We have passed the halfway point of this pregnancy (more or less--baby will come when she's ready), and I really cannot believe it. When I was carrying Edie, every day felt like an eternity and I felt well past ready to meet her by this point. My experience this time around is the complete opposite. I am amazed and terrified by how quickly the days can come and go with children, especially when some of them feel long and hard while I'm living them. Watching Edie grow and change on the outside of my womb, and so, so rapidly, makes what is happening inside of my body feel surprising and sudden. Not that I'm less excited to meet this child, not at all--I just almost feel like I don't have the time to prepare for her the way she deserves, whereas with Edie I had too much time on my hands to shop and research and read and, most of all, exercise WAY too much to prepare my body for a short labor (which may have actually done the opposite and resulted in a number of side effects postpartum I wouldn't wish on anyone).
I had my 20 week prenatal visit yesterday, and I left in tears after discovering I had a more significant weight gain than I had ever had between any two appointments in my first pregnancy, even though my eating habits and activity level hadn't changed (I was actually moving more again compared to the exhausting first trimester), although still within the range of normal. I told the midwife I felt like it was proof I wasn't taking care of this baby as well as I had taken care of Edie during pregnancy, and she tried to convince me it was actually the opposite and I hadn't gained enough weight during my first pregnancy and since I didn't gain any in this first trimester again, my body was making up for it. I also started this pregnancy weighing a full 20 plus pounds less than I started the first pregnancy, so she said I have more to gain, but I still immediately googled appropriate pregnancy weight gain after I got home. Fortunately I didn't have to dig deep because the google screen came up with a blurb specifically saying it is completely normal to jump up in weight five to ten pounds between weeks 15 and 20, and it was from an article by a very respected doctor I follow for breastfeeding and other motherhood advice. Apparently that is the most common time frame for women to suddenly retain a bunch of water, plus blood volume increases 50%.
I immediately felt a little embarrassed by my meltdown and internally ashamed by the thoughts I'd had throughout the rest of the appointment (planning how I could eat as little as possible like I did the first pregnancy, trying to come up with ways to work out all day instead of doing anything else), because I honestly thought that I had moved past this whole weight/self esteem issue after Edie was born. I love my body because it grew the most beautiful little person (and is now working on another!) and went on to nourish and comfort her for two plus years and counting, not because of what it looks like or what it weighs. I have honestly focused on it less in the past two years combined than I did on any given day as a teenager or college student, and it has been incredibly refreshing. So when all of those feelings bubbled up and came out as full blown sobs as my midwife took my blood pressure, I was surprised. The hormones, you guys. Combine them with mom guilt and a past full of self hatred and, well, it's not pretty.
So I called Daniel and asked him to come home from work before the sun went down to take these photos, to celebrate this halfway mark and my body changing to house and soon birth this new babe. Most of them will be tucked away just for us, but I thought I'd share at least one because I really am amazed by what the female body can do and incredibly thankful I get to experience it a second time.
And although she blocked my belly when she went in to hug it, I thought this one was worth posting, too :)
Have you struggled with your body changing during pregnancy? I would love to hear your experience.