Despite all of the books, articles, videos, and advice from loved ones and strangers, no one could have prepared me more for the second trimester and all its wrath and glory…
As I look back on my second trimester, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, I would argue that the highs have made even the most unbearable lows worth it in the end. During the second trimester I finally started to feel and look pregnant. Oddly enough, this is when I started to bond and form a deeper connection with my baby. Around our 16 week check-up, we found out that our little munchkin was a boy. From week 14 on, his movements got stronger and stronger every week. In fact, his most active times were right around 8:30 pm. Because his movements were more sporatic initially, any time he would kick or move I would stop everything and would be present in the moment, soaking it all in. For a couple of weeks he stayed in a breech position but toward the end of the second trimester he finally rotated down to the birthing position. Toward the middle of the second trimester I started to have more energy and felt like myself again. Throughout the second trimester, I made sure to take advantage of the days that I felt well enough to be more active, because sadly those were few and far between. When I was able to, I would go for longer walks, do a prenatal workout, or bake a few sweet treats.
Unfortunately, there were days (if not weeks) that I felt completely miserable and could hardly get out of bed. Picture your worst hangover mixed with the flu and times it by 100. At the beginning of the second trimester (and truly toward the end of the first) I was plagued by pregnancy migraines. My OB warned me that I would feel pretty lousy and have headaches daily from week 10 to week 18, but the words “lousy” nor “headaches” came remotely close to the pain and discomfort I felt during those 8 weeks. Before pregnancy, I suffered from chronic, debilating migraines and ice pick headaches. In fact, I was prescribed a monthly injection shot in order to keep my migraines at bay. Sadly, my injection medicine has not yet been approved by the FDA in the States. While you are pregnant, you are also pretty limited on the medicines you are allowed to take for pain. So needless to say the days that I was bed ridden, I could hardly pick my head up off of the pillow.
Luckily, the migraines eventually dissipated. Unfortunately, my other symptoms, such as restless leg syndrome, heart palpitations, congestion, dizziness/ light-headedness, heartburn/ indigestion, nausea, lower back/ hip pain, and sciatica, did not disappear. In fact, most of my symptoms have been quite persistant throughout my pregnancy so far.
Through trial and error I found out rather quickly which foods and eating habits caused my nightly heartburn and indigestion. Unfortunately, no spicy or fried foods for me. Goodbye spicy chicken sandwich from Chic-fil-a! My OB did approve TUMS to help alleviate the heartburn and indigestion because the ingredients are primarily just calcium and magnesium. To prevent my throat and esophagus from being on fire all night long, I have found that I cannot eat any later than 6:00 pm and must sit or stand upright for at least 3 hours after eating. According to my OB, the fetus consumes whatever you ate 2 hours afterwards. So if I finished eating at 6:00 pm then he eats around 8:00 pm, which means I cannot lay down for the night until at least 11:00 pm.
Just like the migraines, I also suffered from GERD prior to my pregnancy. There were some nights when the TUMS alone just didn’t cut it. One method that seemed to help in conjuction with taking TUMS was drinking tea. I used a combination of Chamomile tea and this tea I found on Amazon, which is made specifically for pregnant women. When the heartburn and indigestion was at its most severe, there were nights when I couldn’t even lay flat or semi-flat in the bed and had to opt for the recliner instead. The heartburn/ indigestion seemed to let up a little bit as I got closer to the end of the second trimester, but it still hasn’t completely gone away as of yet.
The last symptom that proved to be unexpectedly the most uncomfortable and painful was the lower back and hip pain, along with the sciatica. I learned my lesson pretty early on to not over do it. I am the first to admit that I move 90 miles a minute and have a hard time sitting still. I get that lovely trait from both of my parents. Personally, I have found that after about 30 minutes of standing or walking I have to sit down and rest. If not, the consequences are excruciating.
One day, I spent about six or so hours cleaning the house, cooking, and doing some household chores with little to no rest time. By the end of the day, I couldn’t move. I felt paralyzed. Not only did my lower back feel like it had completely separated from my body, but my hip also felt as though it was loose from the joint. It was also on that day that I started to feel a burning, tingling sensation run from my hip down to my ankle. I had moved around so much that day that I had irritated my joints, muscles, and nerves.
Though some days are still hard to bear, I have found some ways to help alleviate the pain, if not prevent it all together. My primary way of preventing the pain is simply by forcing myself to rest. I limit my standing or walking to no more than 30 minutes at a time and sit or lay for at least 15 to 20 minutes afterwards. I also found this maternity support belt from Amazon that has seemed to help. Initially I didn’t think the belt did anything spectacular, but then my boyfriend pointed out that I was able to stand, walk, and be overall more active for a little longer compared to when I wasn’t wearing it. It also helps to lift my baby bump, which as a result, took pressure off of my lower back and hips.
One of my best friends, literally since diapers, is also currently expecting her first child – in fact, we are both due the same week in February! God works in mysterious ways, let me tell ya. While my own pregnancy has been flooded with a roller coaster of symptoms, aches, and pains, hers has been the exact opposite. Which goes to show that no two pregnancies are ever the same! So far throughout my pregnancy I have tried, and failed many times, to remind myself not to compare myself to other momma’s-to-be or even more seasoned mothers.
When I hear stories of effortless pregnancies and women remaining physically active throughout, I start to wonder what’s wrong with me? Why is my body having such a difficult time adjusting? Am I not strong enough? Maybe these women did experience the aches and pains or unbearable symptoms but have minimized the intensity or level of pain they were in. Perhaps they just carried on and didn’t waste any time with complaining.
It’s difficult to not compare yourself to others, especially in this time where everything and everyone is instantly accessible through the internet. It’s a
daily hourly effort to remind myself that my pregnancy is unique to myself and to myself only. While it does seem like I have had every symptom in the book and that all of my symptoms have warranted their own level of irritation, pain, or intensity, it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong or out of the norm, but instead means that my body is working extra hard to create the healthiest, strongest human-being it can.
For all of my momma’s-to-be out there that are feeling like this, know that you are not alone & you are perfect the way you are!