Somehow I am already at the halfway mark with baby girl, and I’m not even sure how it flew by this quickly! I wanted to share a 20 week bumpdate, but I may have missed the deadline because I am now 22 weeks! If there is anything I’ve learned from pregnancy though, it’s that you have to give yourself LOTS of grace, and so a late post is better than no post at all. My goal is to share updates with you every 4 weeks from now on. I’ll share more about how I’m feeling and the things we are doing to prepare for our baby to be here in November.
I have received so much love and support from our followers that I knew I wanted to share with you all about pregnancy, and since I’ve waited until now to do so, I’ve got A LOT to share!
I found out I was pregnant at about 4 weeks and 5 days. When you are trying to get pregnant, you see all the announcements and videos on the internet of women surprising their husbands and I just knew I’d want to do something cute. However, the day I found out I had no time to get anything sweet together. I was scrambling! I had a happy hour with some of my Camp Gladiator trainers and campers, and I remember ordering water and hoping no one was too suspicious. I ran to Target afterwards and tried to find anything that said “Dad” on it. Kyle wouldn’t be home until late that night so I knew I had a little bit of time to work up a surprise. However, I couldn’t find anything, except for a pair of grey mocassins, and another pregnancy test (just to be 100% positive). I bought the mocassins and put them in the kitchen cabinet with two of the positive pregnancy tests inside. When he got home, I asked Kyle if he would bring me a glass of water and right in front of the water glasses I had left the shoes. He was so confused and utterly speechless for a good 30 minutes. He was still super surprised and I’m still bummed I didn’t get it on camera, but it was a sweet moment that we got to share just us two!
At 7 weeks, Kyle and I took a trip to Washington DC, and baby Leafgren got to go on their very first trip. I was a little bit nervous to fly because I was just starting to experience morning sickness at this point. Thankfully the flights there and back were great and the nausea was kept at bay with little snacks and peanut butter crackers. We loved DC and can’t wait to go back one day!
The main symptom that I felt at this point was extreme exhaustion. I was always a little tired even before I got pregnant because I wake up at 4:00 am 3 days a week, so naps have always been a pretty frequent thing for me, but this was way different! I would take a morning nap, and then after I got home in the afternoon I would nap again until Kyle would get home, and after we ate dinner I was ready for bed. I’ve never experienced that kind of exhaustion, but growing a baby so rapidly was taking it all out of me. The only other symptom was teenage acne. Since college, I’ve always struggled with hormonal acne around my mouth and chin. When I got pregnant it definitely intensified and unfortunately I couldn’t use many of the products that I normally used to combat the zits that we’re popping up all over my face. I was expecting an immediate pregnancy glow and that definitely wasn’t the case.
Around 7 weeks to 8 weeks the nausea hit me. My gag reflex became even more intense and I nearly threw up every single morning while brushing my teeth. Opening my bottle of prenatal vitamins almost set me off too so I had to buy the more tasty gummy ones. Thankfully, as long as I was eating small snacks every couple of hours I felt better. I think it’s so interesting how some women couldn’t eat at all with their morning sickness, when I felt like eating was the only thing I could do to make it better. Needless to say, I ate a lot.
You guessed it, I was still SO tired. I was still napping at least once every day. I missed caffeine a lot at this point. If you’ve read my “about me” section on the blog, you know I love black coffee. I would usually drink about 2 cups every morning. The recommended caffeine intake is 200 mg when you are pregnant, so I did allow myself to drink one cup a day because the alternative was a bad headache. And, although before pregnancy I only drank black coffee, for whatever reason that didn’t seem to hit the spot anymore so I started adding some creamer to my coffee. I usually buy the almond milk hazelnut creamer or Nutpods hazelnut flavor. I hope after pregnancy I can go back to drinking it plain again, because I know that’s so much better for me.
We got to have our first appointment with our midwife group at 9 weeks! The weeks we waited for this appointment seemed to drag on so slowly. I couldn’t wait to see our baby, and hear the heartbeat and hear from the midwife that everything looked great. I felt all sorts of fear at the beginning, but I had to keep reminding myself that God was in control and nothing that we would find out would be a surprise to Him. I’ve never felt so out of control in anything in my life. We got to have our first ultrasound this day, and see our little baby bug and the little heart beat. Unfortunately their machine didn’t have the capability at this point to hear the heartbeat, but I was thankful to just to see it beating. Kyle and I both teared up seeing our little baby and know that he/she was growing and doing little flips inside me!
My main cravings during the first trimester were a #4 from Jimmy John’s and goldfish. I ate a small bag of goldfish at about 4:30 every morning, I think the salty crackers helped to calm my stomach. I loved the bread from Jimmy John’s, I almost cried when I realized that they didn’t deliver to our house, so the guys in the restaurant saw me way too often (yes, I did heat up my turkey!).
The weirdest symptom I experienced in the first trimester was aches and pains while sleeping. I was so exhausted, so I could always fall asleep, but staying asleep was the problem. I would wake up with bad joint pain in my knees, hips and elbows. Normally I would take some Ibuprofen and be on my way, but Tylenol was the only thing I could take and I just don’t think it works the same. I think Kyle was so ready for this to be over, because I would wake him up nearly every night to let him know I couldn’t sleep and needed him to rub my back, which usually put me right back to sleep. He really is the best, and thankfully it’s just something we can look back on and laugh about now. I’m sure this is nothing compared to the trouble sleeping I’ve heard about in the third trimester, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it! I think I can attribute this aches in my joints to the hormone, Relaxin, that you secrete during pregnancy which allows your ligaments to soften in preparation for delivery.
The second trimester is a breath of fresh air!! I don’t have tons of energy, but I can proudly say that I don’t need a nap every day and I do have a lot more energy to do the things that I love to do now. It was truly amazing to wake up one day at about 14 weeks and have no signs of nausea. Also, I could sleep better through the night and haven’t experienced anymore aches and pains, however I do still find myself waking up to use the bathroom at least once a night. I was finally wanting to work out again at this point as well. My workout routine was doing Camp Gladiator which is a total body boot camp style workout, 3 times per week, and the days that I didn’t make it to a CG workout, I took the dog for a long walk around the neighborhood. My workouts are definitely more challenging now, I feel myself getting winded so much quicker, yet I still have a hard time slowing down. I know what my body is capable of, so it’s a real challenge to slow down and not push myself to the level that I normally would. The main question I ask myself during workouts is “Can I have a small conversation with the person next me to me?” If the answer is no, I slow down or modify the exercise I’m doing.
We had an appointment at 14 weeks, where we were able to use the fetal doppler to hear baby bug’s heart beat. The heartbeat sounded strong and was about 150 beats per minute. The appointment was only about 15 minutes. I don’t know if I was expecting an ultrasound and lots of information at each and every appointment, but this just wasn’t the case. After the midwife answered all of our questions, she sent us on our way and told us everything looked and sounded healthy.
At 17 weeks, I took a trip to Destin, Florida with my cousin Samantha to celebrate her graduating dental hygiene school, so baby and I got to go to the beach. It was the most perfect getaway to relax and lay on the beach all day long. I think every pregnant woman needs to take a trip to the beach at some point in her pregnancy because the waves and the sand we’re exactly what I needed to be able to relax.
At the end of 18 weeks we had our anatomy ultrasound. This was by far the most anticipated appointment -- we we’re going to get to see our baby again, and we would find out the gender! The ultrasound was amazing, we got to see our baby on a big screen, moving all around, we could see the little face, hands, feet, fingers and toes. The ultrasound tech had Kyle and I shut our eyes while she was checking for the gender, which she seemed to identify very quickly. Because of this, I definitely was thinking it was a boy because it seems like boys would be easier to identify really fast! They gave us the gender in a little envelope which we had to have Ashley keep at her house because we wouldn’t actually reveal the gender for a long 3 days. I knew if I had a weak moment I’d peak! The ultrasound showed that our baby was growing and measuring just perfectly, which eased a lot of anxiety as well. This ultrasound was also super fun because we brought Ashley with us, I loved having her there and she also got a peek of the gender during the ultrasound, so she was the first to know! I’m still amazed that she kept it a secret from us for 3 days!
18 weeks is also the first time I got to feel a little flutter of movement inside. I was sitting on the couch doing some work with the laptop sitting half on my belly and half on my lap. I felt a very definite movement on the lower right side of my belly. It is so surreal being able to see your baby moving all around and waving their hands on an ultrasound, but then being able to feel little flutters and kicks is one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever experienced.
Just for fun, here are what some of the Old Wives Tales predicted the gender of baby L would be…
Morning Sickness: GIRL
Cravings: GIRL or BOY
Chinese Calendar: BOY
Baby’s Heartbeat: GIRL
Sleeping side: GIRL
Carrying baby: GIRL
Daddy’s weight: BOY
IT’S A GIRL! We had our gender reveal at 19 weeks at Kyle’s parents house. We invited a small group of family and friends to join us as Kyle hit a golf ball that would reveal if baby L was a boy or a girl. I think you can tell by the photo that I was absolutely shocked. I really was convinced that we we’re having a boy, but I’ve alway dreamed of having a daughter. I was so surprised and we are both just so excited to now be able to say “she” instead of “it” and to be able to pray specifically for her. We also decided on a name, which I’m sure we will share at some point. We do know for sure that baby girl is so spoiled and loved already and we can’t wait to meet her.
I am consistently feeling baby girl move now. Usually if I sit down, especially after eating, I feel her moving all around. For several weeks, she would get pretty shy if Kyle tried to feel for her. I would get so excited every time, and make him stick his hand on my belly only for her to stop moving as soon as he did. I think he was starting to get a little discouraged until at 22 weeks when he finally felt her. He described it like she was giving him a little fist bump, and I’m sure the two of them will have lots of secret handshakes and fist bumps in the future. I can’t wait to see him become a girl daddy.
Oddly enough I really haven’t experienced any surprising cravings in the second trimester. People ask me all the time if I’m craving anything specific and truthfully I really am not. I can say that I have always had a sweet tooth, and that hasn’t changed in pregnancy but it honestly isn’t more intensified. I don’t ever crave vegetables or anything healthy for example, but I do allow myself to indulge more now than usual. My midwife explained to me the importance of protein during pregnancy, so my main goal is to make sure that I am still drinking tons of water and also that I get protein in at every meal. I also haven’t experienced any aversions at all, except to steak and I think that’s because it was the only thing I threw up in the first trimester and I just still can’t stomach eating it. If I start to experience any crazy cravings I will definitely let y’all know!
It officially might be time for a pregnancy pillow. Ladies, if you have one you recommend please let me know! Once again, I don’t have any difficulty falling asleep, but I wake up a couple times a night tossing and turning and have a hard time falling back asleep once I’m awake. I’ve also always been a back sleeper and it isn’t recommended that you sleep on your back after 20 weeks. This has been especially challenging and occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning on my back and I freak out a little bit. I’ve tried sleeping with a pillow in between my legs, which makes turning to the other side awkward, or with a pillow behind my back so that I can’t rollover and sleep on my back. Either way I think somehow the pillow manages to be on the floor next to me when I wake up, or sometimes I find Kyle sleeping with it. I definitely need to try something else, so maybe a pregnancy pillow is the answer.
Whenever you are trying to get pregnant you will hear every bit of advice from when to start trying, smoothies to drink, supplements to take and then once you get pregnant you get even more advice on pregnancy-- what to eat vs. what not to eat and prenatal vitamins and exercise guidelines. You also hear people tell you, “I threw up every single day” to “I loved being pregnant, and have never felt better in my life.” Well I guess I fall somewhere in the middle there. I am doing my very best to celebrate being pregnant and also go with the flow each time there’s a new change in my body. The thing I’ve struggled with the most during pregnancy is body image and weight gain, and let me tell you it has not been easy to overcome. I always had this picture of myself in my head when I imagined myself pregnant, I thought I would only gain weight in my belly, that I would have glowing skin, thick, voluminous hair, and also that I would love the way my body looked. To be honest, the weight gain started everywhere around my belly, my clothes quickly got pretty tight and uncomfortable, my acne got worse, my hair never changed and I didn’t like the way I looked in pictures. I was devastated that I felt this way and still struggle daily with the changes that my body is going through. I am thankful for a healthy body that is growing a healthy baby, but at the end of the day the enemy creeps in and tells me that I’m not doing a good job of being pregnant and that I have gained too much weight, and that I’m already failing at this mom thing if I forget to microwave my deli meat (which happened a couple times if I’m honest). Like I said at the beginning of this post you have to give yourself SO MUCH grace in pregnancy. Your body changes weekly and so many of the things you used to do with ease get more challenging. I was told by so many women that they loved being pregnant and loved their pregnant bodies, and I thought by not admitting to the same that I was failing at being a mom already.
Truthfully, pregnancy has been hard, way harder than I ever anticipated it to be. I mostly wanted to share all the good things about it in this post, but didn’t want to finish without letting you all in on how I really feel a lot of the time. I’m beyond thankful for the ability to carry this baby girl inside me, and how God is growing her and shaping her each and every day. I’m thankful for the ability to feel her moving around and talk to her by name and pray for her. I’ve definitely learned in a new way just how comparison can steal your joy. Every single woman’s pregnancy looks different, and that is not a bad thing. If I constantly compare myself to other women, I am not fully celebrating what my body is doing. I am learning to love and embrace my growing body and my new maternity clothes that make me feel way more comfortable than any of my other clothes. I have women around me that I am able to be honest with about how I’m feeling and who remind me of the miracle that is happening inside of me. I’m so thankful for the community I have that I can share my struggles with and who combat the lies of the enemy with me.