I have entered the golden age of pregnancy! My hair looks really thick and lustrous without much effort, and I don’t need to wash it as often. My nails are growing fast, and my skin is plump and blemish-free. It rocks. I wish I could always look this good!
But it’s not all good. Something I struggled with a lot this month was lower back pain. It’s not a symptom I had until about month 8 last time around. So I am not actually sure if it has to do with pregnancy now. At first I thought I was too sedentary due to our 2nd lockdown, and I tried moving more (going for longer walks with my dog, doing more housework), but I found my back hurt even more! Not sure what’s up with that.
Speaking of cleaning, has my nesting instinct kicked in already? I feel rather “domesticated” lately. I’ve been baking brownies, cupcakes, and cookies (this never happens), and I gave my house a deep clean. We had a couple of days of gorgeous sunny weather, and I decided to tackle my windows! It’s a huge task for me since our windows are just enormous and plentiful. But now I am sitting here admiring how clean they look. I also put up all my Christmas decorations for the first time ever. We even got a tree this year! So I am pretty happy with my nest right now.
Okay, more pregnancy symptoms. Smells continue to assault my nose. Smells are INTENSE. I think the superhuman sense of smell in pregnant women probably developed so we could know if there was a predator around, but these days that’s less useful. It’s a curse. Luckily smells don’t make me nauseous or anything. It’s more just like, I want a break from smelling stuff. If I could breathe in and just smell nothing, that would give my senses a rest. If I were a superhero, I’d be Olfactory Girl!
At my monthly checkup, the gynecologist tried to see the sex of the baby but wasn’t sure, so I still don’t know. I am sure it will be apparent next time. Next month I’ll get to see my midwife for some birth preparation classes. I want to talk to her specifically about VBACs. While my gyno is very business-y, my midwife is much more like a girlfriend you’d confide in. So I think we’ll have some good talks, ha!
I have been making more of an effort to casually announce my pregnancy to friends because I keep forgetting. I am really not one for big announcements. I also got the guts to tell my boss. You know when you want to keep something on the down low because you want to avoid the inevitable drama or whatever reaction you are expecting, but then keeping the secret becomes the drama you want to avoid? Pregnancy is one of those. In the very beginning, you kinda feel like you can coast through these 9 months and just not have to tell anybody. Whose business is it anyway? And it’s so easy to hide during a lockdown! But then you get stressed about slipping up, and it’s better to just get it out in the open. That’s how I feel.
I am trying to stay as physically healthy as possible (not even 1 kilo gained in the last month—go me!) while maintaining some sanity as well. I’m getting more into cooking without refusing myself the usual holiday treats—except I do miss the champagne and foie gras this time of year.
But this also means being careful in the pandemic. The easing of our lockdown tempted me into going to a few shops (to get Christmas cards and lights for our tree, for example) and to share food with a few friends. Like I said, I’m trying to be responsible about it, wearing my mask and keeping my distance. But I can’t just swear off seeing people altogether for my mental health.
I got my flu shot too, just to be extra cautious. Who knows for the Covid vaccines? I go back and forth every day. If it’s available during my pregnancy, I’m still not totally sure I’ll want to get it, since pregnant women are not included in clinical trials. My current thought process is, if I’m okay to keep wearing the mask and social distancing until the birth, I might just stick with that and get vaccinated after. (Update: It doesn’t look like the Covid vaccine will be available to me during my pregnancy anyway!)
I still don’t really think about my pregnancy all that much. It really seems abstract. And there is an overwhelming amount of other things to worry about. I’ve not been sleeping very well—I still need to get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night, and sometimes I can’t get back to sleep because I start stressing about life. A number of personal problems have me upset, plus the pandemic, and major stress about the status of my day job and our finances in the new year keep me awake at night.
My belly seems to be growing, but it really only shows through my work clothes, which are more fitted. The rest of the time I slouch around at home in black leggings and an oversized sweater. The other day I could feel baby’s movements inside me! What a joy to feel. At first you’re not sure whether it’s just digestion, but as they become more frequent, you start to distinguish the two. It feels like a rolling under my skin.
I have such vivid dreams for this pregnancy. I had one a few nights ago that I woke up in the hospital and my belly was gone. I looked down and there was a second C-section scar, so I knew I’d had my baby. They brought him (!) in, and he appeared to be 6 months old already, sitting up on his own with a big fat head and a smile for me. Others have come to me in dreams referring to my “daughters,” so no definitive premonitions yet on whether this is a boy or a girl! Hopefully I’ll know for the next post…
If you missed earlier installments of my pregnancy series, or if you want to keep up with subsequent months as they are published, click here.
Jessica is an American expat living the dream in Normandy. She is wife to a French hubby and mama to a Franco-American daughter, born in 2018, and one whippet. Passionate about all stages of writing, this Francophile created her blog in 2020 to help others navigate motherhood with a focus on conscious parenting and bilingual parenting. Bonne lecture !