17.5 weeks. The baby has been moving quite a lot. Some sources say if it’s your first child, you may not start feeling movement until 18 weeks, but this started at 16 weeks, so there must be a lot of variation in that. But it’s gone from “Wait, was that my intestines gurgling or did the kid just move?” to “ooh! that’s definitely the kid moving! ooh! Just happened again!” to “Whoa! I actually felt that on my HAND!” Sometimes it’s just a little nudge: “oh, you’re awake! Hi baby!”. Other times, I’m pretty sure the kid has got his or her tiny hands on a contraband karate manual, and is practicing for a tournament.
After three months of no discernible wait gain, and possibly some net loss of weight, I feel like I am now stretching and growing at a breakneck rate. My guts are uncomfortable, and I can actually feel the strain as my abdominal wall stretches out. I’ve been keeping tabs on my blood sugars, as always, and they remain abnormally low, so I’m pretty sure this is normal (the weight gain, that is. I am still freaked out by getting a 79 glucose reading an hour after lunch). But I feel very ambivalent about it. A few years back I found myself overweight. The top of the normal, healthy range for my height is something like 132 pounds. I had reached 156. Something had to be done. So I did it. I adjusted my eating habits, started obsessing about my blood sugar like I probably should have been doing since I was… I dunno, 16?… got a little more exercise (not a lot, but it does help with blood sugar control), and I got the weight down– and became a lot healthier into the bargain. Before I got pregnant I had reached a comfortable maintenance level, at 120 pounds– a safe margin between me and overweight, but not yet approaching the 110 “underweight” designation for my height. I was happy with my body for the first time in… ever.
I don’t have a scale, and I don’t want one– it’d be far, far too tempting a thing to obsess over. But I do get out the tape measure about once a week to see what’s going on, and compare to the previous weeks. My hips are still one centimeter shy of my pre-pregnancy measure, thanks to the being sick for two months. I’ve put on five centimeters around the belly, and four around the waist. In absolute terms, for four months pregnant, I KNOW this isn’t unreasonable… but since it all feels like it happened in the last three weeks, I find it alarming. Part of my brain is still very much programmed by the lost-the-36-pounds experience, and wants to go back to losing-weight mode, even though the rest of me knows that weight gain right now is natural, healthy, and necessary. It makes for a terrible dissonance in my head. “Wow, I really am pregnant!” trying to shout down “Eeek! How did this belly get here so fast!? PANIC!!”
On the other hand, I keep reminding myself, I can do this. Most women gain a total of well under 36 pounds, once you subtract the weight of the baby, the amniotic fluid, the placenta, and all that extra blood, which go away by themselves. And I’ve lost 36 pounds before… I can do it again if I need to. No problem. Noproblem noproblem noproblem. If I keep telling myself that, maybe the weight-control part of my brain will finally be convinced.