Morning. Just a quick hello from me today as I’m handing over to India for her next pregnancy diary all about the second Trimester. You can catch up with her first two instalments here and here. Hope you enjoy it.

For me, the second trimester has seemed to fly by in some ways, and last forever in others. Thinking back to our twelve week scan just seems so long ago, and I now can’t imagine not feeling our little one moving around every day.

We have had some super cute presents for the baby, when the first one came through the post after we first announced our pregnancy, I cried. A surefire sign of how hormonal I am – my husband came into the kitchen to find me blubbing into a parcel. It was an adorable bib from Petit Bateau though, so surely I am kind of justified?! Now I have managed to get the tears in check a little but each present our littlest one receives just reminds me how lucky we are, how much love people have for our new arrival.

In terms of symptoms this trimester, my heartburn started gaining strength, so I am now that achingly cool person carrying my little packet of Tums everywhere I go and begging prescription Gaviscon from my midwife. My skin seemed to finally clear up a little at the 15 week point after being pretty angry for a few weeks, it may have been helped by the tips I read on Madeleine Shaw’s blog. My nosebleeds got worse – lots of you will already know (I had no idea!) that these are normal in pregnancy because of the increased blood volume. They’re not a big deal, I’ve just sort of accepted that they are a daily occurrence now.

This trimester also seems to have played havoc with my mood and emotions. Even though physically in many ways I feel healthier than before I was pregnant, I have found the hormonal changes quite challenging. I had one full day around the 21 week mark where I just cried for no reason, and then at 25 weeks I also had a major surge where I just wanted to be by myself and snapped at anyone who came near me. I hope I’m not the only one who has these crazy mood swings? Thankfully both of these things lasted a day each, my husband was amazingly supportive and lovely even when I was probably being pretty mean, and apart from those blips I have been feeling good both mentally and physically.

We also had a private gender scan at the seventeen week mark. I had always hoped we would arrange a scan in between our NHS 12 week and 20 week ones as it just seemed like such a long time to wait and not know if everything was a-ok in there. I always knew the eight week stretch in between would be hard, then my husband realised he wouldn’t be able to come to the 20 week NHS scan and that sealed the deal. It was lovely to see the little one on the screen, and much less medically-focused than the NHS scans which naturally are more serious. We saw him (yes, signs point to our baby being a boy!) from lots of different angles and he was busy swallowing and waving his little hand around which melted my heart.

Even after our private scan, I continued to worry that the 20 week NHS scan could show up some anomalies, but luckily everything seemed to look good. The technology they use is amazing, my mum came with me for the scan and we were both completely transfixed by seeing how blood was flowing to his various organs, a close up of his brain and heart and so on. It’s crazy how much of him we have seen before we have even met him.

This trimester my thoughts have also started turning to buying actual baby things. I was so scared of buying things in my first trimester and was still a bit reluctant until after our 20 week scan. As my mum had some health issues during her pregnancies I have been cautioned to try and get my ducks in a row quite early and not wait too late to get organised. Because of this I have tried not to buy too early but at the same time I want to be prepared. Has anyone else felt paralysed by fear but also had a really strong desire to buy stuff?

We started looking at the big things like cots, prams, car seats, baby monitors, and I am also asking for lots of advice from my mama friends who are all being absolutely awesome about giving me their top tips and recommendations. If you have any ‘must-buys’ for newborns (or similarly, suggestions on what definitely isn’t worth buying) I would love to read your recommendations in the comments.

I’ve also started to grow quite a bit this trimester, and I am now sporting a pretty decent-sized belly. By the end of week 18 I was ready to accept that I couldn’t fit in my jeans anymore, and it seemed to accelerate from there. Between weeks 25 and 26 I could literally feel my belly expanding day by day. I have been trying to keep my skin soft by drinking as much water as possible and using the mama mio belly butter. I know it’s expensive but it is so lovely, I will be investing in a second tub for the third trimester. Other ones I have heard recommended are Kokoso coconut oil, which can also be used on baby as well, and the Bloom and Blossom range from Mamas and Papas, which Laura Kenny (of cycling fame) has been raving about on Instagram.

The whole body confidence thing has continued to be a bit of a challenge for me, one that I feel some days I am winning and others I would quite happily just stay in a darkened room and not see anyone as I feel like a blimp! They say that comparison is the thief of joy and in pregnancy this is so true. As much as I don’t want to compare myself to others it’s really hard not to, especially when all of a sudden your body becomes public property for anyone and everyone to comment on. I know I’m not alone in having people comment on bump size, and I know they mean well but sometimes it can be so challenging, going on the same day from having people say ‘you’re so tiny’ to others commenting ‘your bump is massive’. So often mamas who have already been through this themselves are the most comforting, as they know to just comment more generally e.g. ‘you’re looking absolutely gorgeous’ rather than specifically on bump size. Similarly I know I have definitely been guilty of bump size comments in the past, and probably will be again in the future, so I can’t be too critical.

My bump seemed to come out of nowhere and I’ve had to re-learn how to get dressed after most of my tried and tested outfits have gone into my underbed storage bags, hopefully to be worn again in future. Thankfully my mum foresaw this and after my 20 week scan we scoured the shops for some staples. I don’t know what has worked for you all but I have found a combination of some looser dresses, vest tops, long cardigans, and stretchy tube skirts with looser tops or jumpers over them has worked wonders. I don’t feel like I am a maternity fashionista by any means, but I am managing to not feel too whale-like on a day-to-day basis which I think is an achievement. Primark and New Look have come up trumps. I also listened to Lisa’s great advice on maternity dressing and ordered the bardot dress of dreams from ASOS, I went for a floral print and am certain I am going to get tons of wear out of it, I already wore it to our niece’s Christening and got lots of compliments.

Now I am staring down the third trimester, so excited to meet our little one and wondering how we got here so quickly yet questioning how much bigger I am going to get, and of course whether the baby will choose to arrive early or late. The other thing I am trying to figure out is how to use my remaining annual leave – should I take a whole week at once and head off a week earlier than planned at 37 weeks, or just take a day a week for a longer period and work four days a week for the last month but right up to 38 weeks…any advice on what worked for you would be much appreciated.

Image by For The Love Photography.