All of a sudden, somewhere between twelve and fourteen weeks, I woke up and pregnancy was everything I ever wanted it to be and so much more. It’s hard to say how much of the crappiness of the first trimester was the IVF hormones and how much was normal first trimester stuff, but the day I went off my progesterone injections I had so much more energy.
I was lucky, too, that, like clockwork, my “morning sickness” (ahem, pregnancy induced nausea, which most certainly did not happen only in the morning) disappeared. I stopped having so many weird food aversions and a desire to only consume huge amounts of carbs, yogurt, and oranges.
Off the progesterone and, uterus floating up out of the pelvis, I stopped getting up 5 times in the middle of the night to pee. The early part of the second trimester was marked by an absence of symptoms, mostly. No nausea, no fatigue, no peeing, little moodiness. For several weeks I thought “well, I haven’t gotten my period in a long time so I guess that means I’m pregnant.” Not bleeding felt like the only real clue.
Then my belly started to grow, bit by bit, until somewhere around 18 weeks when I felt like it just popped out and I could see it growing in real time. My boobs went through a second growth spurt too. I reveled in my changing body, staring at myself in the mirror all these new curves, feeling a feminine lusciousness.
I felt well enough to start exercising again and quickly became obsessed with prenatal yoga, all juicy hips and pelvic floors and rooms full of pregnant ladies. Across the threshold of that early more dicey time, and holding onto that faith I’d cultivated, I told myself I was no more likely to lose this baby now than at 35 weeks, and so I might as well enjoy it. (I realize that might sound like a bizarre comfort to people who’ve never experienced loss, but there you go!) I saw my future in these women, huge bellies and powerful warrior poses.
I actually felt like the earth mother goddess I had envisioned becoming. I decided I wanted to be pregnant forever. Those of you who’ve been reading my column are probably thinking, holy 180! And it’s true, it felt that dramatic to me, too. In a way, I think the bliss came in that way it only can after a dark time. I thought often of Kahlil Gibran’s lines of poetry: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
I was overflowing with joy, with gratitude for making it this far in my pregnancy, with curves and creativity. An expansiveness that connected me to all the beauty and love around me. There would have been a time in my life where this much gushing would have been embarrassing to me, the level of sap I rose to, but not now. I felt a deep empathy for everyone around me, and rather than feeling like all these feelings were a terrible strange burden, like I sometimes did during IVF and the first trimester, I felt so very grateful for them. It felt so good to look at the world with so much compassion and tenderness.
This sweetness and sensuality drew me ever closer towards Simone. I would wake up each morning and stare at her, slightly baffled by how magnificent she was. In awe that there she was, in our bed, yet again, day in and day out. That somehow I was getting to spend my life with this wonderful person. That we had chosen each other, and that we kept choosing each other, over and over, as we plan to do for the rest of our lives. I could lay there, puzzling over how lucky I was, staring at her and snuggling back in, for hours.
Sometimes, though, just staring at her wasn’t enough. I had to have her hands on me, needed her to devour me, over and over please, and just never stop. Every inch of me felt hyper attuned to each touch or kiss, all that extra blood flow and sensitive breasts being put to good use. I was ravenous, pretty much all the time. It might have been overwhelming if it wasn’t so much fun. Our sex is often interplanetary, but during these months there was super extra holy wow total transcendence mind blown don’t worry I never to need to come back from here-ness.
Slowly, as I wasn’t sure at first if it was really happening, the other coolest part of the second trimester began to happen. I began to feel the baby move. At first there was a lot of, “is that?!” But later it was unmistakeable. On a trip away from Simone I captured my belly moving for the first time, real evidence that there was a little person growing inside me. A little person with legs to kick and hands to punch and a head to head butt me with and somersaults to do.
Tiny Dancer makes me laugh and laugh with her/his moves, like s/he’s telling me some kind of joke or discovering something new for the first time or even fumbling around all uncoordinated. Whatever it is, I find it very funny. And I find it very sweet.
I am carrying my baby inside my body, teaching him/her about the world through my experiences. Every good feeling transmitting those hormones through the placenta. Every taste filtering into the amniotic fluid. Teaching her/him the sound of laughter and music and Simone’s voice. Teaching him/her about how beautiful and filled with sensation the world s/he is coming into is going to be.
I felt so present during the second trimester (lots of mindfulness probably helped). Because of my miscarriage, because of how hard we worked to get here, because of all the people I know still trying (or who have decided to build their families in other ways, or not at all), I take nothing for granted. Not a moment. I savor every kick, every new curve, every song Simone sings to our little one. I feel very aware of how fleeting this time is, how we will never be here again.
I can’t guarantee I will ever get pregnant again (I so hope to, of course), but even if I could it would be a totally different experience. A different baby, a different pregnancy, a different time in our lives. And likely (oh, how I hope) I’ll have a little one in the world clamoring for my attention. As I approached the end of the second trimester I became more aware of this transition on the horizon. Baby as beginning and end. The end of this era of us, of me and Simone, of our early years as a couple. It will never be just the two of us, ever again.
As I rounded the corner towards the second trimester I felt both patient and ready. Simone and I are so ready (whatever that means!) for this new phase of our family, a phase that will no doubt call upon us to both strengthen our bond as a couple and release some of our hold. But I felt in no rush to get there, either, as I looked to the last trimester of pregnancy and our last few months together. You can take your time, baby. I want you fully cooked.
I write this in the early days of the third trimester, with a keen awareness that the only thing certain in this journey of pregnancy, of parenting, of life is that EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE. So stay tuned with me for what this last phase of pregnancy will bring. If you’ve been pregnant, chime in with comments about what I should expect next!
Watch the video for more on the second trimester, and, always, sappy moments between me and Simone, and, yup, more tears!
Oh dear it’s raining at my desk how about that.
tee hee, that’s the cutest way I’ve putting it I’ve ever heard. Thanks for reading/watching :)
ahem, way of*
this made me the happiest <3
aww, yay! glad to share a little sunshine around. thanks for letting me know :)
This is the cutest.
Whenever a new video or column goes up, my friends and I rush to tell each other about it. It’s one of the highlights of my week. I can’t wait to see more and also read about your childbirth and parenting experiences, if you decide you want to share those with us. This whole series has been really delightful and educational!
oh that is just about the nicest thing to hear!! thanks so much for sharing with me <3 it makes it so rewarding to hear from people that they are enjoying it. otherwise it can sometimes feel like sending words into a void :)
and yes, definitely will be vlogging and writing about the childbirth and parenting experiences when I get there!! it'll be interesting to see how that goes with little Tiny in my arms, haha.
subscribe if you haven't to stay updated of all my episodes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxCyGAVLGyLb9HtYrRFix7Q
and please stay in touch!
Simply beautiful! Sending good vibes to you, Simone and your tiny dancer! Sounds like your little one will be coming into a world of love and smiles :)
thank you, Kelsey. and yes, we hope to welcome Tiny Dancer to a home filled with so much love, laughter, and music!! stay in touch. I so love to hear from readers!
Oh my goodness gracious I loved this. I most definitely do not want to get pregnant any time soon, and I’m mostly sure I only want to be pregnant a couple of times at most, but you described everything I’ve ever imagined pregnancy to be. I kind of view pregnancy as the ultimate reclamation of my womanhood and the ultimate feminist act: for a good number of women in history, being barefoot, pregnant, and tied to the kitchen sink was the entirety of their worth. A vessel for procreation (and sex at guys’ whims) was all they were good for. Reduced to their bodies. I’m lucky in that my mom always spoke highly of birth control, but there were a whole lot of people at our church and homeschooling groups that believed that a woman’s whole glory was caught up in just how many babies she could pop out. I mean, this is still a reality for SO MANY WOMEN AND GIRLS all over the world, in the US and elsewhere.
So anyway, for a long time I was pretty against the idea of having kids via procreation. I thought I’d adopt or something…and then I thought I’d marry a girl and she’d just be the pregnant one.
But anyway, as my feminism grew, I think my awe at the power of my body grew, too. I mean, it’s so magical to think about, that my body can create and grow a human being. And the awe of how it all works, especially microchimerism, that a mother carries the cells of her children in her for the rest of her life, even those that were miscarried. And, oh my god, I know it doesn’t apply to your case because of the partner-to-partner IVF but knowing I’m passing down an unbreakable strand of mitochondrial DNA is badass. DNA passed on to me by my mother, who got it from her mother, and on and on all the way back to the first woman. An unbroken line of ladies. LOVE IT SO MUCH. It just makes me feel very connected to my history (especially because historically my people have had a strictly matrilineal society), and women’s history in general.
ANYWAY, all that to say is this totally made me tear up. Your posts about your pregnancy are a highlight in my week! I’m so excited for you and Simone! Thanks so so much for sharing the journey with us.
thank you for sharing your story and thoughts! so much of what you’re saying totally resonates with me. I don’t want to essentialize woman-ness or femininity in any way down to growing a baby but I also do feel into my femininity so much in all of this. and I totally think it’s one of the fucking coolest things ever to grow a baby in my body. not sure there’s anything more magical and wild I can do with my body really. (by the way, when it’s your time, you might enjoy “Magical Beginnings” by Deepak Chopra, a very cool holistic pregnancy book).
and yes to feeling connected to all women forever in human history, and I hadn’t even thought of the super cool mitochondrial DNA strand awesomeness! I do think often about how I now have Simone’s DNA floating around in my blood. and how the baby is Simone’s genetically, but also built of me. It’s all so darn trippy and cool.
anyway obviously I could say so much more about this too, so we should definitely stay in touch!!! please keep commenting and stay tuned :) and thank you so much for your kind words.
I just love this column and your videos!
thank you!! if you haven’t already, subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I post even more videos :) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxCyGAVLGyLb9HtYrRFix7Q
basically i’m just like following your pregnancy to decide how pregnancy is gonna be and last time i was like UGH THIS IS GONNA BE THE WORST so now i’m like YES THIS IS GONNA BE THE BEST. no pressure.
hahaha. and I KNOWWWW. guess third trimester will have to be the tie breaker :)
so far, so good. *frantically knocks on every wood surface*
So beautiful :)
<3 thanks, Celia!!
Haley! You look beautiful! And so happy!!!! This is so great to be able follow you through. Third trimester is NOWHERE near as bad as the first but the sleepies come back- oh and the peeling multiple times at night :) your nausea might be replaced with a little lower back pain but nothing you won’t be able to handle! Congratulation to you two!!!! Tiny Dancer is going to be perfect!
aww, thank you Shonda!! A couple weeks into the third trimester now and I do think the sleepies are creeping back in! And DEFINITELY peeing multiple times per night again. Tiny’s head on my bladder and all that :) trying to keep up the yoga as much as possible to keep avoiding most of the physical pains (/work them out when they come) but yeah nothing even close to like the first. plus feeling and seeing the baby get bigger and knowing how close we are is so rewarding :)
thanks again and please stay in touch!! <3
Lovely as ever! I feel like a broken record commenting on these, like, oh yes so beautiful so inspiring but dem’s the breaks. You look great and I cried yet again. I’m very much looking forward to the next instalment.
Are you planning on continuing the series beyond the arrival of tiny dancer?
Simone + Haley 4ever.
no such thing as a broken record! otherwise I have no idea if people are still enjoying the series, so please do post away! also, thank you so much for your kindness. next episode I talk all about my complicated feelings (and excitement :) ) at finding out the sex.
I definitely plan to continue vlogging beyond the arrival of Tiny Dancer, but not sure yet what I’ll do with Autostraddle! I’m currently slated for 12 episodes, right about through the birth. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue in some way though, so keep commenting and sharing with friends so AS asks for more!! :)
oh and connect with me on Twitter/FB/instagram if you’re on any of those!
(Twitter – @lezgetpregnant, FB – tiny.cc/queermamafb, Instagram – @queer_mama)
This is so happy and you guys are so cute. I look forward to these videos every week. Your child has a beautiful life ahead. <3
oh thank you for your sweetest, most kind words! It is so nice to hear you look forward to these videos. And I do so hope to give Tiny the most beautiful life! <3
I can just feel your radiant energy. I love how you described your connection with Simone as well as this pregnancy. I hope to someday find a piece of this happiness. Thank you for the videos and updates <3
My thoughts exactly. That beautiful happy smile!
Thank you for all this positive pregnancy stuff! That was good to see after just having surgery to get a myoma removed, seeing all these women with complications during their pregnancies at the hospital and having friends lose a baby at 7 weeks. So there is actually stuff that is fun about having a uterus and procreating.l
I´ve cried at every episode, and this one was no exception.. so beautiful! Bless the internet! And warmest, kindest thoughts to the 3 of you, all the way from Finland!