Baby H: 20-Week Update

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Welcome to my five-month “bumpdate” for Baby H. First things first: How the heck are we at the halfway point already?!

I’ve heard that the first half of pregnancy goes a lot more slowly than the first, and right now I’m totally ok with that (although I’ve also heard I’ll be eating these words later). When I think about how much we’ve got to do in the next five months to finish getting physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for adding another human to the household, the gestation period for an elephant suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.

Then again, between my frequent nightly bathroom breaks, shortness of breath and ever-expanding waistline — not to mention finally getting to meet this little person who’s been the frequent topic of our conversations — I’m sure I’ll be more than ready to trade in my maternity jeans for mom jeans in just a few short months. Well, maybe not “mom” jeans…but you get the point.

So here’s where things stand at the 20-week milestone:

Month Five: Baby is the size of a mango, measuring roughly 6.5 inches from crown to rump and tipping the scales at around 10.5 ounces. I’ve heard it’s about 10 inches long from top of the head to tips of the toes, but I still can’t wrap my head around that part!

Weight Gained: I’m up a good 10-12 pounds based on estimates from my last weigh-in. I was momentarily horrified when they used a scale that looked more like one they used to weigh large animals than your typical doctor’s office sliding bar weight scale, but I’m trying not to get too caught up with the whole weight gain aspect. I trust that my body will do what it needs to for the baby, and after hearing about all the other “fun” stuff I have to look forward to later (i.e. the ring of fire, cracked nipples, etc.), it’s the least of my concerns.

Workouts: I think I’ve hit the sweet spot of the second trimester because I’m doing all kind of activities in moderation and with modifications, of course. Running doesn’t feel awesome, but I try to aim for at least two jogs a week: a shorter one of 3-4 miles, plus a “long” weekend 10k. And ab exercises look a lot different because I’m no longer able to do a traditional “sit-up.” But I’m still doing all kinds of cardio cross-training (hiking, indoor cycling, walking, swimming, elliptical and stair stepper), along with supplementary weight training, yoga, barre and Pilates. Shortness of breath keeps me from doing anything too crazy, but it finally feels good again to get out and have a good sweat.

Symptoms: Besides my body growing in all kinds of new directions, the biggest symptom has been round ligament pain as my uterus is trying to figure out its new job. As Babycenter says, “You may feel round ligament pain as a short jabbing sensation or a sharp, stabbing pain if you suddenly change position, such as when you’re getting out of bed or out of a chair or when you cough, roll over in bed, or get out of the bathtub.” It can also come in the form of a dull ache after activity. At first, this was alarming — I kept thinking I was pulling something or pushing too hard — but I’ve gradually gotten more used to it. While it’s still somewhat disconcerting, I try to work with it and just listen to my body by backing off if something truly doesn’t feel good (like most traditional ab work at this point!).

Food Aversions: Unfortunately, none? I’ve got a huge appetite, and there’s no mistaking (or delaying a meal) when hunger strikes. And it hits hard, fast and with a vengeance. There’s no thinking, “Hm, I’m getting hungry. I should eat soon.” It’s more like you’re going about your business one minute, and then you can pinpoint the exact moment that something shifts and your body says, “Must. Eat. NOW.” If I have any aversions at all, it’s to smells. My sniffer is super sensitive, and I’ve got zero tolerance for things like body odors, bad breath and street smells.

Food Cravings: Nothing too crazy, but still some patterns going on in terms of increased dairy intake and an obsession with all kinds of fruit. I’ve always had a bit of a cereal fetish (when my husband met me, he couldn’t believe I lived alone and had 7-10 boxes in rotation at any time), and it’s become my snack between-meals meal of choice again. The childhood throwbacks are a favorite — you know, all those cringe-inducing sugar-filled ones — but I’m trying to keep it under control.

Sleep: I’m slowly losing out on acceptable sleep positions (sadly, stomach is no longer an option), so between struggling to get comfortable and getting up to pee once or twice, I can’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep. Sigh.

Looking Forward To: Honestly? Just enjoying this moment where I’m feeling good, I’ve got the energy and motivation to work out and we’ve still got enough time to leisurely take childbirth classes and casually toss around baby names (we’re taking suggestions, if you have ideas!) before we have to settle down and get serious in the home stretch.

Boy/Girl Suspicions: We managed to make it through the anatomy scan without finding out, and I’m hoping we can keep it that way until D-Day. But when I was home in Michigan, a high school friend who said she’s got a success rate of more than 50% said she thinks it’s a boy. My sister’s convinced it’s a girl, however, so it’s exciting to think about both. I’d love to hear what your guess is, if you want to leave a comment below!

Any Fun Stories? Earlier this month when I was home, my sister and parents threw me a surprise baby shower for family and friends in the Midwest. I got to see old family friends, as well as best friends from grade school, high school and college, so it was pretty incredible. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the love and support from this amazing group, and it got me excited for my West Coast shower later this winter with more friends and family.

Most recently, however, we not only had the anatomy scan where Baby H passed with flying colors (and we got to breathe a big sigh of relief), but I’ve also been feeling his/her first movements. Thinking back, I probably felt the initial faint stirrings in week 17 or 18, but it wasn’t until the middle of week 19 when they became more frequent and recognizable. The closest thing I can think of describing it as is a small goldfish doing a flip in your bladder. Weird, right?

It was startling at first, but now that I’m getting used to it, I love feeling it. Especially because I feel like I am learning his/her personality — i.e. when I try to sneak a few winks on my stomach, I’ll promptly get kicks just under my belly button telling me to flip over.

And we’ve apparently got a pretty active baby on our hands (my sister said this should come as no surprise; I guess my years of running have been less about racing and more about just preparing me for this) — not only did my OB have trouble getting the heartbeat on Doppler because it was busy “doing cartwheels,” but it had the ultrasound tech at our anatomy scan laughing, thanks to its creative breakdance moves.

One thing is abundantly clear already, though: This poor child has already inherited Mom and Dad’s lack of rhythm!

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