Second trimester doctor's appointments:
My third doctor's appointment was another important appointment because it fell at the 14.5 week mark, and since I "accidentally" cancelled my 11/12 week ultrasound, I specifically requested a make-up ultrasound. The more I thought about it after my second appointment, I realized that I did not want to wait until the 20 week mark to be able to see any updates of my baby. I know millions of women have given birth to babies for generations without ever seeing them, but this is 2020. Plus, the changes that happen between 6 weeks and 20 weeks is incredible and I didn't want to miss them! I also knew it would give me such a sense of peace to see that everything was progressing properly. When I called and explained the situation to my nurse, she understood and said she would share my request with my doctor. My doctor did approve moving forward with an ultrasound, so I made the appointment.
When the time came, I went to the appointment alone as I was instructed because of COVID precautions. I met with the ultrasound technician and she took me back to the exam room. She was very kind and explained what would take place during the ultrasound. Then, she informed me that depending on baby's position, we might be able to see baby's gender, and if we could, did we want to find out then? I was so surprised by this and did not expect that to even be an option, but I told her we would love to know! She asked if we would want to find out in the moment, or if we would prefer for her to write it down for us to find out later. Since my husband couldn't be physically present, I called him to tell him the exciting news and explained our options. We chose to have her write it down so we could decide how we wanted to find out the gender together, in person.
She began the ultrasound and essentially performed an anatomy scan at 14.5 weeks. I FaceTimed my husband once she had baby in position so he could virtually be a part of the appointment. We were both so surprised by how much we could actually see and how much had already changed. We were able to see baby's perfect little profile with a button nose, two arms, two legs, two hands, two feet, his brain, his spine, his beating heart, and all of his developing organs as she pointed them out. When she moved towards baby's bottom, she had me look away so she could check and take the sonogram photos but didn't say much. After she completed the ultrasound, she mentioned that everything looked great and my doctor would review the ultrasounds, then she nonchalantly mentioned she was able to determine baby's gender and was going to put it in a sealed envelope. My husband and I were both so surprised and so glad that everything went well--this was just a bonus!
I went home and put the sonogram photos of baby on the counter and placed the gender envelope behind them until my husband got home. Once he did, we discussed how we wanted to find out. Did we want to find out by ourselves first, did we want to find out with family, did we want to wait, or should we do it now? So many choices! We knew we were going to see my family for our summer vacation about a month later, so we thought it would be fun to surprise them then. A few more days went by with the envelope sitting on the counter. and we still hadn't decided how wanted to find out! Finally, we decided that we would find out together first since this was another special moment in our pregnancy we could share together, just us two.
At my 20 week appointment, I had another ultrasound scheduled to perform the standard 20 week anatomy scan. Thankfully, it was another smooth and very routine visit. Baby was healthy, strong, and growing. Plus, we were able to confirm baby was, in fact, a boy! After the ultrasound, I met with my doctor, she reviewed my vitals, asked me about my current symptoms and shared more of what to expect. She was pleased with all of the progress we had made thus far and planned to see me in another month.
Symptoms and remedies:
As I approached my second trimester, I had gotten the swing of things in my pregnancy and knew to listen to my body when I felt like I needed to rest or eat to fend off any nausea and sickness. When I was fully in the second trimester, that had subsided, my appetite was returning to normal and I started to get some of my energy back. I felt more like myself and motivated to do everyday things like simple tasks around the house and making dinner, both of which felt like such chores before. However, I still had nasal congestion and a stuffy nose, and with that came another unpleasant symptom: nosebleeds. These would happen if I blew my nose too hard or even sneezed. My doctor told me not to worry and that this was fairly common since there is such an increase in blood flow during pregnancy. It wasn't harmful or painful, just very inconvenient and irritating. A fun symptom I began to notice earlier in my second trimester were the occasional and random baby kicks! Many people described these as "flutters," but I would describe them more as internal "twitches." To me, they felt like a muscle twitch in my lower abdomen, but from deeper inside. At first they were hard to pinpoint, but around 18 weeks, I began to notice these "twitches" more consistently and strongly. From that point on, they became stronger, more routine, and more noticeable, even being able to feel them with mine and my husband's hands on my belly. It was so fun for my husband to finally feel his little kicks and wiggles for the first time!
Other symptoms that later developed were my stretching belly button, some occasional heartburn and indigestion--especially after eating peppers or too much garlic, and later on in my second trimester: pregnancy brain. It's a REAL thing, y'all. One extreme example was in preparation for an important weekend trip to Houston, I somehow managed to completely forget ALL of my hair and make up tools to get ready for a wedding!! Cue the emergency Target run to buy $60 worth of drugstore makeup. *Face palm*
Cravings and aversions:
In the second trimester, my aversions began to subside while my appetite increased. The "childhood foods" theme was still present, but foods that were so unappealing before, like red meat, vegetables, and coffee, were enjoyable again. It was an exciting day when I had my first cup of coffee again around 16 weeks. My preference was (and still is) cold brew because it is smoother, less bitter and less acidic, and it was the middle of summer!
Resources and products:
I continued (and still) use the What to Expect App for keeping up with my baby's weekly updates and a book to document this special time in my life: Praying Through Your Pregnancy by Jennifer Polomino. My sister gave me this book that goes through your baby's physical development each week and ties it back to their spiritual development and includes specific prayers to pray over your baby, plus space to journal. I have really enjoyed reading through this and praying specifically over my child. Another resource that I have loved is the TriLastin Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream. I purchased this belly cream after I ran out of the "tummy butter" my cousin gave me as a gift. It is technically unscented, but does have a delightful creamsicle scent (in my opinion). It has helped keep my skin soft, moisturized, and not itchy. Plus, I'm happy to report that I have minimal stretch marks thus far! I know there is no such thing as a miracle cream for stretch mark prevention and genetics and growth are key factors, but it feels nice to have a product dedicated to my growing belly. My husband also found and purchased a handy tool for when I'm behind the wheel--a pregnancy seatbelt. This nifty contraption keeps the bottom of your seatbelt safely around your legs versus around your lower abdomen and pressing on your growing belly and baby.
Another thing I forgot to mention during my first trimester recap is my exercise regimen, and how good it felt to go on walks, even when I didn't necessarily feel up to it. During our shelter in place, my husband and I would go for an afternoon or evening walk around our neighborhood for a few miles in the spring while the weather was still so enjoyable. The fresh air seemed to help my nausea and it felt good to keep my body moving and my mind off things. In my second trimester, I continued walking a few miles each week, and added in some at home bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges, wall push ups, tricep dips, and stretching.
The Gender Reveal
How we found out:
That Sunday, my husband went to run errands and sneakily took the envelope with him. When he got home a few hours later, he said he had a surprise for me and presented me with a little white gift bag from a bakery. Inside was a special treat revealing baby's gender! He told me he found a local bakery that had macarons available in both pink and blue, went inside and explained the situation to them, gave them the envelope, and asked them to put the appropriate colored macarons in the box while he waited outside. Once the box was sealed and ready, he brought it home. So we went to the kitchen, pulled out the box and set it on the counter. We agreed that we would close our eyes, then open the box and find out at the same time. So we held hands, closed our eyes, and slid open the box of treats, and there they were: BLUE macarons!! My husband started exclaiming "It's a boy!! YAY!" and smiled so big and we embraced. He was so excited to have a boy first. I was SO surprised to see the blue treats, as I always thought we might have a girl first, but was happy. It was more of a mindset shift for me, but the more I thought about it and realized how special it would be to have a son carry on our family's name, and more importantly, how this would help me better understand God's incredible love for us because He gave up His only son, I felt very at peace. I also know that God does not make mistakes and gives us exactly what we need.
How we told our families:
Because they wouldn't be able to be a part of my family's summer vacation, we decided to surprise my in-laws with baby's gender on Father's Day. My husband researched treats we could ship to their home in Houston to announce our news. We found that Edible Arrangements offered chocolate covered strawberries for gender reveals, so we sent them a dozen chocolate covered strawberries with baby's gender hidden inside and a card with instructions: "Is Baby Burke a he or a she? Take a bite to see!" Once they received their treat and opened the box, they looked like ordinary chocolate covered strawberries, but when they took a bite, there was a thin layer of blue chocolate beneath the regular chocolate. It was a sweet surprise (literally) announcing the news of their first grandchild, a grandson!
During 4th of July weekend when we were in Florida for my family's summer vacation, my aunts had organized a baby shower for us and our loved ones. It was such a special time to be able to see all of my extended family, my grandmothers, and to celebrate this joyous occasion with them in person as so many other moments had been virtual. My aunts and cousins went above and beyond with a delicious menu of our favorite summer foods, darling decorations, and fun family games. We ate and ate, opened our gifts for baby, and at the very end, surprised them with our gender reveal. We brought confetti poppers and a banner to share the news, so we got everyone together and passed out the poppers to all of our family. Once everyone was in position, we counted down until they could pop them open. Sadly, the poppers were hard to pop, so it took a few tries before my sister's finally went off and out came the blue confetti! Then, a few more popped around the room, we revealed the "Baby BOY" banner, and our family began to smile and cheer. It wasn't the smoothest gender reveal, but it was still so fun and memorable!
A "little bitty" life and style blogger pursuing my passions and Jesus just outside Austin, Texas. Around here, you will find interior design and home decor inspiration, home renovation updates, style inspiration, favorite recipes, and more!
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