October 20 – October 26: 18 Weeks 0 Days – 18 Weeks 6 Days.
My eighteenth week of pregnancy was a week of firsts:
First Round Ligament Pain
Unknowingly at the time, Jane Austin‘s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training was one of the best things I did to prepare for pregnancy. I took it years ago, but it permanently shifted my perception of pregnancy and birth from unknown and scary to natural and empowering. We read books like Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and watched videos of real labors and births (which can be completely different from what we see on TV and in movies). We also came to understand the changes that occur in a pregnant woman’s body so we could form sequences of yoga poses that could help alleviate discomfort and prepare women for labor and birth. A piece of this training came back to me in the middle of the night this week.
I woke up uncomfortable (which is getting to be a usual occurrence), and as I rolled over and yelped as I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my right lower abdomen. My first thought was, Oh my God, I have a hernia. My intestines definitely just burst through my abdominal wall. I worriedly palpated my abdomen, but didn’t feel any odd bulges. My second thought was, Wait, didn’t Jane Austin say something about pain in the ligaments that support the uterus? That’s one of the reasons pregnant women aren’t suppose to sit straight up… I reached for my phone, Googled “uterus ligament pain pregnancy,” and was displayed a list of websites about round ligament pain naming the exact symptoms I’d just experienced. Unless the pain persists, it’s relatively harmless.
I’m so grateful that tidbit of information from Jane’s training stuck, or I’d have been up all night worrying (and probably Googling much scarier things).
First Baby Kick!
While I was teaching yoga, I demoed supta baddha konasana (reclined butterfly pose). As my knees opened and my lower abdomen broadened, I felt a little pop below my belly button. It wasn’t painful, it felt like a little tiny fist without much strength behind it had socked me from the inside. It was pretty neat, and made the baby immediately seem more real. When I went to my appointment later in the week, the midwife heard a kick on the fetal heart rate monitor, so I’m pretty sure that what I felt while teaching yoga was indeed the baby. I haven’t felt much else since, but chances are the baby’s movements are such an unfamiliar sensations that I don’t recognize them yet.
First Group Prenatal Session
Saint Luke’s, the hospital I plan to give birth at, has the option of doing prenatal sessions individually or in a group of women with similar due dates. This week was my first group prenatal session, and I loved it! At the begin, we recorded our own weight and blood pressure, which I enjoyed as a subtle way to take ownership or my own health and body. Then, we each got a couple minutes of one-on-one time with a midwife off to the side to listen to our baby’s heartbeat and ask personal questions. The rest of the session was in a group setting, wherein we discussed the discomforts of pregnancy (we focus on a different topic every time). It was great to get the midwife’s professional opinions on information from articles and books I’d read and to discuss solutions with other women experiencing the similar changes. I’m looking forward to my next sessions!
First Week Fending for Myself
Richard has been reading The Birth Partner, and has been taking its advice to heart. Already, he’s been trying to support me in any way I need, which usually means making me snacks. That made it especially lonely when he was away on business the whole week. It wasn’t that hard to be alone, but it accented what a wonderful luxury it is to have a supportive partner who will cut up mangoes for me, rub cocoa butter on my belly, and voluntarily carry my purse and all the shopping bags for me when I’m tired. Needless to say, I glad to have him back and I’m trying not to use up all his goodwill before I really need it.
(I love the shirt I’m wearing above because it’s got a peek-a-boob feature so it can double as a nursing top when the baby arrives. I’m much more willing to spend money on something that I can wear for more than just a few months! Here’s the link to the Etsy store I bought it from, if anyone is interested).