I am officially more than halfway through my pregnancy, and it feels great. This past week was pretty exciting with a 22-week doctor's visit and also the much-anticipated anatomy scan. My body is certainly changing and things are "squishier" than normal, as Rhett says. Overall, I am so thankful to be pregnant and can't believe how fast this journey is flying by. I will recap everything here; also, I did add in some questions from my Instagram that people had asked and I wanted to expand upon. Sorry if I repeat myself, just wanted to make sure I answered everything! I'm also a bit tired as I write this, so sorry if I sound a bit drab :) Here we go!
Body: My body is starting to feel a bit achier. Some days are better than others, but normal daily tasks that involve lifting the boys in and out of the car are becoming more of a challenge. I feel a lot of it in my lower back, just from carrying the extra weight and also in my belly. Sometimes it is aggravated when I workout, but the benefits of staying active far outweighs the downside.
Weight: At 22 weeks, I weigh 142 lbs, which means I've gained 12 lbs since conception. This weight gain is within the normal range, projecting me to hit anywhere from 30 to 35 lbs. However, in pregnancy's past, I have gained the majority of my weight in the third trimester and I don't expect this pregnancy to be any different. I do feel like I've gained more fat earlier on. This might be from age (I am 31 years old vs. 27, which I was with my first) and the fact that this is my third pregnancy, so my body is storing more fat earlier. Whatever the reason, I feel decent about my weight gain. I feel slightly worried to a certain level that I may end up around the 40 lbs mark, or even more, just based on my body's cravings and also the way my body has gained the weight so far. Despite that, I am trying my best to maintain a healthy diet and am keeping up my exercise. Not a whole lot more I can do! (More about weight gain at the bottom section in IG questions answered).
Diet: My diet has been okay. I think overall for a pregnant gal I am eating healthy, but as compared to my non-pregnant self, I feel like I am eating a bit more and feel hungrier than I normally would. When not pregnant, I am one of those people that can wake up in the morning, workout and not eat breakfast until later. While pregnant, this isn't the case, I generally am hungry first thing in the morning and feel the need to eat, which is weird. I also feel like I am wanting to eat more at meals. Usually at lunch when not pregnant, I can easily eat a lower carb meal including things like turkey with avocado and Siracha, and call it a day. When pregnant, I feel like I need to eat more - so I'll do things like tuna on a piece of whole wheat bread or a baked bean-filled Siete tortilla with avocado, cheese and lettuce. Not necessarily a whole lot more than I would eat when not pregnant, but definitely more. Additionally, I always crave something sweet after lunch, which feels a bit odd. Same with after dinner. Not sure if I've just gotten into a bad habit or if it is an actual craving. But on a general note, I don't feel like I am overeating or pigging out. I will say that my stomach feels like it has less room in it once again making it difficult to read my hunger signals. So I feel hungry, and then I eat, but don't eat that much because I get full very easily and sometimes even a mild case of heartburn.
Fitness: Still getting in my workouts 5 to 7 day per week at least 30 minutes to 50 minutes per day. I am sticking to my 30-minute tabata class that includes tons of cardio (mountain climbers, jumping lunges, high knees, skaters, burpees) combined with weight repetition in 30-minute intervals. This 30 minute class is just enough to get my heart rate up but also doesn't overdo it as a pregnant mama. I go first thing in the morning to make sure I get it out of the way. My body is feeling heavier, so the workouts are becoming harder, especially because the class isn't easy. I am also a little achey at times, which. makes certain moves harder. Aside from that, I also do spin and run. Overall, I am so glad to be active this pregnancy and definitely feel like it is helping with weight gain and mental outlook. Working out is like an instant boost of endorphins and I am motivated because of how it makes me feel after!
Going from Two to Three: This realization has become a little bit more real. I am trying not to overanalyze how much our lives are going to change with three kids, but I definitely have my moments of wondering. With your first kid, you worry about how your life is going to change with a baby in general. The hardest part in having one kid is that it really does turn your world upside down and forces you to readjust your priorities; and really forces you to grow up. Your kid feels like your entire world, and it's a big responsibility going from caring about yourself to caring for another human. But of course, you want two kids because that's what people do, so you go for a second. With the second, you worry about how your life will change now with two kids, and when you finally have two, you realize how easy it was to have one! Looking back, having one kid was a breeze (if only you could have appreciated it) and two feels like one hundred.
I guess I wonder how this will all change in having three. What I've heard is that once you are used to juggling two, juggling three isn't much different, you just have to learn how to juggle faster. I guess I have those same worries that I did with having two. For instance, how I'm going to give each of my kids the attention they need, and how we are going to manage nap times for the baby while stimulating my other kids and maintaining our adventures. I'm really trying to savor my moments with having two kids, like the fact that I am hands free when I take my kids to an activity; they are basically off on their own, playing, while I sit there and watch/patrol the activity. In a few short months, I will not be hands-free; I will have a baby in my arms while simultaneously watching my two boys!! I'm both excited and a little nervous about this :)
Newborn Thoughts: A girlfriend of mine brought her newborn son (her third) to our MOPs group the other week, and it reminded me why I am going down this road again for the third time. I think this pregnancy has been so different because I now have a four-year old kid and a two year-old kid, verses when I went through my last pregnancy with only a toddler who could barely put together words. It has made me feel more mature going through this pregnancy and thinking less fantasy and more reality. I think in pregnancy, us moms can get caught up in the fantasy of having more children; I know I certainly did when I had my second. This time around, I have been pretty matter of fact that we are bringing a third kid into this world and the craziness that lies ahead. I've been looking forward to the newborn life and meeting another kid, but also very logical about it.
Though, after seeing my friend's baby, I was able to feel that magic of it all and it really lifted my spirits. Not that I was sad about having a third, but I think I have been so logical about it all and so caught up with my other kids, that I haven't had time to really fantasize about the person we are about to meet. But yes, I am getting very excited to have another baby. I can't wait to hold him/her, see what he/she looks like, learn his/her personality. Will he/she be a good sleeper? Will he/she latch okay? How will my labor and delivery be? All of those things, I am mostly excited for, but also a little nervous.. because I really know what is in store for me (and my family)! More than anything you hope that it won't disrupt your life too much, but then again, you're welcoming a baby into the world! It doesn't get much crazier than that :)
Doctor's Visit: I saw the doctor yesterday, at 22 weeks, for a checkup AND for the much anticipated anatomy scan. We started with the anatomy scan. Ryan and Vance were with me, thank goodness, because I was a nervous wreck leading up to it. I went to the bathroom like six times before the appointment out of nervousness. My stomach was in knots for a few reasons. One being the general fear that my baby wasn't developing properly. You hear such crazy stories that my mind couldn't help but wonder, could it happen to me? I also am so thankful to have two healthy kids that I sometimes am like ah I hope everything is okay since I decided to go for a third. Regardless, when I calm these nerves, I realize that God won't give my anything I can't handle. This is morbid, but ever if the baby had died, we would eventually be okay. (oh, the crazy things you think)
I think there was just added pressure because it was with the third baby, which feels like a bonus, and it would have been heartbreaking and kind of preventable. But, once again, I knew in my heart that this all happened for a reason, and I think I was having these crazy irrational thoughts that only come naturally to parents.
Another thing I always worry about at the anatomy scan is that the ultrasound tech may give away the gender. Again, this wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would for sure be a let down to find out the gender on accident in a way that wasn't intended.
With all that worry, we started the appointment. I kept waiting for the tech to say that she saw a marker, like a cyst in the brain (which happened with both of my boys) or maybe that the baby had dilated kidneys (which happened with Vance) or that she would accidentally call it a "he" or a "she" giving away the gender... but nope. The entire time, she kept saying, everything looks beautiful! Healthy baby. Perfect. Wonderful. Beautiful. With each body part that she saw, she gave a positive affirmation. It really was the best ultrasound experience we've had to date. I walked out feeling so confident in my body and in my baby. And also so thankful that God has given us this opportunity to be parents to yet another miracle child.
Aside from the ultrasound, my doctor's visit was uneventful. She didn't check anything. Simply asked if I had any questions. I reaffirmed that we don't want to know the gender (as I always annoyingly do)! I also asked her about some cramping I was having during exercise. She said as long as the contraction goes away after I stop exercising that it is okay, and that exercising wouldn't cause any pre-term labor (another physician had also communicated this to me). Other than that, everything looks great!
Instagram Questions Answered
Will you go for a fourth?: I get this question a lot. I think that once you decide to have a third, you are now considered part of the 'big family club,' and people are more apt to assume that since you didn't stop at two, you may not stop at three. I can't say with all certainty that we won't have a fourth, but if I were to give the straight answer now, my answer would be that we are, in fact, stopping at three. Why? I feel like three is the perfect number for me. Again, everyone has a different threshold for how many kids is appropriate for them. I come from a family of two, which I loved, but looking back it might have been fun to have a fuller house. It also might have been way crazier and maybe I wouldn't have liked it. My mom came from a family of four and she didn't love it, which is why she decided to have two. So, it's hard to pinpoint what the "right" number of kids is to have, but I thought three would be nice because it is more than two. It adds another sibling dynamic rather than having only one option for a sibling. I think that sibling personalities can be very different, and hoped that three would give that direct sibling dynamic that comes with two a break just in case someone needs another perspective.
Another reason I decided to go for three is because I felt like I gave up a big part of me to be a stay-at-home mom. My kids are my entire life. I don't have a career to fall back on; I have my kids. Something about that scares the crap out of me, but something about that also liberates me and makes me the happiest I've ever been. I'm a mom! And I am a full-on stay-at-home mom. This is my life; my world, and I felt like because I personally made the decision to stay home with my kids, that I could handle having more. If I worked, I don't know if I would feel this way just because it would be one more thing to juggle. Again, everyone has a different threshold and everyone woman is different. My personal threshold given my career as a SAHM is three. I felt like I could handle more than two, but I also know that I want to be able to have somewhat of a controlled environment and really be able to give my kids quality, quality one-on-one attention, and I feel like I can do that at the number three.
For me, I think I would get overwhelmed with four. I get overwhelmed by unmade beds and a messy house, and also by children screaming 24/7 and quality bedtime routines and bath time, etc. With two its a lot and with three it's going to be even more! .. I can't really imagine life with four, but I can totally, totally see how people have more than three. Children are gifts from God. You get to partake in life's most magical creation, and to stop having kids seems like part of that magic is over, but it is also the beginning of really diving into each child that you do have. So ya, that is the basic answer!
How do you gain the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy?: This is totally and completely a case-by-case basis, and I don't want people to think my answer is a one-size fits all because it's not. Women are different; our bodies are different; we carry babies differently; we all have unique strengths and weaknesses. I am lucky that I get pregnant super easily. I have generally healthy pregnancies, and birth full-term babies who are at a healthy birth weight. My babies have been good babies; good sleepers and good eaters. I have much to be thankful for! One of my unlucky departments is in the pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight loss department. I tend to be one of those women who gains quite a bit during pregnancy and carries wide. I get chunkier thighs and a droopier booty. Postpartum, I don't lose weight while breastfeeding and even tend to gain weight. I carry the weight in my belly and thighs and it doesn't come off until I stop breastfeeding. Like I said, we all have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to pregnancy, and I need to be thankful for mine. But can weight gain be controlled? Yes, I think to a certain level, but also no.
I have a unique story in that I gained 60 pounds with my first baby. I started at 130 lbs and topped the scales at about 190 lbs close to delivery. Looking back, I had a hard time handling pregnancy, as I was a first-timer. Morning sickness threw me for a loop and I ate constantly. I also felt like I needed to eat more because I assumed that is what pregnant women did. I stopped working out because it didn't feel right. I ate past the point of being full and often ordered unhealthier dishes because I was pregnant. I wouldn't say that I gorged myself on donuts and ho-ho's because I didn't. I just loosened my diet and packed on the pounds. I lost the weight at a year postpartum through a healthy diet and consistent exercise. I didn't have to try hard; the weight pretty much fell off at a consistent rate.
With my second, I vowed I would not let myself go. I was 130 lbs when I found out I was pregnant and I had a goal of maintaining a healthy and fit pregnancy. When morning sickness hit, I didn't give in to the nausea with food, instead I worked through it by hydrating and keeping myself busy with other activities. My diet was clean as a whistle and looking back I probably wasn't eating enough, but I also didn't feel the need to. My pregnancy was very easy and my symptoms were not as drastic as my first (and third) pregnancy. I don't want to say it was easy to eat a healthy diet, but I also want to say that I had minimal cravings. My body gained weight at a slower rate, and I think I had a huge part in that because of the choices I made. I was also very active, maintaining workouts at least 4 times per week. Still, I gained 30 lbs. - within the weight gain guidelines.
My first and second pregnancies were very, very different experiences. With my first, I kind of let myself go and with my second, I was very disciplined. With my second, I was more disciplined than I would be if I wasn't pregnant because I knew how quickly my body packs on the weight. So what I would say to moms who want to stay within the recommended weight guidelines, is to come up with a plan before you get pregnant.
A few disclaimers... some women gain more than the recommended weight no matter what they do. I believe this! So I don't want to make anyone feel bad that totally disagrees with this. It worked for me to control my diet, but it also didn't work for me because after I had my second baby (even just having gained 30 lbs), I couldn't lose the weight after! For whatever reason my body held onto it for breastfeeding. It held onto like 10 to 15 lbs. It was such a letdown because I had worked SO hard to maintain a healthy weight, and it kind of felt like all for nothing. Not entirely all for nothing because I felt and looked amazing during my pregnancy, but definitely a let down when I retained and gained a bunch of fat for breastfeeding. And this was all while maintaining the same diet and exercise routine. So, sometimes you really can't win. Sometimes your hormones are going to win every time and you just have to be okay with that. Give yourself grace during this time, and know that you aren't alone. I, along with millions of other women out there, went through the same body struggle. Just know that it is all worth it and once your hormones calm down (sometimes well after you stop breastfeeding), you will lose the weight!=
Last question, what helped you decide on spacing/timing between kiddos?: Once again, this is totally personal preference so I am just speaking for myself here. My husband and I both come from families in which the kids are spaced about 2 years to 2.5 years apart, except for I come from a family of two (my sister and I are 22 months apart) and Ryan comes from a family of five (all sibling roughly 2 to 2.5 years apart)! I think it comes down to a few things and really is only something you can decide on a kid-by-kid basis. After we had our first, we were so in love with being parents to him, that we couldn't wait to have our second. Once we hit the one year mark with him and started to get into a groove, we were open to getting pregnant and it happened the first time around. I think a lot of the timing had to do with our excitement to grow our family and the openness to it, and the fact that we were lucky/blessed that God allowed us that timing. While I say we are blessed that our first two are twenty-two months apart, it also came with a lot of challenges. Having two kids is freaking hard and having them so close together is even harder.
After we had our second, I went in and out of wanting to have a third. After our second was first born, I thought hell no, we are not having another kid (because the newborn stage is freaking hard and I was so sleep deprived), but after we got out of the newborn stage, I was quick to knowing that I wanted another baby. I wanted to have three kids for the above reasons that I just talked about. That said, I wasn't ready to dive in right away. I knew that I needed a little bit more time than I had had with the first two, so when Vance turned one, I still wasn't open for business.
It took me a little bit of time to really feel like I could handle three. At the same time, Ryan and I both really wanted the kids close together. I imagined the age gap between my oldest, who will be a little over 4 when the new baby gets here, and I didn't want that age gap to be too big. My dad comes from a family of three; the first time are closer in age and the third is several years born after the second. My dad's oldest sister commented that having the third sister so far in age was hard and wished she was closer.
So the way I saw it was that I wanted us all to be a super tight knit family (not that you can't be with a further age gap), but I think my personal belief is the longer you wait sometimes the more that child may feel like an only child. The goal in having three kids is that all of our kids would be able to be doing life together. That they would be in school together, involved in activities together and all that. Not just for their own sakes, but for the sake of my husband and I. I'm sure there are SO many benefits to waiting, but I feared that if I waited, I wouldn't want to have a third. I also feared going through the baby stage again after we were so far past it. I still feel like I am in the thick of being a mom to kids under five and I wanted to keep that groove going. I didn't want to have to go, then stop then restart again.
Once again, this isn't to say that people who wait are wrong for doing so. I think that there are plenty of benefits to both, I just saw so many personal benefits for exactly what we wanted out of having three kids, and what made the most sense for our family was to have them all pretty close together!