In May, I officially entered the second trimester of my pregnancy, which proved to be the hardest, most transformative season of my life to date! In those 14ish weeks, I feel like I transformed into a new person—physically and otherwise.
Whether I was ready or not—and trust me, I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was—the second trimester was a period of non-stop change.
Change at work, in my personal life, in my physical and emotional well-being, and even with my relationship with God!
And honestly, there were days when I couldn’t see a way out, through, or beyond my incredibly raw emotions. It took a real toll on me.
But as with all things, there was incredible of beauty and growth sprinkled throughout this season as well. Y’all, I’m fully preparing to be someone’s MAMA! Whew…
Anyway, I’ll start with the most annoying, stress-inducing aspect of this trimester…
Like I mentioned in my first trimester recap post, I started getting physically sick around the 9 week mark. I’d gone from feeling completely normal to feeling a little nauseous to vomiting at least once a day as my second trimester approached.
When I read about pregnancy sickness on all the popular websites and forums (and when I shared my “morning sickness” experiences with people in my community), I was regularly reassured that I’d start to feel better when the second trimester rolled around. And while I really appreciated the optimism and support, I started feeling crazy when the sickness didn’t stop at 12 weeks…or 15 weeks…or even 20 weeks! Why couldn’t I shake the sickness? Before long, it really started to weigh on me.
Beyond the obvious physical toll of being sick all the time, I started to experience an intense decline in my mental and emotional well-being as a result.
I was overwhelmed by the thought of the months left in my pregnancy. I’d feel anxious when I got hungry or after I ate, in anticipation of sickness. I worried about what my prolonged sickness meant for both my and the baby’s health. And I cried…A LOT.
Early on into the trimester, after ruling out hyperemesis gravidarum, my doctor began prescribing a number of prescriptions that we hoped would ease my symptoms. One of the most effective options, Zofran—this is what I’d likely receive if I went to the hospital for vomiting-related issues during the pregnancy—was by far the most effective of them all, but I stopped taking it due to its perceived connection with the development of cleft lip palettes in fetuses.
After much trial and error, I landed on a daily combination of Phenergan, Unison, and B-6 as the best solution. While it didn’t stop my nausea 100%, I was finally feeling some sort of relief, which made a HUGE difference.
Baby’s Growth and Development
While I was going through it during my second trimester, my doctor was sure to reassure me that the baby was doing just fine. Fetuses are truly parasitic, and will work very hard to get the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow—even if that means stealing calcium from your teeth and bones or diverting blood and nutrients from you to the placenta.
Around the 17 week mark, I started to feel the flutters of baby’s movements for the first time. They started as brief little flutters that I initially confused for gas pain (hahahah) and quickly transformed into full kicks! D wasn’t able to feel any movement from the outside until I was in my 22nd week, but I could tell pretty early on that the baby I’m carrying is really active. I can’t wait to see how these stretches and movements translate to baby’s Earth-side personality.
During the second trimester, I also had my second ultrasound—the all important Anatomy Scan! It’s during this scan, that’s typically done between 18 and 22 weeks, that the ultrasound technician ensures the baby has all it’s limbs, organs, and other key structures. It’s also the appointment when baby’s sex can typically be identified and when you’re sent home with the first pictures of a fetus that looks like an actual baby!
If you remember, we’d previously learned that our baby had an umbilical cyst that our doctor would be looking out for during this appointment. We went in for that appointment at 19 weeks both anxious and excited. In the car ride there, D and I prayed for God’s healing, provision, and presence as we saw the baby again. We didn’t know what our scan might show, but we decided that we would continue with the pregnancy even if something less-than-ideal was revealed on our scan.
Fortunately, our scan was absolutely normal—no cysts, no identifiable issues with baby’s limbs or organs, and no additional “red flags” for us to worry about. Hearing that news, and seeing our baby move and swim around on the monitor, was beyond incredible. Almost like an out-of-body experience! This tiny, little human was growing in me? What a miracle!
We’d decided early on that we weren’t going to find out the baby’s sex before his / her arrival and I was really nervous that the technician or our doctor would accidentally reveal the sex but we didn’t have that issue either. Our Anatomy Scan appointment was our last with my Dallas-based OB/GYN and I felt like we left on great terms!
Working with our Midwives
After our move to Virginia, I started maternal health care at a midwife-staffed birthing center in the area. I knew I wanted to explore out of hospital birthing options before getting pregnant, mostly because I’d heard a lot about the women delivering their babies unmedicated and with a level of agency they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience. One such example: women who birth in hospital settings generally aren’t allowed to eat during labor, a restriction that doesn’t exist in birthing centers or at home births. Between those factors and all of the terrifying data about mortality rates of Black women who deliver in US hospitals, I felt incredibly confident in my choice.
My midwife offers the option of a home birth but since D was less conformation with this option (and because we live in a small, thin-walled apartment), we decided the birthing center was our best option.
From the moment we met our midwife for the first time, I’ve felt nothing but comforted and excited about the baby’s impending delivery. I’ve been afforded long, in-depth appointments where I could ask questions, share my fears, and ask for advice in a way I’ve never experienced! I cannot wait to welcome our baby in such a warm and caring environment.
I’d hope this goes without saying, but for good measure I want to explicitly say that I fully support hospitals and modern medicine. While I absolutely prefer to deliver at our birthing center, my midwives and I have discussed the possibility that I’ll need to be transferred to a hospital if any complications arise. While that’s not my hope for this birth, I’m absolutely preparing for this possibility in my birth plan!
Announcing the Pregnancy
In American culture, the start of the 2nd trimester (around the 12 / 13 week milestone) is considered the “safest” time to start sharing your pregnancy publicly.
With the risk of miscarrying looming so starkly in the first trimester, I absolutely knew that I didn’t want to share the news of our pregnancy beyond our smaller circle.
When week 12 hit, however, I still didn’t feel “ready” to share the news. I wasn’t feeling great—physically or mentally, to be honest—and I had no interest in inviting the “world” into my journey until I knew I was ready to engage and answer questions.
With the help of a photographer friend here in the DMV areas, we took photos and announced during week 21. I remember being in near-denial that we were halfway through our pregnancy, but also confident that I was at a good place to let my broader communities in on the update.
Other Fun Stuff
During the second trimester, D and I talked a lot about the baby’s name, our future parenting style, and what sort of boundaries we wanted to set for our lives going forward. I’m thinking of posting YouTube videos on a few of these topics so stay tuned!
During this trimester I also started planning for our baby showers—a small, in-person shower and a larger, virtual shower for all our family and friends. We struggled to pick a date that made sense for us (there’s truly no winning once you start considering other people), but we aligned on a really cute theme. I can’t wait to share more!
I also made the controversial decision to get the COVID vaccine during my pregnancy (not sure if it felt that way to you, but it DEFINITELY felt that way to me). I may write a longer post on this at some point, but through prayer and counsel, I decided it was the best decision for me and my family. When the vaccine became widely available for non-essential workers, I was already pregnant and there was very little data available about the effects the vaccine had on pregnant women and their fetuses.
While many of the world’s developed countries still haven’t given pregnant women the green light, I was comforted to know that the CDC cleared the vaccine as being safe for pregnant women the very week I was scheduled for my first dose. With the Delta Variant running amuck and ruining lives in our country, I was pretty relieved to take the best possible steps to protect myself and the baby.
Lastly, the baby’s movements really intensified toward the end of the second trimester. For the first time, I could see the baby moving with my eyes, and the kicks were more frequent and intense! Around this time, my apps told me that the baby was able to hear and distinguish my voice more clearly than ever before. I started reading, praying, and playing music for the baby’s every day!
We also went canoeing with the baby, and Hula, in tow—twice!
While I have no regrets, there are a few things I wish I’d done differently…
1) My Fitness Journey
In hindsight, I wish I’d started working out again sooner. Toward the tail end of the second trimester, I recognized that my exhaustion level wasn’t likely to change and that, with the tools to manage my sickness, I could start working out again! I ordered a refurbished Peloton bike and took a few yoga classes for the first time in months!
2) Prioritizing Rest
Working a full-time job while pregnant has been a real challenge, mostly because i’ve been exhausted. I wish i’d been better at listening to my body and setting aside time for naps, instead of trying to “push through.” My productivity and general well-being absolutely suffered as a result.
3) Birth Education, Classes, and Support
While I was ahead of the game when it came to finding a birthing center, I wish I had looked into birthing education classes and options earlier. While I wouldn’t say starting in the third trimester is too late, some education methods I was interested in—like the Bradley Method—are in-depth and have classes that span 12 weeks. By the time I looked into it, I had trouble finding a class that’d wrap up before my due date!.
Similarly, I was on the fence about employing a doula for way too long! I think doulas are a super helpful resource but I now realize that 1) they’re expensive and 2) for me, that level of support would have been a must-have if I intended to deliver in a hospital. Of course, while there’s still a possibility that I’ll end up in a hospital, I haven’t been convinced that I absolutely need one.
Two trimesters down, one to go!!!
I’ve heard many women say that the second trimester was the sweet spot of their pregnancy. But I’m feeling like the third trimester will be my best yet!
What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!