The Home Stretch

third-trimester

 

So it’s the third trimester….the “home stretch” as every single person I speak to keeps calling it. Calling this time of pregnancy the “home stretch” is totally appropriate though. Really it’s a stretch in every sense. Your tummy is stretching barely able to keep up with this growing baby and feels like it couldn’t possibly stretch more (but it can and it will, not to worry or at least that’s what everyone tells me). Also, just about every thing you try to do feels like a stretch because your body is limited by this soccer ball in the middle of it. That ball doesn’t bend in half like your tummy used to (back when you had a waist and not a person growing there). You’re unable to sleep through the night (if at all) and so just getting through the day and doing “normal” things feels like a serious stretch of what energy you have left. Then there’s the mental part of the stretch because you’ve got “pregnancy brain” and are suddenly quite forgetful and absent minded, so trying to get through making a to do list or getting everything done in one day seems like a mental stretch (one that sometimes doesn’t quite touch it’s toes). Also your hormones are getting a little out of control again and now you’re just playing catch up with them constantly.

I’ve been a little quiet lately because in my home stretch my migraines have picked back up and have really been kicking my pregnant butt on the daily. On the days I don’t have a really bad headache, I usually have a medium one and am exhausted from the day of migraine prior. I’m not sleeping through most nights because of back pain and tummy pain (my stretching tummy is killing me around the belly button, which I found out is my stomach muscles stretching apart down the middle of my tummy to make room baby’s growing body). The tossing and turning and trying to get comfy all night leaves me pretty tired during most days. Then there’s the really wonderful reason for being tired….the baby thinks night time is time to dance, party, twist turn and kick the sh-t out of me! I can only say that I may be looking at the clock at 3am thinking…really? But, I’m smiling because I love feeling her it makes me so happy. It’s on some other level of amazing every single time. Then there’s the necessity of eating which is something I often want to do but man whenever I do it now- hellllloooo indigestion!!! I have never really experienced anything quite like it. It feels like the food I ate is sitting in my chest and can’t move and it hurts and makes eating hard. That said I have to eat and feed this baby so I just get it done, try to make it healthy and eat less at a time as slow as I can to help things along. Popping Tums is helpful but doesn’t seem to do that much. It’s just a part of the home stretch for me (and I know many other moms to be too). Oh and then there’s needing pee all the time and the bladder pressure of the baby- but I’m pretty used to that now. I chalk all this stuff up to being in the home stretch and third trimester and so I’m not feeling all “poor me this is sooo hard” but more like….”58 days and counting until I meet my daughter and I can hardly wait.”

The one thing (other than sex, which I highly recommend to all pregnant, tired and maybe a little stressed out ladies) that has brought me relief from all the above is my prenatal massages. One of the massage therapists told me to look up what my internal organs look like in the third trimester- that it would make a lot of what I’m experiencing make much more sense. She is right! As you can see from the photo above…things are in places they normally wouldn’t be and many of the home stretch and third trimester aches and pains are explained just by looking at this photo. I mean- check out where the stomach is for example?!? Wowzer! Also, if you ARE pregnant I suggest you share this photo with your partner because it will help them understand things a lot too. We had a good laugh about everything when I showed it to my hubby. Someone can tell you your organs are all messed up but there’s something about the visual! Wooo baby!

So it’s all stretching and it’s almost time for the baby to come home…try to do what I’m doing and enjoy the moments you can, focus on the happy times and the feel good movements of your baby, of the excitement of starting to set up your nursery, of watching and feeling your baby get the hiccups for the first time, of that look on your partners face when he feels the baby going nuts inside you. Soak it all up because soon enough, life is going to change forever and if you’re like me, you know these moments matter while it’s still just you two. Even if you don’t feel well, there’s still joy here because no matter what even in the worst migraine ridden, exhausted and overly hormonal day…at the end of this home stretch is your baby in your arms and you can always think of that, for smiles.

 

 

This Is and Is Not My Fantasy Pregnancy: all at the same time.

In bed all day that day

I’ve been vacillating on what this next blog should be about. Should I write about my new favorite this or that? Or should I share with you a couple new books I’m reading about newborn care? (I will don’t worry). Or, should I take a risk and do what feels really uncomfortable to do, which is write about how I’ve been feeling and perhaps share my reality to possibly help you with yours? Yes, that. So, here goes…

I’d like to dedicate this blog to a concept a friend shared with me years ago about being “mindful” and being able to be both really one thing and also really something else, all at the same time. Part of being mindful is accepting that it’s okay to be all the things you are at this moment, and there’s peace in that. I can be in bed with a migraine for 4 days straight and also so happy and grateful to be blessed with this pregnancy. I am all of the emotions and feelings in both of these things, all at once, with out judgment and that is okay. (And there’s my migraine selfie to the left from the other day).

Often times we feel we are only allowed to be all one thing. For ex. I’m pregnant and it’s this one thing I’ve dreamed about my whole life: becoming a mom some day and now I’m actually doing it. So, I think I should be grateful, elated, happy and bursting with joy all day and night. I do feel all those things in my heart and soul, but my pregnancy has not been an easy one. I often feel pretty horrible every single day. At 19 weeks pregnant now, I’ve not felt well for one day since about week 5 or so. Does that mean I am not SO happy to be pregnant? Not at all. In fact, ask my husband, on my hardest of days, in his hour of concern for me and feeling so bad for how I’m feeling, he asked me how I may be able to do this again if I have a similar pregnancy and with this little one running around? My answer to him with out blinking or taking a breathe was, “I’ll do this again. We’ll work it out.” Because I know that I will do this again because I do want more than one child and I know we will work it out. Whatever that means at the time, just like we are now. My desire to be a mother is greater than my need to feel wonderful for 9-10 months of my life. I can handle it because I am so grateful, blessed and happy to be this lucky to have my dream come true.

Each pregnancy is different. The one of my dreams was amazing. I had that “glow” about me…had tons of energy and felt very earth-mama-connected-zen-ed out-peaceful and full of life. The one in my dreams, man, it was awesome. Many women get to have that kind of pregnancy and they feel amazing the whole time. If this is you- you’re so lucky! Enjoy it! Many women (like me as it turns out) don’t have the easiest time. There can be issues with morning (or all day) sickness, headaches, fatigue, constipation, Thyroid issues, Anemia, dizziness and much more. Some women even have to be on bed rest (God forbid). For me, I was nauseous all night and day until about week 13-14 on top of daily headaches which at times turned into migraines. Sometimes those migraines would last for days and nights at a time. There were several days where getting into the shower, walking the dog, doing an errand, felt like a small feat. I have chosen not to take drugs as much as I can control during my pregnancy so, despite being told by my OB that Tylenol is “pregnancy safe” I only took it one time this whole time. (This is a personal choice and not for everyone).

The books and blogs say that if you’re suffering in your first trimester you’ll probably see the clouds part in the second one. You’ll miraculously feel a surge of energy, all your issues will subside and you’ll experience the “honeymoon” period of pregnancy. Well, around week 14 and my second trimester my nausea went away which was wonderful however, the headaches did not. In fact around week 16 they reared back up again and it was so bad that I wasn’t able to fly to my Grandmother’s funeral this past week because of it.

So, what now? Nothing. I just keep taking it one day at a time. I wake up and feel my growing belly and talk to my little girl in there (who is now fluttering around and dancing a bit- she get’s it from her mama). I tell her I love her, her father loves her, her grandparents and aunts and uncles love her. I tell her everything is going to be okay. I’m telling that to myself too. It can be scary to feel bad during pregnancy. It’s important to try to keep calm and peaceful and not let the worry or stress of feeling bad overcome you. So each day, I check and and see what I can do to try to work with what needs to be done that day and how I’m feeling. Then, I just do the best I can and make smart, safe choices all day with what I eat, what I do and do not do, for this baby I’m in charge of.

If you are having a hard pregnancy, it’s okay. The light isn’t at the end of the tunnel, it’s inside you, growing there, so let it shine from the inside out and be okay with it all. You can be upset about being in pain, exhausted from struggling through headaches and nausea all day AND also filled with the love and light inside you, for and around your baby. Shine on, even if it’s from the couch.

Note: If you’re suffering from headaches and don’t want to take Tylenol here are some tips and tricks I’ve found that can help:

-Drink tons of water

-Try small doses of caffeine

-Try some sugar (in my case fruit didn’t cut it, I had to actually eat some real refined sugar or chocolate which is sugar and caffeine).

-Move slowly. Getting up and down fast can cause your headache to pound more. Don’t forget your blood volume has increased by 50% and so this could also be why you’re having these issues. Move slowly honey…don’t have to rush, it helps.

-Listen to your body! If you’re body says to lay down, go lay down. If your body says to eat, go eat. If a long hot bath sounds like it may calm your nerves, go run one.

-Get a pregnancy massage by someone trained in prenatal massage. It can help relax and relive some of the pressure. 

-Try acupuncture with someone trained to work on pregnant women. It can help.