Although I’m not quite through the third trimester we are looking at induction soon, so I thought it was about time for me to wrap up this post, as I have been contemplating whether or not I would like to make a birthing post. Nothing gross or graphic, but just a real look at my experience and expectations I guess.
The Experience of Pregnancy
My experience of pregnancy has been a fairly pleasant one. I felt good most of the time, I didn’t get unwell, although I didn’t work for as long as I thought I would, I do still feel ok at 37 weeks. I find that you get different responses from other pregnant women though. They either love it or hate it! The ones that love it seem to gush about how amazing it is to carry their baby for 9 months, how much they love being pregnant and how amazing their birth was, while others tell you traumatic stories of endless mornings sickness, food aversions, extreme lethargy and their horror of birth. Having heard all of this I wasn’t sure what to think. I kept waiting for the mornings sickness, when I never got it I wondered if everything was ok, you don’t hear as many experiences where they skip this symptom after all.
As a nurse I met new people every day, so you go through the motions of answering the same questions. “How far along are you?” “When are you due?” “Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?” “Is this your first?” “Why don’t couples want a surprise anymore?” I answered these questions so often, and patients always want to know what names you’ve chosen, I guess this is a topic of major debate these days, but I do wonder whether it has been a topic of major debate in the past as naming trends change over time, and the names that seem outlandish become more mainstream. I have been in many conversations with people about the unusual names people use, and must admit I know people who have used names we would never think of using, but you do get used to it. And, at the end of the day it’s just a label. However, being married to an ex-teacher there are of course names associated with negative experiences that restricted the list, however, we seemed to focus on more traditional names anyway. I always wanted a name that wasn’t on the top 100, but a name that we didn’t make up, or that wasn’t really a “name” by definition.
As for our expectations, I hadn’t really thought too much about it all. I know I wanted to have a baby some day, but hadn’t really thought about the experiences of the process, even as we lined up for IVF I feel as though I just went through the motions. Hubby had thought about how much our lives were about to change, but I don’t think it was until my widget counter on my phone indicated we had 100 days until the expected birth date that I started to think about the trauma of getting this baby out into the world. This was when other peoples’ birth stories started to get to me, I think I heard just about all the possibilities.
The third trimester also brought with it the physical changes and challenges. This was the hardest part for me. No longer remaining as active as I had been, I started to realise I couldn’t take the long strenuous walks I was doing before hand and in the earlier days, I lost my ability to bend and therefore lost flexibility, I have trouble turning in bed and bending down to pick things up, even getting off the lounge is sometimes a struggle. The swelling finally kicked in, before I finished work I had huge ankles and if I had my feet down all day my feet would be huge. I no longer sleep through the night as I have to go to the toilet at least 3 times. And, as the tiredness kicks in I find it hard to get motivated to do more than I have to as well, which I find disappointing because I had all these expectations of using my time off work for daily yoga and walks at the lake – but I have struggled with motivation and the weather here hasn’t been ideal for outside activities with recent weather either 40 degrees celsius or more recently rain all day. Throughout this pregnancy I have had appetite changes, I was getting hungry more than I used to – I’m eating breakfast now, and finding I need to eat more regularly, but around week 34 found I couldn’t fit in as much food without feeling uncomfortable, and I found I had a decreased appetite. Meanwhile, +13kgs at 30 weeks, +15kgs at 34 weeks, +17kgs at 36 weeks and although I’m told this isn’t excessive I feel as though it’s not all pregnancy related. So instead I’ve started some new habits – I’m starting to adapt my diet for the slower lifestyle I seem to have taken since maternity leave, and incorporating some strength training – nothing over the top just some light weights for upper body strengthening, and squats for lower body and I’m aiming for a third trimester yoga workout 3 times a week. We’ll see how well these best intentions pan out.
These last few weeks have been mostly made up of lists. This is me trying to keep everything organised. I made lists for the hospital bag, and because I don’t know what size the baby will fit into I have 00000 and 0000, plus an array of comfy clothes for me to wear, toiletries, supplies for breast feeding and cord care suggested from our antenatal classes. And, while I kept to that list, the only difference is having enough for the baby in two different sizes I have this fairly large bag that I’m sure looks somewhat over the top. But at the same time I am packing for two people for a five day stay away from home, so I guess it’s not unlike what I would pack to go away for five days on a holiday. Just no sunscreen, insect repellant, or array of shoes. I also had lists for what we thought we needed for the baby, what we thought we needed to have set up in the house, and of course I have packed and repacked the babies’ room to fit in all the things we have been given and that we’ve bought ourselves. I often get asked if I’m ready. I guess my answer is yes, we have everything I can think of that we would need, probably some things we will never use, or rarely use, but mentally and emotionally we’ll have to wait and see. Currently I’m playing the waiting game on maternity leave, and preparing for a kitchen renovation. No this is not a nesting thing, my husband tells me I am a nester naturally, this is circumstantial, the money and time aligned and now I’m hoping it can get started before I go to hospital with the hopes maybe it will all be done by the time we come home. In time to pack it all away.
I have decided to take some advice from some older work colleagues who tell me my life will never be the same once this baby is welcomed into the world. They recommend getting as much rest as I can, doing something I enjoy, and just make the most of being alone because I won’t get the opportunity for sometime. So given that I’m scheduled for an induction in 10 days my plan is to catch up with some friends, do some baking, sewing, watch tv, nap and fit in some vacuuming and laundry around that. Well, that’s the plan anyways.
Pregnancy is laced with expectations and good intensions!