Where the Heck Did My Second Trimester Go?

Pregnancy math is a weird thing. I always have “trouble” with date math to begin with since something that is “a week from today” can be considered both 7 and 8 days away (or even 6 if you want to count just the days between today and a week from today). Pregnancy terms make it worse. “Everyone” knows you’re pregnant for 9 months, even it’s really 40 weeks. But the first two weeks don’t count because you’re not pregnant, and the next two hardly count because you’re not late yet, so sometimes you can be almost two “months” into being pregnant before you realize that you are. Which means that 20 weeks, while mathematically the half-way point, doesn’t hardly feel like it and makes the second “half” seem to take extra, extra long.

And let’s talk about that “week” thing, shall we? People always ask how many weeks along you are. It’s tough to answer. I get emails from various sites on a near-daily basis giving me updates on how I might be feeling, what fun new complications being pregnant may have recently caused, how the baby’s growing, and of course, how I should invest thousands of dollars in cord blood banking and start stocking up on diapers right away. They all have a different idea about what week I’m in, even though i’ve given them all the same due date. How do you define when a week starts? I know that on Friday, I will be at 26 weeks, meaning that I’ve completed 26 full weeks of being pregnant. Today, however, most everyone agrees that I’m “in my 26th week”, even though I’m really “at” 25weeks and 5 days. Some sites started me on “week 26″ emails as early as last Saturday (25w1d). Some seem to wait until you’re in the middle of the week (as if the 26th week extends from 25w4d to 26w3d.

Is any of it the end of the world? Of course not. So why am I ranting about this?

Because ranting feels good sometimes, you know. Plus, no matter how you slice it, I’m supposed to be in my second trimester. The second trimester “started” sometime in early December (there’s some discrepancy over whether that’s in week 13 or 14 – or when those weeks even are ;) and should be ending mid-March (same kind of gray area).

For “boring” pregnancies like mine without any serious complications or risk factors, the second trimester is the best time of your pregnancy. You’re past all the nasty nausea and fatigue of the first trimester. You start rocking a really good-looking baby-bump so you feel more “pregnant” and less “misshapen and overweight”. You find a groove with your diet and schedule. Your baby kicks often enough to comfort you, but not often or hard enough to start hurting or getting annoying. Yes, it gets annoying. Any woman 8+ months along who tells you differently is lying to herself, too. If it’s your first baby, your breasts finally calm down for a while, or at least you get used to them being so crazy weird, so that’s not as big of a deal, either.

It’s also before all the 3rd trimester stuff kicks in. At some point the baby gets so big that you can’t go 20 minutes without peeing, you don’t have any room in your stomach for a decent meal, you get heartburn, back aches, swollen ankles, etc. You start having serious trouble sleeping at night. Any number of “get ready to deliver” changes start happening with your body, too. I won’t go any further into those details because frankly, it’s more information that you probably want to know.

The second trimester is the sweet spot between those two more unpleasant bookends. …or at least it’s supposed to be. I got ridiculously cheated this time around.

While the nausea had a sharp decrease in intensity fairly early in December, it lingered, along with extreme fatigue, until early February. I couldn’t shake it, and I was too tired to try. I wasn’t eating very much either, because I just couldn’t find the motivation. If I couldn’t easily acquire something hella tasty within about 3 minutes of realizing I needed to eat, I’d get distracted and forget for a few hours. That ravenous feeling that was supposed to kick in never did. It wasn’t until a stern but friendly chat with my doctor (after she tested me to make sure I wasn’t anemic) after which I forced myself to start eating more did the fatigue wear off and my appetite kick in a bit. I’m still exhausted, but a couple of strategically timed caffeinated beverages and a nap and I can make it to 11pm without too much trouble. I didn’t really start feeling “good” until I was more than 1/2 way through my second trimester.

Fortunately, that window managed to stay open for a surprise trip to Las Vegas for my friend’s birthday. We’d been planning to go in July (when her birthday actually occurs), but since there was no way I could leave or take a 4-6 week old with me, we bumped it up.

The window (that was open for less than a month) is already starting to close — almost a month ahead of schedule. I had a few rough meals in the past 24 hours and I realized it was because my stomach just couldn’t handle the volume of a normal-sized meal any more. And I’d just started to find a good groove with my diet. Because it’s my second pregnancy (I’m assuming) and my belly is looser and he’s a bit bigger, I can feel him wiggling around in there all the time. My bladder is his favorite punching bag, so I’m already making 3rd trimester worthy trips to the bathroom to head him off at the pass, or to keep him from inflicting pain. And my boobs? Also within the last 24 hours it’s like they woke up and said “oh, shit! we’re behind schedule!” They’re hotter than the rest of my body by 5-10 degrees, they’re crazy sensitive (and not in a good way), and … let’s just say they’re not the same soft plushy pillows they were pre-pregnancy, or even during the first trimester. And sleeping? Forget about it. That crap kicked in around 12 weeks and hasn’t let up. It just gets steadily worse.

Where did that 2nd trimester go?! I remember most of this from last time, but I remember it happening later. Much Later. If everything is this intense and he’s got another 3.5 months to bake, how rough are May and June going to get?

Am I really complaining? Not too much. I know from friends and what the internet tells me that I’ve been blessed with another easy pregnancy, and I’m very grateful for that. I know that some of these differences have to do with being a bit older and it being my second pregnancy. It could be worse, too, even with my track record. By this time last pregnancy I was ridiculously swollen (but just edema, thankfully) and had added hearburn meds to my daily pills. Even with everything else, if I stay up late enough, I can almost make it to morning without having my light, uncomfortable sleep completely derailed by a mid-night trip to the bathroom.

By no means am I ready to be done and start the infinitely more anxiety-full stage of newborn+toddler-hood, I just wish I could have had more time to take advantage of the easy-breezy second trimester, you know?

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  • http://www.louderplease.com/2010/03/04/lent-2010-week-2/ louder please » Lent 2010: Week 2

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