Baby H: 16-Week Update

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As much as I’ve been excited about entering this new phase of life, I’ve been hesitant about doing pregnancy updates here on the blog.

Why? Well, for one thing, I want to keep the focus here on health and fitness topics with which a wide audience can relate. But the fact is that living an active lifestyle is important to me, pregnant or not, so I do want to document that part of the journey here for better or for worse.

Second, frankly, I didn’t want to jinx myself. These past four months have been filled with highs and lows, joys and challenges, surprises and scares (ah, the fun of being “advanced maternal age”), and I guess there’s part of me that’s still processing all of that and another part of me that’s skeptical that what’s happening is really happening. Sure, I feel different, but I haven’t felt the baby move yet, and the look I’m currently sporting is much less “pregnant” and a lot more “Freshman 15.”

Third, if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far it’s that pregnancy is a complete and total crap-shoot. There’s no one-size-fits-all experience, advice or explanation. Everyone’s path starts, exists and ends at very different places; I’ve got friends who have had experiences across the entire spectrum: exceedingly delightful to downright scary. Every pregnancy is as unique as the person going through it, so this is just my version, plain and simple.

Finally, and along those same lines of everyone having vastly different experiences, I want to be especially sensitive to that piece. For every fairy-tale pregnancy story with a bouncing bundle of joy in the pot at the end of the rainbow, there’s countless more stories of challenges, complications, heartache and loss going on behind the scenes. It happens more than you think, and these silent struggles are often not discussed. I just want to take a moment to acknowledge that this is an emotionally-charged topic, and for good reason.

So with that said, I’m a little over four months in, so I figured I’d do a quick update…

Month Four: Baby is the size of an avocado! Oddly enough, my usual avocado-a-day habit has ceased for the past few months, although I’m slowly sneaking some back in here and there.

Weight Gained: I don’t regularly weigh myself, so I’m not exactly sure where I was at pre-baby. But I’d guess I’m up somewhere between 4-6 pounds based on my last weigh-in at the doctor’s office.

Workouts: After months of feeling utterly wiped out, I finally turned a corner in week 15 and seem to have gotten some energy back. I don’t have quite the same stamina as I did before — I get short of breath quickly and seem to have a lower tolerance for pushing through discomfort when working out — but I’m grateful to be doing things like shorter runs, cycling, barre, swimming, strength training, hiking, etc.

Symptoms: Maybe the old wives’ tales are true about morning sickness being hereditary; my mom and sister escaped unscathed, as did I. My major symptom for the first few months was an overwhelming fatigue, though. And one of my guy friends asked me early on, “So what does it feel like being pregnant?” Again, everyone’s different, but I described it as part I ate-too-much-at-dinner-and-can’t-suck-my-stomach-in and part I-think-I-may-have-pulled-something-in-my-lower-abdomen. I can definitely feel everything shifting around, and although my belly hasn’t quite gotten the message yet, my boobs and hips have been more than happy to oblige.

Food Aversions: For the first six weeks or so, I was eating very normally (i.e. all the veggies!). But for the next month or month and a half in there, things got a bit dicey. It was less about outright aversions and more about only one thing sounding good at a time. One night it was pad thai, another it was pizza. And I do remember one week filled with Doritos, Golden Grahams and ramen, which started to make my husband a little nervous for what was to come. But once that passed, I’ve been able to add healthy items back in and dial back (somewhat) on the junk.

Food Cravings: I haven’t had any cravings for odd combinations, but I have noticed a pattern for certain food types. For example, around nine weeks, all I wanted was sour and I was on a mission for pickles, sauerkraut and the like. Then a few weeks later, the dairy cravings kicked in; I’d been drinking mostly almond milk after doing Whole 30 a while back, but now it just won’t do. I’ve got to have my 2%, and I’ve lost count of how many cartons of cottage cheese, bowls of cereal and sticks of string cheese I’ve plowed through since. There was also a week in there where I was pretty obsessed with tomatoes, and I have been indulging my sweet tooth more often than usual, but I figure it all balances out since I’m staying active and need some extra calories (and sugar?) anyway.

Sleep: For the first three months, I slept like a log. My husband was thrilled because he could make all the noise in the world getting ready for work, and I was dead to the world. But for the past 4-5 weeks, I’ve been waking up once or twice a night, either to pee or thinking about work, baby stuff, etc. and having trouble falling back to sleep. I’m really hoping this changes before the third trimester insomnia kicks in, although Ben likes to joke that I shouldn’t hold my breath — I likely won’t get a truly good night’s sleep for the next 18 years now that we’ve got this little boy or girl about to rock our worlds!

Looking Forward To: Our next big appointment at 18 weeks where we get the anatomy ultrasound. This is exciting for several reasons: First, the doctor said we’d be shocked by how much the baby has changed since our last one. Second, it’s a big checkpoint in terms of making sure things are progressing normally and everything’s developing ok. Third, it’s also when you can find out the sex of the baby…which we are actually NOT going to do!

Boy/Girl Suspicions: Ben thinks boy, and I’m guessing girl, but I really don’t have a strong feeling either way yet. We each have a 50-50 shot at being correct, though, right?

Any Fun Stories? It sounds cliche, but hearing the heartbeat early on was pretty cool; it gave me some hope when I was trying to process how crappy I was feeling at the time. The funniest part so far, however, was at the first trimester screening (12 weeks) where they have to get a shot of the baby’s profile from a certain angle in order to check some measurements. Our little guy/girl was pretty comfortable hanging out head-down, fast asleep. No amount of poking, prodding, peeing or likewise worked to get it to shift, so I finally ate some candy, walked around, then hung out on my side for a bit to persuade it to switch positions. The tech said we already have a little stinker on our hands due to the utter lack of cooperation, and I jokingly asked her to zoom in…because I was pretty sure the baby might be giving us all the middle finger for rousing him/her from a nap!

Stay tuned for the month five update in a few weeks…
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