Friday, November 9, 2012

the third trimester

I had high hopes—too high, apparently—of writing this third trimester blog post while I was still actually in my third trimester of pregnancy. I kept putting it off, but I told myself that I would write it over the weekend that marked the beginning of week 39 so that the details would all be current. As it turned out, I was a little busy coming home from the hospital with a newborn that weekend. And so, here is the wrap-up with slightly less fresh details.

For a little visual reference, we're talking about week 28...

to week 38.

Clearly, I grew a lot. In fact, week 29 was when I started to feel like my belly was getting in the way of things a little. I was still thinking like a skinny girl, trying to squeeze by things, and then I'd end up bumping something with my belly. Somehow, I just never felt as huge as I thought I would. It took more effort to get to my feet from a sitting position as time went on, but I could still see my feet and even reach them to cut my toenails. Walking wasn't even very difficult at the end, although I felt a bit more winded than usual on the walk back to my car from the OB's office that last day.

Likewise, I never felt the need to get one of those huge pregnancy pillows for sleeping. I started wedging a small neck pillow under the side of my belly around week 26 instead. (It was never great as a neck pillow, but I was glad that I had kept it around.) I had some stiffness in my back in the mornings, but it was never enough to warrant big pillows crowding the bed. How do people turn over with those anyway? At the most, I just kept an extra pillow next to the bed to put between my knees occasionally. I didn't usually need it until maybe the last hour or two of sleep in the mornings.

In terms of baby movement, there was no slowing down during the third trimester. He had lots of hiccups, which became more and more obvious on the right side of my belly—where his back was. And there was a lot of foot movement on the left side. Occasionally, a foot would poke straight out towards my side in a way that felt rather unnerving, like I wasn't supposed to be stretched in that direction. Putting my hand there usually helped, since it seemed to provide a bit of support and confine the movement a little. Still, I was glad that most of the jabs were directed outward rather than inward at my organs or my ribs.

Braxton Hicks contractions: I started feeling them in the second trimester, but they continued to be common during the third. They got more and more frequent, and occasionally, they were a little more uncomfortable. Often it just felt like my blood pressure was rising suddenly, and then I'd realize that it was a contraction that was tightening things up. When labor started, I actually thought the contractions were Braxton Hicks for the first few hours. I was so used to those that I really didn't think it was true labor... But that's for a separate blog entry.

Next comes fatigue. Probably because I wasn't working, I didn't really feel a lot of the typical third trimester fatigue. There was a little—I'd sometimes hit a wall around 2 or 3pm and not feel like I wanted to do much. It was nowhere near the fatigue of the first trimester, however. And I actually never took any naps over the course of the pregnancy; I was just a little slower to get out of bed some mornings.

Appetite wasn't a huge issue either. The stereotype is that you'll want to eat everything in sight during the third trimester, but I didn't feel exceptionally starved. That might have had a lot to do with the gestational diabetes diet and its requirements that I eat or snack every 2-3 hours. I was already feeling like I was being told to eat constantly, so I probably didn't have the opportunity to get that hungry.

Finally, we come to my list of things that I do not miss about pregnancy:

1) Gestational Diabetes. The diet actually didn't turn out to be a huge deal; in fact, it probably kept my overall weight gain down and allowed me to lose it much faster afterward. The recommended 30-minute walks were good for keeping me out and about too. What I don't miss is not being able to eat sweet stuff or pasta without feeling like I was cheating. I also don't miss having to set a timer at the start of each meal and then stopping everything an hour later to test my blood sugar. The daily testing and having to keep food logs got a little old.

2) Constant Peeing. I don't miss feeling like I needed to pee literally every time I stood up. (That includes when I stood up from peeing too...) Since the baby was head-down from at least 31 weeks, there was probably increasing pressure on my bladder for quite a while. I would say that I don't miss getting up to go to the bathroom once or twice every night, but I still do that when I get up to feed the baby. At least I know that's just from all the water I've been drinking.

3) Heartburn. It was a problem throughout the pregnancy, but it definitely got worse as the weeks went by. I took Pepcid daily before dinner and Tums a lot the rest of the day, and I still frequently ended up having to take out my retainer and chew another Tums in the middle of the night. In fact, I was still taking Tums while I was in labor. Luckily, I had some in my bag and was allowed to take them. It was amazing when I realized a day or two later—after having the baby—that the heartburn was just... gone. Suddenly, I was drinking all this water (and burping, as one does) and there was no hint of acid reflux.

So it was fun being pregnant for a while, and I will miss feeling the baby's movements. And the uninterrupted sleep... However, I'm enjoying having Evan out where I can see him and of course, being done with the various pregnancy nuisances.

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