SISJ PREGNANCY: THE FINAL STRETCH, MY BIRTH PLAN & MY BABY DADDY >
Let me begin today’s post by sharing an important community announcement: you are actually NOT pregnant for nine months, it’s closer to 10! WHHHHHHAT?! I hear you all saying. Yes, it’s more like nine months and three weeks (and that’s if you’re on time). You are technically ‘full-term’ at 37 weeks, but a normal pregnancy and due date is calculated on 40 weeks. To whoever started the cruel nine month rumour, I curse the day you were born (in the words of Charlotte York #SATCMOVIE). All jokes aside, today is all about the final countdown and what I have experienced to date. I have also briefly discussed my ‘birth plan’ and what my ‘baby daddy’ means to me. Please wish my rather chubby ankles, sore back and me all the best as I fly down the home stretch to meet our precious daughter!
MY THIRD TRIMESTER / THE HOME STRETCH COUNTDOWN:
You officially enter the third trimester around 27 – 29 weeks (so let’s say 28 for arguments sake). At this point I still felt bloody fantastic, but was more than aware what was just around the corner. I had a beautiful bump, my energy levels were great and I could enjoy a reasonably sized meal. In fact, at week 31 I went to the gym four times, had two PT sessions and pumped out an insane amount of work. However, to the day when I hit 32 weeks, it was ALL OVER red-rover. My belly literally grew another 20%, my energy levels dropped dramatically and my need for a daily cat-nap reappeared. Sleeping also became significantly harder due to aching joints/muscles, as well as frequent toilet trips overnight.
Around week 34 my belly grew another 10% and has started to widen gradually ever since. My lower back has begun causing a new level of pain and discomfort too (Relaxin is the devil!). I have been attending myotherapy sessions every two-three weeks (or when required) and taking lots of hot baths before bedtime. If you read some of my earlier blog posts regarding my first trimester experience, there are some major similarities. The tiredness is back with a vengeance, your ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days are totally unpredictable and my cravings have also returned. It’s all about taking each day as it comes and maximising your ‘good’ days when you have them.
Now is the time to rest, elevate your feet at night, keep reasonably active (eg. don’t sit still at the computer for hours on end like me!), buy an extra heat pack for your sore muscles and ensure you are eating a balanced diet. You should notice a slight increase in fluid retention from around week 34 (feet, ankles, face, arms, legs), but keep an eye on this. If you suddenly gain weight, have a dramatic increase of fluid or are in pain, notify your OBGYN immediately. From 36 weeks you will be visiting your OBGYN/midwife weekly, so remember that no question is a silly question. Your piece of mind and stress levels are also key, so try and relax and enjoy your last moments of peace!
ABOUT RELAXIN > Relaxin is a hormone produced by the ovary and the placenta with important effects on the female pelvis and reproductive system during pregnancy. In preparation for childbirth, it relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix. The ligaments around the spine also relax, resulting in extra strain on the back and hips. AKA your worst enemy in pregnancy!
MY BIRTH PLAN:
My answer to this is simple: to give birth safely. I don’t know whether it’s because we’ve been watching too many movies or if it’s due to a lack of education/knowledge, but many of us like to develop highly detailed (and unreasonable) birth plans. I would assume that by at least the third trimester, most of us will already have a preference of a natural (vaginal) or an elective C-section delivery. We must remember of course, that we in fact have absolutely no control over this! Your little person may decide to position themselves head-down, others may be rolling around sideways and some will be feet-first. While some OBGYN’s can use certain techniques to encourage bubs to move around (to head down if preferred), ultimately this is completely out of our control. Even if your little one is head down (like mine from 21 weeks – what an organised little girl!), she could still turn around at any moment.
Ideally I would like to have a natural vaginal birth, with minimal drugs. I am partial to a little happy gas, but I am sure that it will be more for my/our amusement and to pass the time, ha-ha! However, I have told my husband and OBGYN that if I reach a point where I either feel myself losing control or becoming too stressed, I will consider other options (epidural). My birth plan is to give birth and do it safely. I want our baby girl to enter the world in a stress-free environment, so what will be, will be. It’s all in the lap of the gods now – so to speak.
THE BABY DADDY (PARTNER):
The good-old baby daddy, where do I begin?! To be honest with you this is not a rant against my hubby, in fact I actually hope he doesn’t read this! I am about to be nice, understanding and supportive – shhhh. Don’t get me wrong, there have been multiple times where I have (and still do!) want to gently fly kick him to the head! However, particularly in the last few weeks, I have noticed my baby daddy’s behaviour improve significantly.
Let’s face it, not only is pregnancy an incredibly personal experience, but it’s also one that I believe only women can TRULY understand. While he loves feeling her move and kick about, he can’t fully appreciate or comprehend a boot to the rib or bladder. I don’t even need to mention the extreme fatigue and those days where my brain can’t even respond to an email – literally. For me personally, I just want a partner who 99% of the time will listen to me whinge about my sore back, swollen ankles and lack of sleep. For most pregnancies there’s not a lot more that our partners can do, than be verbally, emotionally and physically supportive. A foot rub also wouldn’t go astray – hint, hint. I think where it really begins for them is the labour itself. While I haven’t experienced labour before, my prediction is it will be somewhat of an ‘out of body experience/marathon’. By that I mean enduring pain for an extended period of time, fatigue and exhaustion, nervousness, possible complications – the list goes on.
We have discussed and agreed on our strategy and that’s to remain focussed, calm and united. We both know our boundaries and limits and have also discussed techniques that I feel will help me. For example the TENS machine, massage tools, heat packs, body rubs and baths. I think it’s more important to give our partner our birth plan, than our OBGYN/midwife. They are the one constant who will be by our side for the entire process, and be able to step-up with any decision making if we don’t feel up to it. For some this might be a doula, your mum or a friend as well – each to their own. It’s all about communication, a mutual plan and understanding and then patience and support on the day/night.
Overall, I think sometimes we need to remind ourselves that unfortunately our partner cannot ever really understand what we are going through – from the moment of conception to birth. While there are definitely minimum requirements regarding their behaviour throughout, we do need to cut them a little slack every now and again. Whether they are totally faking it or not, it’s reassurance we are looking for (in my opinion). Verbal encouragement and support is also essential and letting your lady know just how bloody amazing she is!
Stay tuned for how my baby daddy rates in the birthing suite and my experience. Fingers crossed I don’t go too much over my due date, if at all!
Thank you for all your love and support throughout my pregnancy. I have loved (almost!) every moment.