How Far along? 28 weeks! That's 70% of the way! THIRD TRIMESTER, BABY!! :)
Size of the baby? The average size listed in books & etc is about 15 inches from head to heel, and 2 and a quarter pounds.
Any new symptoms? The very first "symptom" I had was a major shift in sleeping patterns. Normally I'm a total night owl and love to sleep in, but suddenly I was falling asleep on the couch at 8 pm and waking up--I mean, WIDE AWAKE--at 4 am. Even if we had something planned and I managed to keep myself awake until 10 pm, I'd still wake up at 3:30 or 4 am. This has varied a bit since then, and I'm not waking up that early, but 6 am is still pretty normal for me these days, even on days when we've stayed up the night before and I don't have anything I need to get up for. And when I'm tired it's not just like I'm tired, it's like I'm a mama grizzly bear that's been hit with a tranquilizer dart--I practically can't even talk coherently, and it's all I can do to get upstairs, take out my contacts, brush my teeth, and change my clothes before falling into bed. Now I try to go to bed way before I get that tired, but early on when I wasn't used to it yet Jason had to help me up to bed a few times.
I didn't really ever suffer morning sickness, I just had a very touchy stomach and I only wanted to eat carbs (and carbs and more carbs and more more more carbs). I almost never eat cereal for breakfast but I went through five boxes in the first few months, not to mention potatoes, popcorn, crackers, etc, etc, etc. I only threw up a couple of times and both were right after I'd taken my prenatal vitamin. I discovered that I can take it at night even on an empty stomach and it doesn't bother me, but taking it in the morning was a recipe for disaster. I also have a very strong gag reflex now, and made myself throw up once by brushing my tongue exactly like I always have. Fun!
For a few weeks I felt like a superhero whose superpower was smelling; I could smell flowers from across the room, and when Jason worked on his motorcycle in the garage I could smell oil and gasoline in the entire house. I wouldn't let Jason cook eggs because I could smell them all day. Pre-pregnancy I ate eggs for breakfast almost every morning, but as soon as I got pregnant (and I knew almost immediately) they became, well... let's just say unappetizing. For a while, just thinking about them or seeing them on TV made me sick to my stomach. I've eaten them a few times since, but for the most part I avoid them, and I don't even have any in the house.
I was pretty much exhausted for the first four months or so, and took naps almost every day for a while. On the days I didn't take a nap I had to at least have an hour of rest in the afternoon where I wasn't doing anything--no internet, no reading, no TV even. I found what I call the "in-between," when I'd lay down to take a nap and just lay there, feeling awake and thinking about things but happy to be laying down with my eyes closed... and then I'd wake up in a big puddle of drool, so obviously I'd actually been sleeping... I think? My energy came (is coming?) back slowly--some women say they wake up one day and feel like their old selves again, full of energy, but that didn't happen with me. Some days I'm still tired, not like I didn't get enough sleep but just like my body's telling me to rest. I listen, and I still take a nap about once a week.
"Baby brain" struck early. I remember I was making two little matching mini-scrapbooks, one for Jason and one for me, and I was trying to decide which colors to use that best represent each of us. I chose turquoise for mine (which I love and use for all my Create Beauty Daily packaging), but couldn't decide at all for Jason's. I thought about it for a couple days--red for his Ducati? blue for his eyes and because the color looks so good on him?--until I finally just asked him. He looked at me with a "Seriously?" expression, and it suddenly hit me--duh, ORANGE. He's a third-generation Oregon State (Beavers) alum and when I do laundry I often have an entire load of oranges. His closet is filled with orange. He avoids forest green--especially when it's with yellow--because those are the colors of the rival University of Oregon (Ducks). Orange is so obviously the color choice for Jason that this was the first and is the perfect example to me of just how powerful baby brain can be. Now I write everything down because I know I'll never remember it like I used to be able to. I'm an excellent speller but I'll have a complete mental block about how to spell something or, worse, just totally misspell words while I'm typing without even noticing it until hours later (so please forgive the inevitable typos here). And I have occasional pure-baby-brain moments. I used to be smart, I swear.
My skin has changed, too. Early on I got small breakouts on my upper back/neck/shoulders (but nowhere else--weird). A lot of my moles are puffy now, or even puffier than they were before... I've had them looked at and it's fine, just a normal reaction due to hormonal changes. I've developed little pink & red spider-veins all up & down my arms & hands and a few on my chest, one or two on my face. I'm not sure if it's because I'm older and care less, or because Jason tells me I'm beautiful at least once a day, or just because I'm so thrilled to be pregnant, but they don't bother me at all, even the ones on my face. Even if they don't go away after delivery. Oh well. On the bright side, my skin is a lot less oily than it usually is!
I don't want to go into detail here, but let's just say that there are a lot of normal changes that might happen to a woman's breasts
I've had a few issues with my feet & ankles swelling (edema), but I have it fairly under control. I try to put my feet up whenever I'm sitting down; I wear socks and tennis shoes or Converse instead of flip-flops when I'm out and about (thanks to Chiara for the tip); I drink an obscene amount of water; I wear compression socks at night if I have any swelling at all that day (thanks to my neighbor Maren for giving me the socks, formerly part of her son's Pilgrim costume for a school performance, ha!).
I'm so thankful for my neti pot because I have what about 30% of pregnant women suffer; "rhinitis of pregnancy." Basically it means that I feel stuffed-up all the time, even though I can't blow my nose because there's nothing much in there, just swollen mucous membranes. No big deal, just kind of annoying sometimes to be such a mouth-breather, ha ha, and it means I snore sometimes at night.
Of course I knew that pregnant women have to pee a lot, but it surprised me to discover that this happens (or can happen) early as a result of hormonal changes (plus I was drinking a lot more water). From very early on I was awake at least once in the middle of the night, which was very, very unusual for me--I almost never had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night before. I still remember waking up and walking to the bathroom in the dark, with my hand on my (mostly-flat) belly and a huge smile on my face. I never minded getting out of bed in the middle of the night because that meant that things were going well, I was still pregnant, Hello, baby in my belly, I love you, please please stay. I honestly loved and treasured every single early symptom... just thinking and writing about those first middle-of-the-night bathroom trips is bringing tears to my eyes. I'm so grateful. Now I'm waking up between one and four times a night to go to the bathroom. And I still don't mind.
For about the first 5 months I felt even more emotionally and hormonally balanced than I usually do. I'm still pretty calm and rational most of the time, but it catches up to me every once in a while now for the past couple weeks. Did you know that when pregnant, a woman creates about the same amount of estrogen that she normally produces in an entire month during her normal cycle... every. single. DAY!?! I mean, think of the last time that you had a PMS-y day or two... and then figure that you have more hormones than that rushing through your bloodstream every day when you're pregnant. It's kind of mind-boggling, actually. So I suppose it's only normal that every once in a while that catches up to me and I cry for nearly no reason or suddenly feel that everything is URGENT OMG! When it's happening I know that it's happening, I know that it's hormonal, I know that it's not rational, and yet this knowledge makes not one tiny bit of difference in the way that I'm feeling. I'm beginning to learn that I need to not talk on the phone, or e-mail, or basically communicate with anyone other than Jason or my best friend from high school, Lisa; they're the only ones I can talk to without hearing judgement seeping through their words. And feeling judged only makes it ten times worse. [Judgement and unsolicited bossy "advice" are a hot topic for me lately, but that's a whole different post.] For the most part, though, and 97% of the time, I feel great and wonderful and oh-so-happy (and I'm learning to deal better with the other 3%). **I started writing part of this series of posts a few weeks ago and things have already changed again, I feel more like I did the first 5 months and the hormonal craziness has almost completely dropped off. Knocking on wood.**
The most recent weird "symptom" was when I drank a ton of water one day a few weeks ago (okay, I drink a ton of water every day, but I drank an asinine amount that day) and my belly button was sticking out more than usual. When I pushed on it it made weird gurgling, bubbling sounds like there was air trapped in my belly button and I'd squish it out when I pressed on it. Jason could hear it, too. Crazy.
Oh, and heartburn? Yes. I carry peppermint Tums with me at all times and have three bottles spread throughout the house.
I've been going through my old tweets to remind myself of when things happened and I'm glad I have these "notes" to jog my memory. A couple things I forgot to mention: I had some crazy, crazy dreams, especially early on. I had a few nights where I woke up with total night-sweats, I had to completely change clothes and the sheets were so wet that Jason woke up and thought I'd wet the bed! Apparently I had a lot of headaches in months 2-4, I tweeted about it several times. I also had really, really bad allergies for a while (which I don't usually have) and I do remember that quite well.
This post is all about symptoms, so if it sounds like I'm complaining then let me state for the record: I love being pregnant. I loooooove it. I hope I get to do it again, but in case I don't I'm trying to savor every moment, every kick, every moment of exhaustion that reminds me I'm growing a baby. I can already tell I'm going to miss being pregnant (but then I will have a new squishy baby to love on, squeeee!). Jason told me last night, out of the blue as I was walking into the kitchen, "We need to get you pregnant again, you look so good pregnant." If that doesn't make a pregnant woman want to have four more babies I don't know what will.
Come back tomorrow for a post about cravings and more! With photos! :) Oh, and if you got this far, I love you. xoxo