20 weeks pregnant baby #4

Pregnancy Update: Halfway Point with Baby #4

I’ve never been great at doing pregnancy updates, but since this is my last pregnancy, I figured I could at least do a few. I did a similar update back when I was pregnant with my second, so I just took the same topics from that.

I officially hit 20 weeks last Friday (Jan. 20).

Note: There may be affiliate links to products, services and books mentioned in the post.

How I’m Feeling

As I’m currently sitting right in the middle of “The Golden Trimester,” I’m feeling pretty good — I don’t feel sick to my stomach, I’m not (totally) exhausted all the time, and I’m still (usually) sleeping pretty well at night. I can also do most physical activities without too much trouble.

However, my back, which has given me significant problems in the past four years and has only recently started really returning to “normal” in the past year or so, has started to really hurt again. Back pain is pretty normal for any pregnancy, but mine got so bad with my last baby that we think it might have had something to do with why I went into preterm labor with him. I do have a standing appointment with my specialized massage therapist coming up soon though, which should help significantly. I’m also planning on seeing him at least a couple more times before delivery.

The Braxton Hicks contractions also started super early with this pregnancy — around 15 weeks. I remember with my first pregnancy that I didn’t really notice them until I was almost in the third trimester, but man, they’re already very noticeable and pretty uncomfortable at times in this pregnancy. I do know at least that they aren’t “the real thing” yet, but any contractions definitely remind me of how hard it was last time to get put on bed rest and how stressful it was to have a pre-term baby. It’s a little too early now to worry about all that (at least, I sure hope so!), but it is definitely something on my mind.

And then there’s my bladder…I know you’re usually supposed to get some kind of reprieve from having to go to the bathroom all the time once you hit Week 14, but my later pregnancies have not been like that. I basically have to plan on going every hour, sometimes twice an hour. I guess the good news is that it means I’m plenty hydrated, but it does make things a little inconvenient.

Emotional-wise, I’m doing okay much of the time, mostly because I’ve been able to feel the baby move consistently since about 15 weeks. Coming off of two back-to-back miscarriages before this has definitely made me more anxious overall about pregnancy in general, and I now worry about things I really didn’t much before, like stillbirth. I imagine the anxiety will probably get a lot stronger as we near the due date, simply because my last pregnancy was very stressful since I started having pre-term labor at only 24 weeks and was put on bed rest around 31 weeks (finally delivering at 35+5 weeks). I am regularly listening to a free meditation app on my phone and practicing anxiety-reducing techniques I’ve learned over the years, but I do anticipate it will get a bit harder the farther along I get. As of now, the anxiety about the pregnancy is usually pretty manageable, and sometimes even nonexistent.

Weight Gain

I’ve been quite consistent across my viable pregnancies with my weight gain up to 20 weeks. Once I hit the 20-week mark, the weight gain has been much more variable, but before I hit that halfway point, I’ve always gained between 8 and 10 pounds, which is where I’m sitting right now as well.

With my first pregnancy, I gained a whopping 50 pounds total, which is something I never want to repeat again because it was a beast to get off after. With my second and third children, I gained right around 30 pounds over both the pregnancies, which is about what I’m shooting for this time. The huge trick for me is keeping my sweet tooth in check once my appetite starts ramping up around this point in the pregnancy, as well as making sure that I take regular walks or do some other form of light exercise.

Thoughts on the Gender

As I mentioned in my gender reveal post, I’ve had a strong hunch from the beginning that this baby was a girl, so I wasn’t surprised to have that confirmed in a 16-week ultrasound. We are SO THRILLED about it, too, since you can’t get much better than having two of each!

Our daughter has desperately wanted a sister for years, and the whole thing just feels so RIGHT, especially because I’ve been having a strong sense for years now that there was supposed to be one more girl in our family. Now I feel our family can officially be complete without any second guessing or questions.

Dressing the Bump

Maybe this is weird, but other than my first pregnancy — when I wanted to show off my bump as soon as it showed up! — I don’t like to draw attention to my belly until it basically becomes 100% impossible not to, simply because I tend to get really tired of all the comments people tend to make. Most of the time the comments are fine, but it sure gets tedious when you’re only five months along and people are already telling you that you “look like you’re about to pop” (which, for the record, is one of my least favorite things that people say to me ever).

Since I’m coming up on that 5 month mark, there isn’t really much I can do to “hide” my belly, but I do tend to downplay it by wearing a certain cut of shirt (basically this luxe v-neck tee from Old Navy in almost every color they offer, which has been my go-to favorite shirt for years now). Since it’s a looser fit (but still flattering), it downplays my size, so I haven’t *yet* had to deal with (too much) unwanted commentary.

I do have plenty of cute maternity tops and clothes that accentuate my pregnancy shape, but I probably won’t really start to wear them until I’m a little further along. I don’t know if that’s totally weird, but that’s just what I’ve done the past few pregnancies.

Obviously I did wear something for these pictures that showed off the bump a bit. And I was reminded pretty soon thereafter of why I usually choose not to at this point 🙂

Birth Plan

My first two birth experiences were unmedicated, which ended up being really hard because of after-birth complications. Due to those prior experiences and due to my anxiety about my third labor experience being sky high because I knew I was going to have him prematurely, I opted last time to go for an epidural to give everyone a little peace of mind (including my doctor).

Overall, my experience with getting the epidural was very positive, and it definitely helped to ease my state of mind in an already stressful situation. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this pregnancy, but my doctor did say he’d be surprised if I made it to 38 weeks (and even seemed skeptical about 37 weeks), so I’m trying to prepare myself in case I have a similar experience as before. Because of that, I am planning on having another epidural, and if I am able to make it past 37 weeks, I might even be preparing to be induced. Time will tell.

Other Thoughts

I didn’t know how I would feel when it came time for my official last pregnancy, but honestly? I feel pretty relieved. Pregnancy and childbirth haven’t been as straightforward and simple as I was hoping they would be for me, and because of that, I tend to deal with a fair amount of anxiety and worry and preoccupation whenever I’m pregnant. While I know my mind will certainly find other things to be anxious about after this stage is over (which is something I’m working on), I do feel a distinct peace in knowing that when it comes to these particular fears around losing pregnancies and hard deliveries and such, I’m nearing the end.

It’s also been liberating to know the gender already and to know that we’re for sure done having kids because it’s meant that we’ve been able to already start letting go of a lot of the baby stuff we now know we won’t need. We’ve been storing clothes for both genders up until their current ages (and for several years beyond), so the fact that I could just get rid of several bins like *that* after we found out we were having a girl felt pretty darn good.

While a small part of me is sad knowing that we’ll only have one more baby and experience those tender first years one more time with our own child, I also feel excitement and anticipation knowing that we can just devote 100% of our energy and focus into where we’re at now and where we’ll end up together, rather than wondering what the next few years will be like family-planning-wise. Basically, I’m a super Type A personality when it comes to certain things like planning, so knowing that this is where we’re stopping has made that part of my brain happy. I now don’t worry if we’ll need a bigger kitchen table or a bigger vehicle or whatever…I just know where we’ll stand.

It’s been pretty freeing, actually.

And that’s about all I have for now! Let me know below if you have any questions 🙂

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