- Is about the size of a sesame seed.
- Looks more like a tadpole than a human-variety baby.
- Making developmental leaps and bounds by the hour like a damned GENIUS CHILD.
- Are totally for-real pregnant, with a positive home pregnancy test to prove it and everything.
- Are definitely popping a prenatal vitamin everyday — you can pick them up at any grocery store or vitamin shop. Your doctor can also write you a prescription, but if your insurance doesn’t cover them it’s perfectly fine to buy them off the shelf.
- If you don’t FEEL very pregnant yet, don’t panic. It’s early. Breast tenderness and fatigue may be all you’ve got at this point.
- Oh, and yes, it is time to stop smoking, drinking, doing drugs and licking inner-city mailboxes, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Operation Chill Out hit its first major obstacle this week in the form of cramping. Lots and lots of cramping. Now, I do remember some cramping last time — right before I found out I was pregnant, actually, because I distinctly remember deciding to NOT take a pregnancy test after I missed my period, since the cramping told me it must be imminent. But this week was different, since I could clearly tie the cramping to activities, like running errands or picking up my toddler or just WALKING TO THE BATHROOM. The pain shot through my abdomen and around my back and I swear I could feel it around my pubic bone at times. I took to the couch with a ginormous bottle of water (dehydration can cause uterine cramping) and tried to stay put for as long as possible.
My husband finally handed me the phone and ordered me to call the doctor — my first prenatal appointment isn’t for another few weeks and he was not happy about that. My doctor told me everything I already knew: drink plenty of water, rest, and relax. If there’s no bleeding, cramping is usually completely normal. But…come in for a quick ultrasound anyway.
At five weeks and change, your baby is about a millimeter long. That’s incredibly tiny and hard to see with even the best ultrasound equipment. This is not to say that there isn’t stuff there — the early shapes of a head and torso and the teensiest little limb-buds are starting to form, along with internal organs and the chambers of the heart. By next week, that little heart will be a visible flickering pixel on a sonogram, but right now it’s all just too small to see.
My ultrasound this week confirmed that I was carrying a single appropriately-sized embryo — appropriate for a five-week-old pregnancy, meaning the baby itself was about three weeks old. And it ruled out the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. (Where the embryo implants anywhere other than the uterine wall, like in a fallopian tube or down on the cervix or even IN an ovary.) Cramping and abdominal pain can be a symptom of an ectopic pregnancy, but like all other Bad Things, it is usually accompanied by bleeding.
Then again, some spotting is completely normal and harmless. It can be a stray clot, a urinary tract infection, or just one of those weird things that happens. You just don’t always know. Welcome to pregnancy! And…parenthood, actually. Now that I think about it.
(Now that we’re in the realm of actual can-be-documented stuff about
pregnancy, I’ll be including a couple things each week comparing my
first and second pregnancy. “Oh Yeah, THIS” will be the stuff I went
through the first time but
repressed forgot about,
and “New This Time Around” will cover all the stuff that makes my
current pregnancy a unique and special little snowflake.)
Oh Yeah, THIS: Bloating! Dude. Duuuuude. The first time around I (wrongly) assumed that I started showing ridiculously early, and no lie, I LOOK like I’m showing already. My pants don’t fit and I have a round poochy belly that I cannot suck in. But of course, my uterus is still tiny. I am bloated. Am balloon. Am walking around with my pants undone, affectionately rubbing my little gas-baby and there’s just nothing to be done about it. Thank heavens for the Bella Band.
New This Time Around: Well, the frequent and painful cramping, obviously. I’ve since read all about the round ligament pain that plagues a lot of second pregnancies, and also how uterine scarring — be it from endometriosis or previous D&Cs or c-sections — can also exacerbate the cramping. I also went to the price club and purchased a giant pallet of bottled water and keep one with me CONSTANTLY. Staying hydrated has definitely helped, even if I am also dashing to the bathroom CONSTANTLY. A full, pressing bladder is infinitely more preferable to the sensation that my uterus is about to expel its precious cargo.