Third Trimester Thoughts from the Home Stretch
Well, friends, it’s that time. It’s the last few weeks of my pregnancy and things are getting very real and yet very surreal at the same time. What I mean by that is while each day I come closer and closer to the reality of change we’re about to experience, I also have no clue what that change actually looks like, just that it will come.
As I finish out my 37th week, I feel like life as a whole right now is just one big bundle of uncertainty with absolutely nothing that can be done to alleviate that feeling. I find myself drawn toward doing tasks that are tied to a very known outcome so that I can hang onto something definite during a time that is so unsettled. I spoke in Monday’s shelving post about just the simple act of styling my shelves and having my platters in their place made me feel accomplished and calm. I have a sneaking suspicious that is what nesting is all about.
Speaking of nesting, there are a slew of third trimester quirks that I’ve been going through, some humorous, some not so much. I wanted to share with you guys the things I’ve been experiencing and would love to hear some of the things you remember about your third trimester.
Nesting – This is a hilarious concept for both me and Matt. So many people have been asking me if I’m nesting when they hear about my scramble to complete some of our many renovation projects. Matt said it best when he told a friend that if this is nesting, then I must have been pregnant for the past 10 years. I’m always in a frenzy of nesting, it’s just my personality. The difference here is the feeling of hanging onto something tactile like I mentioned earlier. It’s the feeling of knowing that there is nothing I can do to be adequately prepared, so instead I’ll just do things that make me feel prepared (regardless of how much it will actually help). Do I really need to have my go-bag ready? Probably not, but having it done makes me feel a certain sense that I’ve done what I can. I spoke back in April about how I deal with times of unknown and feelings of uncertainly and nesting is definitely my fall-back. I remember when Matt’s father passed away and things were so hazy and unclear. It was hard to see how life was going to work going forward. In that time, I remember posting up at his mom’s house, putting out food for visitors, washing dishes, making phone calls, and watering the many assorted plants that arrived daily. I nested because it was the only thing I could do to feel any ounce of certainty. I think the same is true with pregnancy.
“Are you Ready?” – how many times a day do I get this question? People ask it so innocently, but a rush of emotion comes over me when I try to figure out how to answer in the most appropriate way for whoever my audience is. I usually just have some sort of awkward strained smile and say, “as ready as I can be”. The real answer is, “hell no, I’m not ready”. I will never be ready. Emotionally, I am struggling with the knowledge that my life, my marriage, my career, and everything I know is about to change and can never ever go back. I struggle to even write about this and am battling tears as we speak. I know it will change for the better, and that I can’t fathom the love and emotion that will come with this change, but am I ready for it… is anyone ever really ready? The word I keep associating with my feelings of readiness is ‘resolute’ which may seem odd, but the word grounds me into an understanding that, yes, this is going to happen. Yes, I will do my best. Yes, I will tackle the change head on. I am pray each morning for a feeling of resolution and acceptance in the change. This question also usually comes with the person asking me if I’m excited which is even harder for me to answer. Saying no obviously seems like a negative response, but in truth, I find it very difficult to be excited for something that seems so unknown. Am I excited not to be pregnant anymore, I can definitely answer that with a yes. Which leads me to some of the more physical third trimester events…
The Bump – we will see this in all it’s glory next week (a 38 week fashion post is coming up!), but I seriously underestimated the growth potential of my body. I never in a million years thought that I’d get to the point where I am today. My bump is so big & heavy that I can barely manage it on a daily basis. Even some of the maternity tanks I bought early on barely cover it anymore. I cannot see anything below my belly button, which makes certain life tasks fairly difficult. To put on my own underwear is a feat that involves me holding onto one side of the undies and trying to swing a foot into the other side and then inch them up my legs enough to where I don’t have to bend over to get the other leg in. Bending over is out of the question. I drop things on the floor now and just leave them there. But the size of this bump wasn’t what surprised me as much as the weight of it. I need a third leg to hold it up. At my 37 week dr appt, he commented on how lots of women’s bumps are a little more ‘nestled’ into their bodies, while mine just is kind of an appendage which is stuck to the front of me without any fat and muscle surrounding it well enough to support it’s weight. It’s this situation that is making my back/side/ab muscles very very upset and by the end of the day, only leaning over the edge of the countertop or laying on my side with a pillow propping up the 20 lb bump relieves some of the pain. But even with all of this, I actually realize just how big I am only when I go out in public.
Going out in public – When I was at 8 months and started getting comments like, “oh wow, you’re about to pop!” or “Are you sure there’s just one in there?” I was irritated. My sister has a theory that full-term women with 9 month bumps just don’t go out and about very often, so the public’s perception of a full term pregnancy is about 8 months, or whenever the majority of women start hunkering down at home. This made me feel a little better. Then, within the last few weeks, I’ve realized the real reason why women don’t go out much in their last month. It’s not the fear of going into labor, it’s not the energy levels dwindling, it’s the constant unending flood of comments from people that completely catch you off guard or just take up a lot of precious time. On Monday, I made 10 stops around town including the grocery store, Costco, the craft store, and the baby store among many others. I was on a timeline to get everything done and my timeline was severely compromised by the sheer number of people who wanted to stop me and ask me if I was having twins, tell me about just how large I am, or generally muse on the joys of motherhood or the horrors of labor their extended relative went through. Last Friday, Matt and I went out to dinner and no less than 5 tables stopped us to comment. He was like, “is this what you deal with during the day”. Yes, yes it is and it’s tiring. As if I’m not already tired.
Fatigue – I did not suffer from fatigue in the first trimester like so many women do. I did sleep a lot, but solely because I was so sick that sleeping what the only time I didn’t feel nauseous. Plus my anti-nausea medicine basically just knocked me out. Now, however, I’m experiencing some pretty serious fatigue. After getting myself up, getting coffee, taking a shower, dressing myself, and sitting down at my desk, I feel like I could go back to bed. But then the whole cycle would start over, so I just push through and crash at night. I have been in this very strange spot of not knowing if I should spending my time preparing/nesting or relaxing and I feel guilty for doing either one. I’ve taken to just working mostly from a breakfast tray in bed or from the recliner in the baby’s room so that I can get shit done and rest my body at the same time. Then I schedule just 2-3 hours of physical work (styling rooms for photos, DIY projects and the like). It seems to be working out for me.
There are a slew of other things that come in the third trimester that are more or less typical – wondering if that pain I just had was a contraction, trying to eat legit meals even though I feel full after two bites, going to the bathroom about every 15 minutes because the baby likes to bounce on my bladder, and wincing at every kick I get straight into the spine. Among the difficulties, there are certainly a lot of fun parts of being pregnant as well. People are often really really sweet when it comes to loading my groceries into the car or letting me take their seat. I don’t have to suck my stomach in when I overindulge and have a perfectly good reason for all of that extra calcium and protein that I’ve been getting in the form of Jeni’s Ice Cream. Then there is the rare comment from a stranger who just simply says, “I wanted you to know that you are so beautiful” and I feel like all the worry and pain is vanished and that the beauty of pregnancy and life, and of bringing a baby into this world is all that really matters.
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