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My second trimester: where’s that energy, nesting urge already & exciting ultrasound

We’re back in the Netherlands and I’m getting used to being pregnant. Maybe I can even say that I feel less ‘pregnant’ than at the beginning. At least it doesn’t feel as overwhelming anymore. There is now space for other things in my life again. Although… I’m staying with my parents for a while and before I know it, I’m in a baby store with my mother picking out a Moses basket. Just going into that nice street in Den Bosch with all those baby stores. I thought I wouldn’t be sensitive to it, but still, I walk away with a bag full of baby clothes.

Should I not have more energy now?

The midwife (she comes to our house for a consultation every time, what a luxury!) tells me that I should expect more energy now, maybe even more than before my pregnancy. I wait and wait, but I notice nothing. I still often take an afternoon nap or do yoga nidra. And at the end of the day, I’m wiped out. Also do groceries and cook? Definitely not. On the days when I’m home alone, the evening meal often becomes a sandwich with hummus and avocado. But I’m also getting smarter about it. On days and moments when I do have energy, I cook extra portions right away, or I make something healthy for lunch.

But I still need to check if my blood values are good, perhaps fatigue is caused by low iron? But all levels are good! I take the vegan Lifelong Vitality supplements from doTERRA daily, as I did before. My diet hasn’t really changed that much with pregnancy. I tend to eat food that’s richer in protein and fat, preferably a bit salty. And I go for crackers and bread much more often. Is that a pregnancy craving, or is it just convenience? You can read about how to eat healthy plant-based food during pregnancy in this blog.

My clothes don’t fit anymore and I feel something moving!

My belly is starting to grow more and more, you can really tell I’m pregnant now. On the street, I receive compliments and people flirt with me, I like this 😉 This growing belly also directly leads to a new challenge; what should I wear? Perhaps I should buy one of those maternity jeans, although I find I don’t really like the feel of that band over my belly. I can feel the movements in my belly better and better. Wow, this is so special! A real little human is growing inside my belly. On one hand, it’s the most natural thing in the world (it happens everywhere, after all), but at the same time, it feels as if I’m being allowed to witness the mystery of life up close. Somewhere after week 20, my partner can also feel it when he puts his hand on my belly. I’m amazed by how the baby responds to him. When I’m lying against him, he puts his hand on my belly, or when he starts to sing or talk. It’s very different compared to when others touch my belly. Especially when I haven’t seen my partner for a while and he comes home, starts talking or I snuggle up to him, the baby immediately starts to move. I get goosebumps when I realize they already have a bond. The little creature moving in my belly is not only a creation of mine, I’m just a temporary home.

An exciting ultrasound

Around week 13 and week 20 we have another ultrasound. On one hand, it’s fascinating to see what it looks like inside, but at the same time, it also feels a bit unnecessary. Wouldn’t I feel it if something was wrong? It only really becomes clear that they’re mainly looking for abnormalities when at the 20-week ultrasound one of the kidneys seems to be slightly larger. They tell me to go to the hospital. I don’t quite understand why, but we go anyway. The kidneys look good, the gynecologist tells us, but we can’t see whether there is one or two ureters going to the bladder, so come back in a few weeks. ‘Why then?’ I ask. She can’t explain it to me properly. People seem to be able to live just fine with two of those ureters, if that is the case, but there could also be an increased chance of a bladder infection. ‘Keep a close eye on the wet diapers after birth (don’t you do that anyway?) and we can give the baby preventive antibiotics as soon as it’s born,’ says the gynecologist. I’m not feeling any more reassured. Everything on the ultrasound looked good, and the NIPT test came back without abnormalities, so we decide to skip the additional ultrasound. We’ll see when the baby is born. There would have to be something really life-threatening for me to want to give antibiotics, and more pre-birth examinations would only cause me stress. They didn’t do all these ultrasounds in the past, right?

I can understand why people want to know the sex at the 20-week ultrasound; it makes it something special! We have decided not to do it. I want to prevent myself from starting to imagine what our child will be like. There will soon be a new human being in the world! As time goes by, I’m getting more and more curious, who will they be?

Nesting instinct kicking in already

Is the nesting instinct kicking in this early for other moms-to-be as well? The only books that interest me now are those related to pregnancy. I devour them all and absolutely love it. You can find a list of my favorites here I sign us up for the birthing course from Mom&Co while slowly prepping the house for the baby. Reusable diapers from HappyNaps, a dresser for all the clothes and diapers, a baby carrier wrap, a comfortable pajama for me, etc. Although I try to be as minimalist as possible, you still need quite a few things when a baby is coming! Not only for the baby but also for myself, to get through the postpartum period comfortably. After a while, my partner wonders why everything must be ready so many months in advance, but it gives me a sense of calm. Now I still feel like arranging it, maybe not later. The baby can come earlier with peace of mind.

Suddenly I find these things so delightful

Suddenly, there are things I find so delightful. Like the nursing pillow I got, which I now use as a sleeping pillow. I had no idea I would need it, but with the growing belly, it feels so supportive! A birth/fitness ball as an office chair really helps me to have fewer back problems. And I’ve started a 10-week prenatal yoga class at Mangalam. I already practiced yoga, but I’ve found a class specifically for pregnant women to be even more enjoyable! Every Sunday afternoon is a real treat. I don’t have to adjust as the only pregnant one in the class, but all poses are supportive. With a lovely long meditation and yoga nidra, and always a cup of tea with some treats afterward. I do notice that cycling has suddenly become less enjoyable. All those bumps on the canals and it’s so busy outside! I often return exhausted from a little ride, so I decide to walk more often. Something I never did before, it took too long, I now find delightful. My life is really slowing down… I’m just giving into it.

A palpable time of transformation

Looking back on the second trimester, I only now realize what an enormous phase of transformation it has been for me as well. How shaky I felt with everything constantly changing without having a clear sense of direction. Where one day everything seemed to be going wonderfully and I was brimming with energy, but the next day I was just a pile who could hardly get out of bed. What seemed like a long walk went well last week, but this week after an hour my energy is really drained and my belly starts to ache. Where two weeks ago that outfit fit perfectly, now the shirt no longer fits over my belly. It really challenges my flexibility. Nice that idea to ‘go with the flow’, but secretly I also just fill my calendar with activities and then want to do everything that is planned. What about listening to ‘the flow’ and my body. But right now, my body is really calling the shots. Where in the past I could still push myself, to stay at that party a little longer, to also do this and to work just a little longer. Now my body immediately calls me to a halt. Exhausted and crying, I lie on the couch. Mainly sad because I realize how often I actually just went a little over my limits before I got pregnant, how normal that was for me. To meet the image I had of myself or the ideal image I had made in my head. Somewhere it’s nice, that strong sense of intuition, but also very confrontational.

Occasionally strong feelings come up that bring me back to my own baby time. Without images or words, but still they seem like memories. For example, how scary I found the world and would have preferred to stay close to mom and dad a while longer before I had to deal with it. An entire evening I can do nothing but cry, and I lie gratefully in the arms of my boyfriend when he comes home. ‘Can I do something for you?’ he asks, but he doesn’t need to, just hold me for a moment and let me cry. I feel just like a baby and don’t even know what the sadness is about. It does teach me that sometimes babies just need to cry, that you don’t have to solve it, that holding is enough.

It feels like cleansing, this time. As if I am being prepped for the next phase in my life. Where everything goes much slower, I can’t do everything I might want to do, may put my pride aside and ask for help (cooking or doing the laundry is sometimes really a task), and there is crying just because it is necessary.

Before you know it, it’s over

I am also increasingly enjoying being pregnant. I realize how short this time is relative to life and I am afraid that I am going to miss the kicks in my belly later. Just enjoy it a bit more while I can. I’m doing a photo shoot at Anne Sarah Dijkhorst to capture this special time.

Curious about the rest of my pregnancy? Read here about my journey to becoming pregnant and the first trimester.

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