It’s hard to believe that the 2nd trimester has come and gone. It felt like yesterday that we found out I was pregnant and it’s scary and exciting to think that in 3 or so months, we will be meeting our baby girl.
My emotional roller coaster ride finally calmed down a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments but overall I am a lot less emotional (though maybe you should ask Josh to confirm). I think it helped to be able to start sharing the news and work towards a plan for our housing.
I was definitely getting back to normal with how tired I was and I’m sure it also helped that I was finally getting into a routine with my commute. There are definitely some days though that if I have a rough night with sleep, I’ll be exhausted in the afternoon but nothing like how I felt in the 1st trimester. Josh purchased me the Leachco Snoogle Body Pillow and that has been a great purchase to help make sure I sleep on my side. (P.S. if you’re purchasing this pillow make sure you get the jersey pillow case that has the zipper. The pillow case that comes with this pillow is impossible to put back on once you wash it!)
Towards the second half of this trimester, I did struggle a little more with consistent sleep at night. I have suffered from leg cramps, maybe less than 10 or so times total at night and now more recently, I am experiencing a tingling sensation in my arms during the night and when I wake up. This prevents me from sleeping in on the weekends.
Hunger, Cravings, and Nausea
Man, is this what normal sized portions are like? For the last 4 years, I have trained for a marathon year round so I honestly cannot tell you what my normal calorie intake or portion sizes are. After the 1st trimester, my hunger levels really came down and I’m eating less food than I used to even pre-pregnancy. I am very consistent though about making sure I have healthy snacks on me at all time — granola bars, yogurt, apple, dried fruit, and string cheese are some of my favorites. I still do not have any cravings but my aversion towards sweets is finally subsiding a bit. I don’t have a desire to eat a whole bowl of ice cream but at least now I can eat a small spoonful or a yogurt popsicle.
I started getting headaches a couple of weeks into this trimester. They were incredibly painful and would come around mid-afternoon. I didn’t used to get headaches regularly so this was something new and prevented me from being able to concentrate. After speaking to the doctor about this, he attributed it to having lower blood pressure in the afternoon and recommended that I drink a cup a caffeinated coffee when I feel the headache coming on. Instead of waiting for the headache to start before having coffee, I just added it back into my daily diet. Now, I drink coffee every morning but only a small cup. So far that has helped the headaches. Since I drink a cup of coffee each day, I am very careful to not drink too much more caffeine throughout the day. I’ll have an occasional green tea or iced tea if needed in the afternoon but will not have a second cup of coffee.
I didn’t have any nausea in the 1st trimester but I started to have heartburn and some nausea in the 2nd trimester. I usually would feel it coming on when I was walking in the cold (I really don’t know what the cold has to do with it but I didn’t like breathing in the cold air), eating too fast or too much in one sitting, and after eating clementines or oranges. I know this all sounds bizarre but for a several weeks, it was pretty consistent that I would need to throw up on my way to the car in the afternoon — that’s usually about an hour after eating clementines and walking the cold. During this time, I was drinking a ginger beer every day to help with the nausea. In that month, I tried many different brands of ginger beer, my favorites are Barr’s Original Ginger Beer and Bruce Cost Fresh Unfiltered Ginger Ale. Unless I was in a pinch, I would avoid any ginger beers or ales that had corn syrup. A couple of weeks ago, I started to cut back on the ginger beer unless I was feeling really sick. I wanted to not rely on such a sugary drink but also since I had the glucose test coming up, I was worried about sugar intake. I now drink seltzer or sparkling water every day to help with excess gas.
Fortunately, my sensitive teeth issue went away early into the 2nd trimester. I was able to start eating oranges, apples, and other fruits again! On the topic of teeth, I’ve been incredibly diligent about brushing and flossing. However, I did stop using mouth wash as I found that it made me nauseous randomly.
Baby Kicks and Movement
Because of the positioning of my placenta, the doctors informed me that I wouldn’t feel the baby’s kicks until week 22 or later. It was exactly around that time when I noticed the first kick. At first, I didn’t think much about it since it just felt like a quick flutter in my belly and went away. Then a couple of days later, I started to feel the flutter more than once during the day and realized that this was actually the baby’s kicks. In the initial weeks of the kicks, it was hard to tell if there was a consistency but as the trimester progressed the movements (I say movements because most of the time I can’t tell if it is an arm, leg, or hiccups that is causing the flutter) were more regular during certain times of the day – i.e. when I’m relaxing on the couch on the evening or reading in bed, she’s most active.
I really started to love the baby’s movements and for the first time during the pregnancy, her impending arrival actually felt real. Her kicks make me feel like she has a personality and I love telling stories about when the kicks are most active (such as, she doesn’t like some meetings at work because she will kick a ton during them!).
Tingling Arms and Leg Cramps
My arms and legs have not been happy this past trimester. Leg cramps started around 17 or 18 weeks and come and go occasionally. They’re usually worst when I have had a long day of standing or walking around. On those nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night with intense pain that lasts a couple of minutes. Usually trying to stretch it out (lying in bed, and flexing my foot towards my knee) will help. I have made it a pre-bed routine to do calf stretches in hopes of keeping the leg cramps at bay. The doctors also recommended I take Magnesium Gluconate every evening to help with the cramps.
The tingling / pins and needles sensation in my arms started around 25 weeks. I would wake up to pain in my arms in the morning that feels worst than the normal pins and needles sensation, kind of like throbbing pins and needles from my shoulder all the way to my fingers. Unfortunately, the pain from this from would take longer to recover from. I typically have to elevate my arms and/or stand up and walk around before I regain feeling. I usually feel it the worst on weekends when I sleep in. On the weekdays, I generally feel tingling and numbness in the arms. Now randomly during the days, I feel it as well and will need to stretch out my arm when I at the computer or writing notes.
We did the bulk of our travel earlier in the 2nd trimester. We went to Southern California in my 19th/20th weeks and then to Atlanta for my brother-in-law’s wedding two weeks later. In the plane trips especially on the way to California, I made it a point to walk around every hour. Our trips were all fairly active and I was fortunate to feel pretty good. Towards the latter end of the Atlanta trip, I started to feel minor stomach cramps on the days I was most active. These would last for a little while and then eventually go away especially if I sit down and take it easier. The doctors informed me those cramps were the start of mild contractions.
I was glad when pregnancy clothes started to fit a little better. In the first part of the 2nd trimester it wasn’t obvious that I was pregnant and regular clothes were way too tight but pregnancy clothes were too loose. For the most part now, I am wearing all pregnancy clothes as the belly is much bigger. I love 40% discounts from The Gap and Old Navy as that is when I buy extra clothes. Nordstrom also has a good variety and where I have purchased some of the nicer items that I wear to work. For running clothes, I only have a couple of pieces (I end up doing laundry multiple times during the week) that are truly maternity from Target and the rest of the time I wear some of the larger race shirts and for shorts, I am still able to wear some of my pre-pregnancy ones, especially this one from Oiselle.
After the one big snowstorm we had around my 14th week, I stopped running with the Fleet Feet Stamford group and for the most part outside. Most days when the group would meet, it would be too cold or icy out. I was being extra wimpy but also knew that running in the cold was tough as I didn’t have all the necessary gear and trying to stay warm outside immediately raised my heart rate. I found that the treadmill was a better option as I could slow down when needed and it meant I could go after work even when it was dark out.
I was supposed to run the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon in my 15th week but the race was cancelled due to the snowstorm. While I was disappointed I lost out on my only chance to run a half marathon during pregnancy, my back was acting up the week leading up to the race so I knew I wouldn’t have had a good experience anyway.
Between not having a race to “train” for and feeling nauseous from the evening commute most nights, I ran less in the 2nd trimester than in the first. For most of the trimester, I was getting around 5-8 miles a week in and it wasn’t until much recently that I started to feel better and running closer to 10 miles a week plus other forms of exercise. I did complete a 5K in early March (Washington Heights Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K) and a 4-miler (Run as One 4-miler) this past weekend. In my 27th week, I ran outside with Josh by my parents’ house and unfortunately suffered a fall from clumsiness and unevenness in the sidewalk. Fortunately, the baby was fine but my knee is still recovering. I know it’s common sense, but it’s extremely important to pay attention to where you’re running and to watch out for any uneven patches in the road. I sometimes forget that I am not invincible (like I thought I used to be) and that by hurting myself, I am also potentially hurting the baby.
About half way through the 2nd trimester, I mixed up the exercise routine with the elliptical on nights that I do not run. I am also using light weights about once a week. I try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise (as well as walking) around 5 times a week. I feel fortunate to be able to continue with an exercise routine and am planning to continue for as long as I feel comfortable.
Sharing the News
After telling our immediate families before the 2nd trimester, we waited until I was 13 weeks to tell anyone else. We wanted to wait to meet that milestone, have our first big ultrasound and receive the results from the blood test to confirm the gender. Once we were ready, we started with the rest of our families and friends either in person, phone, email, or text. Then once everyone was informed, we started to tell people at work and eventually posted the news publicly on the blog and other social media channels. We appreciated everyone’s warm wishes and congratulations. It was a big weight lifted off of our shoulders once the secret was out of the bag!
(Do not read this next section if you’re not ready for too much information)
I debated all week whether I wanted to share this topic and decided that it was worth sharing for anyone who wanted to read about it. I tried not to read too much about pregnancy symptoms along the way because I didn’t want to freak out that I wasn’t going through what “everyone” else was. However, when I suffered from specific things, I did research it and speak to the doctors as well. About 23/24 weeks into the pregnancy, I started suffering from constipation and I just assumed that it would go away. Again, this is invincible me thinking that I eat a ton of vegetables, take additional fiber supplements regularly, and heck, I never suffered from this before so it can’t possibly to be affecting me now. After about a week, the situation did not get better and I finally admitted that I needed to do something about it. I went the “natural” approach first with prunes and prune juice and after a week of that, I still wasn’t better and it actually got worst when I developed the “h” word. One the first day when I couldn’t sit normally without pain, I finally caved and called the doctor. They recommended taking Colace and prescribed a hydrocortisone cream. A couple of days later, the bowel movements were better but the “h” was not getting better and I noticed blood. I called the doctors immediately who told me to come in the next morning to make sure nothing else was wrong. The visit confirmed that it was just the “h” (baby was fine) and that I should go see a surgeon to see if anything could be done in the mean time for my discomfort. By the time I had that visit a couple of days later, I was feeling a ton better and the surgeon confirmed that eventually this may go away but could also get worst and to monitor it. There was no need for a procedure at this point but if it does get worst to come back in. I share all of this because I wished this topic was more widely discussed and while it’s definitely more information than most people are willing to publicly put out there, when I was going through it, I was hoping to read more about how I wasn’t the only one suffering. That week of pain – from sitting, standing, and really any sort of activity was long and I had no idea if and when I would feel better. Most of the things your body goes through during pregnancy is not that “sexy”, but it is biology, science, and most cases normal and us women should share and support each other.
Finally, I am not a doctor or a medical professional. Everything written in this post is based on my experience. Please always check with a doctor first on any topic. However, I am happy to commiserate with others in similar situations!