I had a feeling this might happen.
But I do have a good excuse for missing three weeks of “weekly” pregnancy posts! The holidays, for one. Vacationing for the holidays in Maryland with my family, for another. And then, of course, the best excuse, which any mother-to-be has inalienable rights to for the entire duration of her gestation: I’m creating life at this moment. So, without further procrastination,
Pregnancy! Weeks 18, 19, and 20!
Baby: was the size of a bell pepper, sweet potato, and banana respectively, and currently weighs around 10.5 oz. From this week on babies are measured from head to toe, as they aren’t so curled up all the time, as before. We learned at 17 weeks and 5 days that our little baby is a girl! I was stunned by the news. I was thoroughly convinced baby was a boy. How are these convictions created? Pure gut-feeling, baby. Not a single ounce of logic went into that belief. It drove Zack crazy. I think we’re both happier now that we know for sure one way or the other. And a girl!! The dresses, the bows, the tiny pony-tails! We are so, so excited. Baby has officially been named Charlotte Avonlea. Charlotte means “feminine,” or “strong woman,” and Avonlea is where Anne of Green Gables lives, as do my childhood hopes and dreams. Had baby been a boy we’d have named him Edmund Alexander. Zack was secretly hoping for boy-girl twins so we could use both names, but I’m cool with just one baby to baptize me into motherhood.
Belly: the growth slowed down there for a week or two, and I don’t feel quite as bloated-balloony-“I’m-going-to-explode” anymore, which is great. But we’re back to itching again as Charlotte goes through another growth spurt. On the upside, I discovered I’ve gained 10 lbs, which is exactly what I was hoping for at 20 weeks in! Apparently a pound a week from here on out is the norm.
My Favorite Things: maternity clothes!!! How did I not ever want to buy you? You are so comfy and make me look more like a gestating woman and less like a homeless man. Seriously though, I love the few maternity outfits I bought. Macy’s Motherhood section is great, as is H&M’s Mama brand. I especially love the maternity jeans I bought there, which don’t have that hideous front-pouch thing that most maternity jeans have, and actually fit at the hips and make me look normal. I love prenatal massages too! Zack was so sweet and bought me one for Christmas and it was the best thing ever. I also love my return to a normal diet and energy level. I didn’t believe it would ever happen, but lo and behold one day I awoke and felt not-so-pregnant. It is marvelous. I’m back to eating lots of beautiful salads, drinking my veggie smoothies, enjoying cooking, and not feeling like I’m going to collapse every five seconds. I even went to the gym for the first time in three months!
My Not-Favorite Things: remember that gym thing? Yeah, now I can’t walk. Turns out I was way more out of shape than I thought. An epsom salt/essential oil bath is in the near future for me. It is amazing how pregnancy completely changes your body. It’s humbling and incredible and I am thankful for it. Another thing on my not-favorite list: being sick. Which I am. Sore throats are the bane of all existence.
Movement: baby Charlotte is out of control! Seriously, folks, she just doesn’t stop. I love the evening ritual of lying down and feeling her kick and punch and swim around. She feels so close to me in those moments and it’s amazing to think that only a few inches of skin and muscle separates me from my baby. I began to first really feel her kicks while getting my ultrasound and being able to watch her move and feel the corresponding nudges. In Maryland over the holidays I began to distinguish her movements from everything else, and Zack was able to feel her kick his hand. It was absolutely precious to me to see his eyes light up and watch him go immediately into the next room to announce to the family, “I just felt my daughter kick!” And that’s when it started to sink in. We have a daughter. A precious baby girl who is being knit together and formed within me even now. She knows my voice. I praise God for his mighty works in creating new life in such a near and confounding way.