The second trimester of a pregnancy is widely regarded to be the easiest of the three. By this point, morning sickness has likely subsided. You also probably haven’t gotten uncomfortably large yet. COVID-19, however, shook things up quite a bit for me. If you read my first trimester pregnancy diary, you already know that I didn’t really have many first trimester symptoms. You also know that it ended right before I started self-quarantining. So that’s certainly been interesting.
While I mostly remained symptom free, I did experience a few weird pregnancy quirks during my second trimester. The most annoying of which were outrageous nosebleeds and out of control allergies. Seriously, my seasonal allergies flared up like nobody’s business, and then every time I’d go to blow my nose, blood would start gushing out of it.
Now I’m no stranger to nosebleeds. I’ve gotten them all my life. Under normal circumstances, I have no problem controlling them. I just shove a tissue up my nose and move on with my life. But these were different. These were unstoppable demon nosebleeds. I don’t even want to think about how many shirts and dresses I had to throw out because of them. From what I could find online, the cause of these nosebleeds is that when you’re pregnant you have more blood pumping through your body. Sometimes it does strange things as a result of that. Honestly, though, that and raging hormones take the blame for most, if not all pregnancy symptoms.
Let’s see… I do also remember getting headaches towards the beginning of my second trimester. Breakouts, too. That pregnancy glow you hear about is a damn lie. And then of course, there’s the peeing. Pregnant woman are notorious for having to pee all the time. But as the baby got bigger, this got worse. Sometimes, during bursts of activity, I’d feel a well placed kick and immediately have to pee like never before.
Perhaps most notably, sleeping got harder. Starting in your fourth month of pregnancy, you’re no longer allowed to sleep on your back. Of course, that’s my preferred sleeping position. Pregnancy pillows can help manage this. I got one that physically blocks me on both sides, forcing me to sleep on one side.
I’ve also personally never gained weight before. So this was very weird for me. Obviously it’s an essential part of growing a child, but it can be weird and scary to see your body change so drastically. And even weirder to have people comment on it all the time.
It was around my 18th week of pregnancy that I started showing. And even then it wasn’t very noticeable. Here’s a pic:
Then at around 25 weeks I really started to feel the weight of the baby. Things just got harder. The larger you get, the harder it is to sleep. And sit up in the morning. And… do literally anything. Here’s that 25 week photo:
And finally, here’s a picture that was taken yesterday! By this point I was officially feeling large. Though as you can probably tell, what you wear can really dictate how prominent your bump is. Normally, my go-to outfits are on the flowier side and they don’t accentuate my bump that much. For this last picture, however, I decided to show it off for you.
Anyway, despite the physical effects of pregnancy being a lot, it’s not all bad. The second trimester is when you start to feel fetal movement, which is pretty magical. At first, this felt a bit like someone was making the world’s tiniest batch of popcorn inside my stomach. I wasn’t even sure if what I was feeling was movement or just my active imagination. But as things progressed, the movement became more discernible. Now, I can often see kicks from the outside! Though sadly my attempts to capture them on video have mostly proven futile.
The second trimester is also when most people find out the gender of their baby! Y’know, if that’s something they want. For me, this happened at my second trimester screening, which is an intense 40ish minute ultrasound session that’s sort of like a physical for your fetus. I was ecstatic to learn that we’re having a girl! Not that it really matters. But if I’m being honest, our girl name options were way stronger than our boy names.
This was the part of my second trimester that was really difficult for me. Being stuck inside is no fun. And that’s the case for all of us. I feel so beyond lucky that Ben and I get along so well, and that this experience has only brought us closer together. A lot of couples are experiencing some major rough patches right now, but that hasn’t been the case for us at all.
That said, I really thought we’d be able to take advantage of our last months of relative freedom before having a baby. It’s not that I’m not incredibly excited for this new chapter, and to meet our child. But it’s a huge change, and I had things I wanted to do before it happened!
Like a babymoon. If you’re a long time reader or know me in real life, you know how important traveling is to me. Both Ben and I were really excited to take one last big trip that was just the two of us before the baby came. But COVID-19 ruined all chances of that.
I’d been silently stewing over this for months, but it hit me hard when I reached the point in What to Expect When You’re Expecting that went over all the dos and don’ts of taking a babymoon. And then again when I got to the episode of the pregnancy podcast I’ve been listening to that talked about them. It just felt like all these resources were intentionally trying to add insult to injury despite being written or recorded long before the pandemic arose.
Another pain point has been the inability to socialize. Ben and I definitely thought we’d be able to see a lot more of our friends and family during this time. Late nights out with friends are still doable while you’re pregnant. As are all sorts of social outings that will be infinitely more difficult with an infant.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to stop living my life once I have a child. But it’ll undeniably be a lot different than ever before. Moreover, the inability of our friends and family to experience or celebrate any part of this pregnancy with us is just a real bummer. As is the inability to make new friends. Ones who might be going through similar experiences in things like birthing classes and prenatal yoga. We don’t know a lot of people with babies, so it definitely would’ve been nice to have been able to get to know some!
Finally, I’d like to address the many levels of uncertainty in this pregnancy. Will Ben get to accompany me to doctor’s appoints? (Resounding no.) If I were to get COVID-19, how would it affect me and the baby? Will we get to tour the maternity ward before delivering? How about the delivery itself? Will Ben get to be present?! So far the answer to that one is yes, but that could change. Here’s a big one: will our families be able to visit us after the baby is born?!
Questions aside, most of my doctor’s appointments have been pushed to phone calls. Frankly, I far prefer that to setting foot inside a germ infested hospital. But I also fear that something will go unnoticed because of the infrequency of in-person appointments.
I don’t mean to drone on endlessly, but it’s all pretty anxiety inducing. And it’s also not normal. So there’s no guidebook pregnant people can turn to that’ll tell us how to cope.
For the record, I’m aware that not being able to come in contact with other human beings is an incredible privilege right now. That’s not lost on me. I’m so beyond grateful for the ability to work from home and to be able to afford grocery deliveries. That said, the privilege I have doesn’t change how difficult and emotionally taxing this situation is.
Products I’ve found helpful
Ok, this is the part where I tell you about affiliate links. The links below are all affiliate links. That means that if you click through and buy something, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale. It doesn’t affect you in any way, though, and I do genuinely stand by the products I’m telling you about.
I don’t have a ton of things that I’ve found vital throughout this pregnancy, but there are definitely a couple that I’ve loved. One is Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. I bought this way back in my first trimester as a preventative measure for stretch marks. Of course, I don’t think it’s a miracle elixir, but so far so good! And perhaps more importantly, it’s kept me comfortable. Stretching skin is itchy. But itching isn’t a good idea. It can irritate already sensitive skin even further. So instead, I use this stuff when I feel the urge to itch, and it works like a charm.
Another item I want to call out is a good pregnancy pillow! There are many different styles here, and honestly, finding the one that works for you might take some trial and error. At the beginning of my pregnancy, a friend gave me her old pillow. It was a giant thing that wrapped you up from all sides and took up half the bed. At first, I loved it. But eventually, it got hot and I felt like it was too much. It also didn’t really keep me from rolling onto my back in my sleep. So instead, I decided to give this one a try, and so far I’m loving it. It’s meant to keep you sleeping on your side, which was perfect for me. It’s also a lot less intrusive, which I liked.
I thought about including a section on books here, but honestly, that subject deserves a post of its own, so I’ll save it for another day.
All in all
I’m excited for the future. Apart from getting our nursery all set up, the present hasn’t been super fun. The whole growing a human being thing has been wild, and I’m grateful that it’s something I’m getting to experience. I just wish it were happening during a time that felt a little less like the movie Groundhog Day.
Anyway, I hope this post didn’t come off as too whiny! My goal here was to provide an honest, open account of what my second trimester has been like during this pandemic in the hope that it’d resonate with someone. So I truly hope that it did.
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