My oh my, what a strange second trimester it has been!
The second trimester is weeks 13-27, and for half of those we have been sheltering in place thanks to COVID-19. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate being pregnant during a pandemic, and it’s definitely come with more emotions than anticipated.
In any case, I’m happy to report that weeks 13-20 went by uneventfully. I announced the news to my employer and coworkers who were all very excited and supportive given I work in an OB office! As I started to show more and it was difficult to keep the secret from patients it was a fun topic of conversation during visits to compare notes, give tips, and bond over all things pregnancy.
The pinnacle of the second trimester really was week 20 when I was scheduled for our detailed anatomy scan. At this point we had been sheltering in place, before the NYC mandate, and working from home for about a week. I had originally wanted to do a small gender reveal dinner with family after the appointment, but our in-laws had already fled the city by that point, and my family would have been via virtual means anyway. So, we scheduled a Baby Seiden Gender Reveal Zoom and planned to make the best of it.
I also would need to make the best of going to the anatomy scan alone. Partners were encouraged to stay home and out of hospitals at that point, so I headed to my appointment alone. I couldn’t have imagined the emotions I would soon feel, lying on the exam table without my husband by my side, seeing our little peanut wiggling away, and counting all the fingers and toes.
The upside was, after an emotional day, we finally learned the news that our little avocado, our peanut, is a GIRL! I was convinced we were having a boy, and completely shocked (see the below photo for my stunned reaction) when we opened the pink cupcake box that my sonographer had marked as the correct gender. Baby Girl Seiden is already so loved!
As the weeks went on, and COVID-19 forced us into a new reality of working remotely, moving out of our apartment, and wearing masks if we left the house, our little girl continued to grow. The bump got bigger and bigger, and I started to feel those first kicks and flutters of movement around 22 weeks! As I write this, now at 27 weeks, the flutters have turned into full-blown earthquakes sometimes and I can even pinpoint where she is resting and turning over in my belly. It is truly one of the coolest sensations and always a comfort to feel.
One plus about having a growing bump in quarantine is not really having to buy many maternity clothes! I’m not heading into an office where I need to wear dresses or cute blouses, so most days I have on comfy leggings, sometimes my maternity jeans if I want to feel more human, and a flowy pre-pregnancy top or maternity shirt that I had purchased before all of this. My sister-in-law had also left some clothes up here so I’ve taken advantage of that too! So sorry, if you were hoping for cute maternity clothes recommendations I am not really your girl.
Some people get off easy by having a nausea-free first trimester, only to be whacked by sickness in the second, but I am one of the few to have escaped that too! My appetite has remained strong and I’m eating a few more nutrient-dense snacks during the day and definitely before bed. One fun side effect I’ve had related to food and digestion has been heartburn after spicy meals, or when going too long between meals and snacks. Tums were quickly added to the grocery order.
In terms of exercise I have continued to do combination of easy runs around the lake (taking it verrrry easy and slow), some strength-based videos, and a bit of yoga as my hips and back have started to feel the weight of this little lady. Danny and I also get 3.75 miles worth of walking around the hilly lake when the weather is nice, which has been about 3-4 days per week.
As I approached week 27, the final week of the second trimester, I prepared to head back into the city for an in-person OB appointment. At this visit I would get routine blood work, check my thyroid levels, and undergo the gestational diabetes screening. Seeing as I primarily work with women with gestational diabetes (GDM) I was both excited and anxious for this test!
I was excited for the process because it’s science and I’m a nerd, and I truly wanted to see how my body would respond, but on the other hand I was nervous about how my results would come out! Yes, I would say I’m a very healthy eater and active exerciser, but I couldn’t help but question if my history of quasi-PCOS would play a role here. I also experienced the Subaru phenomenon- when you buy a Subaru all of a sudden you start to only see Subarus on the road, and since GDM is pretty much all I see in my work I felt it was extremely common to get GDM, even though it only occurs in about 9-10% of pregnancies, and that I would surely have it too!
The only way to know was to test. So, I headed to the office, was passed the glucola outside the clinic (which I appreciated so as to avoid time in the clinical area), and then headed to my in-law’s nearby apartment.
My thoughts on the drink: honestly, not terrible! I drank the lemon-lime flavor, which I was thankful for as it doesn’t have the orange artificial coloring. It tasted like melted lime popsicle juice and I was able to take my chilled beverage down in about 2 minutes. Then I hung out for an hour, listened to a podcast I was featured on, and went back to the clinic for the blood draw.
Fast forward to later in the afternoon- after a reassuring OB visit- when the results landed in my inbox (super quickly thanks to no lab back ups during COVID!). The results indicated I had passed!
I won’t be sharing my value because truthfully every woman is different, but it was an interesting process to say the least. Since people might be wondering, I will say that the morning before the test I ate my usual two hard boiled eggs and drank water, but that was all. I usually eat a moderately low-carb diet and didn’t really change my diet going into the test to “carb load” like rumors on the internet will lead you to believe is foolproof for passing.
At the end of the day, the test isn’t perfect and I wish we had earlier, more pleasant screening and diagnostic methods, but I’m glad I did it, for science!