Pregnancy Series: The Second Trimester

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Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing some of the highlights and points to note from weeks 13 to 27 of my pregnancy.

Before we do that though, if you haven’t read the first post in this series yet, head right over here to get caught up: The First Trimester.


Second trimester notables.

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{23 weeks  |  26 weeks}

SUPER HUMAN ENERGY.

If I could have bottled the get-up-and-go from my second trimester, I’d be making paper planes out of $100 bills and sailing the Med in my super yacht by now. HOLY MAMA. 

All I can say is thank goodness it arrived by the truckload, as these middle months were some of the biggest of my life, especially when it came to my business.

To scratch the surface, the second trimester saw me:

// Jointly running our biggest B-School partner program ever, including a private Facebook Group, weekly Q & A’s, comprehensive emails AND a two-day live event in Sydney.

// Coaching more one-on-one clients than ever before in preparation for some time out of the coaching saddle while we embrace the early days of parenthood.

// Restructuring my entire Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted program and Member Portal, including adding a bunch of new content, writing a sizeable free eBook and…

// Preparing to launch — an incredibly exciting launch that saw just shy of 400 wonderful new souls join the now 1100-women strong BE & BH community.

You can probably deduce there were plenty of highs, and despite being stretched to maximum capacity with long hours at the computer and deadlines a-plenty, it all felt wonderfully manageable. I felt more intensely focused than I had in years — purpose-FULL, productive, lit up. I was discerning on how and where I spent my time. The energy was potent, and I rode it with glee.

But, as is the nature of life, heartbreakingly there was also an unforgettable low that unfolded during this time as well — the passing of my dear friend Jess Ainscough in February.

The emotion I felt at that time is still difficult to wrap words around, so I’m not going to dive too deeply into it here, but it goes without saying that this time of my life and this period of my pregnancy was tinged with great sadness. I felt waves of anger, fire, frustration. Numbness, and possibly a touch of delusion (‘She’s not really gone.’)

Missing her beautiful smile, today and always. #blessedbyjess


BODY MOVIN.’

I’ll preface this by saying given I’m not a qualified professional when it comes to movement, I encourage you to find someone who is if you have specific questions. Trust the cues your body WILL undoubtedly give you, and know that pregnancy is not the time for ‘amping up’… it’s for tuning in.

Personally, I’ve used exercise for health, to keep my energy elevated and to maintain my fitness levels somewhat so that getting back in the swing of things once I’m given the all clear post-birth won’t be too difficult.

As someone who is used to moving regularly and sweating it up, tapering right off has been a (mental) shift for me, but I’m pleased to say I’ve found plenty of joy in the slowness. Meandering, meditative beach walks where I chat to my little guy and rub my belly have been the absolute highlight.

++

So how exactly have I moved my body since being pregnant, you ask?

For me, it’s been all about:

// Daily walks.

// Twice weekly gym sessions for 30-ish minutes a pop; a combo of elliptical training and lunging, squatting, and chest-pressing with dumbbells.

// In the first trimester, regular yoga. A big break in the second (hello, workload). In the third, pre-natal yoga.

// Occasional running up until month five, until my body told me it just didn’t feel like running anymore.

What I’m looking forward to after baby:

// Running. Ahh, endorphins!

// Yoga and Pilates barre.

// Ab exercises. How I’ve missed you!

// HYPOXI (The ultimate. More to come on this one).

Something worth noting when it comes to exercise is the presence of that clever little hormone relaxin (designed to soften and widen the cervix, whilst relaxing ligaments in your pelvis) means you’re definitely more prone to over-stretching in pregnancy.

Case in point: I went for a swim (of all things) and ended up with a whole lot of tailbone and pelvis pain after frog-kicking my legs out to the side whilst doing breast stroke. The result was me walking like a cowboy for a week — plus, I had to have THREE deep tissue massages to fix it.

Trust me when I say: go gently, friend. Your magnificent body is working hard!


FLUTTERS AND KICKS.

Hands down one of my favourite parts of being pregnant; a sacred, ‘just between us’ experience that I know I’m going to feel nostalgic about once our babe is earth-side.

I’ll never forget the very first flutter at 18 weeks — accurately described to me as ‘like popcorn popping in your belly’ — and not long after, those sweet tickles advanced to rolls and wriggles, strong kicks and what I liked to imagine were excited little fist pumps. ;)

From the second trimester on, our break dancer / football player has done his best work when I’m lying in bed at night (walking around during the day can rock them to sleep), and I’ve seriously revelled in every movement… yep, even those painful jabs in the ribcage in the third trimester.

I believe they call that MAMA LOVE. Always present, even when it’s not pleasant. 


CHOOSING OUR CARE PROVIDER.

My husband and I have private health cover, so when we were deciding where to birth, it made sense to go with the private hospital situated 10 minutes down the road from us — which also happens to be one of the most reputable in Australia, particularly for maternity.

Going with this option instead of using a private midwife in a public hospital (which I would have done if we hadn’t been paying for cover for the past couple of years) meant the next step was to make the all-important decision: Which obstetrician do we go with?

Being supremely conscious of energy and resonance when it comes to anyone playing significant role in my life, this process wasn’t something I took lightly and I’d say I grappled with / avoided making the choice for, oh, about a week. Maybe two.

I called friends to ask about their experiences, I did research of my own — but in the end, I went with gut feel above all else and have had no regrets with my decision.

Our first meeting with our OB was at 16 weeks, and because I’ve (gratefully) had a trouble-free, ‘textbook’ pregnancy, the monthly (then fortnightly, then weekly) appointments have been pretty uneventful affairs.

To give you an idea of what to expect if this is up ahead for you, my appointments involve:

// Checking my blood pressure and weight.

// Listening to the baby’s heartbeat or seeing him on the ultrasound to check where he’s positioned and how he’s developing.

// Ask any burning questions, and;

// Getting results of blood tests that have been taken along the way (and for me, getting the Anti-D injections I mentioned in my last post).

My husband joined me for the first couple, but after that I told him not to bother as after hanging out in the waiting room forever, I’m usually in and out of the actual appointments in under 10 minutes.


MIND-BODY-SPIRIT SUPPORT.

A few other key people in my ‘Pregnancy Support Crew’ have been:

Tanya Goldie: Naturopath — before getting pregnant, and throughout.

Before getting pregnant, we focused on getting my body ready for baby with things such as liver and adrenal support, folate and building up my Vitamin D and B stores (I was incredibly deficient).

During — and on various rotations — I’ve supplemented with iron, magnesium, calcium, iodine, B6, zinc, Vit D, folate and fish oil.

Whether you’re planning or have already fallen pregnant, I can’t speak highly enough about consulting with a naturopath to see how to best support you and your baby on this miraculous and often, wildly taxing journey.

Lauren Dawson from Raw Beauty: Facials

I melt. There’s just so much… care.

Lauren is a total sweetheart who has most certainly found her calling — her passion is palpable, not to mention her skill — and her natural products never fail to leave my hormonal skin aglow.

Anita Crosbie: Kinesiology

Anita has been my go-to kinesy maven for a few years now, and over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve loved popping in to see her every now and then for an energetic spruce up and balance.

Tabitha from Studio Qi: Acupuncture 

I’ve only recently — as in, from 38 weeks — started getting acupuncture and BOY do I wish I’d gone sooner.

I see Tabitha for sinus congestion, something that’s plagued me for over a third of my pregnancy, and also, because I’m slightly addicted to the deep relaxation that comes when I’m propped on the massage table with needles expertly placed on my body.

OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD.


CRAVINGS AND AVERSIONS.

GONE in the second trimester!


GETTING EDUCATED.

There are a range of options available to expecting parents when it comes to education, and the way I’ve approached it is from a few different angles — attending a full-day intensive ante-natal class run by one of the midwives at the hospital, reading up and listening to audios on hypnobirthing and Calm Birth / gentle birthing techniques, and also, watching videos online of natural births.

Was actually watching the births confronting at first? Certainly (especially BEING PREGNANT, which adds a hefty dose of reality to the experience). Above and beyond that, though, knowledge is power and awareness is EMPOWERING, and whilst we can never ‘plan’ a birth, I’ve found comfort and confidence in witnessing the various ways it could unfold.

That might not be for everyone, but for me, it’s worked.


19 WEEK SCAN: IT’S A BOY!

My Mum, Ramai and I are staring up at the beautiful, bouncy being on the screen in front of us and the sonographer asks: ‘Would you like to know the sex?’

YES, PLEASE, I say excitedly… knowing in my heart already.

She wriggles the device around on top of my belly again, and BAM! There we go. An ‘underneath shot’ — I’ll let your imagination piece that together — and cackles of laughter from us all as she declares with certainty:

‘Well, there’s no doubt about it, guys. That’s your son you’re looking at. Congratulations.’

Our cheeky little Leo boy, already making us giggle with his antics.


COMFORT AND NURTURING.

From extra cuddles with my man, to baths with essential oils and Epsom salts, to wearing materials that feel beautiful against my skin (I bought the best comfy / plushy robe and have thoroughly enjoyed sashaying around the house in it) — the need to be nurtured was strong in tri 2. And has continued to be.

A couple of essentials and best purchases:

// The BellyBean maternity pillow for sleeping. Once my belly started to grow, this gave me the support I needed to sleep on my side without having my stomach uncomfortably positioned on the bed. In the third trimester, I’ve added a regular sized pillow to between my legs, positioned vertically, to help keep my hips aligned as I was getting some pelvic and sciatic pain. Getting in and out of bed — as you do often in the middle of the night for bathroom visits — has become a PROCESS, to say the least.

// I can’t speak highly enough about the Lululemon fold-over-waist tights for exercise. (I’ve never folded, I just pull the waist up). No elastic digging in as your belly expands = total winner.

// I’ve worn my Nike Free runners or Havaiana thongs (flip flops) for pretty much my entire pregnancy — mostly because my feet haven’t fit comfortably into anything else for a while! I’ll call this ‘Benefit of working from home #134’… and also the benefit of living in sunny Queensland. Take that, puffy feet!

// Comfy underwear. Maternity bras or sporty crops that mould to your body, knickers that look good but more importantly FEEL good. When it comes to pregnancy, the dental floss-style G’s are probably not going to be your number one choice… or perhaps they will be, you racy little kitten, you.


Again, I hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of my journey towards motherhood. Looking forward to tying everything together with a bow with the third trimester post!

Two more things ::

1. I adored reading and answering your comments last time — thank you. Pregnancy is a time where every DAY feels laden with questions and ‘newness’, so I want to say to you: if you’ve got q’s, don’t be afraid to ask away. I’d love to offer up any insights I can.

2. Here’s the link again for the first post if you missed it :: Pregnancy Series: The First Trimester

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37 Comments to “Pregnancy Series: The Second Trimester”

  1. Reading these posts bring back so many memories…expect, your trimester 2 was my trimester 3 ;-) Morning sickness was still kicking my ass! Sending you big love beautiful woman. Here’s to another Leo joining the tribe XO

  2. Sitting here at 17 weeks loving your pregnancy posts!
    Feeling you on the energy front for tri 2 and starting to think about what my birth might be like. I’d love to know what calm birth CDs you listen too?
    All the best for a smooth and steady delivery xx

    • I’ve been listening to podcasts, meditations and a range of different audios I’ve found online — Calmbirth.org I believe is one of the places I downloaded an MP3 from. x

  3. I loved reading this post Rachel :) I’m not a mama myself, so haven’t experienced the joys of pregnancy yet. But your writing made me feel all warm inside, I can only imaging how wonderful it must be to have a little life growing inside you. Sending much love as these next precious weeks unfold. Emma xx (BeBh) xx

  4. After reading your 1st Trimester blog post last night and checking back in tonight, I just want to say it’s been awesome reading about your experience and also learning about your “pregnancy toolkit”. I’m coming up for 19 weeks tomorrow and haven’t found online forums resonate with me either, so reading about what has and hasn’t worked for you has been nothing short of magical for me – all of the information I needed at such a great time!

    Hubby was unfortunately involved in a motorcycle accident when we were at 12 weeks that will see him walking properly after baby is born, and so it’s been a bit trying and not exactly what you expect in your first pregnancy – but it has been a huge lesson in respecting the process and letting the Universe unfold what needs to unfold. I’m learning more and more through this time that we have so little control over what goes on – and sometimes I think that makes it even more beautiful.

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful experiences with us all Rach – from one expectant Mama to another, not only are you truly beautiful and radiant, but you have helped guide me in the unknown. I am so grateful, thank you thank you thank you.

    • Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that Siobhan. Can imagine that was incredibly stressful for you… but LOVE your beautiful, trusting attitude towards it all. All the best for the second half of your pregnancy lovely, and of course, for bringing your little one into the world. x

  5. Another wonderful post, thank you for sharing your experience Rach. Only 6.5 weeks into my pregnancy and there have been so many thoughts and questions pop up in my mind. Your posts are wonderfully written and very helpful so thank you!
    Much love and light towards to end of your pregnancy journey and into your next chapter.
    Saskia xxx

  6. Ahh love this honey! It’s such a beautifully magic time. Couldn’t agree more with the lululemon tights, am making them work with everything haha! Beyond-excited for you and Ramai, what an incredibly lucky little prince you’ll soon be welcoming into the world xx

    • THE. BEST. I have to say I was dubious about the high waist, but I was proven wrong as soon as my belly started to grow. I too live in them :)

      So excited for you guys also, you’re going to be incredible parents. x

  7. Loved it again. How you perfectly describe the second trimester energy.. we must learn how to harness this! It’s actually kind of nice to take this reflective journey with you as I am deep into the slow of the 3rd trimester, I am now feeling emotions of sadness as the pregnancy is about to end, even though I am far from physical comfort.

    You have taken pregnancy in your stride, with grace, wisdom and beautiful intuition.

    Much love to you (as you hit week 40 this week?)

    Mon. x

  8. And again… L O V E it.
    Reading this while sitting in my little expressing room at work, reminding me of those wonderful little kicks, movement and hiccups (OH the hiccups) I shared with my little man.
    Such a beautiful post and wish you all the very best for what comes next
    Claire x

  9. Oh Rach! I just love these posts.
    I’m seriously gushing over how beautifully you tell your story. Thank you for being so open.
    This clucky wifey, needs to make a baby happen stat!

  10. Love, love, love!! Thank you for sharing your insight and deep experiences. The section on FLUTTERS AND KICKS was the highlight for me. Totally choked up!

    You’re doing beautifully, Rach!
    Wishing you the greatest blessings for the remainder of stage 3! xx

  11. Absolutely loving this series Rach! Lots of lovely tips for when the time comes for me. Something tells me that baby Mac may be on his way as I’m writing this…thinking of you! Much love xxx

  12. How exciting!! There is so much love and warmth in all your words. And what a lovely thing for your gorgeous baby boy to read in the many years to come. Thinking of you daily. Huge love to you. xx

  13. This was so fun to read. I’m so sorry about Jess and the heartache you must’ve experienced (or continue to experience). I’m sure you know your little one has a beautiful angel watching over the both of you! <3

  14. So i’m spacing out reading these posts as i get to each trimester :) I’ve just had an extra scan today at 16 and a half weeks due to some uncomfortable pains (turns out you can get braxton hicks this early) and it was lovely to find out that our little button is doing great and growing as he/she should be. So lovely and exciting to see that little blob on the screen developing to look like a real little person. I took my mum and dad along today as hubby was at work and they were so excited to see their first grandchild for the first time.
    I love reading about how you have exercised and nurtured yourself in the second trimester and after catching up on my BYCA studies today i’m going to run myself a bath, drop in a delicious Lush bathbomb and put on my big plush robe and settle in on the couch for a quiet night, maybe with some icecream ;) xxx

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