It blows my mind, but somehow I’ve just hit the third and final trimester of pregnancy. Which means it’s time to share my Second Trimester Recap!
ICYMI: Click here to read my First Trimester Recap. Spoiler alert – it was not a good time.
In general, whereas the first trimester was such a physical experience (vomiting, nausea, and fatigue overtook my life), the second trimester for me has been all about the mental and emotional journey, and riding out all the unexpected highs and lows (despite feeling really good, for the most part, physically!). It’s been really rewarding to feel like I’m ending my second trimester in a completely different place than where I spent most of it, and I’ll talk more about that below.
Getting my life back at Week 14 1/2 – In general, everything has been so much better than in the first trimester. At some point during the first trimester, I thought I was going to be one of those women who was throwing up nonstop the entire pregnancy. (At that time, I thought I might have hyperemesis gravidarum, but I never tested positive for ketones, and thankfully – the vomiting eventually did subside.) For me, it wasn’t a magical switch-off that happened right at the Week 13 mark, but gradually I started stringing together days where I was able to keep more and more food down, and eventually, around Week 14 1/2, the throwing up tapered off. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I actually lost about five pounds in my first trimester. It has skewed my weight gain a little bit for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Having much more energy and motivation – for work and just daily life. I still have a ‘switch off’ point at night, where all of a sudden I feel like I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. But again, after the first trimester, it feels magical, and I’ve loved throwing myself back into work, new projects, and even just being able to do more around the house again.
Being able to eat a wide variety of foods again! And no more food aversions! This was truly a lightswitch effect for me. I’m back to eating the way we normally do now, and it’s felt wonderful. In my first trimester, my diet was mostly plain, starchy carbs, I was eating very little veggies, and cooking dinner was very infrequent – because the sight/smell of so many foods would make me want to vomit.
Passing my gestational diabetes test – This felt like a huge victory of the second trimester. My mom had had gestational diabetes with all three of her kids, and my grandma with all five of hers. I knew genetics were stacked against me, but I really wanted to beat the odds. At Week 25, I had my one-hour glucose test done, and I failed. I fasted the night before Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Eve morning I went into the lab and took my three-hour test. I was convinced it was going to come back negative, but I passed the second time around with flying colors!
Really bad pelvic pain and not being able to run – This has been my main physical symptom in the second trimester. No SI joint pain, no restless legs, no acid reflux, no insomnia. Just this – and so I try to keep that in perspective. After trying to push through for a week or two, despite loads of pain and limping around the house – I finally had to stop running at around 18 weeks. At first, I was completely gutted, and letting go – especially because I was finally feeling so good and had so much energy – was really hard and emotional. I went to see an OB PT, who ruled out SPD. She confirmed that the hormone relaxin (which prepares your body for body for labor by making your muscles, tendons, and ligaments looser and more flexible) was just doing its job a little too well. There was nothing structurally wrong me, and there was no physical injury to the bones or muscles. It was all due to the hormonal shifts, which obviously is not something you can reverse or fix (since they’re actually a good thing). Since then, I’ve been able to continue lifting – which I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve just modified and eliminated certain exercises – like anything single-leg – which give me a lot of pain. I love knowing that regular lifting could make my birth smoother and easier, and help my body’s recovery after. I’ve also been walking and aqua jogging for cardio – although I have to be careful not to overdo the walking, since it can cause the same pain as running.
Coping and adjusting to a changing body – I did not expect to struggle with this the way I did. I obviously knew my body was going to change and grow during pregnancy. I knew I was going to gain weight, and I knew at some point my clothes were going to stop fitting – or start fitting differently. I even thought it would be cute to get a little pregnancy belly. But as soon as all those things started happening, I wanted them to stop immediately. None of it feels natural or comfortable to me, and I was constantly self-conscious. I really dislike how all the attention goes to your body when you’re pregnant. Everyone immediately looks you up and down, stares at your stomach, and makes comments about how big or small you are – and I really struggled with this.
In the first half of the second trimester: a lot of anxiety – I would say I had a lot of anxiety in general in the first half of the second trimester. Everything agitated me or made me uncomfortable. I don’t love a lot of attention – again, especially the body-focused attention – so now that we had announced it and everyone knew I was pregnant, I was having a really tough time! I wanted to wear a sign around my neck that said ‘Please don’t touch my belly.’
I also felt that in the first half of the second trimester I was fighting my body every step of the way. I was mad at it for not letting me run. I was mad that my pelvic pain made simple things like rolling over in bed, or getting up from the couch excruciatingly painful. I was (irrationally) mad at all the changes I can’t control, even though these changes are obviously a good thing 🙂
In the second half of the second trimester: moodiness + depression – In the second half of the second trimester, I started having days where I would feel really ‘down’ for no reason. Part of me wonders if this is the endorphin withdrawal from running (I find I get this way during planned running breaks, too) – but I also know it could just be from hormone shifts due to the baby. I fought this a lot around the holidays (during that weird time between Christmas and New Year when you have no idea what day it is…). I ended up consciously taking a little more time away from the laptop, putting some projects on hold until after the New Year, and spending more time with Ryan while he was home for his Christmas vacation. My hubby works in higher ed and has amazing PTO. It turns out the break – for both us – was exactly what we needed.
Big lessons from the second trimester
Your body really doesn’t give a sh*t about running and working out while you’re pregnant – And I mean this in the best way. I think it was Mary who finally said this to me, and it really stuck. My body is making a human being from scratch (no small feat), and physiologically that’s its number one priority right now. It’s where the majority of its resources are going, and the other portion is going towards keeping me alive. Having a loose enough pelvis to accommodate birth > a stable pelvis for running. Growing baby’s muscles > growing and repairing my muscles from my morning lift. Remembering this helps me to feel like I’m working with my body, vs. constantly fighting against it.
Having a healthy baby becomes your number one priority – This sounds so cliche, and makes me cringe a little writing it – but it’s true. Time has a way of bringing things into perspective. The further along you get in pregnancy, the more nerve-wrecking tests you undergo (Do I have gestational diabetes? Will my baby have only one ear? Is its heart growing outside its body?), and the more stories you hear about people who have not been so fortunate during pregnancy, the less you take an otherwise healthy pregnancy for granted, and the more you appreciate the crap out of your body.
It’s all temporary – I feel like I’ve ridden the rollercoaster of emotions that was the second trimester, and now I’ve arrived at enlightenment. I definitely still have days I feel down/anxious/just ‘off’, but in general I feel so much calmer and well-balanced. Although it’s taken me a while to get here, this is probably my biggest takeaway from the second trimester. It’s all temporary, and this is just a short season of life. It feels so permanent and all-consuming in the moment (just as the nausea and vomiting did in the first trimester), but the highs and lows all come, go, and shift. And in the end, I’ll spend the rest of my life thinking about the beautiful baby we brought into the world – not about Month 3, 4, 6, 7, etc. of pregnancy.
A LOT has to happen between now and when the baby comes 😳- but I’m truly feeling very excited and motivated for the challenge! Baby B’s due date is March 31st, and of course I have no control over it, but I’m praying he doesn’t come a day early! More time to get stuff done!
Over the next three months, I have a lot I want to tackle personally and professionally. Namely, getting a few continuing ed certifications that will make me a better coach (and eventually a strength coach!), adding more wonderful athletes to my roster (my favorite part of what I do) before having to stop accepting new people for a while, and planning training for immediately after the baby’s arrival, when I’ll be a little more disconnected.
We’ll also have to get baby on a daycare waiting list, complete our online parenting classes, get a lot of his stuff, and start his room. Our beautiful home workout studio will become the baby’s room, so sadly we’ll be putting all that equipment in storage for a while and joining an out-of-home gym. The good news is that we’ve already been testing new gyms and found one we both love! I’ve started alternating between workouts in the home studio and there, to get used to the transition. It’s been fun having access to so much more equipment. Not so fun having to wait for platforms and machines again – but you make it work.