Would we have planned a trip to Mexico in the middle of a Zika virus outbreak while I was pregnant? Probably not… But we only discovered our little blessing 3 days before we left. This little baby has kept us on our toes right from the very beginning, and has continued to throughout the pregnancy.
Just over a week after finding out (not to mention, eating at an All-Inclusive resort), it was hard to hide the fact that I was pregnant. With #2, my body just said, “I know what to do here, thank you very much” and the little mummy tummy that I had been working so hard to get back into shape was back in a matter of days.
I struggled with the usual anxiety that comes along with a first trimester, and I struggled to keep our bundle private as I continued to grow. I slouched to disguise my growing belly, wore baggy clothes and did my best to keep our news to myself, despite the comments flying my way like “are you sure it’s not twins”, or “you’re showing so soon”, or just plain “you’re very round.” (Side note: unless it’s to say “you look amazing!” you should probably not comment on a pregnant lady’s size or weight. Even with a miracle inside of you, it’s hard to see the numbers on the scale climb up to levels you’ve never seen before and we’re all very aware of how huge we are. We have to bend over our enormous bellies to put on our shoes every day. Shouting something like “hey fatty” down the hall is especially off limits. And while I’m at it, the same goes the other way. I doubt that it puts a lot of moms-to-be at ease about their baby’s growth to hear how tiny they look or that they’re barely showing. Best to just keep your size-related observations to yourself.)
I questioned why we all keep our pregnancies secret for those tentative first months, as I noticed that not only are we not verbally sharing our news but even in our slouchy posture, we act like we are ashamed of the little person growing inside of us. I thought about how I would probably need support from loved ones if something did happen to the baby, so why not be open early on? But I’ll come back to that later…
The big belly and climbing weight feel a lot better when you feel that baby move, and you realize it’s not just your tummy but also somebody’s home. You’re growing a person in there.
Just as I was beginning to feel those familiar flutters of movement and started to bond with the life inside me, we received some troubling news from the Doctor. Genetic testing had come back as higher-than-usual risk, and we needed to conduct further testing and see a specialist. My heart stopped. Tears flowed. And then I pulled myself together and decided not to jump to any conclusions. “High risk” did not mean positive. It just meant more testing was required. So, I found that the best way to manage my anxiety in this situation was not to hypothesize (or catastrophize) and scenario-play, but to simply wait until we had more information. I decided I didn’t want anyone to know what we were going through. I would share more when there was more to share, but I didn’t want to answer questions and have discussions. I wanted to put it out of my mind. And I suddenly understood the desire to keep these things to yourself and deal with a difficult situation privately.
Well, we were relieved to find out that it was a false alarm and everything was normal. This little baby wasn’t letting us take anything for granted. And the bonus to this additional testing was that we got to find out, with complete genetic certainty what we are having. No “are you sure something isn’t hiding” doubts about an ultrasound conclusion for us! Another baby boy!
With all of that behind us, we began to allow ourselves to finally get excited. It was 20 week ultrasound time and we would get to see how the baby has grown with our own eyes. And he did not disappoint.
When I was pregnant with Ari, I never really got to see him move. By the time the technician was done taking her measurements, he was always asleep (ironic, since he never slept once he was born and is still one of the busiest kids I know). So, I drank a ton of juice beforehand and asked the technician to please show me if the baby is doing summersaults. And boy did he ever! “You have a busy baby on your hands,” laughed the technician as the baby rolled around and grabbed his feet, staying folded in half in a pike position so she couldn’t get her measurements.
I’d like to say that it’s been smooth sailing ever since, but we’ve faced a few more hiccups along the way. And I don’t just mean feeling the baby’s rhythmic hiccups inside me, which have also started in the last few days. This pregnancy has had its share of scares, and there’s still another trimester to go. But I am optimistic that everything will be okay. Those reassuring little kicks are a great reminder of how lucky we are. And who knows… Ari was an uneventful pregnancy and a very difficult baby, so maybe this baby will be easy! (Wishful thinking, I guess…)
er day, after a long stretch up at the cottage, my Dad asked me if he could touch my belly (final side note: it is always a good idea to ask permission before touching a pregnant lady’s belly. It’s so awkward having your belly rubbed and usually people are about 6 inches higher than the baby. So, thanks for the abdominal/organ massage, but if you want to feel the baby kick, you’ll need to reach much lower.) As he rubbed my growing belly, he smiled at me and said “there’s magic in there.” He’s so right. A belly full of magic.