January 12– January 18: 30 Weeks 0 Days – 30 Weeks 6 Days.
I think the beginning of my third trimester has been my favorite part of pregnancy so far. This may be partly because I finally started seeing a chiropractor—which providers and friends have been recommending for months—and my muscles and joints have been feeling much better than they were. Here are some other reasons I’m enjoying this stage of pregnancy:
1. I’m unmistakably pregnant, which is a prerequisite for many of the following perks.
2. People are incredibly nice and respectful. Goodbye catcalls. Hello strangers who ask genuine questions about my baby and my experience with pregnancy. Sometimes men still tell me I look great or beautiful, but it’s often at the end of a short conversation (instead of opening with “Hey gorgeous”), and doesn’t feel sexual, objectifying, or threatening. The next step for society is that we treat all women nicely and respectfully, not only the pregnant ones.
The teeny dark lining on this silver cloud is that sometimes people’s well-meaning or conversational comments are annoying. Many people’s opinions about how big pregnant women should be are informed by entertainment media, in which most women portrayed are in their second trimester. I’m not abnormally big, thanks. I’m just past the cute, photogenic stage of pregnancy that magazines like to publish.
3. All the support I arranged months ago is kicking in. At this point my prenatal group sessions (equivalent of doctor’s appointments) meet every two weeks instead of once a month. It’s great, because it’s kind of like a support group.
We hired birth doulas (Britt Fohrman and Alexis Cohen) back in October, and we just had our first of two prenatal sessions with one of them. We didn’t talk much about our birth plans or preferences, but we discussed what Richard and I can do now to prepare mentally and physically for birth. If it’s not obvious from several of my type A blog posts, one of my challenges is letting go of control—a big barrier to natural birth. In our session, we discussed some techniques to help me practice surrendering control.
We also started our birth prep class with week, which was fun. On Britt and Alexis’ suggestion, we signed up for Rachel Yellin‘s Birth Prep Class, which focuses on relaxation, self-hypnosis, and other techniques for a achieving a natural birth (I will blog about my experience with the birth class once we’re done it in a couple weeks). Part of our homework (Or “home fun,” as Rachel calls it) is to spend a couple dedicated minutes a day bonding with and affirming our partner, which is really sweet.
4. I feel more comfortable asking for and receiving help. At no point in pregnancy has it felt great for me to do heavy lifting. Lifting is a whole-body action, and I always feel the brunt of the weight in the weakest link of the chain: the hypermobile joints in my pelvis. However, before I had a big belly I felt like I should’ve still been able to lift heavy objects, so it was harder for me to ask for help and I would often turn it down, even if it was offered.Richard has been giving me a hard time about this because doing too much manual labor inevitably leaves me complaining of aching joints and insomnia.
Maybe my aches and pains have been going on long enough that my will for independence has finally been crushed, maybe my obvious belly makes me feel entitled, maybe the conversations I’ve had about letting go of control have sunk in—in any case, I’ve been slowly accepting more and more help, especially from Richard. And, for the first time this week when the cashier at the grocery store asked if I needed help to my car, I accepted. However, I wasn’t quite ready to accept his repeated offers to help me get the groceries from my cart to the checkout conveyor belt (granted, grocery carts are deep when you’ve got a big belly in the way! P.S. So are top-loading washing machines)
5. I’m getting extra love, support and care from my partner. I don’t want to gush over my hubby too much, but I have to say I could not ask more a more dedicated partner. Day-to-day, he’s been incredibly willing to help me out physically. Although, he sometimes makes me explicitly ask for help (even if he knows I need it) so I can practice requesting what I need.
He’s also been prioritizing being present for birth-related stuff, while still attending to a career that provides for us and the baby. On Wednesday, we started the day with a two-hour meeting with our doula, he worked from home for the rest of the day, in the evening we went to a 3.5 hour birth prep class, then I drove him straight to the airport to catch a red-eye flight to New York that would land just in time for him to start work in the morning. Unlike the week-long business trips he’s taken in the past, this time he was back two days later to support me.
Our birth prep class is taught by a yogi-shaman-hypnotherapist, which is outside of Richard’s normal realm, but he was open-minded and accepting during class and has been on board with practicing techniques at home. That said, he was a little discombobulated by a questionnaire included inquiries like “What is your vision for birth?” and “What do you want your baby to feel during birth?”
6. It’s time to concretely prepare for the baby.
For me, the first trimester was rough, the second trimester involved a lot of watching and waiting, and the third trimester feels more action-packed. We’re meeting with our support team regularly, our nursery is well on its way to being assembled, and taking conscious time to bond with each other and the baby. It feels exciting that there are things to do. Here are a couple other action-items I’ve got on to do list:
- Choose a pediatrician
- Register ahead at the hospital (for less paperwork on the big day)
- Figure out how to get a breast pump using my insurance
- Buy a crib mattress (I have one all picked out, I’m just waiting until my Babies R Us reward dollars vest)
- Complete nursery with smaller staples (e.g. nail clippers) and consumables (e.g. wipes) so we’re baby-ready
- Pack a hospital bag
- Write out my birth preferences
- Keep brainstorming middle names (we agree on the first name, but the middle name is a continued issue of debate)
7. Superficial things bother me less.
I found out how mom’s start wearing mom-shoes. At this point in pregnancy, bending over to tie up my shoes is a chore and low-support shoes with slippery soles are a hazard. Frankly, supportive, slip-on shoes with grippy soles are not cute. At this point I don’t care. Today I’m wearing both compression stockings and Klogs, which I think may even be at the grandmother level of sensible attire.