Sunday, August 7, 2016

Third Trimester Update - 28+ Weeks

I hit 27 weeks, which officially marked the third trimester, on July 20. And it's only taken me about 17 days to finally get around to this post; not bad, right?

This pregnancy felt pretty similar to the first for a while, aside from not getting wildly sick at conception, so I felt blindsided when, about halfway through the second trimester, I finally recognized that, in fact, this pregnancy feels completely different.

Physically I feel far more exhausted and less agile. I am falling asleep by 9 pm every night and I'm asking Terry to do a lot more around the house (granted, last time we didn't have a toddler mattress that needed changing every other evening or a 30-pound kid to pick up at random intervals, so I'd likely have been just as exhausted back then, too). My workouts are still going well, but I'm happy to squeeze in two "official" workouts per week, as opposed to easily finding time for four or five last round. Now I walk a lot throughout the day (between 5,000 and 7,500 steps, which is enough for me right now) and feel all sorts of tuckered out by the time we put Marshall to bed. The heat adds another element of lethargy, so mustering up energy for brief workouts still feels like a feat. I've been taking it easier on myself this time, too, so if I'm tired or hot or just want a break, I don't push it.

Here's a typical prenatal workout that has felt really great for me, even on the hot days:

Upper Body
(5-lb. weights have felt comfortable for me so far)
15 biceps curls
15 triceps overhead extension
15 hammer curls
15 bench dips
15 reverse curls
15 push ups (on knees)
Complete three rounds of the above

10 overhead press
10 lateral raises
10 upright rows
10 front raises
Complete two rounds of the above

I take lots of breaks, drink a ton of water, and quit if I'm not feeling well. Having been through it already, I know there will be a time when I can get back into shape for intense workouts, but now is not that time. My goal for pregnancy workouts is to give myself energy, keep myself and the baby healthy, prepare my body for labor and birth, and to maintain my sanity.

The other physical challenge I've faced this time is crazy stomachaches. I have struggled with these stomachaches for over ten years, so I'm familiar with the symptoms (back ache, tight stomach pain in my upper abdomen, chills, clammy feeling all over), but I had them completely under control for a long time. And for whatever reason they've just been brutal lately. For one stretch, I had a stomachache every day--about an hour to five hours at a time--for two full weeks. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out the exact trigger(s) nor the best way to get rid of them, other than sleeping it off (not exactly appropriate at work). I do know that they tend to be more frequent when I am stressed, so I try to keep my stress levels low, and I know that eating too much or too fast can exacerbate things.

Emotionally, this pregnancy has been worlds better than the last. I've said it before, but I feel so much lighter this time. There are stressors in my life, of course--the rush of daily errands and chores, election madness, sad news around the world, stress at work, inevitable life issues--but it's all so much more manageable and in better perspective this time around.

Speaking of perspective, a big emotional hurdle I have had to conquer has been my hopes of having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) coupled with my emotional recovery from having an unplanned C-section with Marshall. Luckily, I've made a ton of progress! I still hope--and am planning--to have a VBAC with this baby, but I am also at peace with what happened with Marshall. More importantly, I also know that another C-section with this baby will be okay. Ultimately, I am thankful to live in a time and place where I will be allowed to try for a VBAC but also where a C-section is an option if that's what's best for baby.

Overall, it's been a happy, albeit uncomfortable pregnancy. I am so grateful for this experience, and I am trying to view even the aches and pains as a blessing.

For comparison, here's a snapshot of the beginning of my third trimester with Marshall.

As far as the baby goes, we just had an appointment last Monday, and baby is growing and healthy, right on track for size. And--huge news for me--baby is head down already! I am thrilled he or she is already in good position for labor. I remember feeling Marshall roll from breech to head down, but this one did so much more subtly. I get TONS of kicks all day, some of which are rather uncomfortable (sharp knees and feet!), but they are reassuring and funny, too. Marshall still hasn't had the patience to feel baby kicking, but he does refer to the baby on occasion: "Baby is coming out in five weeks!" (He has been saying this for about two months, and thankfully it hasn't come true yet.) "This puzzle is for the baby." "Baby is going to eat dinner!" So we'll see how that goes.

We don't feel rushed to get much else done before baby arrives, but we have a decent to-do list, such as touring our hospital (same hospital as last time, but we thought it would be good to review their policies and to make sure we're in the know about any changes since two-plus years ago), registering for delivery, finishing our labor/birth books, and buying a couple more items to refresh our newborn stash of goods. We're certainly a lot more prepared than last time! (Or so we think...)

This week I hit 30 weeks, and we're feeling excited, although we have a big challenge ahead: Terry is getting knee surgery on Wednesday for a torn ACL and meniscus. I've planned ahead for meals as much as possible, and we have a few friends helping us with meals and such, too. I won't lie: I'm a little nervous about handling the whole house on my own while Terry is recovering, but I know we'll get through it. Wish us luck, especially Terry in his recovery!


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