The 20 Week Ultrasound & Other Pregnancy Updates

The calendar says I’m currently 24 weeks along with this pregnancy — and it seems impossible to believe that we’re over halfway there already! So with that being the case, it seems like some updates are in order:

Firstly, a few Wednesdays ago was the big 20-week anatomy scan ultrasound appointment. It’s funny how with Lillian, the 20-week ultrasound was a huge point of anticipation and excitement because that was when we got to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl — but this time around, we had the opportunity to find out about six weeks earlier as part of a super accurate and non-invasive blood test they offer to screen for genetic abnormalities. Since I don’t think I’ve spilled the beans about that here on the blog yet: We’re having another girl!

It was so exciting to find that out, and we’re thrilled about the idea of Lillian having a little sister — but one side effect of finding out earlier was that it removed some of the anticipation and excitement leading up to that 20-week ultrasound, leaving more room for worries and what-if’s about what else it might find. What if she had a heart defect or spine defect or other life-threatening problem? What if I got up on that exam table only to find out her heart had stopped beating at all?

Fortunately those turned out to be unfounded anxieties (most likely leftover from the mildly rocky start this pregnancy got off to) and the ultrasound revealed only that baby looked A-OK. And after getting that clean bill of health, it became easer to revel in the fun part — grainy black and white pictures of the new baby!

Ultrasound - All Curled Up

Not sure if it’s noticeable in the above image, but the ultrasound tech says she was really curled up tight, with her chin all tucked in to her chest. I had to shift positions — and even get up and walk around a bit — just to try to encourage her to move enough for them to get all the views they needed.

(Two hands and two feet - check!)

(Two hands and two feet – check!)

They actually printed up a ton of pictures — over a dozen, which is more than I recall getting with Lillian — though since our scanner broke at some point over the last couple years, I’ve just been snapping photos of them (hence why some of these are slightly crooked). Here’s an interesting angle looking at the baby’s face straight on rather than a profile view:

20 Week Ultrasound

And my personal favorite: one of baby “waving” where the ultrasound tech took the liberty of adding a lighthearted caption:

Ultrasound With "Hi Everybody" Caption

In other pregnancy news, so far things have still been going super smoothly — no complications or even unpleasant symptoms to speak of. (And if my blog updates from last time around are any sort of guide, I should have another few weeks before the heartburn and swollen feet start to set in — knock on wood!) In no particular order, here are a few other random updates:

  • Baby Movement – I’ve heard that you’re likely to feel movement earlier in a second pregnancy, but that hasn’t really been the case for me — it’s only been within the past week or two that I’ve really started feeling those baby kicks, which is about the same (or maybe even slightly later) than I did the first time around. One potential reason for this revealed at the 20-week appointment is that (possible TMI warning) the placenta is attached in front, which the doctor said can make movement harder to feel early on.
  • Caffeine – I’m one of those people who savors a good cup of coffee every morning, but in light of those recommendations that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake, I managed to go cold-turkey on that from the day we got the positive pregnancy test result. And after the first two days of feeling headachey and zombified (and one memorable coffee-free Monday morning where I was like “See? This isn’t so bad!” only to make it halfway to work before realizing I had forgotten to bring my work computer) it’s actually been surprisingly easy. I hardly even miss those morning coffees!*

    * This is a lie. After this baby is born I will most likely go on a week-long Starbucks binge.

  • Seafood – Ironically, avoiding seafood has been more difficult for me than avoiding caffeine, but for the most part I’ve been able to stick to the recommendations on number of servings per week, as well as avoiding the “bad” high-mercury flavors of fish. (Once baby is born, I plan to go on a week-long tuna and sushi binge as well.)
  • Diet & Exercise – Now that I’m working downtown again, I’ve been getting a fair amount of walking in — between walking to and from the train station in addition to any walking downtown, it works out to around two miles on a typical weekday. But aside from that and a daily prenatal vitamin (as well as the few restrictions listed above), I’ve admittedly been pretty lax on the whole diet and exercise front. Just eating whatever. I figure as long as I don’t surpass my top weight from my previous pregnancy by too much, it’s all good.

And here are a few other random things that aren’t so much pregnancy updates as somewhere in the “preparing for baby” category:

  • Preparing Big Sister – While it can sometimes seem a little hard to gauge how much a two-year-old really understands about the concept of a younger sibling on the way, Lillian does seem get the basic idea. She’ll say “baby in tummy?” pointing at my (now undeniably visible) baby bump, and when I say yes, will then go on to insist that she and/or Daddy also have babies in their tummies, not understanding why this obviously untrue and also kind of hilarious. But I think she’ll make a great big sister — she actually seems a bit obsessed with babies right now, wanting to read The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby almost every night, and doing things like diapering her stuffed animals.

    I like how the monkey's arm is sticking out the leg hole.

    I like how the monkey’s arm is sticking out the leg hole.

  • Remodeling Plans – We had been exploring the possibility of finishing and remodeling the basement, and then the attic when we realized the extent to which any basement construction wouldn’t add anything to the value of our house (more about all that can be found in this post.) But after further consideration, we ended up deciding to put any remodeling plans on hold for now — partly out of financial concern (that it might not be the best idea to increase our monthly bills right now) and partly out of the knowledge that even if we got started right away, any work wouldn’t be finished until months after baby’s born anyway, once the planning, permits, and construction itself is all taken into account.

    So the new plan is to make do with the space we have, taking comfort from the knowledge that larger families than ours have been perfectly fine fine living in houses smaller than ours. And possibly doing a poor-man’s basement makeover — whatever we can accomplish through a deep cleaning, some fresh paint, and any comfy furnishings we wouldn’t be devastated about possibly getting a little wet in the event of heavy flooding — rather than any actual construction or remodeling.

So anyway, that concludes this long rambling post about the various pregnancy and baby-preparation related things happening around here lately. I realize things have been a bit quiet here on the blog lately, but hopefully I’ll be able to find the time to do some other bloggings soon as well!


  1. So happy to hear how you all are doing! Seems like you are taking life in stride, and coming along just fine. I’m proud of all three of you! Love You, Grandmother

    • Thanks! Always doing our best not to stress too much, and it helps that everything has been going smoothly so far and we’ve been so lucky in so many ways. Lots of love! :)

  2. Hi, there! Glad you’re doing well. Luckily, you’re having another girl, so it’s fine that they’ll be sharing a room. You could always do a remodel later. Maybe you could start putting a little money away towards that goal. Bill and I do that for big things we need or want. I love the cute diapering job Lilly did. She wants to help Mommy with the new baby. :)Love to you all!!

    • That’s true about having two girls — we can get them set up with bunk beds and have no worries about them sharing the one room even for the long term if it comes to that. As it stands though, we’ll probably revisit the remodeling question once we’re settled with the new baby and see how the general financial situation looks, and so forth. Lots of love to you all! :)

  3. Aww, Lilly sounds like she’ll do just fine as a big sister! I bet she’ll take after her parents! ;)

    I know what to get you for Christmas this year too, Sarah! A Starbucks gift card! LOL ^_^ Kudos to you though; I don’t know if I could give up caffeine cold turkey like you have. I’d have to switch to green tea or something. Can’t commend you enough on that! You’re a great mom!! :)

    • Aww, thanks! :) A lot of what I’ve read suggests that there’s probably not much harm in drinking low to moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy — and while for me personally it just seemed easier / simpler to cut it out entirely (especially after doing the same with Lillian which seemed to work out well enough), I don’t mean to worry anyone who isn’t able to go cold turkey. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to some hot frothy caffeinated beverages starting a few months from now, hehe. ^_~ Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

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