Another fairly normal appointment with my birthing center. Nothing much to report on that front. Ellowyn's (yes, we've decided on her name) heart rate was about 150 bpm, very normal. My blood pressure was the same as always. The only thing of note really was that I gained 4 pounds this month, right on target. This means that I am finally back up to my pre-pregnancy weight. I lost 7 pounds in my first trimester and since then have gained back a total of 9 pounds, making my total weight gain for the pregnancy 2 pounds so far. I'm feeling pretty good about that.
I've been having a new and rather troublesome pregnancy symptom: ocular migraines. I had only had one when I last went in for a checkup, so I thought it was a fluke and didn't bring it up at the appointment. But since then, I'm wishing I had talked to the midwife about it because I've had two more, making it three in the space of a week. What happens is that without warning I start seeing flashes of light and then I see tracers swimming across my vision and then parts of my vision go fuzzy. Then I will get really dizzy and usually a headache will follow. The visual effects only last about 5 minutes or so, but the dizziness will go on for a half-hour or so and then the headache can last an hour or more. I wouldn't even know what it was except that I described it on Facebook and one of my mommy friends said that the same thing had happened to her during pregnancy and told me that her doctor had called them "ocular migraines". I did a little research online and, sure enough, my symptoms were described exactly by several different sources. (For further reading, you can check out this, this, and this.) Apparently, pregnant women sometimes get them and it is thought that they may be due to the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. Luckily, I have not had one yet that was particularly problematic, but I keep dreading the day that I get one while driving or while I'm carrying Mira across the parking lot or I get so dizzy that I fall down and hurt myself. The first time it happened I had no idea what was going on, but by the third time it happened, I realized that I could recognize it coming on by the flashing lights and so I could get myself to a safe seated position to wait it out. Hopefully I will continue to be able to do that if they keep happening.
Brian and I started a Bradley childbirth preparation class. For anyone unfamiliar, it is a particular method that focuses on preparing women for natural unmedicated birth and on preparing their birth partner (usually the husband) to play an active role in aiding the laboring woman. I've read a number of books on Bradley method (my favorite of which was this one, BTW), so I feel like I'm pretty familiar with everything that's going on in the class, so far. We've covered the topics of what to expect in pregnancy, good nutrition, and some basic exercises to prepare your body for childbirth. But we're just starting to get to the good stuff like what the birth coach's role entails and some specific coping techniques for the first (dilation) stage and second (pushing) stage of labor. So I'm looking forward to seeing where the class goes. Plus I think the class has really helped to get Brian's head into the game. I think it's easy for him to feel a little detached from the pregnancy since it's not his body and Ellowyn doesn't demand his attention when she's still in utero. But part of the coach's role in Bradley method is to encourage/assist in preparing the woman's mind and body to cope with the demands of natural childbirth, and that includes daily routines and such that he does with me. So he's been much more involved in this pregnancy than he was when I was pregnant with Mira.
Ellowyn has been very active. She moves A LOT and not little slow stretchy movements. We're talking there-must-be-a-rock-band-in-my-belly type movements. It's very different from my experience with Mira's pregnancy. I remember Mira's movements being more subtle and gentle and slow. But with this pregnancy... well, I told Brian yesterday that I thought my belly was going to jump right off of my body. But I think Brian likes it. When I was pregnant with Mira, he'd have to wait really long and sit really still in order to feel the baby move. But with Ellowyn, he can practically see my belly jumping out of the corner of his eye from across the room. I'm guessing that this means that Ellowyn's personality is going to be very different from Mira's. Mira is very deliberate and cautious. I'm thinking Ellowyn will be more rambunctious and wild. That would actually be kind of nice because then the two girls can sort of balance each other out, with Mira reminding Ellowyn when things are not such a good idea and Ellowyn challenging Mira to push past her personal boundaries and take risks now and then.