It’s absolutely crazy how different pregnancies can be. Especially the second one since your anatomy has drastically changed since your first. Did you know that they classify women’s spines into two categories? The first one is grouped by women with 0-1 children and the second is 2+? That is how much change your bodies go through between the first and second pregnancy. I have learned so much this time around! This pregnancy has definitely been harder on me physically than my first, I feel like I have been pregnant forever. While my early symptoms and severity of cravings were very similar, my physical symptoms are vastly different and it’s evident that these babies have totally different personalities- even in utero!
In The Womb || With Porter I remember daydreaming about what he was doing in my belly. I would describe him as an observer and gentle explorer and I vividly remember him twirling his feet around which is something he still does today! It wasn’t until much later, at the very end, did his movements get uncomfortable or painful, which is definitely expected when they get that big. This child however, is like the muppet character Animal- you know the wild and frenzied drummer? Once I felt BB2 move it was non stop movement and truthfully it’s been a little painful even this early on! I’m still thankful for all the kicks, twirls and punches though since it lets me know he’s healthy and thriving. No need for kick counts here!
Ultrasound Findings || At our 20 week growth scan we had a small abnormal finding which has caused us to go back for more ultrasounds than you’d normally get with a typical pregnancy. I am thinking of this as a blessing since I get to see him more than I got to see Porter, plus living in an area with a lot of medical research and resources allows for the availability of a plethora of diagnostics and specialized care. However, as any mama can tell you, it’s still hard not to worry. The abnormal finding is Prenatal hydronephrosis, which is a fancy way of saying we found that one of his kidneys (his left) is dilated; this can be caused by either urinary reflux (where his urine travels backwards towards his kidneys) or a small impingement in the urinary tract. It’s a common abnormality (about 1 in 100) and about 75% of those detected before birth will resolve on their own which is why we are continuing the ultrasounds to monitor. If it does not resolve before birth prognosis is still good and BB2 could have no symptoms at all or could have acute kidney pain or be prone to urinary tract infections. This should also resolve itself over time isn’t necessarily indicative of anything like kidney disease. If this is the case, we will talk to a pediatric urologist to start making a plan which will include an ultrasound of his own (once he is on the outside) and monitoring of the condition. All in all if there was to ever be an abnormal finding in an ultrasound this is the one you would want to find and I am thankful that overall BB2 is still healthy and happy in there.
BB2’s Features || Since we have had more ultrasounds we have received more pictures of our newest little member. The last time we had seen him at 31+5 the technician was quite literally flabbergasted at the amount of hair visible on the images. Even in the image (below) she explained that usually you don’t see hair this early on in 3D but there is no mistaking those flowing squiggles at the top of his head. He’s got an entire head of hair already! Porter was also born with a good amount of hair but I think BB2 is going to take the cake on this one.
During every ultrasound they always take measurements of everything and anything they are able to see. Automatically they then derive an estimation on how big they think baby is. At that same ultrasound appointment he was measuring 5 pounds, 6 ounces and in the 98th percentile. The technician dubbed him “the linebacker” which, let me tell you, just gives me warm and fuzzies when I imagine trying to push this child out of me! Now, I say that in jest because the female anatomy is truly an amazing thing. Women have birthed large babies before me and will continue to do so after me and no matter what method it takes for him to come out I will be happy to have a healthy baby boy. Plus, for what it’s worth, I don’t know exactly how accurate these measurements are, but judging by the way I feel I’m prone to believing what they are saying. He certainly feels big!
Interestingly, at every ultrasound so far BB2 has been in the breech (heads up) position which was surprising since Porter was heads down by week 20 and stayed there contently. We will be able to check his position again mid January but if he is still heads up we will have to discuss our options. First option: they can attempt to manually flip him at around 37 weeks but I would need to be immediately induced afterwards. Even that is not a guarantee since my OB told me she once performed this procedure and the baby flipped right back around and they wound up performing a cesarean anyway. Second option: We wait and see what BB2 does once I go into active labor. If he is still breached we will most likely have to go the cesarean route due to his size. While some doctors have no issue delivering a breached baby, there are increased complications when your baby is dubbed a linebacker! Regardless of what happens at the next ultrasound I am inclined to wait and see what happens come d-day. I have a healthy amount of amniotic fluid so there is plenty of lubrication for him to slide around into position and I am hopeful he will figure out where the exit is.
Physical Symptoms || As far as my personal experience, the biggest changes between pregnancies have all been physical. I definitely popped earlier but that’s because my abdominal muscles and uterus have already accommodated one perfect little bundle. Since the uterus has stretched it is common to experience an increase in Braxton-Hicks during subsequent pregnancies and I had them pretty frequently in my first and second trimester. It was definitely natures way of telling me to sit down and rest, which I am thankfully doing a lot more of now. One thing I didn’t anticipate was the pelvic discomfort and ligament pain. Inevitably the muscles and ligaments holding up your uterus the second time around are going to be looser, so this is just part of the process! I have to remind myself to take it easy and respect my boundaries. My upper limit for walking is now about 1.5 miles and I am learning to take help more when its offered. There are things you can do to help alleviate pelvic pain such as working out (essential for supporting your back, pelvis and hips), seeing a massage therapist (who you either have a history with or who specializes in prenatal), proper ergonomics, chiropractic or other specialized care, and sleeping with a pillow in between your legs. Remember- self care is not self indulgence! You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of baby and family too!
All in all I am lucky to have a relatively healthy and pain free pregnancy. While this pregnancy has been different its also exciting and new in it’s own way. Yes, it has its own set of worries but I am trying to not go through the never ending “what if” analysis my brain wants to take into overdrive. I am confident we are in good hands with my team of providers and I will trust both the process and my gut once it comes time to make any decisions. That’s all you can ever do!
Thanks for being here to allowing me to share my thoughts, experiences and words in this space. I am looking forward to these next few weeks spent, hopefully, getting the nursery ready if the furniture is delivered in time! Fingers crossed.
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