Have you seen my belly?
HOW CAN YOU NOT?
This is me right before a bike ride (indoors!). There is a lot of me there. I have now gained nearly 15 pounds. Of what? I don’t know. Someone told me I was all amniotic fluid, muscle and hair. I’d say it's all baby but he’s not even one pound yet!
On Monday, I had my 20 week check up. Here’s a time-saving tip for future pregnant women. Always make the first appointment of the day for these check ups. Why? Because they last about 5 minutes. The later in the day, the more likely you will wait 25 minutes for a 5 minute check up.
It’s always the same. First pee in a cup. Except this time – I got in trouble.
You know, you only need to give us 2 teaspoons of urine.
Well, thank you for informing me of that during my FIFTH VISIT HERE. And, have you ever tried to stop a pregnant woman mid-stream? Not possible. Unless I want to pee all over my hand, I am not pulling that cup away.
Next, the doctor asks how I am doing. Fine, still pregnant. Then you hear the heart beat – still beating strong. And then, this was new this month, she measured me.
You are measuring perfectly.
I have no idea what is measuring perfectly. I assume my uterus which is now sitting at my belly button which now has popped out so obviously that I am thinking of taping it to my stomach. My stomach is also very itchy all the time because the skin is stretching. And it’s stretching because I am gaining a pound a week – which is totally normal but makes me feel like I dove nose first into a jar of nutella for the past 20 weeks.
I will only admit to one indiscretion with the Nutella. ONE.
The doctor then told me what was coming up next. On Wednesday, the 20-week ultrasound. In 4 weeks, another check up. In 8 weeks, the last ultrasound. And, 6 weeks after that, be prepared for weekly visits where they hook me up and do a stress test. She started telling me about it but I wasn’t listening. All I could think was that I was only two ultrasounds away from having a baby. 14 weeks away from weekly visits. And about 5 seconds from going into full blown am I really ready for this panic mode.
I wasn’t feeling all that pregnant until about 2 weeks ago. But now, there is no avoiding it. Especially when running. I’m reaching that point where running feels awkward. Some days are good but other days I just feel heavy, slow and plodding along. I continue to run indoors because 1 – there is still snow on the ground , 2 – until the trees have leaves I will have no outdoor bathroom. I now include runs to the bathroom as part of the workout. Listen, you go enough and it adds up.
In the past few weeks I also stopped monitoring my heart rate. I think it’s important in the first 16 weeks, beyond that I noticed my heart rate wasn’t going anywhere. Rarely will it get above 145 these days (which is usually my “zone 1” heart rate). While you have an increase in blood volume in pregnancy, most of that blood is going to your uterus and the kidneys. So it’s like running when overheated or dehydrated – you can’t go any faster because the blood isn’t going to your muscles, it’s being diverted elsewhere.
On Wednesday, I had my 20-week ultrasound. I encouraged Chris to come along to meet his son for the first time. He was a little apprenhensive.
So, is this a stomach thing or...
Or, do they go in through the pooper or something.
Let's hope not! I assured him it was a belly ultrasound.
The 20-week ultrasound is the appointment that takes a long time. The technician looks for and measures everything – kidneys, bladder, hands, feet, spine, mouth, head, ventricles in the heart. Baby Waterstraat was moving around as usual – and, at one point I caught him doing squats against the uterine wall. Hey, it’s never too early to build strong legs!
WARNING: If you are still under the assumption that you were delivered to your parent's doorstep by way of large bird, stop reading here. Graphic pictures below!
It is amazing to look back at the pictures from previous ultrasounds to see the baby's development since week 5. I saved them all. Now to see him at the halfway point - wow. This might be too graphic for blogging, but here is how life unfolds in the first 20 weeks...
Week 5: you can see the yolk sac (tiny ring) and the gestational sac (black area). Baby (actually, fetus) is too small to be seen this early in pregnancy).
Week 6: you can see the yolk sac and the fetal pole (cells that become the fetus). At this point, we also detected a heart beat.
Week 8: To me, this looks like baby is floating in a black sea. The fetus grows and you can still see the yolk sac. And, the uterus grows larger.
Week 11: baby is lying face up against the uterine wall.
Week 16: He did a lot of growing in 5 weeks! Check out the distinct profile. He is about 5 ounches here. You can see a hand above his chest and the mouth open.
Week 20: Baby has grown even more. Again, a hand above the chest. And that is a very Waterstraat forehead!
So this is where we are at now. Halfway there! Thankfully, everything is where it should be and the size it should be. The technician also assured us he is still a boy while pointing out his boy parts.
Do you measure that too?
I knew bringing the husband along would be like bringing a child into a china shop.
You wouldn’t want us to measure that.
Good one, technician, good one.
Since the last visit, baby has put on 7 ounces and now weighs in at 12 ounces. Though they don’t typically measure the baby, I asked and she measured. His torso came in at 6 inches but she couldn’t get the legs (they were curled up). I should also add that while he has what looks like 20 feet of uterus to play around in, Baby Waterstraat had curled himself up against the right side only.
His heart rate was around 145 pm. It’s interesting because there are times at night where I feel like my belly is pulsing fast. You know how sometimes you overwork a muscle or you are stressed and you feel your heart beating? It is like I can feel my belly beating sometimes. I read that if you actually lay down you can sometimes distinguish between your heart rate and the baby’s heart rate. These days, my resting heart rate is about 10 to 20 beats higher than normal but it’s still much lower than baby’s. So I’m hoping to lay down tonight and see if I can tell the difference.
The doctor came in to check everything over again. He also pulled up some 3-D images of the baby in the womb. In this, we could see the baby’s face and his arm resting against his head. Then, it was time to say goodbye to baby for another 8 weeks – until we meet again at the next ultrasound.
It’s strange to know that there is a little person in there that we cannot meet for another 4 months or so. But he’s busy – there is a lot of growing to do and a lot of weight to be gained! For me and for him! I have read that you will gain most of your weight in the second half of pregnancy. That sounds scary – seriously, can I get twice as big as still call it walking? Or will I be waddling!?
I realized how utterly pregnant I was getting when last night one of the athletes in my class said “wow, you are really starting to show.” But look at where I started – this baby had nowhere else to go but out! It’s like eating a bowl of pasta – when you are small to begin with, it can only go out so I used to spend many nights looking “pregnant” after dinner. Now it is like my stomach is full of pasta permanently! My mom also added that right now I look like she did at the end of her pregnancy with me. She followed that up with “did you ever think you would have a chest like that.”
Not without spending a lot of money.
What is interesting is that at times I feel like everyone else has something to say about my body’s changes. You realize that it is just their curiosity with how much the human body can change. And there are so many changes. I was demonstrating a basic abdominal crunch to my class last night and realized my body will no longer move that way. Changes. You just have to accept them. This is what my body is going to do and needs to do. There are many more changes ahead.
And pregnancy ticks on…