This pregnancy is going by so quickly! This is the start of Week 15, baby is now the size of an apple and I am now officially in the second trimester.
The End of the First Trimester
I was looking forward to this point in pregnancy. I listed the effects of early pregnancy has on the body; the influences of hormones, the additional toxins a mother processes for her baby before they develop their own organs, and the physical changes that are beginning to take place.
The second trimester is associated with renewed energy, a waning of the signs identifying early pregnancy and begins at 13 weeks. It is an arbitrary development marker, which, of course, I was not anticipating to immediately banish all the effects of the first trimester, however, I did not anticipate them to accelerate.
The Start of the Second Trimester
Last week (14 weeks) was the most challenging to date (I’m still waiting to see how this one pans out, but given this morning’s nausea, I’m not feeling hopeful).
My morning sickness increased to day long nausea, I have suddenly developed food aversions and my hormones have gone through the roof. Whilst these are all perfectly usual and effects I expected, I’ll confess to expecting them to occur weeks ago, and was preparing for a temporary lull in the second trimester.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I am sitting, standing, walking or lying down. Waves of nausea just keep washing over me. It truly is like a giant green wave rising up from my belly and splashing down over my head.
Lesson Learnt: Comparing Pregnancies and Why You Shouldn’t
So I admitted to being VERY wrong about my expectations for the early weeks of the second trimester and it serves as a good example of why you should not compare pregnancy experiences.
Don’t get me wrong, swapping stories, sharing notes; great comfort can come from knowing that what you are experiencing is typical. The term ‘normal pregnancy’ is about as misleading as the idea of ‘morning sickness’. Nausea and vomiting are not confined to the first part of the day and ‘normal’ spans a huge range of experiences. ‘Normal’ essentially means an absence of complications during that pregnancy.
I am extremely fortunate that whilst I have a very small family, with very few young relatives, Samuel has a HUGE family comprised of many infants and young children. I have a lot of women with recent pregnancy and birth experiences to gain knowledge from.
There is another lesson to be learnt from talking to other women about their pregnancy experiences. Comparison does not just risk unfulfilled expectations (such as hoping that the nausea will diminish after the first 3 months have gone by) but also of diminishing your own experience.
Yesterday, we were at a baby blessing for our new cousin and I was chatting away with his mother (one of Samuel’s aunts) who I am extremely grateful for as she consistently provides me with a plethora of good advice and tips for endeavouring to have a positive pregnancy and birth experience.
She was asking me how the pregnancy was progressing, and how I have been feeling, and I mentioned how I have been surprised with the escalation of hormones and morning sickness since the second trimester commenced. I followed this up with comparing how I felt to the experiences of others, I really do consider myself fortunate to only be experiencing nausea and not full-scale sickness and vomiting.
However, she had a very sensible response to this: not to diminish how you are feeling and experiencing pregnancy, just because someone else is experiencing something else. Pregnancy is a very unique experience from woman to woman and whilst some of us might not be vomiting every morning that does not reduce the validity of what we are feeling.
Since the first scan at 12 weeks I have been experiencing something new that I haven’t been able to find much information about. It’s a sensation that occurs in the very top of my abdomen, under my chest. It’s not a spasm which is what the internet has come up with, more like a contraction of the muscles around my diaphragm.
This was something else that I was discussing with Samuel’s aunt, and she suggested that it could be Braxton Hicks contractions which (in some cases) can be felt very early on. They aren’t technically referred to as Braxton Hicks until the start of the third trimester, but the sensation, a painless contraction of muscles, is the same.
I remain curious about how high up I am feeling this ‘contracting’, and from some of the research I have done, whilst first-time mums definitely cannot feel the baby’s movements until at least 16 weeks, it is possible to feel the effects of these movements much earlier.
The long and short of it is that I still don’t know what this sensation is, but as it is not cramping, is painless and brief, I am (at least at present) not concerned.
Never forget, if at any point in your pregnancy you have an experience which does cause you concern, you should always seek professional assistance, not just the advice of the internet.