home. I know we are extremely lucky that E still has his job and can work without going into the office. We can spring for grocery delivery, and we have health insurance if we get sick. We can order baby supplies online. And most of all, we’re just so lucky to be expecting a healthy baby. I never dreamed we would get this far…so despite the tough parts of this year, I would do it all a million times over for this pregnancy.
Also, I figure this is probably a great lesson in learning to roll with the punches of parenthood. If we can get through this, it feels like we can get through anything!
24 weeks…looking at the outside world and dreaming of wandering around Target 😉
26 weeks – the end of being able to fit into non-maternity clothing
How are you feeling (physically)?
For most of the second trimester, I felt amazing! The fatigue and nausea went away around 14 weeks and I had so much energy to get things done around the house. I started to get back and hip pain creeping in around 26 weeks, but other than that I really can’t complain. I bought a (very sexy) back brace and a Snoogle pillow, and those have helped a little!
E and I both got sick after my 24-week OB appointment, and we were pretty worried that I had brought the virus home from the office. Because E had a fever, my doctor wanted us both to get tested for COVID. That was a pretty surreal (and highly uncomfortable) experience, but thankfully both our tests came back negative! It’s still a bit disconcerting that we managed to get sick despite all of our precautions, but I’m thankful that everything is OK.
How are you feeling (mentally)?
I wish I was better about embracing this sweet spot of pregnancy, but my mama brain always finds something new to worry about. In the first trimester, I was terrified of miscarrying again. After everything went well at the 12-week scan, I felt like I could breathe a little…but then once I started feeling kicks, I just fell so in love with this little baby! So then I started worrying about preterm labor/stillbirth. Every week her chances of survival and a healthy outcome increase a lot, so I’m feeling more confident as time goes on. But of course, now I’m worried about the part where I actually have to give birth…ha!
When did your bump show up?
It seemed to take foreverrr!!!! I felt like a mom since the early days, but I couldn’t wait to look like one too. From about 12-19 weeks, I just looked like I ate too many bagels (which I did, LOL). My belly didn’t really start to look like anything until around 19-20 weeks, and even then, the bump didn’t show up until the evenings. Finally after 22 weeks, the bump “popped” for good, even in the mornings. Now it’s here to stay and I can’t hide it anymore! Thank goodness for having a summer pregnancy, because it’s so easy to throw on a flowy maxi dress and sandals!
E took these for me at 19 weeks when I finally started showing. I walked endless laps around this street in our neighborhood during the spring because it hardly had any people (dodging walkers and runners on busy city sidewalks got too stressful!)
22 weeks…morning vs. evening on the same day:
When did you start feeling kicks?
I felt kicks for the first time at 17 weeks! I had been so preoccupied with waiting for my belly to pop that the kicks kind of took me by surprise…I wasn’t expecting to feel them so soon! They felt like popcorn at first and I only noticed them in the evening when I was laying down. They got stronger quickly though! By around 21-22 weeks I could see her kick from the outside. Now at 28 weeks, her kicks are so strong that they sometimes take me by surprise and make me yelp! I think she’s going to be a feisty one! 😉
I was so excited for E to be able to feel her kick too, but for the first few weeks she would play games with him! I would call him over whenever I could feel her kicking, but the second he put his hand on my belly, she would immediately stop (and then start again whenever he gave up). Now I think she’s used to him and he gets to feel kicks all the time. 🙂
My favorite pregnancy treat is chocolate chips, and she kicks every time after I eat them. I think she is already a chocolate lover too!
Have your OB appointments/birth plans changed due to COVID?
Thankfully E was able to be with me at the 12-week ultrasound, so we got to see her together one time! For all appointments after that, he hasn’t been allowed to come with me, so he drives me and then waits in the car while I’m inside. For our 20-week anatomy scan, the ultrasound technician let me take a short video of the screen so that I could show him afterward.
Honestly, OB appointments have been some of the highlights of the COVID lockdown! They are the only time that we leave our home bubble, so it’s a big deal to get dressed in real clothes, drive somewhere, and have social interaction with someone besides my husband! They are also anxiety-filled because I worry about getting sick from being indoors…but now that I’ve gone to a few appointments, it’s starting to feel more normal.
As for the birth…still planning to deliver at our original hospital, but their policies have changed a lot. I’m only allowed one support person, so it’s a bummer that I will not be able to hire a doula like I had hoped. I hear that neither of us can leave the hospital after we arrive, so we will need to pack a cooler of food to last the duration of our stay. They are also asking moms to labor with a mask on, so that will be an interesting challenge. I’m hoping that restrictions might loosen by September if the virus is more under control, but we’ll see what happens.
My mom is coming to stay with us for a month sometime after birth…she originally planned to fly from Texas, but due to the virus, she & my dad plan to drive the whole way. We were hoping to introduce the baby to E’s family in Kansas for Christmas, but that probably won’t be able to happen now. It’s so strange that our daughter won’t meet many of her family members until 2021. Although it’s not the same, we’re thankful we can at least FaceTime.
“Souvenirs” from my first OB appointment during the lockdown: cloth mask, gloves for the elevator buttons & door handles, and a nylon stocking that I cut to wear on top of the mask (I read that it makes them more effective – no idea if this is true or not, but it made me feel less anxious before the appointment).
Celebrating a healthy anatomy scan!
How is E feeling about everything?
He is the world’s sweetest dad already!!! His face totally melts whenever he talks about her, and he’s just so excited to have a daughter. He’s even started talking to my belly so that she’ll recognize his voice when she’s born! At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, it’s so special how much he loves her already, and that has made me fall even more in love with him.
He’s also so protective of her…I call him the “pregnancy police” because he’s always making sure that I get enough protein, veggies, water, etc. He keeps me from lifting heavy things, being around paint fumes, getting too close to strangers when walking, etc. He’s so laidback about 99% of things, but when it comes to his baby, he cares so much. I just can’t wait to see the two of them together. 🙂
He is somewhat less thrilled about all the home reno projects that nesting has brought on, haha! Thankfully he’s great with a paint brush and a power drill because I could never get everything finished without him!
E painting the nursery! ♥
What has nesting been like?
Insane!!! I always thought nesting would be a third trimester thing, but it showed up in full force around 20 weeks. I think partly that was due to coronavirus – nesting felt like a good way to relieve anxiety and get things done! I am not usually a very neat person, but I got so obsessive about every little detail being in place in her nursery. For a few weeks, I would just stare at her closet, rearrange the drawers, and then do it all over again. I felt totally insane!
Many people have told me that I shouldn’t buy clothes, but admittedly that’s actually been my favorite part! Shopping for a baby girl is just too much fun. I’m trying not to spend a ton, so I found about 75% of her closet through consignment apps (Kidizen and Mercari are my favorites – I got most things for ~$10 including shipping!) It took a little bit of searching to find things I loved, but that was half the fun!
Washing, sorting, and folding baby clothes has been soooo satisfying. I don’t iron my own clothes, but I suddenly have an intense need to steam all the ruffles on her little baby rompers and dresses. When I imagined pregnancy, I always pictured folding tiny onesies on top of my baby bump, and it’s been so special to live out that dream.
Tiny baby clothes air drying in the empty nursery
Early stages of clothing organization…Konmari everything!
Here are a few of my favorite things that I’ve bought for her. This is what happens when you have a photographer with too much time on her hands 😉
Are you planning to go back to work before maternity leave?
I had hoped to return to work once the lockdown lifted, but there are still a significant amount of cases in Boston and the mask requirement is still in effect (making it difficult to work with young children). It feels safer to stay home and not worry about getting sick.
There is still so much we don’t know about the virus, especially when it comes to pregnancy. If I were to get sick, it might be fine…but then again, there are new studies emerging that show placenta damage in COVID pregnancies as well as increased risk of preterm labor/stillbirth. If I tested positive at delivery, I would be separated from my baby for two weeks after birth. We went through so much to get here, and I want to do everything I can to protect this pregnancy.
This was such a tough call to make because I miss my job SO much!! But really, there’s only a month left until I was originally planning to start maternity leave anyway…so personally, I feel that it’s best to just play it safe and stay home.
I have even more respect for stay-at-home moms now…I don’t know how you do it! I never planned to be home full-time, and it’s definitely been a challenge to keep my spirits up every day without being able to get out. The good days are great…but I feel the low days ten times more when I’m stuck at home. My emotions are a lot more extreme than they used to be. But then again, that might just be a side effect of pregnancy 😉
Have you been working on the nursery?
Yes!! I didn’t want to start too early because I was afraid to jinx the pregnancy…but once our anatomy scan went well at 20 weeks, I kicked the nursery plans into high gear! I finished most of the nursery by 28 weeks so that now I can relax a little more as my belly starts making physical tasks more difficult. It’s already getting hard to bend over and lift things, so I’m glad I got the big nursery tasks completed early.
I’ll share pictures of the finished nursery later, but for now I can tell you that it’s going to be rainbow-themed in honor of our rainbow baby!
I made a hardcore color-coded spreadsheet to plan out the nursery & baby budget, and that’s been helpful with our financial situation this year. I got so many wonderful suggestions on this post about baby gear recs, and those have been a lifesaver! As a first-time mom, all the different baby products can feel overwhelming, and it was nice to have your pro tips. 🙂
Books on books on books…her collection is already huge! I’m so excited to read to her every day!
Celebrating the finished crib assembly!
Baby’s first dolls & camera 🙂
No bookshelves yet (those are one of the last things we still need to finish), so for awhile I had them all in her crib.
What else have you been up to?
You mean besides washing groceries, quarantining packages, and keeping my eyes glued to the news? 😉
I’ve been working on some small virtual projects for clients, which has been nice to add some structure to my days! Other than that, it’s been a full-blown baby prep fest over here. I still have so many projects I want to get done before she arrives (both baby and non-baby related), but I’m finding it hard to stay motivated while being home 24/7. With so much more time on my hands than usual, I use it way less effectively. Now that I’m entering the third trimester, I appreciate the sense of urgency that comes with it…I’ve always worked better on a deadline! 😉
Are you working out?
Ooof…I wish I had a better answer for this! Early on, I had big plans to be super fit throughout pregnancy, but that hasn’t happened. I did some exercise videos from home at the beginning of the second trimester, but everything just felt ten times harder than usual in my pregnant body, and it’s been tough to get motivated when I spend most of the day sitting down.
I did resolve to walk two miles a day, and that has worked really well! My mom and I make a “phone date” to walk and talk with each other every day, and that helps the time go by more quickly. I’ve noticed that my daily walks make a HUGE difference in my mental health, and I really feel it when I skip a day. I used to walk five times a week, but now I try to get out every single day if it’s not raining. Helps with the back pain, too!
Have you chosen a name?
Yes! We chose a family name that works in both Spanish and English (E grew up bilingual and we want to teach our daughter Spanish too!) We’ll share after she’s born!
Any other weird pregnancy things?
Since the early days, this super weird thing will happen where I find something random absolutely hysterical, and then I’ll laugh so hard that it will turn into full-blown tears and I’m sobbing and laughing uncontrollably at the same time. One time I started laughing because E’s hair looked funny…made no sense?! I’ve never experienced such a wild emotional rollercoaster in a short amount of time. I actually scared E the first couple of times that it happened, but now he knows what’s coming and laughs along with me, ha!
Overall, how do you feel about pregnancy so far?
Despite the COVID difficulties and physical discomforts, I still absolutely love being pregnant. I’ve dreamed about this for so long, and it still feels surreal that we are already in the home stretch! I already love being a mom – it gives me so much to look forward to and makes every day interesting. It’s so special to dream about our daughter & the adventures we’ll have together. I can’t wait for her to get here, but I’m also trying not to “wish away” the pregnancy either. Someday I know I will miss the days when she was safe and cozy in my belly and we had a world of possibilities in front of us.
Here are a few more misc. photos from the second trimester…
Packing up the guest bedroom to turn it into a nursery felt so symbolic. On January 1st, I decided it was time to stop putting our life on hold while waiting for a baby, and I started changing our “un-nursery” into a bedroom. The very next day, we got our positive test.
I may not have an in-person village right now, but I’ve really felt the love from my virtual village! This was a happy mail day.
One of the best parts of a summer pregnancy = alllllll the watermelon! & sneaking in fruits and veggies with smoothies!
Grocery day is always a big ordeal to get everything washed and sanitized.
A few good food days…our anniversary dinner (splurged for Italian delivery + sparkling grape juice), French toast casserole (craving satisfied!), and weekend quiche.
My mom sent me these baby pictures and I loved seeing her as a young mother! She had me two months before she turned 30, and now I’m due with my own daughter two months before I turn 30. So cool that we will be the exact same age.
Thank you for reading – it’s been so fun to share! I’m sure I’ll be sharing the third trimester recap before I know it!