16 weeks, 2 days

I’m in the very surreal land of the second trimester. And it feels amazing.

The first trimester really beat me up. I struggled with 24/7 nausea, vomiting frequently, intense fatigue, and constantly feeling like I was coming down with the flu. And on top of the physical effects was the constant worry that something would go wrong, that it would all get taken away. I grappled with the love/hate relationship I had with my morning sickness. In my head I knew I was forever grateful for this desperately wanted pregnancy, and the assurance the nausea brought. But emotionally and physically I was spent. I had thoughts that I was ashamed to have given how hard I fought to get here. Thoughts like, “I don’t like this.” “How will I ever get through this again to have a second child?!” And, “This. Totally. Sucks.” I tried my best to squash those thoughts and not give them space in my mind, even though I knew they were there. I always imagined I would love pregnancy, and I would have 9 months of total bliss, rubbing my beautiful belly and cherishing every moment. I thought that surely nothing could feel bad enough to bring me down from the high of being pregnant.

Instead, I ended up feeling so sad that I wasn’t enjoying it, that it was nothing like I thought, and I worried my nine months would be so rough I would never feel the bliss.

And then the second trimester came to my rescue. It eased my nausea, fatigue and my fears. I still feel pregnant, with sporadic aches and pains, and I still fall into bed every night, bleary-eyed and heavy with exhaustion, only to lie awake in the middle of the night after the 4th trip to the bathroom.  And although it feels like my nausea is mostly gone, I don’t quite remember what it feels like to have a completely non-queasy stomach. All I know is that I feel so much better. And any symptoms I have now are completely tolerable. I’m feeling like myself again. 

They say you end up with amnesia about how hard pregnancy and child birth are, and that is why women have the courage to have multiple children. I already can’t remember what it felt like to be so horribly nauseous all the time. I keep thinking it couldn’t have been that bad, and next time I’ll be so much tougher, the nausea won’t bother me as much. Lies I’m already telling myself, and believing, and it’s making me feel like already I can’t wait to do this all again. And again and again (if I am so lucky).

The second trimester has brought me some bliss. Some optimism. Some calm.

Last weekend I finally decided to buy some maternity jeans. The bloat/bump combo I’m sporting has made my regular jeans too small, and I find that the belly band I bought is so tight it makes me stomach hurt. My husband came with me and sat and watched as I tried on my first pair. I looked at myself in the mirror in these new jeans, my baby bump shyly poking through my sweater, and I smiled.

“I think…we might actually be having a baby,” I said slowly, in awe, to my husband.

“I know!” he responded, laughing. “You’re the only one who doesn’t realize that yet!”

I’m starting to realize it. Slowly, on my own time, I’m starting to embrace it, even though I’m also painfully aware there are never any guarantees. I had a prenatal check up last week, and everything looked good, baby’s heart steadily beating at 145 beats a minute. The appointment was so easy, so routine.

It is all starting to feel just a little more real. And that feels….so surreal.