- Is almost two pounds. Celebrate this milestone with a two-pound box of chocolates. You know, in order to really get a good VISUAL.
- Remember those early bubbly butterfly kicks? Yeah. Those have been replaced by something akin to a rabid mongoose flippin’ out inside a burlap sack.
- If you DO occasionally feel smaller, rhythmic movements in your belly, it’s probably your baby hiccuping. Babies actually get hiccups from late in the first trimester on, but most women don’t pick on them the second trimester or later.
- All five senses are fully developed. Whoa.
- Are in the last and final week of the second trimester! (At least according to the books I’ve chosen to listen to — some mark the beginning of the third trimester as week 27, while some make you wait until week 28. Look, we’re all big and lumpy and ridiculously cranky, let’s get this final trimester STARTED.)
- Of course, the end of the second trimester also marks the end of the so-called “honeymoon” phase of pregnancy, as the final three months can get awfully uncomfortable. Back and joint pain, swollen ankles, restless nights and Braxton-Hicks contractions, ahoy!
- You’ll gain about 1/2 inch in belly/fundal size EVERY WEEK from this point on, oh mah gah. I guess I should stop being so smug about those pre-pregnancy lowrise jeans I’ve been wearing (with just a little help from my trusty rubber band).
- The books say we’ve gained about 16-22 pounds, so long as we’ve been following a “nutritious and sensible diet plan.” Bite me, books.
This past week I probably came as close to unabashedly loving pregnancy as I’ll ever get. I am obviously, prominently pregnant but not freakishly so. My skin and hair have calmed down and I finally got my first “you’re glowing!” compliment. (And it only took six months!) I’m not sleeping very well but I’m blissfully free of the terrible back pain and sciatica that plagued me last time. And I have not vomited in dang near a month, nor are my food and smell aversions as powerful and all-consuming as they’ve been for far too long.
I’ve had enough energy to take my son to the playground AND to Target…all in the same day! I’ve gone out for dinner with friends and finally got my butt to the hair salon. I’m loving the more trendy, form-fitting maternity outfits that I’m so happy I treated myself to recently, second-trimester-I’ll-probably-never-wear-this-again be damned. I look pretty good, I feel pretty good…so could I please just quit now while I’m ahead?
This is exactly how a lot of women describe their entire second trimester, and I’m trying not to feel too cheated by the fact that this pregnancy seems to have been one long first trimester (nausea, headaches, peeing, not-ever-looking-as-pregnant-as-I-felt) followed by what will likely be a very short honeymoon period before the messy awkward explosion of the third trimester, the time of the giant belly and grunts and swelling and constant rubs and labor predictions from strangers (last time I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without little Russian grandmothers praying over me against my will, since I looked fully cooked and overdue long before I actually was).
When I started pitching and shaping the ideas for this column, I thought it would be pretty fun to keep running comparisons between my pregnancies, but I don’t think I was really prepared for HOW VERY VERY DIFFERENT they would be. Sure, I knew better than to ever assume that any two pregnancies would be the same (I learned that lesson early on with my first pregnancy when I tried OTHER PEOPLE’S sure-fire morning sickness remedies with disastrous results), but I guess I still thought that MY pregnancies would at least vaguely resemble each other.
My first pregnancy: 13 weeks or so of unrelenting, incurable all-day sickness. 10 pounds lost followed by textbook pound-a-week weight gain for a total of about 33 pounds. Due date predicted practically down to the hour. Craved chocolate pudding, hot salsa and Indian food. Hair mysteriously stopped shedding for entire duration of pregnancy. Was complete nervous wreck; husband still gets nightmares about “the whole nesting thing.”
This time: Five solid months of morning sickness, mostly controllable by constant eating and snacking, provided I could figure out the one acceptable food that wouldn’t just make it worse. No weight loss, but also no real weight gain to speak of either — six or seven pounds, tops. Migraines. Conflicting ultrasounds and no memory of The Momentous Evening (or morning! afternoon delight! it’s anyone’s guess!) means no real set-in-stone due date.
Stubbornly breech baby kicking an entirely different set of organs. Craved black olives, caffeine and cheese. Absolutely disgusted by most meats, especially chicken and fish, but usually could always eat a hot dog or four. Hair is still shedding. Anxiety has mostly been minimal, save for some recurring weird-ass dreams; way more concerned about husband rearranging the dining room furniture than assembling the crib.
Speaking of not-yet-completed nurseries, it’s time for this week’s registry checklist! Can’t you just feel the excitement?
(I am assuming you know to buy a crib and some type of surface upon which to change diapers. Doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual “changing table” or anything, but something flat and at a comfortable height for changing. Sure, sure, some people love to brag about how they just changed their baby’s diapers on the floor or couch or bed and never needed a separate table, but I secretly think they’re either forgetting or willfully withholding the stories about back strain and projectile poop on the furniture and their pillow and how it’s really hard to keep the dog from eating the poopy diaper if you’ve got nowhere to chuck it except the floor.)
- Crib bedding. DEFINITELY something to let someone else buy for you, because they can be insanely expensive, and are probably one of the dumbest things to spend a ton of money on, but I know. They are so cute. And preshus. And all that. I won’t judge you for falling in love with the one with the little duckies and raindrops and four separate lacy layered crib skirts. (Ours has stars! And little moons! And luckily, held up really well and is getting used again.) Remember, though, that the only ESSENTIAL part of the sets is the sheet. Bumpers need to be removed once your baby can roll around, I’m still not entirely clear on what those thick quilted small blankets are for, since blankets are a no-no for a very long time, and crib skirts? Well, I found ours handy for hiding boxes and bags of outgrown clothes. And for looking preshus.
- ALL THAT SAID, get about three or four fitted crib sheets.
- And two waterproof mattress pads.
- Oh, and a mattress. And no, there’s no reason to spend an insane amount of money on a crib mattress, and don’t let the SIDS-type marketing make you feel like a terrible parent for going with a basic model over some mattress that comes with its own central air conditioning unit.
- Crib mobile. Although it might clash with your pastel theme, go with bright colors and high contrast (black and white), or your baby really won’t show much interest.
- Contoured changing pad and about three or four covers. Nail it to your changing table or dresser, always use the buckle, and for another handy-dandy nursery tip: use a protective topcoat like Varathane on any nearby painted walls. Makes cleaning up little-boy pee-fountains and fingerpainted feces a breeze!
- Some kind of diaper/wipes/cream organizational system, be it a diaper stacker, a caddy, a basket or even just some nice dividers for your drawers. Trust me, mid-diaper-change is SO NOT THE TIME to be struggling to find a washcloth or tube of Desitin.
- A diaper pail. There will never, ever be a consensus on diaper pails, so I’m not even going to try beyond saying that yeah, you need SOMETHING. Something with a lid. (For the record, we did use a Diaper Genie and liked it just fine for quite a long time. When Noah was about a year we found that it seemed to be a bit outmatched and switched to a small metal pail with a lid, emptied it frequently and bagged anything particularly rank up using the Sassy scented diaper bags for maximum environmental havoc.)
- Crib aquarium/music box. Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium, dudes, or something similar. My universal assvice. No need to strap this into the crib on day one or anything, but it’s AWESOME for older babies and toddlers, both for middle-of-the-night self-soothing, amusing themselves in the morning AND for traveling — bring it along and make any strange bed feel just like home.
- Batteries. Of course, when you buy it, just go ahead and buy more batteries than you can possibly imagine ever needing. Then go back and buy more. (Or opt for a rechargable station thingie.)
- Flooring. Look, yeah, obviously you need a floor. But you don’t need anything special ON that floor, and I’m really writing this specifically to my first-time pregnant self who was BESIDE HERSELF that her husband wouldn’t commit to a lovely matching expensive area rug for her baby’s nursery, EVEN THOUGH all that exposed hardwood was clearly a deathtrap and her baby was going to roll off the changing table and DIE because there wasn’t some damn Pottery Barn rug there to soften his fall. When he got old enough to play on the floor, I used blankets, and then those foam alphabet letter things, all of which could easily be cleaned and/or replaced after terrible spit-up/poop/passive-aggressive-dog-who-was-really-not-happy-about-the-baby incidents. Now that Noah is three, I think he’s ready for an actual rug, but probably just one from Flor, in case I need to replace a tile because DAMN, DOG, WE’RE NOT GETTING RID OF HIM, OKAY? STOP PEEING IN HIS ROOM EVERY CHANCE YOU GET.