Pregnancy Update Week 21

This has been the week that my bump is clear as day, to all onlookers, from a mile away. I had a server at a pub congratulate me out of the blue (it took me a minute to figure out what for), and a woman who bought a cabinet from me on kijiji didn’t want my help carrying it because she noted that pregnant women shouldn’t carry heavy things. Friends and family look surprised when they see me, and make comments about how I’ve really popped, or about how big I’ve gotten. It actually doesn’t bother me at all. It’s nice to be able to see everyone’s excitement without having to verbally “come out” as pregnant.

We keep receiving advice from our hetero-parent friends about how the baby often only wants the mother, and the father can feel useless and left out. Our friends have been warning my wife that she might have this feeling of uselessness and helplessness. My wife has been very adamant that she will respond to any such feelings by trying harder to bond with little bug and by being there for both of us. She has actually taken a critical stance on the men we know who can’t seem to handle childcare responsibilities, and who hand their babies over to their wives as soon as it starts crying. Her stance is, if women can do it and single dads can do it, then your husband can do it. My wife doesn’t take a critical stance on many things, and her passion for equal, shared parenting responsibilities makes me so proud. Of course it is easy to be high and mighty about these things right now and only time will tell how we will handle it when our time comes, but I think that having the desire to be an equally able parent will go a long way. We also have continued to plan those extra bonding measures like bottle feeding and skin-to-skin for my wife.

Preparations for Baby

  • Had a cloth diapering service in-home consultation. We saw the product and got lots of info on the service and pricing. Will very likely sign up with this company in the next couple of weeks so we can have our baby-shower-planners send out little diaper service gift certificate requests with our baby shower invitations.

Bodily Experiences This Week

  • Stomach flu. On Monday I was throwing up violently every 30-60 minutes for 12 hours, all through the night. My wife stayed up with me all night, dumping my barf buckets. We paged the midwife in the middle of the night because my wife wanted me to go to emerge, but luckily we were advised to take gravol and wait it out. I couldn’t consume any food for 24 hours, and it was 72 hours before I was eating normally again. Having a stomach flu when pregnant is horrible – we were so worried about the baby, and recovery took SO MUCH LONGER with no energy reserves left for me. But little bug is still kicking strong and I am FINALLY feeling all better.
  • Skin sensitive to sun. I read about this in a pregnancy app recently, that your skin is more susceptible to sun burn when you’re pregnant. I shrugged it off as something that wouldn’t affect me because I never burn. I have olive skin and I can spend the day on the beach with one morning coat of sun screen and walk away bronze, not red. But on the weekend, on our first sunny warm day of Spring, I sat outside on the deck for an hour and got a sun burn. Damnit.
  • Physical limitations now outweighing mental limitations. In the first trimester my mental capacity was severely diminished and I was completely demotivated from doing anything. Now, my mental capacity has improved quite a bit, my motivation to get stuff done has increased a LOT, but now my body is unwilling. My famous last words are “don’t tell me I can’t do that just because I’m pregnant!” I did a day full of house and yard work and thought I was going to die at the end of it. My back and my hips and my feet were aching intensely, and I was light headed and winded. But it’s not just the day-long physical labour that wears me out – I went for a 45 minute walk with my 3-week post-partum sister-in-law and I had the same problem! Achey body, light headed, and winded. She breezed through it like she was fit as a fiddle. How am I ever going to help my wife fix up the house for baby and prepare the yard for summer?? This is so frustrating.
  • Movement: little bug continues to get stronger and stronger, and I even SAW a kick on the outside this week. My wife devotes a good stretch of time every evening to holding her hand on the bump, waiting to feel a kick. But our timing still hasn’t been right. I, on the other hand, get to enjoy feeling the kicks all day long.

Baby This Week

  • Beyond being physiologically able to sense light, touch, sound, temperature, and taste (which happened earlier), little bug can now recognize these sensations with a much more developed nerve centre in the brain. Sensations can now actually evoke an emotional response.
  • Little bug is getting into a routine, and that’s why I am now noticing patterns of more or less movement throughout the day.
  • Now has their own bone marrow to produce their own red blood cells
  • Fingernails now cover fingertips

7 thoughts on “Pregnancy Update Week 21”

  1. Yay!! Happy 21 weeks pregnancy twin!!! Did you notice the hand on the ovia app today? LIKE A REAL BABY HAND!! eek!! I am so jealous of your kicks!! I still don’t feel a whole lot 😦 Some at night but nothing pronounced. Hope your wife gets to feel it real soon too!!

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    1. Yes the hand is SO BIG!! I wonder if I feel more kicks because I have a low lying placenta and it doesn’t get in the way of feeling the kicks? I have heard of lots of people who don’t feel anything until 24 weeks, so it seems to me like just feeling some movement at night is pretty common at this stage still.

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  2. Wow, 21 weeks! How exciting.

    I think you are absolutely right that the desire to be an equal parent is crucial. And being socialized as women makes it easier I think – I’m not letting men off the hook by any means, but being socialized to believe that babies just need their mothers and that dads are inept and not ‘natural’ parents makes things harder. It’s a bit of a cop out, but so deeply engrained that it’s hard to see past.
    Also – the more you parent, the better you are at it. If you let someone else do it because they are supposedly better at it, it’s self-perpetuating, and of course the baby will eventually prefer the person who meets all their needs.

    Because my wife had a c-section (and heck, because I was super motivated to be an equal parent), I had a clear role from the beginning and we really worked at having an equitable distribution of labour. It wasn’t until she was 6 months that J showed a preference for my wife, and when she did it was HARD – but temporary. Now, she seems to have days where she shows slight preference for one of us (not just my wife), and it feels pretty good when I am the chosen one, given that I didn’t give birth to her and I’m not a food source!

    Oh, also – before I could feel kicks with my hand, I would put the side of my face on my wife’s belly and could feel our little fish moving around – from super early, like 13 weeks or something.

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    1. Love your perspective on the equal parenting issue. It is largely a problem with male socialization, for sure. It’s good to get examples of how the “preferred parent” thing plays out in same-sex relationships too!
      And thanks for the tip about feeling baby with the face!

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  3. I learned the sensitive skin during pregnancy the hard way too. Twice. First I burned my left side in Austin, TX, and then I burned my right side in San Diego, CA. Stupid.

    Also, I had a flu/intestinal virus about two weeks ago too. SO shi**t. We ended up in labor and delivery, because my temp was so high. LONG night of monitoring, but the fever broke without intervention. I did have contractions for awhile, and that was super interesting to feel, but it never seemed like baby was coming (I was 24 weeks, so that would’ve been bad). Vomiting and diarrhea all night long when pregnant was the WORST.

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    1. Omg that is terrifying!! I’m glad my midwives didn’t tell me over the phone that contractions or premature labour were risks of the flu, or I would have been even more scared! So glad you made it through that ordeal with nothing but bad memories

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  4. Oh wow, lucky you with the kicks, I’m dying to feel a little one! I am still only 16 wks though so could be a while yet.

    My mother, who likes to consider herself a modern thinking woman, made a comment a while ago about my brother being a wonderful hands on dad (we were in a restaurant and he and his partner were taking it in turns to walk their baby out as she was starting to get cranky) – she really didn’t see the comment as an issue, despite the fact she admitted she would never think of referring to a woman as a “good hands on mother”. This, coming from a woman who left her children when they were young and had their father bring them up!

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