Woah baby: the second trimester

It truly feels as though this trimester has flown by. Maybe that’s because we announced baby Squid (our womb name for our baby) to the wider public when I was 17 weeks pregnant. Maybe it’s because Christmas and beach holidays fell right across the middle of the trimester, or maybe it’s because the saying is true: the days are long but the years are short and balancing parenting with work and life means the days have sped by.

Whatever the reason, here I am at 28 weeks with the realisation that the second trimester is drawing to a close and in a few short months Squid will be earth-side in our arms. We should probably do something prepare for her – because Squid is a her!

This time around Steve and I talked about not finding out the sex because we genuinely didn’t have a preference either way and had also been told it was the best surprise we’d ever experience in our lives. But then curiosity took over and when the sonographer asked if we wanted to know the baby’s gender yet we went for it. There they were: three little lines indicating Squid was most likely a wee girl child.

This is about the time I wish I’d made notes each week about movement, cravings, energy levels, creativity ebbs and flow and so on and I’m mentally smacking my forehead for not doing so. So I’ll do my best to remember all the tiny happenings – and if babies and pregnancy isn’t really your jam feel free to keep on scrolling on to another blog post. Not that long ago I would have also skipped past this, and I promise to return to my normal plastic-free/travel/food ramblings ASAP.

Entering into the second trimester Steve, Jasper and I were in Melbourne for a friend’s wedding and to spend some time with Steve’s brother and his family. I was expecting to have to hold a glass of sparkling wine or have a soda water and lime (masquerading as a G&T) to maintain the baby secret a little longer, but then Squid did the unexpected and made herself well and truly known. My belly popped with a ferocity I hadn’t known was possible and I was forced to hunt for some maternity jeans, abandon my original dress for the wedding and embrace loose shirts throughout the entire holiday. With a pretty obvious baby bump already on display we decided to share the secret with those we were with. We were technically into the “safe” period, and although I hadn’t had the first scan done I felt fine telling people as I saw them.

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Pregnant and up a tree in Sorrento

Despite making herself so physically apparent, the few weeks of morning sickness I experienced in the first trimester thankfully abated, and my energy levels remained pretty steady so overall it was an enjoyable trip. Plus Melbourne = food and coffee. I would have been bummed to order a chai with a side of endless vegemite toast while looking longingly at Steve’s cappuccino.

Perhaps the biggest surprise this trimester was I was feeling on fire creatively, and kept coming up with a long list of things I wanted to do within 2019. More writing, more yoga training, buy a house and get a veggie patch going, read a book a week, some kind of nutrition training too. Woah, hold on there lady! You’re going to have a baby! Maybe take your foot off the accelerator and let that be your big goal for the year! Let’s say my to-do list is a work in progress.

And with that in mind, let me break down the second trimester into more palatable bites.
Food

I mentioned that in my first pregnancy I became the foodie’s foodie. A picture of something delicious was enough to set me off. Pulled duck and hoisin sauce pizzas. Slow-cooked beef burgers with slaw. Epic salads topped with nuts and seeds. Mexican anything. It all went down a treat.

This time around I’ve remained mostly disinterested in food to be honest. Not from aversion but because I just haven’t been feeling inspired to cook or eat. I ate out of habit or necessity and lost enthusiasm when it came to our weekly meal planning. Scrambled eggs with avocado toast and a side of ham, peas or mushrooms became a regular weeknight post-work dinner, along with my slow-cooked bolognese (I’ll get the recipe for that up here one day) and homemade Mexican burritos or bowls. Steve, ever the champion, already takes over the cooking on the weekends – and when he gets home from work early enough during the week to chip in – and during this time he began to weigh in more heavily with ideas for what he wanted week-to-week to help us get more variety in our meals. A Christmas present in the form of a smoker meant he eagerly began barbecuing most weekends. This combined with meal prepping and planning along with our freezer stash has also kept us in good food.

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To help make sure I was getting enough nutrients I began to make green smoothies most days – a blend of spinach, avocado, banana, mango, chia seeds, hemps seeds, greens powder and water. Jasper hilariously nicknamed these “noisy juices”, and began to request them daily. Fresh summer fruit also played a large part in my daily snacks as have herbal teas and caffeine-free chai. And dark chocolate, let’s be honest.

Thankfully most of my food aversions disappeared pretty early on, with the exception of chicken. The thought of that still remains pretty blah. If I want meat it has to be of the red variety. Seafood is also a big winner in the protein department.

Update: I had my iron levels tested during my glucose tolerance test and it showed they had plummeted, which probably explains the red meat and leafy greens craving. Also not surprising either, as I’ve always had iron absorption troubles. Event though I haven’t been feeling particularly tired I guess it goes to show that when in doubt, ask the question.
Movement

After experiencing some pretty full on back pain towards the end of my first pregnancy I was determined to avoid it this time around. I began incorporating daily squats, regular exercise videos featuring light weights and pregnancy-friendly cardio, along with lots of pregnancy and restorative yoga into my daily movement. Then bang on 20 weeks lower back pain exploded. Cue physio appointments and amended movement to nurture my lower back as well as strengthen my butt, pelvic core and postural muscles.

I won’t lie, I was a little frustrated! I like to move my body regularly to keep my energy levels up, my mind clear and those happy endorphins high. Having to accept that some days a few stretches while playing cars on the floor with Jasper was all I could do was a bitter pill to swallow. Plus try combining an almost three-year-old with limited movement. It’s a challenge! But the almost daily baths laden with magnesium salts have been lovely and I’m a weirdo who enjoys doing physio exercises so I’m already seeing an improvement.

On that note, I’ve also noticed how I nourish myself day-to-day has changed. I may be a bit blah about food, but baths, candles, books, divine music, slow afternoons in the garden, lush yin sessions on my yoga mat, yoga nidra (normally followed by a short nap) audiobooks, slow-brewed tea made from tea leaves, early morning mediations while the rest of the house sleeps, and waterfall swims are amazing right now. I’m also pretty aware that most of these will be a thing of the past soon when I’m trying to stretch myself between two kids, so perhaps that’s why they feel so good right now.

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The other stuff

The nesting urge has been truly apparent this time around. Clutter bugs me, and I feel the need for everything to be tidy at the end of the day. Sometimes easier said than done #simplyaddtoddler. A lot of things we don’t need have been listed on gumtree or facebook marketplace, which has actually worked out well. Extra cash and an empty space make for happy parents.

I’m also being much more realistic and discerning about what we *actually* need this time. So far it’s limited to a few new MCNs to replace older ones that weren’t great quality, a secondhand newborn wrap so I’ve got free hands to play cars with Jasper and… well that’s it. Onesies and clothing from the first time around will suffice, as will books and toys. I’ve settled for a simple belly oil and the maternity clothing I kept from last time too. It’s actually freeing to not feel that panic that we’re just not prepared for a baby because we haven’t bought all the things we’re told we need. This has also translated into the planning of a baby blessing rather than a baby shower to celebrate Squid. Initially I wasn’t going to do anything, not being a fan of the standard baby shower and not wanting to add more “stuff” to our lives. But after attending a friend’s blessing I decided that was the route i wanted to take. Celebrating the baby, yes, but also motherhood and the giant transition it is.
Hitting week 29

As I headed towards week 28 Steve and I headed back to Melbourne on a babymoon. Steve bought me tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as a birthday present and we decided to make a weekend of it and turn it into a proper getaway. It was also a test run of Jasper sleeping at his grandparents for a few nights to see how he’ll fare while I’m at the birth centre. I was nervous about spending that long away from, as he’s only spent one night away from us up until now and it included a 3am meltdown while looking for me. Spoiler alert – it went so well he says he wants to live with grandma and grandpa forever and ever. I think he’ll be OK.

The mini holiday was wonderful for Steve and I too. It was weirdly luxurious to be able to get out of the house in minutes, to stop on a whim for a cup of tea, to read for an hour or have an afternoon nap when we wanted one, to really get to talk and connect again about things that weren’t child-related. We also splurged on a banquet dinner at Chin Chin with friends to really make a celebration of it. And the play? Well it was just great. Maybe I should add more theatre to my list of things to do before the newborn hazy days hit? Isn’t it funny just how far away life pre-kids feels too?

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My midwife appointments kicked in this trimester, as I’ve chosen to once again do shared care between my GP and the birth centre. It’s a decision that just made sense to me.

I’ve been placed with the same midwives I had during my first pregnancy and it’s been wonderful reconnecting with them and even more adorable seeing Jasper help them with the doppler, measuring my belly and taking my blood pressure.

I’ve been asked a few times why I’ve chosen to give birth in a birth centre over hospital care and, to be honest, for me it’s the best of both worlds. My birth centre is based at my nearest hospital and there’s something about the combo of midwifery-led care in a setting that encourages natural and active births – think rooms with spa baths, large beds, mats on the floor, salt lamps and oil diffusers and plenty of space to move around – while also being close enough to doctors just in case I need them that makes it feel like the right place to be to me.

So that’s where we’re at. Staring down third trimester with a vague feeling I should probably start washing little bubba clothes and consider packing a hospital bag, but luxuriating in this lull before the storm.

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