Everyone tells me the honeymoon is officially over once you enter the third trimester. It seems like others rank them in order of discomfort to be third, first, then second. For me, it's been a much more gradual, ever increasing thing. I had no major physical symptoms for the first trimester. But almost the instant that the second trimester started, I could feel things really changing in me and have been dealing with those things for the past three months.
My absolutely #1, starred with a bullet issue is back pain. It felt like the instant I gained any weight at all, my back started aching. I think a lot of this has to do with my history of back and neck issues, stemming from two car accidents I was in very close together. The most relevant of which I think was the one where I was crossing a street and hit by an SUV in my side. It was like, the worst wrecking ball version of a chiropractic adjustment you could imagine haha. I have the most unbelievable X-rays of how crazy out of whack that incident put my lower back and neck. And anyway, the point is, I think this is why it's been difficult for my spine to adjust.
Sleeping is hard. Very hard. There are three distinct "problem areas" in my back that just make nothing comfortable at all. It's just annoying. And on top of it, everyone keeps telling me I SHOULDN'T be in much pain during the second trimester... I'm not even gaining much weight! So just wait til it gets worse! Talk about words that are not comforting haha. That, combined with Willow's late night dance parties, make for a lot of laborious tossing and turning.
For the record, I'm seeing a chiropractor and had my first prenatal massage the other day. My chiropractor only recently returned from shoulder surgery so I had a few months with a substitute chiro, who I didn't really love. Hopefully, when I see him next week, he'll be able to help me with this!
The only other noteworthy events during the second trimester happened during the great Richmond blizzard of 2016! Whatever God awful illness we had invoked a lot of coughing and that combined with the extraordinary round ligament pain I've had was a total nightmare (Google round ligament pain if you're confused... I had never heard of this common pregnancy symptom until I had it... pregnant women are way too secretive about what goes on during these nine months... all part of the ubiquitous "have a baby, it'll be fun!" narrative we perpetuate... Sorry... /end rant). When I felt coughing coming I just instantly had to lie down and go fetal. #pathetic
The other thing that happened during this time that I didn't write about in my blizzardy blog post was that I had my first Braxton Hicks contraction... yay! It was pretty damn intense and scared us really bad. That's actually what motivated me to find some neighbor children to shovel our driveway, because I realized if something bad did happen we were too snowed in to get to a hospital. I've only had one more since then, and as powerful and stop-you-in-your-tracks NOTICE ME as they are, I kind of like the idea of getting a taste of what I'm in for? Haha I know that's weird, but if the body is physically preparing for birth, I think it helps my brain to mentally prepare in those moments as well.
But if you've been following along in this pregnancy adventure, I know what you're really interested in... and that's how I'm doing mentally/emotionally. It's no secret that I'm not team "yay pregnancy!" And that hasn't really changed. I doubt it will. Pregnancy just sucks and it should be okay to say that. But there is less fear now. The more I work and research something, the more I understand it, and the better I feel. The idea of taking a pregnancy/birthing class with a group of expectant mothers makes me AND Erik kind of want to die, so I purchased an at home class that I work with almost every day. My birth plans are set and as long as there are no complications, I'm going to be very much in control of my own labor and birth. So I'm doing my homework.
The waves of anxiety are definitely slower and less consuming than they were before. I can't exactly say I'm happy about everything, but I do feel more ease, more acceptance, and have my eyes on the prize more than anything. I think postpartum depression gets the attention it does because a baby is involved, but prenatal depression is just as real a thing and I don't mind admitting that I felt that way and on some days still do. I've had so many lovely and talented friends offer to take maternity portraits of me, but I just can't because I know I'll look at those pictures one day and remember what a storm of unhappiness I was trying to hide in them. I still try to strategically dress so that no one notices little Willow and I won't have to deal with those feelings. It really doesn't matter how people react to seeing me pregnant, I'm either jealous of their enthusiasm or resentful of their insensitive comments. It's a no win situation. But compared to where I was, it's getting better.
So overall, second trimester was a lot like climbing out of a hole emotionally. I'd say, especially in the last month I've been trying harder to be more social, less bitter, more productive. And that's a good thing, if not always successful. I'm glad I was honest about my feelings before... it was reassuring to see how many people cared enough to message me about it or come visit me, etc. When you're down or in pain, you notice the people around you who step up instead of dismissing you. And I am grateful to have many of them.