Between 8 weeks - 16 weeks nothing noteworthy happened. My afternoon sickness completely subsided by week 11, I began working at my new job at week 12, and I reached a point where I didn't feel very pregnant - just bloated. Around week 16, I began to feel little pops in my stomach. They began to become stronger and more regular, and by week 17 Nik could feel the baby kicking too.
At week 19, I woke one morning with intense pain through the left side of my stomach, down through my hip. I'd had pain like this before, and wrote it off as round ligament pain. Nik, with a husband sixth sense, was more uneasy about the pain and called my doctor. I never want to come across as a paranoid patient, so I was embarrassed when my doctor confirmed my suspicion to Nik that it was probably round ligament pain. Throughout the day, the pain remained, and I was terrified that if this is what round ligament pain felt like, surely the whole 'push-the-baby-out-of-my-pain' was not something I was cut out for.
Then, later in the day, things became more concerning when I spotted slightly. Any blood is worrisome when you are pregnant, especially after the first trimester. (I'd like to note, I only share this experience because I hadn't heard of anyone experiencing what I did, and it would have comforted me if I had heard a similar experience.) Luckily, because Nik had called my doctor earlier that day, so he was aware of my prior symptoms when I called him. My doctor kept me calm, explaining what type of scenarios bleeding could occur, but encouraged me to go to the emergency room. Nik was commuting home from work on the Google bus, so we arranged for him to meet me up at the hospital.
At the hospital, it was frustrating because I could only be admitted to labor and delivery if I was 20 weeks, and I was 19 weeks 5 days. The spotting turned out to be high levels of blood in urine, and after a series of tests and an ultrasound we had discovered the following symptoms: protein in urine (most likely from the blood), an inflamed kidney, and the same pain I experienced throughout the day. Nothing added up. They wrote it off as a UTI, and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. The entire situation was unsettling, because I felt like we left without solid answers.
There was some good that came from the hospital visit: baby was healthy. With a strong heartbeat, and dancing on the ultrasound, completely oblivious to everything that was going on. Also, at 19 weeks the gender was confirmable! Nik had been on a campaign for weeks to convince me to keep the gender a surprise. All of our family, including both of us, were convinced it was a boy. Nik had the ultrasound technician write the gender on a slip of paper, and sealed it in an envelope. He promised that once it was confirmed the baby was healthy, we could open the envelope up. When we received the news that baby was healthy, with some of my family in the hospital room, Nik opened up the envelope and announced it was a girl. None of us believed it, and it wasn't until he choked up saying, "Really it's a girl," did we believe him.
At 21 weeks, my old friend "round ligament pain?"/"UTI?" returned with vengeance. It was on the day of my work's Christmas party, held in a brewery in Berkeley. I could tell something was off, and called my doctor's office. They encouraged me to come in before 2:00 pm to get some tests done. Unfortunately, I had carpooled with coworkers at was stuck. Luckily, my mom was willing to come up to Berkeley to pick me up and get me to the doctors office in time. Upon jumping in the car, my mom and sister asked me why I smelled so strongly of alcohol. The dang brewery smell had absorbed into my clothes! I was going to go to the doctor's office complaining of pain, while reeking like I'd spent the night in a club.
The doctor ran a test, and did an examination, and I was finally given a diagnosis that tied all the symptoms together: kidney stones. It all made sense. I was given prescription for painkillers and a very sympathetic look from the doctor as she said, “Well, just be sure to drink plenty of water. Around eight bottles a day.”
Bolstered by a diagnosis that made sense, I surrounded myself with water bottles and guzzled constantly. The result was an exaggerated bump. My once barely there belly sprouted overnight. As I walked it made sounds like a waterbed. I always had a 16 oz of water working its way through my body.
At 25 weeks, I awoke one morning to a stabbing pain. Three bottles of water and an hour later, my baby stone decided to make its debut! Overjoyed to have this (tiny) beast out of my body, I awoke sleeping Nik, announcing, “I passed the stone.” I held out my index finger, with the stone on the tip for him to gush over. He let out an unimpressed, “Hmm. Look at that,” and rolled back into bed to slumber longer. His lack of enthusiasm couldn’t bring me down. Forget birthing classes, I had just spent the past six weeks dealing with kidney stones sans pain meds.