As I sit and write this final blog post before bub comes, I have to confess that I really can’t be bothered! And I feel that that really sums up how I may feel in these remaining weeks. I am currently 37.5 weeks pregnant and it feels as if the fatigue that I have heard so many other mums speak of in relation to the final trimester has finally set in! I think that I actually thought I was going to skip this phase as I have been feeling really good for the most part. Relatively energetic, normal and lucky was how I would describe myself to anybody who asked (and believe me, everybody has asked).
I was also tossing up whether or not to write this post birth or before and have decided that given I have no idea what my world will look like after, I will write it while this baby is captive inside my body. So here are my experiences/observations from the last three or so months of pregnancy.
I feel like for the most part, food has returned to normal. In the first half of the final trimester I noticed a significant shrinking of my stomach. On numerous occasions I made the fatal error of either over eating or ordering entree and main only to discover after the entree that I could not even touch the main. I’ve always had a pretty healthy appetite so found it very strange to feel so literally full to the brim that I could not touch something decadent and delicious! I put this down to my stomach competing with growing baby for real estate and resigned myself to smaller portions. This phenomenon has definitely passed though as the baby has dropped down lower in my abdomen allowing my stomach the room it needs for digestion.
This shrinking in my stomach actually resulted in a little weight loss for me which I decided not to be concerned about, my weight loss has been at the low end of the spectrum throughout the whole pregnancy and I have generally only gained a kg per month so I was not concerned. My appetite seems to have ramped up again in the last few weeks so I’m sure I’m making up for any lost calories now.
In terms of what I have been eating, it is probably not dissimilar to my second trimester. My aversions for rich foods are still there, particularly rich red meat dishes and as the weather has warmed up, I find myself craving salads, fish, chicken, green juices even some fruit. I have also completely gone off one of my absolute staples throughout the pregnancy – eggs. Although these babies are so nutrient dense, especially in relation to the much needed fat soluble vitamins, I’m going with it.
Below are some of the foods I have been eating regularly
Chicken & salad
Tuna & salad
Wild caught salmon & salad or vegetables
Coconut water – by the gallon
Raw buckwheat granola
Chia pudding with Coyo
I mentioned how my hormones wreaked havoc with my mood throughout my first trimester which was so much fun for my lovely partner (not). Fortunately that faded completely in the second trimester and into the third. I remember my brother gently warning my partner to watch out for a return of the crazy in the final trimester and right around the festive season it turns out he was right (I hate it when my brother is right LOL). I found myself bursting into tears for no apparent reason, much to the surprise and sometimes frustration of my partner. I also found myself having a much shorter fuse again as well as general tolerance for things. This “moodiness” is again related to the surge in pre-natal hormones that the body is experiencing so reminding myself of this regularly as well as practicing all the things I recommended in the first trimester have helped.
At this stage in the pregnancy all of my meditation is focussed on hypnobirthing and I have been meditating for about 3 hours each week which is about 1.5 hours more than I would normally do. I hate to think what kind of an emotional mess I would be if I wasn’t doing this. My partner has been an amazing support too throughout this time, as have my beautiful friends who are there to listen, nurture, support and offer kind words of wisdom. I so feel blessed to have them in my life.
HOW I LOOK
I know lots of women past have spoken about most people’s urge to reach out and touch a pregnant woman’s belly (with or without permission to do so). This is something that I honestly don’t mind. Mostly it seems people will ask permission and I have only had a few random strangers reach out to touch my swollen belly. I don’t blame them, pregnancy is such a miracle and it really is compelling to touch a belly with the knowledge that an unborn baby is growing inside. I have always felt the pull when I am in the presence of a pregnant woman so I am mindful of that feeling in others.
What I have been struggling with is the comments about how I look. I know that they are well intentioned but everybody seems to have an opinion as to how big, small, pregnant or not pregnant I look…to me it seems I have become public property somewhat. Generally the comments are that I am “small” for my number of weeks which could be taken either way. I’m choosing to focus on positive side of that definition as I hope to have a relatively average sized baby and obviously don’t want to be referred to as “huge”. Most people also comment on how I look in general which is always positive so whether it is true or not, it is nice to hear that.
It is super common in the late stages of pregnancy for the mother to be to find herself low in iron and this has unfortunately been my experience too. We have tested it regularly throughout this final trimester and it doesn’t seem to be moving in the right direction. I have been taking a good quality iron supplement as well as liver capsules but sometimes have to stop taking the iron as I find that it constipates me. This low iron phenomenon explains my sometimes fatigue that is still totally manageable (until a day ago) and is not too severe at this stage. If it gets any lower though, the Birth Centre will not allow me to labour there and I will be forced into King Edward Memorial Hospital to labour so I am diligently trying to manage my iron stores as well as keep my digestion/elimination working well. I have found that taking flax seeds (approximately 1 tablespoon) with my breakfast has helped, as has taking magnesium .
I hadn’t been with my partner Iggy for a long time before we fell pregnant, in fact, before I met Iggy I was fairly certain that I was destined to miss the opportunity of having children. I also considered having a child on my own. I strongly believe in the power of self belief to create and manifest what you truly want and I feel that I was fortunate enough to manifest Iggy just at the time when I did. Although he is 10 years younger than me, he also felt a strong desire to have a family of his own which can be somewhat unusual for a younger man. Having said that, we didn’t anticipate conceiving quite so quickly as I was told it may take me over a year to conceive.
Although there have been challenging times for us throughout this pregnancy (mainly during 1st and last trimester mood sessions on my part), I honestly could not ask for a more loving, supportive, nurturing and caring partner. As the pregnancy has progressed he has become more protective and nurturing in relation to me and his unborn child. At this point he is doing all the cooking, cleaning and any other supportive thing that may require doing. He is also so interested and engaged in the physical processes that I am experiencing right now. He’s not squeamish at all and will be very hands on at the birth as well as post natally. He’s wonderful with children and babies alike so I really feel so blessed to have him as my partner and the father to my unborn child.
PREPARATION FOR BIRTH
Being blessed with so many experienced mums as friends, many bestowed upon me their favourite books to read in the early stages of my pregnancy. Most were focussed on the birth and the lead up to the birth in the final trimester. In the first trimesters I found I had to put these books down, that they did not resonate with me and that I wasn’t ready to read about or focus on these things. As soon as I hit 32 weeks I suddenly started clambering for all of these texts as well as stalking my Doula. One of the things a lot of the books didn’t seem to cover is Optimal Fetal Positioning (OFP). For a natural birth, it is ideal if the baby is head down with his spine resting against the front of your tummy, many women’s find their baby is in a posterior position which means the head is resting against the spine. The posterior position (or any other position the baby may be in at time of labour) can make labour long and very uncomfortable and it can also lead to unwanted interventions such as cesarian section. The good news is there are lots of things you can do to help move the baby in to this position. Primarily leaning forward over things and avoiding lying on your back or reclining which will naturally move the baby backwards towards the spine. I have been spending time each day leaning over a fit ball to facilitate this position for my baby as well as avoiding reclining and back lying (fairly annoying at the beach if I want to sunbathe) and so far it is working well with bub in a nice anterior pose, ready for my imminent labour.
Reflecting on my pregnancy until this point, it has been a really beautiful experience for me. I can honestly say that I have really enjoyed being pregnant. I love feeling my baby growing inside me and being comforted with his/her regular movements. I mostly love my swollen belly and marvel at the miracle that is happening inside my amazing body right now. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience this and reminded that not everybody is fortunate enough to. Now I am focussed on the next stage of this journey, giving birth to this beautiful being and finally getting to meet this little soul that I have had nestled inside me for nearly 10 months.