The Halfway Point

Baby A at 18 weeks. He looked so much more like a person this time, even if the grainy photo doesn’t look like it. And yes, that little arrow is pointing to his boy parts.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant today! The pregnancy books and apps tell me I’m halfway to baby.

Next week we’ll do our big second trimester scan where they will take all the measurements and check organ development and whatnot, but I got a little sneak peak at our precious son when he was playing hide and seek with the Doppler scanner at my last OB appointment.  After several scary and uncomfortable minutes with my OB pushing the Doppler into various spots on my abdomen and not being able to locate the baby’s heart, my doctor reassured me that things felt just as they should, but that he wanted me to pop in for a quickly ultrasound so we could both feel better.  The ultrasound showed that his heartbeat was strong and everything looked perfect, but my placenta is currently right on top of him so that’s why his heartbeat couldn’t be heard on the Doppler scanner.  It was amazing to me how much more I could see than my scan at 12 weeks. I could even see little glimpses of his face! I’m totally in love.

So now that you have the latest, I’d love to share a little of what the first half of this pregnancy has been like :

After our wedding, Aaron and I wanted to start our family ASAP, but we made the difficult decision to wait to start trying until his job hunt came to a successful conclusion. For us the stress of the hunt would have been multiplied knowing a baby was on the way. We had a couple sad and scary moments early in trying so we were delighted to learn I was expecting so quickly after Aaron started his job. Knowing how badly we wanted this baby, I half-expected pregnancy to be all rainbows and sunshine. Ha! My first trimester was ROUGH.

Pregnancy started out sick for me, we found out this little guy was on his way on my Mom’s 60th birthday while we were celebrating with my family at our home. We were celebrating at home because I couldn’t go out due a nasty respiratory infection. Two weeks later I landed myself in the hospital for three whole days because of how bad my lungs had gotten. By the point my infection had cleared and I was just starting to feel better, the puking started. I was sick almost all day every single day from week 6 to week 16. While I’m on the subject, whoever coined the term “morning sickness” should face the wrath of an army of pregnant women barfing on him all damn day. On top of being sick, I felt very isolated. The biggest thing that had ever happened to me was happening, and happening violently, and I was supposed to keep it a secret? It made me mad. Apparently I’m not the only one, this post does a pretty great job of spinning out my objections to the veil of secrecy that surrounds the first trimester of pregnancy.  So I told my family and a few close friends and I gritted my teeth and prayed for the second trimester to be here already.

It arrived right as we found out our little bean is a boy, but it wasn’t all joy and relief. The same non-invasive genetic screening that told us Baby A was a he and that the risks of major chromosomal abnormalities were low, also revealed something pretty scary; I’m a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. That meant if Aaron was too, our little boy had a 1/4 chance of having Cystic Fibrosis. For those unfamiliar, Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic illness that affects the digestive and respiratory tracts resulting in generalized malnutrition and chronic respiratory infections. It dramatically shortens life spans and can severely interfere with the quality of life. In short, it’s a big damn deal.  So Aaron was tested, and for two long weeks we waited for results.  Lucky for us, baby A and any future offspring, Aaron is not a carrier. So for once my mom is happy that Aaron isn’t Irish (people of Irish and other western European decent have  CF carrier rates much higher than most), and baby A’s chances of having CF go back down to a point so low that further testing is not recommended. I’m sure this experience pales in comparison to what expectant parents who learn that something is wrong with their baby go through, or what parents who are caring for a child with medical or special needs face, but it gave us both a small glimpse of what that must be like, and opened up our hearts even more to those families.

And on top of that specific fear, weeks 10-15 were just full of general fears for me. Would I be a good mom? How the hell am I going to manage a baby and my job? How are we going to afford daycare? Will we ever sleep again? Will our marriage suffer? Will our house fall apart? Am I doing enough to help the baby be healthy? Is my husband still attracted to me? Why did I think I was ready for this? What if I never stop puking? Et cetera and so forth on an endless loop.

Oh! And then we got robbed.

So not exactly the first half of my dreams, but things were far from all bad.

Things that have made the first half better:

  • My husband – He’s a good one, and he’s really stepped up to tackle some of the things I couldn’t do anymore because of pregnancy, encouraged me to rest, and on top of that consented to extra showers and teeth-brushing when I rudely accused him of stinking due to my recently acquired super sniffer
  • My friends – So many of my close friends who are already Mamas have reached out to me, checking on me, wishing us well, sharing experiences and being excited for me. I confess I was a little afraid that being a little later to the baby game than many of my nearest and dearest, my pregnancy might feel old hat to them. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I’ve been uplifted, encouraged, and overjoyed by the support they’ve given me
  • My family –  especially my Mom, She’s gone above and beyond to help me through some of the roughest parts of this pregnancy
  • Totle – Let’s be honest he makes everything better, but very early in the pregnancy he took up curling-up snugly against my uterus, and my heart melts when I convince myself he’s wanting to snuggle the baby (even though I realize he might just like that I’m extra warm there due to increased blood flow)
  • The pregnancy pillow my friend Allie got me for Christmas – It’s so cozy!
  • CARBS – basically the only food I could tolerate during the worst of the morning sickness was carb-heavy. Nom!
  • The book Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies, it’s fascinating and fun!
  • Maternity pants – Seriously, where have these been all my life? I may never back to a real waistband!
  • Getting to start planning for the nursery – Kids rooms are way more fun than normal decorating
  • Feeling my son kick for the first time – Wow! What a sensation! Creepy for sure, but also proof that he’s in there and growing
  • Hearing my OB and the sonographer joke about my son’s lack of shame as he proudly displayed his junk for us to see

The longer this baby cooks, the more I start to feel like I know him. I love that he can hear my voice now and I spend a lot of time talking to him and telling him how loved he already is. Plus, I’m feeling a lot better now that I’m in the middle of the second trimester and a lot of the fear that plagued me earlier is revealing itself to be excitement now. But if the trade-off for a baby was always going to mean signing up for 20 weeks of sickness and worry and woe, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I am so excited for this little guy!

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2 comments on “The Halfway Point
  1. Sarah Pheral says:

    LOVE this post. :) Hang in there, Mar. The best (and worst) is yet to come! But you’ll do fabulously through it all. I’m so glad for you that you have such a robust support network; take all the help you can get, girl!

    Love from me, Eric and Jack! (and tell Aaron hello please)

  2. Mariel says:

    Sheesh….tears from me on this one. Love how frank and real you are. XO

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