Belly Button

 

See? There’s a lighter ring of skin around my belly button!

 (23 weeks today–other page has been updated)

 

 

 

 

Bonus photo from the roof tonight:

 

 

 

 

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this body: almost 23 weeks

Lots of changes are afoot in the last few months, and I figured it would be good to keep track of them for posterity. So here’s a round-up of what’s already happened, and I’m sure there will be more changes as we go on. I’m almost 23 weeks right now, so there is a LOT of time and belly growth still to come!

22 weeks twin pregnancy photo

The biggest and most recent development is that I can feel all kinds of movement. Kicks, bumps, rolls, nudges, who knows what they’re doing in there, but I can feel them. Also, the movement is strong enough to be felt by other people if they put their hand on my belly! Even more so, you can SEE IT. My skin kind of jumps out when they budge up against there. So weird!!

I’ve always been a very fast walker and literally cannot move very slowly with slow/dawdling walkers. It makes walking around Manhattan frustrating, and I’ve learned to push and shove on the subway with the best of them. However, being pregnant slowed me WAY down. (And I might add that because I am considerate of others, I always tried to walk to the side so as not to block the way for faster people.) Especially in late April and May, when things were still new, I couldn’t walk any faster than a slowpoke! Any faster and I would just feel icky. There were days on our trip in Europe that poor Andy had to barely shuffle with me (but I’m glad that he did :D).

Thankfully, in the last month or two that has gotten better, and I’m much faster again, at least on flat ground (but not as fast as I used to be). Going up a flight of stairs, however, it’s like I’m in slow motion! Just can’t go any faster and I don’t know why. And actually, I go pretty slow down stairs too.

On the treadmill, I used to walk at 4mph (which on those machines is the ‘jog’ setting), but now I can get up to 2.7mph and with a small incline too. On the elliptical, I used to warm up at level 5 and then gradually move up to 10 or 12. I went to the gym a few weeks ago, and had to warm up on 1, and then made my way up to 5! Not very impressive.

In the last few weeks though, I’ve gotten more tired and unwieldy, and decided to let go of the whole idea of working out. I’ve been getting a lot of little aches and pains, and twisting and folding/bending is more and more uncomfortable. So no more gym or pretending that I will go to the gym. I do have occasional walks though and those usually seem to be ok. My mom likes to remind me of all the pregnant women she sees in her classes working out and being superstars, and unfortunately that’s just not going to be me. Technically this is a high-risk pregnancy, after all! Don’t I have a good excuse to be lazier? 🙂

Speaking of lazy, sitting is what I do the most of lately. Getting up and down is more difficult though. I have to use my hands to push myself a little, and overall there’s definitely more effort involved.

Sleeping has been a more uncomfortable for the last month plus. I’m a side sleeper, and turn back and forth during the night. Well, as this belly has grown, and presumably my abdominal muscles have completely atrophied and spread out, I can no longer move myself quickly from the core. I have to sort of turn (and often grunt) in bits and fits now.

It’s hard to eat enough. A few weeks ago I got hit by some seriously powerful hunger–like an endless desperate gnawing of hunger. It’s less desperate now, but the gnawing can come on very quickly. When we were out west, we went out for dinner with some friends. I was already starving, so when I heard there would be a 20-30 minute wait til we got seated…well, I knew that just wasn’t an option for me. So I left Andy there and I went to the McDonald’s next door for a snack! Classy, right? But hey, gotta keep health in mind. And don’t worry, I still ate a big dinner and dessert at the real restaurant!

Like I mentioned, bending/folding is uncomfortable. My belly isn’t even that big yet, so I’m sure it will be impossible soon enough. Currently I have to put on shoes and socks sideways, which is weird. I guess I will need to shop for some slip-ons come fall! And I think I won’t be able to shave my lower legs in awhile either.

A few months ago I bought two pairs of maternity pants, before I definitely needed them. Happily the weather has been good enough that I’ve been living in skirts and dresses for the last couple months and didn’t need to bother anything at all with pants. I did decide to wear them on the plane back to NYC…and I was not a fan. The band thing was uncomfortable, and it felt like they kept slipping down, especially in the back. I had to keep hiking them up! I felt like I needed a belt or at least some belt loops to tug on and keep the pants in place!

I was happy to see that at least I looked pretty good in the jeans. My hips have grown two inches wider, but overall I’m not fatter or anything. I’ve gained at least 15 pounds I think, probably more by now. (I don’t have a scale and only used to weigh myself at the gym. Since I haven’t been there in about a month, now I have only the doctor visit weigh-in to go by.) But it’s all in the belly and chest! And also my fingers, which are swollen and a little painful. I took off my rings for good last week.

Speaking of belly, sometimes I forget I have it. On the plane, I tried to scoot past a large man in the aisle, and bumped my tummy right against a seat. This week at a restaurant, I kept bumping against the table. Whoops!

I know that when one is pregnant enough, one’s belly button flattens and then pops out like a turkey timer button thing. What I didn’t realize was how the spreading works. My belly button seems a pretty deep innie, but as it’s spreading out, that means there is basically new skin that’s never been outside before, surrounding my belly button. It’s noticeably whiter than the surrounding skin, and remarkably softer. It’s essentially a small ring of newborn baby skin! It’s all VERY weird! I’ve never heard or seen anyone talk about this or show this before, have you?

Bigger and Bigger

I’ve been taking weekly photos for my belly progress–it’s really interesting to see little changes week by week! For example, within the last week, looking at photos, my tummy doesn’t look a lot bigger (though it is, by a full inch!), it’s rounded out noticeably. Not something I saw or would have seen without the comparisons.

I uploaded all of them so far in a separate page and will continue to update them each week. So the photos will all be in one place, and you can find it in a ‘page’ there on the top!

So it’s there if you want to see it, but this way I don’t have to clutter regular posts with photos.

It Grows

This is me at 19 weeks compared to 9 weeks (ie, nothing). It’s really starting to show! Last week two different people asked about it. It’s really obvious here, in something tight, and especially if you knew what I looked like before. I’ve been wearing a lot of dresses, and some of them sort of camouflage or downplay any belly, and at least one of them makes it pretty obvious. I guess from now on I’ll need to be ready for more comments from strangers.

It’s also strange that I can see the roundness from the front (just as bare belly). My belly button has been getting shallower for weeks now too, so the whole thing looks different. My whole abdomen feels firm, instead of just where my uterus is; I didn’t expect that. And it’s definitely firmer to the touch after I’ve eaten.

Last week I decided to keep track of my growth (too bad I didn’t from the beginning!), so here’s what’s happened so far.

 

Before measurements:

Chest: 34″ or so

Waist: 30″

Hips: 38″

Weight: 148 or so

 

19 weeks measurements:

Chest: 40″

“Waist”: 33″

Belly button circumference: 37″

Widest part of belly: 38 1/2″

Hips: 40″

Weight: 160

The belly button measurement hasn’t changed from last week, but in comparing the photos, there’s a noticeable difference, in the fullness.

I’m now comfortable saying that I’m feeling movement. There’s a fishy kind of swimmy feeling that I’ve sensed for a few weeks now, so I think that really is it. Tonight they must have been doing a bunch of somersaults, because it felt like things were rolling over and over in there. They are both about 6 inches long now, so I guess it’s not surprising that I can feel two of them moving around.

When I visited the doctor two weeks ago, she said I was measuring at 20 weeks (while I was at 17), so I’m not too much bigger than a singleton would be. I think overall I’m carrying on the small side (for twins, obviously! the twin standard is singleton + 7 weeks). It’s crazy to think how much will continue to grow and change for four more months!

Believing

We have assorted ultrasound photos tacked to the fridge, along with the most recent referral form, which says at the bottom, “twin gestation”.  So most of the time that I do something in the kitchen, my eyes fall on one or some of these items, and whoa.

Pregnant.

Twins.

I’m four and a half months through this thing–halfway, considering that full term for twins is 37 weeks instead of 40–and it still hits me occasionally. The magnitude of the whole thing. The alienness of having new life bumbling around inside, and that there are two of them! TWO. OF. THEM.

We are very lucky in that we get to see at least a quick sonogram at every OB visit. (We go to an office/hospital a couple blocks away, and since Andy also works nearby, he can and does come to all the appointments with me.) With a singleton, the OB can use an instrument to just hear the heartbeat to make sure everything is still kicking. But with more than one, you can’t pick out discrete beats audibly, so she does a quick sonogram to check visually.

We had an appointment last week, and we saw one of the aliens swallow, and the other alien was having a full-on party, dancing or playing the drums or something. I could see not just the bones, but the lighter gray tissue of its actual limbs all moving around.

GOOD LORD THERE ARE TWO ACTUAL MINIATURE PEOPLE IN THERE.

It is just so weird. So weird!

And that makes me feel odd. It seems like most pregnancy things I read (and I’ve definitely been doing my share of reading) talk about their delight and love and feeling all beautiful Mother Earth Goddessy.

This whole thing has been such a surprise that I often feel like it just hasn’t sunk in, still. Maybe it’s partly because I still occasionally have trouble believing that I’m a grown-up. Maybe it’s partly because it hasn’t been so physical on the outside (YET), so it’s less real because I can’t see it. (That is beginning to change–the seeing part, I mean.) Or maybe it’s because I was never one of those people who always knew she wanted to be a mother from the age of whatever. (Remember that I helped care for my two much younger siblings, so babies are not exactly mysterious beautiful things for me.)  I’m not sure what it says about me and my future parenting potential if I’m not beaming beatifically all the time at my belly and at the world. Does it mean that since it’s so hard to believe this is actually happening, I won’t be good at it?

I already worry about these aliens, insomuch as what I am or am not doing for them. Am I cooking them appropriately? Since I don’t eat meat or eggs or fish am I doing something bad for their development? Are the vitamins really enough of a substitute? Will they come out okay? (For the record, the first round of chromosomal testing came through all clear. Second round results in a couple weeks.)

I’m a little protective too. I already hate, loathe, abhor cigarette smoke and I wish it would be banned from any kind of public open space. And now that I’m carrying some innocent life that’s still building itself, I find that I hate having to walk by smokers even more for polluting the air, my air, the aliens’ air.

So at least I’m already looking out for what’s best for them. That’s good, right?