The third trimester is a rollercoaster of elation, discomfort, gratitude and utter fear. Today marks 34 weeks for me — a milestone which we, at a point, were scared we wouldn’t make it to. Now, just two weeks away from when our doctor said we’d be in the clear (36 weeks) and six weeks from my official due date, I feel the mixture of emotions named above more than ever.
The Best Part
Our baby girl is moving a TON. It’s now less kicking more jabs, stretches and rolls. I can feel her little body at any time, and I love telling myself that I’m rubbing her back or comforting her in song. She also totally responds to my and Dan’s voices — her most active times are when the two of us are laying in bed at night talking to her. Trust me — that > anything else.
All of this leaves me speechless with love and adoration for this little human I haven’t even met. Words can’t describe it — I would do anything for her. And I feel like I’m getting to know her! I can anticipate when she’s most and least active, things she likes and doesn’t, when she’s sleeping, etc. It’s truly a magical thing.
Your third trimester is also typically when you start to have your baby showers — when family, friends and colleagues rally around you in love and support, and spoil you in ways you never expected. I have honestly felt so humbled by the beautiful showers that have been thrown for me and gracious gifts we’ve received for our baby girl. We are so lucky.
I start here with the best part because that’s what’s kept me focused, motivated and positive.
What They Don’t Tell You
Just how uncomfortable you’ll get. And emotional. And kind of stir crazy.
Granted, in my situation, there are variety of factors that could’ve made this harder for me. First, I’m short (5’1.5) — with a very short torso. There’s not much room for baby in there, and that has left me seemingly bigger than everyone else (even though my doctor swears my actual tummy is not!) and uncomfortable early on. We’re talking back pain, hip pain, leg cramps and frequent insomnia as a result. (Not even the Snoogle can help me now).
Second, I’ve been on a strict activity restriction since 20 weeks that’s left me not really feeling like myself — working from home, away from the gym, skipping outings with friends and relegated to the couch. It’s made me feel like I’ve lost my identity — nearly all the core pillars of who I was pre-pregnancy dismantled: Workout Fanatic, Restaurant Junkie, Social Butterfly, Do’er. I can’t freaking do anything without feeling like this baby is going to straight up fall out of my vagina. (TMI, sorry not sorry).
And finally, I’ve been hella emotional. A few weekends ago, I literally cried during a spooning scene in The Backup Plan and could. not. stop. Which is especially weird for me, since prior to this pregnancy, my husband could count on two hands the times he’s seen me cry.
All of this is on top of your body continuing to transform – grow, swell and cramp. While what’s going on inside is certainly an amazing miracle that leaves me so grateful every day, it can also be hard to cope with.
Worry, Worry, Worry
I’ve also turned into a huge worry wart. Reading and hearing scary stories about complications during the third trimester have left me totally paranoid. Is she comfortable? Am I suffocating her? Is the cord wrapped around her? Have I gained too much weight? Did I eat something that’s bad for her?
That, plus worry about the actual birth — her being okay, not wanting a c-section, and generally bearing my private parts for all to see. Seriously though – that birth canal is significantly smaller than baby’s head! Will she fit?
And then there are the vain concerns about after the birth. Will my body ever be back to normal? Will I ever wear a bikini again?
It’s all just currently unknown, which is super hard for me, being the extreme planner I am.
How I’ve Kept Myself Sane
Pure and simple: I focus on the baby. At the end of the day, even though I’ve read all of the books and articles I can get my swollen hands on, I don’t know really what to expect. I can’t pre-plan when or how I go into labor, or how my body responds to these last few weeks (please no swelling!) And I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t change that.
So I’m journaling, talking and singing to baby girl on the daily, planning what I can (things I need for the hospital bag, baby girl’s coming home outfit, post-birth recovery necessities, etc.) and trying to enjoy these last few weeks as a twosome with Dan. I can worry and obsess over what’s to come as much as I want, or complain about my current discomfort. But I am realizing that what makes me feel better is not doing that (as hard as it is!)
At the end of the day, the most important thing is this little lady growing inside me. I’m choosing to believe in positive outcomes, and I know that once she’s out, it’ll be all worth it.