Amelia’s belly at the end of the second trimester

The Second Trimester

The second trimester started with something that we unashamedly call a babymoon — a trip to Hawaii! We had travelled to Hawaii five years earlier for our honeymoon, and we’d wanted to go back ever since. The pregnancy seemed like as good an excuse as any to go (and it occurred to us that this might be our last chance for some time).

We were not disappointed.

Maui, seen from the ocean
Maui is a magical place.

This post is primarily about the pregnancy, and not our time spent lazing about in in a Hawaiian paradise. Still, the second trimester is supposed to be the fun one, so a little bit of vacation talk would be in keeping with our theme. I promise to keep it brief.

When we first visited Maui five years prior, we spent the first four of our seven days doing nothing but lying on the beach and relaxing. This time around we had booked 10 days, and were a little quicker to begin organizing excursions. It only took two days of lying around on the beach (and eating copious quantities of food: Amelia went back for a third portion of prime rib at our Sunday brunch!) for us to decide to put together an itinerary. Our first event: diving into the briny deep in a submarine!

Atlantis Submarine
Dave had a BSc in Oceanography and was hilarious, two excellent qualities for a deep sea tour guide.

Figuring out which events to book was a challenge. Many companies would not allow pregnant women to purchase tickets to even mildly-dangerous attractions, for liability reasons. It took a fair amount of discussion between the booking agent and the submarine tour provider to determine that Amelia would be permitted to set foot into that pressurized capsule.

Amelia was especially keen on doing some zip lining, but that didn’t pan out. Maui is dotted with dozens of zip lines, but not a single operator was willing to countenance a pregnant woman on their line. The line we typically heard was that it could contribute to premature labour, although no one actually inquired as to how far along in the pregnancy Amelia was. It seems unlikely that a 13-week-pregnant woman is going to go into labor while suspended 150 feet above the waving Hawaiian palms, but we didn’t press the issue.

Other than the submarine, one of our earliest outings involved driving across the island from northerly Ka’anapali Beach (where we were staying) to southerly Makena, where a classmate from my bar exam prep course (Al Doolittle) was staying with his wife (Christina) and newly-arrived daughter (Norah, just two months old). We met up for lunch, where Al and I mostly chatted about arranging parental leave (which, for a male lawyer, seems to typically involve a substantial amount of negotiation and not a lot of time away from the office). We rounded out the parenting talk with law nerd stuff — Al does an excellent job of putting on an interested face while I talk about copyright.

After lunch we stopped by Big Beach, which is right next door to Makena. The sun was really beating down, which was a problem since Amelia had become quite sensitive to heat. By the time we had walked across the beach to the nearby cliffs (which takes about 10 minutes), Amelia was exhausted and dehydrated. We took a break in the shade before sending the cliffs.

Big Beach on Maui
The view was definitely worth it.

The pregnancy, and Amelia’s sudden aversion to the sun, give me a good excuse to get Amelia indoctrinated into the cult of the SPF. Normally she mocks my pale-skinned need for protection from the malevolent orb in the sky, but her melanin count did not defend her from our doctor’s suggestion that she protect her skin while on vacation. For the baby, of course.

Chris’ sunscreened arms on Maui
I tried to set a good example by lathering up every two hours, just like the bottle dictated.

One of our biggest excursions while on vacation was a day trip to Molokai. Our timing for this was not great, as intense winds kicked up after our first few days on the island. This made the ferry ride over quite choppy, which you’d think would be a problem for the woman who had just spent the last three months of vomiting non-stop. Not so! Rather, it resulted in me being a lousy conversationalist and focusing on a fixed point in the distance for a two hour stretch while Amelia watched for dolphins.

Our fortunes were reversed once we arrived on the island. We had arranged a guided tour, but hopping in and out of the tour bus prove to be quite draining for the overheated mama-to-be. She ended up napping in the bus while we all went out to lunch. The tour guide was very accommodating; he even parked the bus in the shade to keep Amelia cool. This wasn’t quite enough; she still felt drained after waking up. We ended up wrapping up the end of the tour by finding the nearest government services building and sitting her in front of the air conditioner.

Molokai Fish & Dive
The other buildings along Molokai’s main strip did not have sophisticated air conditioner technology.

On the ferry ride back from Molokai, the wind had kicked up dramatically. Amelia convinced me to take some Gravol to fend off any potential seasickness, which knocked me out pretty good. I woke up only once along the return trip, only to feel instantly nauseous. I opened my eyes long enough only to see Amelia relinquishing the contents of her stomach into a small paper bag.

Being pregnant, Amelia is supposed to avoid medications whenever possible. Once again, the staff were very understanding and seated Amelia up front (where the open air and stable seating reduce the likelihood of seasickness) and kept a staff member on hand to monitor her.

The following day was spent moving as little as possible on solid, stationary ground. We only briefly made it away from the poolside to ask the booking agent to cancel our booking for a dinner cruise — it’s unlikely that adding steak to the mix would have strengthened our sea legs. It wasn’t until the next day that we summoned up the wherewithal to venture out to further explore Maui. Even then, we were playing on easy mode; we decided to revisit Iao Valley, one of our favourite spots from the honeymoon.

Chameleon on Maui
We found this chameleon on a tree; a local girl picked it up and handed it to Amelia.

We rounded out the rest of the day with plantation trips and aquarium visits. The plantation had a number of zip lines, which taunted Amelia with their inaccessibility. It made up for it with a variety of colorful and exotic plants!

Pineapples on Maui
We learned a lot about pineapples. Did you know they grow full-size pineapples one year and little mini-pineapples the next year?

After nearly a week of lying in the sun, getting buffeted by waves, and running to and fro across the island, Amelia was beginning to feel a little tired. We figured the best way to cap off a busy day of vacationing was with some indoor relaxation. In Amelia’s mind, this can only mean one thing: movie night! As it happens, Avengers: Age of Ultron had just opened in theaters, so we bought ourselves some tickets and settled in for a not-so-quiet evening in. This might not be a terribly vacation-y thing to do, but it was the perfect thing for us.

The following day was our seventh day of a ten-day trip. By this point, Amelia was starting to wear down. Her stomach had developed a dull ache midway through the trip, and it had not let up. She was feeling tired, and we’d ticked off all the major items on our to-do list, with plenty of poolside lazing besides. As we looked at our itinerary, we began to think that we’d really rather spend those last few days in the comfort of our own home (and probably see a doctor about the whole stomach thing — Amelia was getting pretty worried).

That morning, Amelia called in to WestJet and let them know that she was (a) pregnant and (b) not feeling well. WestJet’s response was immediate — they booked us on the first flight out of Maui, with no fees and no questions asked. Our flight left early that afternoon, so we checked out of our hotel early, piled our stuff into our rental car, and headed for the airport.

We had a little bit of extra time before the flight took off, so we made a quick stop along the way at some botanical gardens. We had to hurry through, but the brightly-coloured flowers were soothing.

Amelia in a cave on Maui
She’s glowing, and only partially because of HDR artifacting.

The airport itself was a bit of a zoo, with people everywhere and all sorts of things going on at once. Amelia already feeling unwell, and that environment left her feeling overwhelmed — even sitting down or standing in line left her feeling drained. She had also lost her appetite, which was worrisome. All this only made us more relieved to be going home.

The flight itself is fine; we got placed in separate rows due to our last-minute addition, but Amelia began to feel better once we were in the air. I passed the time by chatting with the older couple seated next to me about their pregnancy experiences — apparently the wisdom was once that pregnant women should avoid direct sunlight altogether. None of our doctors or resources had made that recommendation (they’d simply recommended sunblock), so I suppose medical science has shifted in the last few decades.

We landed late at night, and slept in next day. By the next morning, Amelia had a full-blown migraine, along with a return of nausea. Our doctor’s office and the nearby clinics were all full, so we waited it out and made an appointment for a later check-up (scheduled for the following week). Still, we were glad to be home; Amelia had been speaking longingly of our couch, and I had seen more than enough of the sun for one summer.

After a few days, Amelia began to feel better. By the time the doctor checked her out, she was fine. He noted that these sorts of symptoms are just some of the many joys that pregnant women can expect to experience at random, but couldn’t pinpoint a particular issue. We also checked with Amelia’s gastroenterologist and her OB/GYN, but neither could provide any more clarity. They checked the baby out, determined it was fine, and advised that we not worry about it.

Around this time, Amelia and I settled on a pre-birth nickname for the baby. After all, you can only refer to it as “the baby” and “it” for so long. We had already decided on names before even trying to conceive, but (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is avoiding the constant judgment all parents face following every decision) we had decided not to reveal the baby’s name until the birth. In the meantime, Amelia proposed that we call the baby “Cheeseweed”. There is a bit of a story behind this (it involves Tumblr), but the gist of it is that the distinction between plants names which are appropriate for children (Rose, Ivy, etc.) and those which are not (Cheeseweed, Dragonhunter, etc.) is sort of arbitrary. Why not reclaim a less-loved name from nature?

And so Cheeseweed was born. Er, well, selected. You know what I mean. Anyways, it’s a pleasant-enough looking plant, and it also goes by the name “little mallow” (since it’s a relative to marshmallow), which is just the sort of delightful connection that one hopes for in a baby’s nickname. I was reluctant at first, but within a few weeks the quirky appellation had won me over. Acceptance was slower to come to our parents and grandparents, but come acceptance did.

We found this near our home. It might not actually be cheeseweed, but it sure looks similar!

It wasn’t long after we returned from Hawaii (about 16 weeks into the pregnancy, in early May) that Amelia’s belly began to visibly grow to accommodate little Cheeseweed. Amelia had been insisting for weeks that she was starting to show, but it wasn’t until this point that anybody agreed with her. Thankfully, the expanding belly brought with it only minor troubles — a kind of ache called “round ligament pain” that’s common to pregnancies and a renewed pressure on her bladder which necessitated especially frequent bathroom breaks.

Overall, though, the second trimester was generally much kinder to Amelia than the first. Amelia got back to work in good health and good spirits, looking forward to fewer pregnancy-related absences.

We even found time for outdoor activities! We accepted an invitation from our friends Susie and Nic to hike the Grouse Grind; Amelia took the gondola (she’s not a madperson), but she gamely traipsed across the mountaintop with us for the better part of the afternoon. Plus, simply being pregnant is enough to work up an appetite — she had no trouble keeping up with us during our post-hike brunch.

Amelia, Susie, and Nic on Grouse Mountain
Three (and a half?) very full and tired individuals.

Indeed, we spent a substantial portion of the second trimester seeing friends and eating large quantities of food. This worked out pretty well, and we recommend it to all pregnant women (and non-pregnant folks to boot!).

Along the way, we turned our minds to baby-related considerations. There is a fair amount of coordination to be done in advance of a baby’s birth, and it was all new to us. For example, the grandparents were all eager to know what they would be called. My mother and Amelia’s mother both like “Grandma”, but of course there can only be one Grandma – they’re like Highlanders that way. This is something that they’ll have to sort out between themselves, since neither of us are dumb enough to adjudicate that dispute.

On the flip side, my father is the only contender for “Grandpa”, but he wants to sync up with the nickname that Susan (my stepmom, his wife) picks — “Grandpa and Susan” is sort of an awkward pairing, so they will have to figure out what they want to be called as well. These are the sorts of delicate familial negotiations that we hadn’t really thought about it prior to actually getting pregnant, and it turns out there’s a lot of that’s sort of stuff that crops up.

Of course, many of our parental planning sessions were a lot easier than those ones. For example, there are a lot of situations where the only real decision that has to be made is “Is this knick-knack adorable or not?” The answer is usually “Yes, it is adorable.” This is one of the more fun parts of getting ready for a baby, and it can happen anywhere. For example, we found adorable stuffed penguins at the Vancouver Aquarium, which lead us to consider the weighty question of “Should our baby have an adorable stuffed penguin for a crib mate, or would another stuffed animal be even more adorable?”

Three (and a half?) very full and tired individuals.
Truly, a question for the ages.

By around week 18 (close to the end of May), the baby started kicking. The kicks were soft and weak at first, so much so that only Amelia could feel them. They would come in spurts, and when they began Amelia would grab my hand and put it to her belly. Like magic, the kicks would stop as soon as I was waiting for them and (no matter how long I waited) they would only resume when I took my hand away. I took this as a sign that Cheeseweed shares her mother’s sense of humour.

Around this time our home was pretty full – my brother stayed with us for a few weeks before we moved him in to a new place, and shortly afterwards my mother was in town for a weekend to see her daughter-in-law and, perhaps most importantly, her daughter-in-law’s growing belly. My other brother and his fiancee also visited for the weekend, so our little apartment was crammed to the gills with people.

It was nice to have my mom in town for a while. She helped out around the apartment and told us stories about her pregnancies. She was quite fortunate – her labor with me (her first child) was about five hours, about half that for her second child, and about 45 minutes for her youngest child. Apparently she was quite comfortable for the duration of the pregnancy, which just goes to show that it really is different for every woman. At any rate, she told us all about how her labor began and how the day of the birth progressed, all with a startling level of detail – she remembers the weather and down-to-the-minute timings.

It occurred to me that she had told me bits and pieces of the story in years past, but I had never really sat down and gotten an understanding of how I was actually born with any level of precision. It was illuminating, and it’s one of those things it doesn’t actually require you be pregnant to do it. If your mom’s taking questions, I recommend quizzing her on the subject.

Amelia and Christine at New Westminster River Market
Two generations of moms having lunch on the quay.

We were happy to see everybody, but all of the activity at home and at work over the course of several hectic weeks left Amelia feeling drained. There were days before and after the weekend visit when she would arrive at home, lie down on the couch, and simply black out for a few hours (sometimes not even remembering lying down). On top of this, Amelia’s was dealing with new-found back pain, which transformed from errant pangs to constant shooting pain right around the time that family arrived. This was concerning, but not out of line with all the wild pregnancy symptoms that she’d been experiencing to date. Doctors would later confirm that she and Cheeseweed were fine, and that rest was the best remedy. We cleared our social calendars for the following weeks.

Right after our whirlwind family visits was the 20-weeks-of-pregnancy marker and, with it, the 20-week ultrasound. This is the first regularly-scheduled ultrasound where the sex of the baby is identifiable, so it posed a big question: did we want to know the sex of the baby in advance? Amelia and I mulled this over for some time, and our thoughts on the subject could probably fill their own post. We didn’t feel very strongly about it either way, but we wanted to approach each choice thoughtfully.

At first, we just sort of assumed that we’d find out. We’re curious folks, and we tend to regard more information as being preferable to less information; the idea of waiting to be surprised at the birth was not interesting to us. However, as we thought about it further, it occurred to us that not finding out would force everyone involved — including us — to treat the baby without any prejudgment about its sex, at least before its birth. There’s not a lot of dealing with the baby at all before the birth, but this might cut down on the avalanche of gender-coded baby clothes we’d be receiving.

It seemed doubtful that either choice would have substantial ramifications. Amelia and I went back and forth about this, and eventually decided to find out.

Amelia at ultrasound clinic
Amelia’s a real pro at getting her insides ultrasounded.

On the day of the ultrasound, we readied ourselves. This mostly involved Amelia drinking a lot of water and trying not to pee — obstetrical ultrasounds work best with a full bladder, as Amelia had previously learned (with some dismay – she describes an intentionally full, baby-pummeled bladder as her “second-least favourite thing about this pregnancy so far”, after all the vomiting). We didn’t know whether we’d find out the sex that day or when we next saw our OB/GYN. There are signs all over the ultrasound ward saying “fetal sexing is not a routine part of the examination” and “sonographers do not provide results”, and we’d heard tell that some sonographers refused to provide that information.

As it happens, our sonographer was a wonderful person named Tanis who cheerily chatted with Amelia (which put her at ease) and happily walked us through the examination. At the end, she asked if we’d like to know the sex and, after we assented, zoomed the machine in on the relevant region of little Cheeseweed. Cheeseweed was sitting cross-legged, but the sonographer expertly pointed out the telltale glowing lines that confirmed that our little Cheeseweed takes after her mother in the biology department.

20-week ultrasound
This particular shot is rated G.

Neither Amelia nor I are too hung up on the sex of the baby (and, in any event, we both think of sex and gender as separate things), but it was nice to know something about the baby. It’s always possible that the ultrasound got it wrong (this happened with one of my brothers!), or that, later in life, Cheeseweed will express a gender identity that alters the pronoun and naming situation. In the meantime, though, we’d like to know which names and pronouns to use until we’re told otherwise.

With that said, the knowledge of Cheeseweed’s name is something that we are keeping close to our chests, by maternal decree. Amelia’s view is that people will be much less likely to suggest alternatives if they learn the name after it has been printed on government documents. Which is for the best, really; I am getting quite attached to “Cheeseweed” as a moniker.

The second trimester seem to fly by after the 20-week mark. Just two days later I felt one of Cheeseweed’s kicks for the first time. This was a much more significant event than the ultrasound (for me, at least); although Cheeseweed had been lovingly thumping Amelia’s organs for more than a month, it took her a while to work up the strength to start pummeling me. By this time, Amelia was starting to identify patterns in Cheeseweed’s activity (sleepy during the day, active in the evenings, for example), so her prenatal relationship with Cheeseweed was far more intimate and personal than I could hope achieve, but it was nice to be physically involved with our pugnacious Cheeseweed in even a small, indirect way.

It just so happens that Father’s Day was right around this time. Amelia and I had previously agreed that our first Father’s and Mother’s Days will be next year, post-birth, so we didn’t do anything to observe the occasion. Still, it seemed like every day brought us a new reminder of the little life we’re planning on bringing into the world. You’d think that the idea would already seem pretty real to us, but somehow pregnancy has a way of just getting realer and realer with each passing day. It comes with a creeping realization that, having already crept up on you, manages to creep some more.

Fathers Day chalk drawing
This chalk drawing was not at all creepy, and very sweet.

All of these reminders reaffirmed that we ought to be going out into the world and looking for baby supplies. This being our first baby, we weren’t sure (and still aren’t sure, to be honest) about which products were legitimately essential for new parents and which were merely craven money-grabs meant to dupe well-meaning-but-clueless parents-to-be. It seems like it’s possible to spend an almost unlimited amount of money on a whole lot of things that do very little for the baby, and we were not keen on unnecessarily contributing to the baby-industrial complex. (A quick Google search indicates that this term is sometimes used seriously. This is not one of those times.)

The other challenge in hunting down baby wares is finding items which are not obnoxiously gender-coded. Our first visit to a Toys R Us was both illuminating and dispiriting; the store was arranged like a ring, with a pink-hued center and a blue outer shell. As we walked by one little boy, we heard him saying to his mother that “I can’t have that, that’s for girls”, referring to one of the few non-pink items in the central ghetto. Immediately, we resolved never to take Cheeseweed to Toys R Us.

The back of the store was devoted to baby stuff, where the gender divide was not quite as stark. Although nearly every item came in both girl and boy variants, most items also had non-gender-coded options. The rule appears to be that blue is for boys, pink is for girls, and animal prints with green or yellow backgrounds are for everybody. This, by comparison to the rest of the Toys R Us, was positively progressive. Fortunately, we were already planning on making green a big part of Cheeseweed’s early life, so this worked out.

Bibs at Toys R Us in Burnaby
Sometimes they put animal prints on blue or pink backgrounds, just to mix things up.

The second trimester brought with it it’s own share of challenges for Amelia. It is a liminal phase between the first trimester, where the pregnancy is not obvious to onlookers, and the third trimester, when the pregnancy is extremely obvious. Amelia has always been quite petite, and the second shift towards a larger (but not yet obviously pregnant) frame required a certain flexibility of body image that I doubt most people are blessed with.

This is doubly hard when (as happened to Amelia) you can hear the middle-aged men behind you at the Tim Hortons wondering aloud whether are you are pregnant, or just fat. Triply hard when you add in the emotional burden imposed by the sudden hormonal changes involved in pregnancy (although these get talked up to greater degree than they merit, I think). Quadruply hard when you consider that none of her clothing fits and that all of the maternity stores in town appear to sell clothing designed for Amazonian women a full foot taller than Amelia.

The larger belly not only came with psychological hurdles, but also with physical ones. Amelia found adjusting to her new shape tremendously hard, simply as a matter of logistics. Her belly occupied a different place in space than it had previously, her limbs moved differently (“waddle” is a banned word in our household), and her center of balance had become misplaced. Amelia is ordinarily an agile and physically strong woman whose sense of physicality is a keen part of her identity, but suddenly she would try to walk between students’ desks and end up knocking over papers, or stumble while taking the stairs. She describes this adjustment as being much harder for her than the body image issues, since her body was suddenly not the one she knew to be her own.

The physical changes did not end there. Amelia’s core body temperature began to rise just in time for one of the worst heat waves in Vancouver history. Although pre-pregnancy Amelia was a big fan of heat, pregnancy transformed the thermometer into her greatest foe. As Amelia grew overheated her movement slowed, her speech slurred, and her attention dissipated. A half hour in the sun turned her into a sleepy drunk.

Amelia sweating at Bard on the Beach in Vancouver
We made sure to keep her in the shade and supplied with icepacks while out and about.

As the heat continued to ramp up, we realized that we were desperately in need of some sort of cooling mechanism at home. Unfortunately, the rest of the city of Vancouver had the same idea an hour or two before us. Everywhere we went, the fans and air conditioners had just sold out moments before.

In our desperation for any sort of cooling equipment, we eventually found and purchased a $500 Dyson tower-style cooling fan. This was an extravagant purchase, but if it restored Amelia to some semblance of functionality then it would be worth it.

Amelia cooling off in a heatwave in Burnaby
The fan needed a little help. Not pictured: The bucket of ice water that Amelia’s dunked her feet into.

The fan was excellent, for a fan. Unfortunately, at the end of the day fans — even $500 super-fans — just move hot air around. The Dyson was not enough, so we went online and hunted for air conditioners. Even Amazon was sold out of most air conditioners worth buying, but we eventually found one that seemed like it might do the job. We put in a rush order and eagerly awaited its arrival.

At Amelia’s insistence, I emailed the third-party seller of the air conditioner, explaining that the purchase was for my pregnant wife who was dying a slow but horrible death in the sudden heat. Please, I beseeched them, send it out as soon as possible! I did not expect a response.

The response, however, was immediate. The seller advised that they would courier it out first thing in the morning (they were responding around midnight in their time zone) in the hope that it would arrive as soon as possible. They added that they had been there, that we had their sympathies, and wished Amelia well for the pregnancy. We were touched.

Most importantly, the air conditioner arrived quickly. We took it home, set it up, and let it sit overnight (as the instructions advised). I programmed it to turn on an hour before Amelia came home from work the next day. Her response upon returning to an air-conditioned home was enthusiastic.

Text message from Amelia about an air conditioner
Normally I’d just show the picture, but in this case I think that the text messages add some helpful context.

Amelia’s troubles did not end with rude teenagers and actively hostile local weather patterns. As her belly continued to grow, she began experiencing new, unusually sharp pains in the general vicinity of her uterus, lasting for hours. Coupled with that, Cheeseweed had almost entirely stopped kicking during the heat.

Although we understood that Cheeseweed was probably fine, “probably” isn’t enough when the alternative is “maybe our baby is dying.” The latter possibility began to weigh heavily on Amelia’s mind, to a degree that when I suggested we call a doctor, she didn’t fight me. I could be imagining things, but her eyes appear to have remained substantially un-rolled at the very suggestion, which is highly irregular for Amelia.

It just so happens that this came to a head on Canada Day, when nearly every clinic was closed and those that weren’t were already booked solid. We ended up calling in to our OB/GYN’s office, which gave us a pager number to contact. After googling how to contact a pager, we did just that, and got a callback from another OB/GYN on duty at the nearby hospital. He told us that Amelia should come in and get checked out.

Amelia at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster
Pregnancy: An unending series of horrors visited upon your mortal frame.™

The OB/GYN was working at Royal Columbian’s labour and delivery wing, which is where Amelia plans to give birth. We spent most of our time there waiting, which gave us the chance to tour the ward and to listen to the wailing of women in labour. Usually these kinds of second-hand experiences of labour are encountered in a compressed timeframe (e.g. as a video). Encountering them in real-time was… harrowing, but enlightening.

Amelia was checked out several times and subjected to a full panel of blood tests. The doctors concluded that she was fine, and was probably just experiencing more intense forms of round ligament pain. They even let us listen to the baby’s heartbeat to confirm that Cheeseweed was fine. Although Amelia was still experiencing the pain as we left, her mood was substantially improved.

Although the heat, pain, and self-consciousness provided a bit of a low point towards the middle of the second trimester, it truly was much better than the first trimester, and fairly enjoyable overall. The pain soon subsided, we found some clothes that fit, and we kept the air conditioning cranked. Amelia spent the lion’s share of the second trimester in relative comfort, and has grown quite fond of her burgeoning baby belly. Once her energy returned, we spent plenty of time relaxing, seeing our friends, and taking leisurely strolls. It was downright idyllic.

Amelia playing bocce in Vancouver
No baby can come between Amelia and victory on the bocce field.

Amelia managed to miss only a few days of work in the second trimester — a few after the pains on Canada Day, and another day she cut short after fainting on campus. Did I mention the fainting? That’s a consequence of low blood pressure, another side effect of pregnancy. Still, her employer was extremely accommodating.

My employer also managed to be of assistance in the pregnancy process, in a roundabout sort of way. We attended the firm’s summer party near the end of the second trimester, and one of our incoming articling students brought his baby. The party was a family affair, so if you are envisioning a besuited man standing in a cocktail bar with a baby in his arms, well… that actually sounds pretty cute, so maybe keep envisioning that.

Anyways, this was little baby Ana’s first time out into the world. She was just one month old, and her parents were very tired. I offered to hold the baby and, foolishly, they accepted. It turns out that I have never held a baby, so this was an important practice round for me. It’s a little weird at first, especially given the fact that you are holding a tiny living person in your arms and could, at any point, cause catastrophic harm in any number of ways, but you get used to it pretty quickly. I did, at any rate.

No baby can come between Amelia and victory on the bocce field.
Amelia’s ovaries basically exploded at the sight of this.

We wrapped up the second trimester with another visit to Dr. Ubhi, Amelia’s OB/GYN. He confirmed that mother and baby are in good health and reminded us that we’d be seeing a lot more of each other in the third trimester — appointments will be as frequent as once per week towards the end of the pregnancy.

Dr. Ubhi in New Westminster
Who wouldn’t want to see more of this cherubic mug?

Now, you may be thinking that I have been a bit stingy with photos showing off Amelia’s belly. This is not entirely accidental; the combination of a lack of property-fitting clothes and self-consciousness earlier in the second trimester meant that my attempts to chase Amelia around with a camera were not well-received. However, by the end of the second trimester Amelia was feeling eager to show off her baby belly.

The photo up at the top of this post was taken right at the end of the second trimester. It is one of many; personally, I prefer this gem from the same photoshoot:

Amelia showing off her belly in a park in Burnaby
Cheeseweed is going to be real weird, y’all.

Each trimester provides its unique challenges, but from what we can tell the middle trimester has a well-deserved reputation as the easiest one. The second trimester is the longest of the three, but it felt like it passed by in the blink of an eye.

We’ve transitioned into the third and final trimester, and so far it seems to be going well. Like the second trimester, though, it’s whizzing by. There’s not much left at the time of this writing; Cheeseweed’s due date is 27 October 2015, which gives a birthing window of 13 October – 10 November.

We’re excited to see what this trimester has in store for us, and even more excited to welcome little Cheeseweed into the world. Stay tuned for her grand debut!