Wow, it feels like such a long time has passed since the last update! The third trimester has been so interesting, as I expected. The first two are pretty straightforward – the first trimester was nausea and fatigue and lying low, the second was fairly normal energy and lots of dreaming about what’s to come, and the third has been a mix of normal energy, major hormonal emotional swings, more physical challenges, and an insane amount of nesting.
(38 weeks and 4 days when I wrote this, and 39 weeks and 1 day posting it!!)
A lot has changed over the course of the last 3 months! The beginning of the 3rd trimester started out very smooth in terms of energy and symptoms, but has come with many bumps in the road as my body changes and every sensation is new to me. I’m extremely in tune with my body, for better or worse, so I notice eeeeeverything. I’m also super precautious, so anxiety has been pretty high for most of the past few months as I’ve tried to determine if what I’m feeling is normal or cause for concern.
I started noticing Braxton-Hicks contractions (BH) pretty early on, and the really annoying thing is that when I’m dehydrated and/or stressed, I might have a lot of them. They’re completely harmless EXCEPT the internet tells you if you have more than just a few of them, you need to go to the hospital to make sure you’re not in pre-term labor. FUN!! Many nights were spent at home after having a lot of energy and/or wanting to get a lot of things done, and then I started feeling contractions so I had to force myself to lie down for several hours or take a bath to make sure they went away. That has been by FAR my least favorite part of this pregnancy – 1) not knowing what’s okay, 2) other people (the internet and my nurses/doctors) making me think that normal things might not be okay so do worry about them, and 3) being forced to slow down because my uterus is overreacting.
I did end up going into Labor & Delivery at 32 weeks because I pushed myself too hard running errands on a hot day (not resting, not drinking enough water, not using the bathroom when I needed to) and ended up with BH contractions coming every 2 minutes apart with somewhat painful cramping feelings. They started spacing out after drinking a LOT of water, lying down, and taking a bath, but I couldn’t tell if they completely went away or not. I was pretty sure everything was fine, but I had been getting so stressed out by similar episodes that I wanted to just go to L&D, make sure that they weren’t doing anything to my cervix (aka beginning pre-term labor), and to hopefully better identify if what I was feeling was still contractions or just the baby moving around (sometimes it’s hard to tell!). Fortunately everything was fine, and Whit met me there with dinner (that I wasn’t able to eat until 11pm), but I really wish there was more support and less fear when you ask your doctors and nurses (and the internet) if what you’re experiencing is normal. Alas, liability…
After that I started feeling more confident about recognizing that stress causes BH for me, and that it’s best to just ignore them unless they’re coming with pain/cramps. That confidence has been so helpful for not bringing them on or making them worse because when I start feeling anxious about timing them and controlling them/making sure they go away, it only makes things worse. So… that’s been the big adventure and again, worse thing about pregnancy for me. (Also, drinking enough water to stay hydrated while pregnant in Florida in the summer is practically a full-time job.)
The other thing I’ve mostly hated is the stress over normal fetal movements. Again, the internet screams – GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU NOTICE ANYTHING IS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR BABY’S MOVEMENTS. Well, what the heck does that mean?? Baby’s movements and patterns change all the time. Sooo that’s some good fear-mongering! Baby J is VERY active, but he usually has 2-3 days of moving all day long and then 1-2 days of fewer movements. Needless to say, that has stressed me out a LOT, trying to make sure that he’s fine in there! I’ve been pretty freaked out by being the only person who can possibly determine whether his movements are normal or not, and have been pretty excited for him to get on the outside so all you have to do is look over at him and see that he’s fine (instead of waiting, trying to get him to move and count his movements). Fortunately, he has been so good the last week-ish and has not stressed his mom out at all! Good baby.
The last thing I’ll say about how I’ve been feeling physically is that for the most part, I have felt great! But there are days or parts of the day that I’ll suddenly switch from feeling COMPLETELY fine to COMPLETELY awful or anxious. It really just goes in completely unpredictable waves. Hormones, oh my gosh. The most pregnant I feel is when I just start crying for no reason!! The heartburn is also THE WORST (especially at night when you are so tired and just want to sleep but have to sit up or stand for an hour and a half until it passes). We did see on the ultrasound that he has a lot of hair, so I guess the heartburn-hair old wives tale is true!
And now, as of 38 weeks, I think all of my prior energy is gone for good, and I just feel like a very slow giant creature. Everything takes so long, walking across a parking lot is intimidating, and dropping something on the floor is cause for distress. I also started having pain on the balls of my feet (I’m guessing plantar fasciitis), which makes it really uncomfortable to walk. And cool, the past few days I’ve been having tons of neck tension, headaches, muscle soreness, and jaw pain. I don’t even know why because my to-do list is finally done and I’m done with work so I would think any tension would have occurred way earlier and not now? So I’m finally feeling that end-of-pregnancy, I-will-be-relieved-when-this-is-done-and-I-can-go-back-to-having-an-easier-to-move-body-again.
We haven’t picked one yet! I can’t imagine choosing a name without seeing his face first and getting to know him at least a little bit. I have a pretty good feeling for his personality in the womb, but Whit doesn’t get that the same way I do. We decided to take a few top choices to the hospital and decide once we meet him. We were hoping to get a few solid choices on our babymoon, but once we individually narrowed the list down, NONE of our top choices overlapped!! We do have a lot of options so at least it’s not like there are no names we like. It seems like we have a top runner since then, but it’s still not decided, so we’ll have to see if one or both of us become really set on something, and hopefully we agree. I can’t wait to know his name though!
Okay, I always thought people were slightly insane for being so crazy about getting a nursery done before the baby comes, especially if they plan to sleep with the baby in their room at first. On the other hand, I also judged people for waiting until the last minute – why wait if you have 9 whole months to do it? Well, I’ll tell you how that happens. First 3 months = no dice. Not possible to do or think about or decide ANYTHING, at least the way I felt. Second 3 months = excited, lots of energy, able to make lots of decisions buuut you still have lots of time AND you most likely haven’t gotten anything from showers yet AND THERE ARE JUST A BAZILLION THINGS YOU HAVE TO DECIDE. Then over the last 3 months, you try so hard to do things but your body just won’t let you do all of it, so it takes 3-6 times as long.
I feel like we did all our good deciding fairly early on, but we wanted to wait to buy stuff until we saw what we got. And our showers were medium/late, so that put us at 35 weeks by the time we had most of what people were going to give us, so we could figure out what else we needed to buy. Here is something I want to shout from the rooftops – everyone tries to say that “babies don’t need much” – WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? I totally had that philosophy and really believe in it, but it’s just not even true in the least. Even if you buy THE BARE MINIMUM, it’s an insane amount of stuff. See: Car seat, stroller, bassinet, crib, sheets, changing pad, diapers, wipes, pump, bottles, breastmilk storage bags, burp cloths, swaddles, pajamas & onesies & socks in lots of sizes because you have literally no idea how big/what shape the baby will be and either way they will grow quickly, soap/shampoo safe for babies, hygiene supplies, postpartum stuff, nursing bras.
So, if you add any of the still-pretty-minimalist-but-not-100%-necessary stuff (re: baby carrier, a few cute outfits, pacifier, stuffed animal, blanket, mattress pad, nursing pillow, a couple of toys, etc. etc.), it’s a FREAKING RIDICULOUS amount of stuff. Overall, I feel like we have very little compared to some people, way more than we would have if we were raising him in say rural Cambodia, but it’s just a lot a lot of stuff to sort through and manage and find a place to store. AND, if you want to be minimalist, that means there are a LOT of decisions to make (which thing is the best if you’re only going to have 1?) and a LOT of returns (people will give you stuff you don’t really need – is it more worth making a trip to the store to take it back or more worth finding a place to store in your house?).
I see now how just being a mom is a full-time job. Also, laundry. There’s so much stuff to wash, and he’s going to get things dirty. We’re doing cloth diapers, too, so laundry will probably be my middle name for the next 2+ years.
So, non-parent people, that is why people don’t have their nurseries done lickety split! And if they do, know they probably killed themselves getting it done early. (Or they have a lot of help or just spent a ton of money without worrying about a budget.) (Okay, I guess one other way is being less picky than us… we are pretty particular about what we will allow in our house, especially if it’s up to us to decide.)
That said, we FI-NA-LLY have his room done (aka all the stuff is sorted out! we can see the floor! he has some decorations and sentimental items so it’s not just a random room with a bed in it!), and every bit of my spare energy the past 2.5 months has gone into organizing all of that stuff, doing laundry, keeping up with regular household chores (Whit does as much as he can so I can have more time doing the baby stuff since I’m better at that), reading and preparing for childbirth and baby care, making sure my body isn’t overly stressed or exerted, and oh yeah working a full-time job too. It’s HARD, y’all. Pregnancy is a lot on your body, and preparing for a child is very overwhelming.
I feel SO loved because we had not one but TWO incredible baby showers!! I was very fearful that we wouldn’t have one because of living in a new state and because of the pandemic. But my sister-in-law, mom, and best friend from high school threw us one in Virginia for family and long-time friends, and our new friends here threw us one for our friends from work, church, and a few people that happen to live close by that we know from other seasons of life. Both of them were so sweet and detailed and very much my style (the one in Virginia was French garden theme, and the one in Orlando was tasteful red/white/blue with an emphasis on French foods), and we had so many wonderful guests that we felt so blessed to get to see and catch up with. Overall, we were just floored from both of them with how excited people are for us and to meet our little guy!! I am so grateful. (And because of them, we have all of the aforementioned plentiful baby items to get Baby J started in life!!) So, both showers were huge highlights for feeling the love of people coming around us and supporting us, and we are so thankful Baby guy is so loved already. (Also, PRAISE, our trip to Virginia went very smoothly – I felt fine and both our flight there and drive back to FL were super smooth and safe.)
I had the crazy idea to paint oranges on the dresser we got for him. He is my Florida baby after all! I didn’t love the gray the previous owners had it, so I thought of the oranges… but then I had a vision of painting it French blue too, since the walls in our house are also gray. I’m not much of an artist but I felt like I could do a decent job since I’ve dabbled in watercolor over the past year. I had SUCH a great time out in our garage on hot nights slowly painting his sweet little dresser. It was totally not an essential task, but I loved doing something special for him. And I was actually bummed when I finished, because I missed going out there and thinking about him and working on something for him and listening to motherhood podcasts.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day also felt so, so special to me. You absolutely become parents once you have a child in your (or your wife’s) womb and start preparing to welcome them into your family, and I loved getting to celebrate the ways we’ve changed already and the excitement for the parenting journey ahead of us.
It’s also been SO wonderful to have my parents back in town!! My parents have been helping us with some house tasks and I’ve gotten to have a couple lunch dates with my mom, as well as enjoying a relaxing resort-type day at their house utilizing their new pool. So thankful for their help, and for getting to enjoy some time with them before the baby comes!
As much as we wanted to do a big trip (see: I’ve been wanting to go to St. John in the USVI since we decided not to go for our honeymoon), it was way less stressful and made way more sense to plan something nearby, with Covid and our job schedules/baby shower timing, and continued desire to travel back to France once it reopens (which is now sooo maybe we will get to go after the baby comes???). So we spent a week at my parents’ beach bungalow in Vero Beach, which is only an hour and a half from Orlando (very reassuring since we went at 36 weeks pregnant!). We’ve vacationed there before, so it was familiar and restful. The house doesn’t have internet and is a short drive from the beach. We had PERFECT weather every day except the last day, so we got in good beach time every day, as well as rested at the house, cooked in and ate out, ate lots of ice cream and frozen treats, and got a few baby tasks done (reading, talking about his name).
We also took sunrise maternity photos on the beach (thank you tripod that took us like 3 weeks of coordinating with the seller to obtain and we finally picked up on the way to Vero), saw a movie IN A MOVIE THEATER (Cruella, I loved it!), and spent some time with my grandma (she was so happy to see us! She usually isn’t hahah). Overall it was sooooo restful and we had done *most* of the things on my to-do list before leaving, and even though everything wasn’t done, I was able to relax and not think about my list, so my anxiety was super low all week which I really needed!
Also this is a good time to say that I have become a J / Enneagram 1 during this pregnancy?!?! I swear it’s because Whit’s genes are living in me and he is the most ruthless person about a to-do list. He’s said it’s scary how much I’m becoming like him, ha – now he has to deal with ME asking HIM if he’s going to do XYZ, when we can have this discussion, forcing myself to take a break, etc. I wonder if this will stick around once baby is on the outside? It’s a way more stressful, but certainly productive way to live!
9 months is a long time. This pregnancy has been such a journey, from the very beginning having to learn to prioritize the kid (aka my body) over myself / my plans / to-do list, slowing down and focusing in on learning how to care for him and getting everything we need to take care of him – putting my other hobbies and interests on hold for now, trusting the Lord with every little thing that I’m not sure about and trusting his whole care to God since I can’t really control any of it, recapturing the romance between me and Whit as I receive his loving care of me and the baby and he is smitten with me growing our son, and honestly this being the the perfect time to focus on all of this as I was lacking direction during the pandemic and our schedule has been so not-demanding in this new state and season.
Overall, I just feel so incredibly grateful to be blessed with this little PERSON who will soon be a real human being growing up in OUR family! I’m so thankful for a healthy pregnancy thus far, even though I caused myself undue anxiety at times being worried about everything not being okay. Everything has gone really well and I’m amazed at that because I’ve been so aware of all the things that could go wrong. We feel so excited to experience parenthood since all the people suddenly started telling us how excited they are for us and how great it is! It must really be very great, and we can’t wait to experience it all and get to know our little guy. We can’t wait to get to know God better, understand our relationship with our Heavenly Father, and see who He created this new person to be.
I haven’t wanted to rush through this pregnancy or wish it to end because I know people who have had babies come early which is scary so I’ve been very adamant about not wishing it away. It certainly hasn’t been a cakewalk, but I have actually appreciated getting to be the one who experiences all of it because not everyone gets that chance! I know it will be over at some point and I’ll feel sentimental about it, so I’ve soaked it up as much as I think anyone can do. Now that I’m near the end, I think I’ll appreciate not being pregnant anymore and actually having the baby here to love and take care of. I think I will miss my big belly though! It’s such a fun, short season – and a very short time that strangers notice and feel confident commenting on! I like the special-ness and uniqueness of being the pregnant lady. And it’s a great excuse to take as many naps as I want without feeling guilty. 🙂
So, now we’re just waiting for him to come! There are a few more things I’d like to do before he gets here, but I think we have everything in place and know that he will be fully developed if he decides to come at any point now. So I’m just trying to keep a relaxed pace, do what I can, let my body rest, and enjoy these last few days/weeks until we get to meet this little guy! Soon everything will be completely different… ❤