There are many milestones during pregnancy which you look forward to such as reaching the relative safety of the third month, the baby's first movement in your tummy and so on. But for those who are so inclined, one of the most exciting moments is finding out the sex of your baby. And for us, that was a big moment this month.
My little entourage including husband and daughter turned up for the scheduled 19-week ultrasound. While this test is primarily done to gauge the growth and development of your unborn baby, it is also possible to tell the sex from this stage. I was painfully prodded (due to my full bladder) for close to an hour which I happily endured in order to be able to gaze at my little baby, now less of an alien and more of a little human. Once it was established our baby had all its bits in order I tentatively asked the question foremost on our minds: “Is it a boy or a girl?”
Our sonographer looked a little perplexed before saying “I think it's a little girl.” What do you mean “think!” I thought to myself...so I probed a little further. “Can you be a little more certain?” I asked? “No,” she said. Gee this wasn't going the way I anticipated. I thought she would tell me the sex and I would lovingly embrace my husband and daughter with a tear in my eye. “But you think it's a girl?” I asked again. “Well, I don't like to guarantee anything at this stage, it's not responsible to give a 100 per cent certainty yet, and I had a little trouble getting a good look, but the parts we look for in a little girl seem to be there,” she replied. That's a little better, I thought, but I needed more! “So, how sure are you?” A little annoyed now, the sonograoher said “I'm about 75 per cent certain.” That was enough for me – yipee, we're having a girl! Finally all those years of finding a space to hoard away Ava's little pink outfits “just in case” will pay off.
The reality really started to sink in from this date forward – we are having a baby! And nowhere was that reality more obvious than in my emerging tummy. I have officially moved on from the slightly chubby stage right into the pregnant stage. People are starting to stand for me on the bus (which is very welcome at the end of the working day, but sooooo embarrasing!) and when I speak to people their gaze flitters over my tummy.
My days of sleeping on my stomach are well and truly over and I can no longer manage sleeping on my back either as this is said to limit blood flow to the uterus via a big vein called the vena cava. As a dedicated back sleeper, I have now added insomnia to my list of symptoms and I'm regularly waking at around 2am and unable to fall back asleep for several hours. On the plus side, it's amazing how much work you can get done in the wee hours!
A friend recently lent me her Belly Beans beanbag, a wonderful contraption that is essentially a beanbag with a hole in it so you can lie face down comfortably. It has been a Godsend – when I can get the cat and/or daughter off it long enough to have a go myself! It was invented by Melbourne mother-of-two, Suzanne Mathieson, who suffered such bad backache during her pregnancies, she created Belly Beans using an old car tyre, some newspaper and a bedsheet for her prototype. It really is true what they say about necessity being the mother of invention.
My mother-in-law scoffed when she saw my Belly Beans: “You women have it so easy these days with all these contraptions and luxuries to help you. In my day.....” I guess it's true, we modern women do have it easier in many respects. Where would most of us be without Belly Belts, non mumu-like maternity clothes and 4D ultrasounds? But the flipside is we are bombarded with too much information and research. One week it's okay to have a sip of wine during pregnancy, the next you're as good as a murderer if you consider it. It's enough to make you nuts!
But information overload aside, one of the most pleasant feelings a pregnant mother will experience has to be the first tiny fluttering of life in her belly. For quite a few weeks I have been unable to determine if this fluttering is the baby moving or merely the gurglings of my well-fed digestive system! But as this month progresses, there's no doubt the fluttering, which is now a more pronounced bump or pop, is my little baby. I had forgotten how beautiful this feeling is and those early mornings when I feel like I'm the only sane person awake, are an excuse to revel in a little woman to womb bonding.
So I have now officially reached the half-way mark of my pregnancy and one question is starting to really settle on my mind – will I have a C-section as I did with Ava or try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean)? No doubt there will be a litany of contradictory findings advocating one over the other before my due date.
For now I'll worry about more pressing matters, such as coming up with a shortlist of names for my baby girl...or boy!
Here's my story but we'd love to hear yours too. Please write to us with any comments about our new pregnancy blog or write your own and send it to us. Motherinc is always keen to hear your story and we'll select the best each month to post on our site.
Photograph by Chantal Buttini: www.chantalbuttini.com.au