Even though I didn’t experience an iota of morning sickness during my first trimester, the first three months of pregnancy were still fraught with aches, pains, and fatigue.  I found it hard to believe that I’d find any respite come 14 weeks, but sure enough, things turned a dramatic corner once the second trimester arrived.  Beginning at 15 weeks, I found myself with renewed energy, life and purpose.

Part of this could have been attributed to the weather and the fact that school was out for the summer.  I can’t think of a better time to greet the second trimester than with the July sun and long, lazy days.  One of my favourite parts of summer is the outdoor yoga season, and we were blessed with a particularly dry, hot summer.  I spent several days a week teaching or taking yoga classes outside at a variety of gorgeous locations with Mat Collective and RYU.  What I loved so much about these classes (apart from being able to flow outside!) was that they were free!  I had to give up my hot yoga jobs after finding out I was pregnant, which meant taking a short break from teaching during April and May.  But as soon as June rolled around (and the warm weather poured in), I was teaching 3-5 classes a week, and enjoying yoga more than I ever had.

Summer yoga season doesn’t get any better than in Vancouver

I also had the chance to host several free yoga classes on my roof.  These were generously sponsored by Warrior Mats who supplied my “studio” with 10 of their stunning, art-inspired mats all summer long!  There is something so magical about practicing yoga as the sun goes down over the mountains, all while watching the downtown skyline and seaside change colour.  These sessions were usually followed up by fireside snacks and wine (or non-alcoholic bevvies, in my case!).  Some of my favourite nights of the summer included meeting new yogis from social media and inviting them over to my roof for a fun evening of yoga, community, and connection.

Warm summer nights and yoga classes on my roof

My second trimester also coincided with two incredible vacations that took the cake for the most beautiful scenery that I have ever seen in my life.  The first was a road trip to Banff, Alberta at 17 weeks pregnant.  My husband and I packed the car with all our camping gear and spent three nights exploring the breathtaking mountains and lakes that Alberta is famous for, and we were even able to bring Lola along for the ride.  The four of us (baby included!) enjoyed every second of the wilderness, from hiking, canyoning, swimming, and canoeing.  At 17 weeks pregnant, I was still feeling energetic and mobile enough to tackle challenging hikes, and I’m glad we were able to experience the Canadian Rockies together for the first time!

One of the most beautiful places in the world: Emerald Lake at Yoho National Park in Alberta

Then, at the end of August, we embarked on our last big international trip as a couple — to Croatia and then Israel.  By this time (22 weeks pregnant), my body had begun to change and expand, and I’m grateful that we were able to manage this milestone trip before I became less mobile.  The beauty of Croatia cannot be overstated, and I encourage you to check out my blog posts about Split and Stari Grad for some major travel inspo!

Finding a moment of peace in gorgeous Dubrovnik, Croatia

The absolute best memory of our Babymoon occurred in the famed city of Dubrovnik.  It was our final morning before checkout and my husband and I lay in bed together, marvelling at the walled city and our epic travels around Croatia.  He put his hand on my belly as we cuddled and then pulled it back suddenly when Baby kicked.  I had only just begun feeling the kicks myself around 23 weeks, and most of the time I didn’t know if they were legitimate kicks or just tummy rumblings.  But when Robin confirmed that he felt the kick, I knew that it was real too, which led me to a sudden outburst of happy sobbing.  It was the most intimate, special moment of the pregnancy thus far, and I loved how Baby chose that moment–the last day of our Babymoon–to announce him/herself in such an exclamatory way.

Sadly, when we returned from our travels on the 1st of September, our pregnancy went from blissful and easy to stressful and uncertain.  We received news about our baby’s ultrasound and were told that Baby was alarmingly small for its gestational age.  We were quickly booked in for a re-scan and then met with a team of doctors at Women’s Hospital in Vancouver.  On September 7th, we were told that our baby had severe IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction).  This meant that it was below the 1st percentile in terms of its size, and our pregnancy instantly became classified as “high risk.”

Shortly after learning of Baby’s size, we received this ultrasound picture, which gave us so much hope. We knew then that Baby was a fighter!

The news was shocking, especially because we were told that cases like this generally resulted in a very early induced delivery.  Based on our statistics, our doctors anticipated that we would likely deliver around 26 weeks (two weeks from the day we found out).  That day, we went home from the hospital and spent the rest of the night crying out of fear and sorrow, wondering what would happen next.

For the entire rest of my second trimester (the month of September), we were kept on close supervision with growth scans and blood-flow monitoring three times a week. After our first two weeks of monitoring, we received news that felt like a miracle.  Baby was very small, but seemed to be growing on his/her own curve.  Blood flow and the placenta appeared normal, and Baby’s heart rate and movements were normal.  Our IUGR classification was changed from “severe” to “moderate,” and we were moved to twice weekly visits instead of three times a week.

Trying to make the most of our hospital “dates”. Luckily, my husband joined me at almost every single test!

While our second trimester did not end the way it started, we managed to make it through a difficult time by staying hopeful.  More than anything, I learned to trust my burgeoning maternal instincts–which have carried me through this pregnancy, urging me to believe that everything is going to be okay.

This pregnancy journey has been challenging from the start, but it has also given me the most intense joy and happiness that I have ever known.  Through it all, my husband and I have been able to nurture and hold on to our deep love of one another, and that alone has gotten us through the hardest times.  Now that fall has arrived and the weather is changing, we are also preparing for the biggest change in our lives.  And while we no longer know for certain how or when we will deliver, there is still so much to be grateful for.  And we will cling to that!

How my second trimester got turned upside down

Other notable parts of my second trimester:

  • My food cravings became stronger starting at 14 weeks.  While I never wanted anything too unconventional, there were definitely days that were entirely planned out around food.  There was a two week stretch where I wanted fried chicken all the time, and even made my husband drive us to Chinatown for Juke’s famous fried chicken.  He never lets me forget that upon taking my first bite of my chicken sandwich, I euphorically exclaimed, “This is the best day of my life…”
  • My baby bump emerged and started to become very visible around 22 weeks.  I did most of my maternity shopping at Pink Blush online, since there aren’t many good options for shopping in Vancouver.  
  • I loved the amount of energy I had all summer!  We went biking, hiking, camping, swimming, and did tons of yoga — and sometimes a combo of all of those things in a single day!  
  • I really began to notice improvements in my skin and hair.  I think I only got one pimple for the entire summer, and my hair became more lustrous and thick.  I was so surprised that almost none of my hair would fall out in the shower or blowdrying.  It was awesome! 
  • Towards the end of summer, I began to feel the first moments of discomfort: swollen feet, ill-fitting clothing, and overall heaviness.  Yoga became a bit more difficult as bending (in any direction) started to feel uncomfortable. 
  • I was always always hot.  Swimming was a great relief, especially in Croatia where the water is extra salty!  I felt extra buoyant and weightless!