Well hello there second trimester! Oh, I can’t tell you how good it feels to wave the first trimester goodbye. You guys, I’m a third of the way through my pregnancy. One THIRD! While the first trimester felt like it dragged on and on, I know time is going to feel like it speeds up from this point onwards. So here we are in month four. This was a beautiful, challenging month (although, isn’t every month for different reasons?). From potential pregnancy complications to overseas travel, here’s what went down.
Bumpdate: Weeks 14-16
It’s such a big hurdle to get through that first trimester. Those first, early months are full of so many tests and such anguish. We’d been constantly worried that something would go wrong again but the weeks kept passing and this little baby of ours kept growing. When we finally made it into the second trimester, I just felt like I could breathe a little easier. We kept getting told over and over again that this baby was healthy, strong and growing perfectly. And now, I finally felt like I could start to believe it.
Now that the fog of the first trimester had lifted, Ben and I thought it was the ideal time to go overseas for a few weeks. He needed to go over to LA and San Francisco for work so we decided to plan a two-week road trip through California. Since we were now on the countdown to baby’s arrival, we thought we’d better make the most of it being just the two of us before our little adventurer joined us.
A couple of days before we were due to fly out though, I got a call from my doctor. The results of my maternal serum screening were back and something concerning had popped up. For no reason in particular, I’d decided to have the extra pre-eclampsia screening done as part of this test. All throughout this pregnancy, I’ve wanted to have every kind of non-invasive test available, even if it wasn’t routinely offered and I had to pay extra. It just helped with my peace of mind and stopped me worrying so much.
A brand new test is available here in Australia that looks at your risk for developing pre-eclampsia later in pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition marked by high blood pressure and impaired placental function in the second half of pregnancy. Sometimes, it means that the baby doesn’t get enough nutrients and so growth is restricted. In the most severe cases, delivering the baby pre-term is medically necessary. While I didn’t have any of the risk factors (i.e. high blood pressure, obesity, carrying twins, etc.), I knew that my cousin had developed it in her last pregnancy, which is why it was on my radar.
I’m SO GLAD I got tested because low and behold, I came back as high-risk. Usually, the background risk is 1 in 20 but I’d come back as a 1 in 6 chance for developing it. My heart jumped with worry when I heard the news. This baby was so healthy but what if my body decided to let me down? My doctor was quick to remind me that there’s still a 5 in 6 chance I WON’T develop pre-eclampsia, so to try and focus on that. And even if I do, they’ll be able to catch it early since they know I’m at risk.
Since it’s a condition of (mostly) the third trimester, there was no point in worrying about it too much now. I didn’t have it yet. In the meantime, she recommended a few preventative measures and suggested I start taking 150mg of aspirin as well as calcium and magnesium supplements. These have all been shown to reduce the risk. I’d also have my blood pressure monitored more closely throughout the pregnancy to make sure it didn’t start to rise.
Obviously I was very worried by this news but, at the same time, relieved I’d followed my intuition to do the test. What if I hadn’t done it and never known? I wouldn’t be on the supplements and, if I did develop it, it might not have been caught as early. So I was grateful for that.
So I packed an armful of supplements into my luggage and off we went to California. We were so excited for this trip. The last time we’d been to the USA was two years ago and we’d had an absolute ball. Now that the first trimester was over, I was feeling much more like my old self and was feeling better about travelling (my trip to Sydney was a bit of a nightmare!)
We’d booked an extra legroom seat for me on the plane because a 15-hour flight is no fun for anyone, let alone when you throw pregnancy into the mix. All set for a relaxing, roomy journey, a group of school girls took their seats surrounding us. With their yelling, fits of giggles and aisle hangs, I’ve never had a more disrupted flight in my life. I overheard that they were flying to Texas to compete in a cheerleading competition. I think you get the picture. Fun, fun.
Between this and not being able to take my usual strong painkillers reserved for long-haul flights (my go-to for sending me to sleep and preventing those niggly aches and pains), I wasn’t able to catch a wink of sleep. I felt so uncomfortable during the flight, just achey and restless. My doctor had also said that it was important to get up and walk around every two hours to help prevent DVT, since pregnant women are at a higher risk. So, yeah, not the best flight I’ve been on.
We spent a couple of days in LA before hitting the open road and starting our road trip through California’s national parks. From Joshua Tree to Yosemite, Death Valley to San Francisco, it was STUNNING. I’m excited to share some upcoming guides on the blog soon.
A couple of days into the trip though, I moved my suitcase a little awkwardly and twinged a muscle in my back. I didn’t think anything of it at first. It didn’t seem like a big deal. But oh my god. It got worse and worse and worse to the point where I couldn’t even bend over to touch my knees. Getting in and out of the car was such a struggle and just reaching to pull the door shut or do up my seatbelt was almost impossible. I felt like I was 100 years old!
I think sleeping in all those different beds while travelling and spending so many hours in the car just prevented it from healing. And of course I couldn’t take any anti-inflammatories being pregnant and all. I was reluctant to even take Paracetamol (even though it’s safe, I didn’t like the idea of mixing another painkiller in with the aspirin I was already on) but occasionally had to give in and take half a tablet when the pain became too much. I bought a hot water bottle from the pharmacy and spent a lot of time in the shower and bath trying to soothe it with hot water.
Getting out to walk really helped. I tried to do as much walking as I could and attempted a few gentle hikes in Yosemite. The movement definitely helped although I was careful not to push it too hard for fear of making it worse. I felt bad for Ben as I knew he wanted to get out explore lots. I was just in struggle town the whole time and it kind of dampened my spirits. Normally I’m someone who loves to cram as much adventure into my travel days as possible but it was different this time. I really just had to listen to my body and take everything a lot slower. This was a big adjustment for me but I had to do what felt right.
We spent the last part of our trip in San Francisco and so I was able to book in for a prenatal massage. My flight home to Melbourne was in just a couple of days and I was getting really anxious about how my back would hold up. Thankfully, the massage really helped loosen it up and so by the time the flight came around, it was feeling a quite a bit better.
It was in San Francisco that I think I started to feel the baby move for the first time! I wasn’t sure at first as a lot of women say that it feels like a fluttering or a feather inside your tummy. To me though, it felt like tiny little bubbles popping on the inside. When I posted on Instagram stories about what I was feeling, I got so many DM’s telling me that it was definitely the baby! It was a new sensation so I’m pretty sure it was too. It was pretty inconsistent and I had to pay really close attention to notice it. I felt it the most when I’d lay down at the end of the night and was really still. It was only the tiniest of movements but I was so excited to start feeling it. It just made my heart smile.
Ben stayed on in LA for a few more weeks working and I flew home solo. After my experience flying over, I’d been dreading the flight back so much. I couldn’t believe my luck though when I somehow managed to score the entire row to myself! I was able to lie down and sleep for most of the flight which I was so unbelievably grateful for. How did I get so lucky?!
And that’s it for month four! Next time, read more about those sweet baby kicks, my next ultrasound as well as my first hospital appointment.
Are you up to date with my first trimester? Catch up on these posts:
- Oh Baby!
- Bumpdate: Weeks 1-4
- Bumpdate: Weeks 5-8
- Bumpdate: Weeks 9-13
- 5 Things I Did to Prepare for Pregnancy
- My First Trimester Purchases: What I Bought
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I’d love to know about your experience in weeks 14-16 of your pregnancy! Let me know in the comments.