Thank you all for sending your love to Kodiak. We’re still waiting on final test results, but he appears to be clear of any major medical problems. Yay, but frustrating, because we still don’t know what makes him hurt from time to time. I’ll keep you posted.

Aside from the period of time I spent acquainting my face with the toilet, I really enjoy being pregnant. Now that I finally am showing, I feel womanly, like this is what my body is supposed to be doing. I’m not even halfway through and I can honestly say I definitely want to do this again. And probably again after that.

I am fascinated daily by the changes in my body. Seriously, the human body is SO COOL. I am amazed that a) we created a person who is growing inside of me and b) that my body knows exactly how to do that. I’m constantly surprised by small symptoms that I never would have given much thought to, but that have everything to do with pregnancy. Like my all-the-time runny nose. The reason? Because increased blood flow that’s helping my uterus grow (and wow, has it grown. I can feel it from the outside!), is also helping all my other membranes swell. Like the ones in my nose.

Pass the tissues.

Every week surprises me, but week 16 has been the most surprising so far. The beginning of the week, I was very uncomfortable. My round ligaments — the ligaments that curve around your stomach like an upside down heart — were stretching. A LOT. A simple sneeze caused shocks of pain and rolling over made me want to scream. There’s not a ton you can do to ease the pain of stretching ligaments that have never stretched before, so my only relief was a heating pad set on low wrapped in a towel. It worked OK. Yes, theoretically you can take Tylenol while pregnant, but I’m trying to avoid all drugs unless absolutely necessary.

The ligament pain eased, and the next day Michael was staring at me and remarked that wow, you look pregnant. My stomach seemed to take on a rounder shape overnight. I guess I had a growing day.

And then, I was lying on my couch when I began to feel some pressure in my lower pelvic area. Thinking baby? maybe? I put my hand down there just in time to feel my uterus become rock solid for about 10 seconds. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever felt.

Of course, I turn to Google instantly, which informs me that it’s probably a Braxton-Hicks contraction — a sort of practice contraction your uterus does periodically in preparation of the big day. Apparently the uterus starts contracting in the first trimester, but most women don’t feel it until after week 20. Except some women who apparently feel it early and freak out.

I of course, called my mom. She said it sounded fine, but if it bothered me I should all my doctor. I have to remember that it’s been 20 years since my mom was pregnant, so if she doesn’t remember exactly what day she experienced a particular symptom, I shouldn’t worry when I have it.

I hung up, and called my friend Sara, who had her first baby six weeks ago and clearly remembers her pregnancy. Before I could even finish she informed me that yes, it’s a Braxton-Hicks and she had them around the exact same time as me. Phew.

But see, I was still looking at Google — the best and worst place to read about symptoms — and convinced myself that I was probably having these contractions because I had an undiagnosed urinary tract infection. They’re common in pregnant women and even though I wasn’t experiencing any of the other traditional side effects, I WAS peeing a lot and hey, it could happen.

So I called my doctor. And she said they yes, it’s probably just Braxton-Hicks, but come in for a urine sample anyway just to be sure.

Remember what I said about swollen membranes? Well, ALL your membranes swell. Try peeing into a cup when you’re pregnant and it’s an acrobatic feat. The stupid cup is sterile so you can’t touch anything, and you’re trying to aim while doing your best to remain as pee-free as possible (which, total fail, by the way) and you’re trying not to think about germs in the bathroom and woo hoo! Finally!

They said they would call if anything came up and I haven’t heard from them, so I assume it’s just Braxton-Hicks and nothing else. And all that peeing? Dehydration can cause the contractions too, so I’ve upped my water intake and I believe my uterus is now pressing on my bladder. The toilet and I have become reacquainted, just not with my face. I have about two Braxton-Hicks a day now, and they feel kind of like a Charlie Horse in your leg, but without the pain. Does that make sense? They don’t hurt at all, but the muscles get very hard and ball-like for a few seconds, then release. Body! Weird!

But! A silver lining to week 16 has been an amazing development that happened just last night. On a whim, I made brownies, and after eating one I felt the most amazing thing.

Two little bumps.

Bump.

Was that the baby? Did I just feel my first kick? Could it really be…

Bump!

Imagine a nudge from the inside out. Twice.

I know that babies respond to a spike in blood sugar, and while I really wanted to feel that Bump again, I decided against putting This Little Baby into sugar shock.

But I’ll definitely try it again today.

Oh yeah, and then the brownie gave me heartburn for the first time.

Fire-y, flame-filled heartburn that reached to the back of my eyes and left me tossing and turning past 1 a.m. while my husband snored away. (Water made it worse and Tums only mildly eased the burn, so if anyone has any suggestions I’ll be your best friend.)

I can’t wait to see what week 17 has in store!

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