Whew. I’ve made it this far. Ella is the size of a large vegetable at this point – an acorn squash according to The Bump and a small cabbage according to What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Ultrasounds show that Ella is over 17 inches long and weighs about 2.8 pounds with very long legs and a significant head of hair. Her heartbeat is strong, her brain and other organs are functioning well and everything looks good. Just about 75 days to go now!
For some reason I only ever take full-length photos in the office bathroom. Eek!
What I’m Feeling
LOTS of kicking. This baby is a busy bee! Sometimes it feels like she’s doing somersaults and other times it’s as if she’s vibrating from one side of my body to the other. At this time in my pregnancy with Daisy, there was no fluid in the amniotic sac because of our conditions so I couldn’t actually feel her moving. This pregnancy has been so different in every way and I absolutely love being able to experience the movement – it makes me feel so much closer to her.
Heartburn. So, so, so much heartburn. I’d never experienced heartburn once in my life until I was in my second trimester with Daisy and it was really, really intense. When I hit week 25 with Ella, it came back with a vengeance. It’s especially bad when I lay down to sleep – it feels like my esophagus and chest are on fire! Luckily, Zantac helps. How did women do it before OTC drugs?!
Acid Reflux. Ew. It just sounds bad. If I eat even two hours before bed, I wake up out of nowhere, gagging and choking. The worst part is that it then burns the throat. Needless to say I have a bag of Halls on my nightstand.
Hip & groin pain. I don’t really remember experiencing much of this with Daisy but I was in so much other pain it was hard to distinguish what was coming from where. I notice now when I get out of bed or the car or up from my desk at work I feel excruciating pain in my hips and groin. I’ve read that joints and ligaments get softer in preparation for delivery and that the pressure causes aches and pains. This is an interesting glimpse into what old age will feel like, I think - very creaky.
Back Pain. I always have some degree of back pain which I think has to do with poor posture and my total lack of core strength but the extra baby weight combined with carrying Daisy has exacerbated the pain. Fortunately, I’m finding some relief with a heat pad.
Ebbs and Flows of Sad. I’ve written here before about my struggle with prenatal depression and I continue to manage it with some level of success but I certainly notice the low points are sharper as I get further along in pregnancy. Perhaps there is some correlation between the development of the baby and the rollercoaster of hormones the carrying mother finds herself on. Who knows.
What I’m Craving
Ice cream. Always ice cream. Mint chocolate chip, regular chocolate chip and strawberry. With chocolate sprinkles.
Buffalo chicken anything and everything. Pizza. Subs. Nachos.
Pineapple. There is something about pineapple that slays me in pregnancy – I felt this way when I was pregnant with Daisy too. It’s so fragrant and juicy and delicious, I eat it every day.
Pickles. In fairness, I never don’t want pickles, but my obsession is particularly heightened in pregnancy. Especially hot or spicy pickles. Grillos, based in South Boston, makes the very best.
Salt and vinegar chips. My best friend Natalie sent me a giant box of these and it was one of the best presents I’ve ever received.
Cheerios. I think about Cheerios the second I wake up and pretty much every moment I feel hungry. Lord knows why. We never ate cereal growing up and Cheerios taste like cardboard, but, I can't get enough!
What I’m Thinking About
As Ella’s arrival draws nearer and nearer, I find myself feeling a bit sad that our days as a family of three are numbered. I remember reading articles and blog posts from other moms who had this feeling while expecting their second child and I thought “why would you be sad about a second baby?! More joy! You wanted that baby!” but now, I get it. I so desperately want a big family and I am over-the-moon excited to welcome Ella and add her to our family, but, I also treasure the dynamic we have created as a threesome. I love our rituals, our shared secret jokes and the way each of us has a role in our daily routine. How will this change and what will this look like when Ella joins us? I wonder if we will all feel the same fulfillment from these shared family times or if they will feel too chaotic with another baby in the mix. I also worry that Daisy might feel robbed of some of the attention or love she feels now which is so concentrated and focused on her. Will she still know how much we love her?
I think a lot – a LOT a LOT – about childcare. We’ve been searching for a new nanny for about 2 months now and finding a good fit has been hard. Paying for private school for Daisy and a full-time nanny is expensive. We’ve toured a handful of local daycares but don’t feel any of them are the right fit for Baby Ella or our family. Interviewing prospective nannies is exhausting. Half of them cancel or flake. Half of the ones that show up are definitely not a fit and you can tell within the first five minutes but have to sit through an entire interview to be polite. And even for the ones we like, it’s hard to commit. We loved our last nanny so much, it’s difficult not to compare.
I also worry about being spread too thin. Will I be able to balance work, family and self-care with a second child as well as I have with one? Rest is so critical to my success as a professional and as a mother and wife – am I facing several years of exhaustion?
What We’re Doing to Prepare
Right now we’re slowly preparing Ella’s nursery, which is the room next to ours. Ella’s room is one of my favorite in our house because it feels like a sunny treehouse. Two of the windows are in the front of our house and face a giant oak tree with long branches and beautiful leaves that cast pretty shadows on the walls and the floor. We plan to remove the carpeting to expose the original hardwood and will either sand and refinish that or put down an area rug. Ella will be inheriting some hand-me-downs from her sister – namely her crib, which is an heirloom piece from ABC Home & Carpet gifted to us by my Dad. Over the next few weeks we’ll be stocking Ella’s bookshelves with baby books, washing newborn clothes and painting. The nesting part of preparing for baby is one of my favorites.
Next week, we'll be scheduling my C-section which I'm very anxious to put on the calendar. I elected to go with a C-section again for a number of reasons which I'll explore in another blog post but I'm relieved with the decision after a lot of thought. My first C-section was an emergency procedure and I was on so much medication to keep me from going into seizure or heart failure that I remember almost nothing from Daisy's birth. I am really looking forward to being more present this time - and to the luxury of being prepared!
It is so hard to believe that in about seventy five days, we’ll be home as a family of four. I am so excited to hold Ella in my arms and to introduce her to Daisy and over time, all of you whom we love so much. God-willing, her entry into this world will be less eventful than Daisy's was. I'm looking forward to the basic, routine stuff like being able to hold her right after she is born, being able to breastfeed right away, taking her home. These will all be firsts for us and I can't wait for them. Though I have my fears and worries, I can think of no better privilege than the opportunity to raise another strong girl in this world we live in which so desperately needs kindness, compassion and female leadership ♥