34 weeks pregnant!
I thought I’d do another ‘pregnancy thoughts’ update/FAQ session since I’m well into my third trimester and now just six weeks out! (Here’s my last one in case you missed it.)
On using a midwife.
This might be one of the more common questions I get asked—what is the difference between a midwife and an OBGYN, and why did I choose to go the midwife route? When I first found out I was pregnant (which was mostly a surprise), I didn’t at all like my gynecologist. A friend recommended an OB they loved who delivered all of their kids, but after one call I learned the doctor is no longer delivering babies. Jon’s sister has two kids—the first was delivered by an OB, the second was delivered by a midwife who she then followed to her new practice because she so adored her. As my only true lead, I gave her a call. She’s part of a group with a handful of other midwives, and I have absolutely loved my experience so far. So, candidly, I did not choose a midwife for the maybe crunchier reasons that people often suspect. I just wanted to know and trust the person or people who would be delivering my baby, and I wanted to have the baby in a hospital setting. In fact, I recently asked one of my midwives, is it okay that I don’t have a birth plan at all, would rather just go with the flow that day, and am pretty much open to the use of any and all drugs to have this baby? Surprisingly, she said she loves people who don’t have plans because no birth goes as planned, and she, too, is open to the use of any aspect of modern medicine to deliver a healthy baby. I was really comforted by that. So, the baby will be born in a hospital with a doctor on call in the event of any complications (I wouldn’t do it any other way), but so far, I can’t recommend my caring, approachable, experienced midwives enough.
On registering for my baby shower.
I have always loved researching this sort of thing, so sitting down to make a baby registry felt mostly easy and enjoyable. My main goal was just to register for the larger or more substantial items that I felt we needed or that others said they truly relied on and loved. (I will share mine later once I can report back on what I would absolutely register for again, what I would skip, and anything I may have missed.) I found perusing blogs, reading crowd-sourced articles on the best products, and asking friends and family to be really fruitful in building a registry. It helped streamline an otherwise long and daunting process. In fact, we’ve been to Buy Buy Baby one time throughout my entire pregnancy, and it was on a whim with two girlfriends where we pushed some strollers around (which I do recommend) and lounged in a bunch of nursery gliders. I cannot imagine browsing the store with the intent of building a registry. There were approximately 47 brands of baby bottles and 29 kinds of pacifiers in one small aisle. I will happily never step foot in there again. Thanks, Al Gore, for the Internet!
On birthing classes.
We’d received mixed reviews and advice on whether or not to take birthing classes. My midwifery group recommended them through the hospital we’ll be delivering at, and we decided to give them a go. I had a serious moment of “I’m not yet ready to make sacrifices for the unborn,” though, when what I thought was one six-hour class turned out to be six weeks of two-hour classes (including one breast feeding class and one infant CPR class)… on SATURDAYS. So I’d be lying if I said Jon and I don’t dabble with divorce as we’re late and speeding and swearing and spilling coffee en route to each weekend class, but we honestly leave the classes feeling so enlightened and happy. There is just so much to learn from a biological, emotional, and logistical perspective, and as two people who like to learn and feel informed, we’re finding the classes really interesting and fruitful.
On gender hints & guesses.
The jury is HUNG. It’s almost perfectly split on people’s guesses of what we’re having. And I personally have no sense at all! For the longest time early on, I could only picture a girl inside me, but that’s no longer the case and I truly have no idea. Old wives tales of symptoms and traits seem to predict about 55% chance of girl, 45% chance of boy, so that’s fairly unhelpful as well! We can’t wait to find out (truly, the excitement is unparalleled), and I’m particularly excited to hopefully hear it from Jon himself in the delivery room!
Remember last update when I was espousing that fear hasn’t been a big emotion for me since it’s all so unknown and impossible to plan for? I still feel largely the same way, with one exception. At the birthing classes, they showed us a ‘birth story’ video that sounds interesting in theory but in reality had me publicly sobbing (and mortified) with some combination of terror and poignancy. Now that I’m pregnant, I find it indescribably moving to watch someone go through the pain and struggle that is labor and then hold her baby on her chest, but—I was also indescribably shook over the entire labor part. It felt a little too fear-tactical as opposed to constructive in that all it made me feel is angst over how awful and long it could likely be. Philosophically, I, of course, already knew that, but it was really agitating, troublesome, and just scary to watch it play out before me. I’d rather experience it firsthand when I have emotions and adrenaline (and possibly even an epidural) pumping through me and, frankly, no choice but to push a baby out than voluntarily and as an observer nine weeks out.
What I’ve been wearing.
I’ve still been mostly living in dresses or jeans and sweaters, but a new change is that I recently decided to give Rent the Runway Unlimited a try. In case you’re not familiar, for about $130 a month ($99 for the first month, though) RTR Unlimited allows you to rent four pieces at a time, and you can return them whenever you’d like and rent more pieces at your leisure. I first tried it in hopes of finding a dress for my baby shower (which was unsuccessful), but now I’m looking forward to trying out designer maternity jeans and other fun pieces as my belly gets harder to dress with what’s in my closet.
On symptoms - the good, the bad, the ugly.
I really don’t have too many overpowering or knock-you-over-the-head symptoms of pregnancy, even still. I have a huge stomach that makes breathing while bending over difficult, laying down a little trickier, and shaving pretty much a blind adventure, but all of that comes with the territory. But heartburn! Holy cow. It’s of course easily handle-able, but I can’t remember what it’s like to not be slightly uncomfortable in my throat and chest for at least a few hours a day. And my skin has been breaking out, so that’s at best, no fun, and at worst, enough to completely derail my mood on a given day, but I’m working on letting it get to me less. What else?! Peeing a lot more frequently, and a new bout of tiredness that doesn’t rival the first trimester, but is still noticeable. The most overwhelming symptom, though, by far, is just immense joy and pride over this little thing inside of me. Crazy!
On fun rituals.
I have loved going to baby appointments. Jon has come to all of them with me (starting with the very first one where he learned just what it means to have a gynecological exam with your feet in stirrups), and it’s such a sweet little ritual of getting coffee beforehand and spending the morning focusing on the baby’s progress! They started off every four weeks, right now they’re every two weeks, and for the last month they’re every single week! I love every part of these appointments—getting weighed to see how much I’ve gained, catching up with the midwives and asking any questions we have, hearing the baby’s heartbeat, ultrasounds!!!, and learning what’s coming or what to expect. I leave with a stupid grin on my face every time. I normally hate going to the doctor, but pregnancy, surprisingly, has completely changed that.
On new emotions.
…like feeling over-the-moon thrilled when I find out that other people are expecting! I’ve always been such a sucker for baby news, but it’s next-level now. Along with that, though, has come a new sense of hurt that I feel for people who I know are wanting and wishing and praying for a baby. This little baby is doing all sorts of things to me, but it’s giving me an overwhelming sense of connection and kinship with everyone else going through it or hoping to go through it. Life can be hard to make sense of sometimes, and the highs and lows associated with the process of bringing babies into the world are stronger in me now than I ever could have imagined.
On happy tears.
…over everything. At my baby shower, we played a game of old wives tales and how they might predict what gender I’m having. One of the questions was “are you as pleasant as ever or having crazy mood swings?” And I said although I truly feel as happy as I could ever imagine feeling, ‘pleasant as ever’ isn’t exactly a phrase I’d ever have used to describe myself, pregnant or not, nor do I think Jon would. My mom said “yeah… I’m with you on that.” But look, I’m really, really happy! The extent of my moodiness being any different from pre-pregnancy is that I am really quick to cry over happy or moving things. Jon put My Girl on recently and I was crying at the opening credits and song. Thinking about childhood, thinking about Vada, thinking about Thomas Jay, thinking about sweet Shelly. Just straight up bawling. Then, I watched Will You Be My Neighbor? about Mr. Rogers and have never been so moved by a man’s kind and gentle soul and, I don’t know, five minute friendship with a gorilla. Koko had me wiping away tears for days to come. Guys, it’s absurd.
What I’m loving.
Baby kicks and movements going on inside my stomach—it’s still so much fun to feel and watch, even when it’s slightly uncomfortable in my ribs. I also love when other people are interested in the baby or asking questions about pregnancy. I’ve always been really curious myself, so I love being an honest, open book about it with others who are intrigued to learn. Also, I’ve heard other people say how strange it is when people comment on your growing belly or reach out to touch it, but guess what—I actually love it. It’s just sweet to me how genuinely happy pregnancy and babies make some people, and I love being part of that, even with complete strangers.
What I’m not loving.
Sometimes I feel pregnant, sometimes I just feel fat. I don’t love that, of course. But it’s such a cocktail of feelings about it because overwhelmingly I’m just thrilled and sort of honored to be doing this thing! But there are times where I’m ready to feel more like my old self again laying on my back in bed or wearing my vintage Levi’s and a crop top. At the same time, it makes me look forward to dressing again after the baby comes and treating myself to some summer stuff!
On the nursery.
I’ll definitely do a post with photos (and links!) of the nursery when it’s finished. But for now, I just know it’s my favorite room in the house and the only thing it truly needs is a baby in it! It’s bright with so much natural light and white elements, and full of fun artwork, swans :), cards from everyone we love, and dead plants (lol).
What I’m doing for exercise.
I’m going to the gym to walk uphill at a decent speed on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes as often as I can. Sometimes this looks like two mornings a week, other times it looks like five mornings a week. If I don’t go early in the morning before work, I won’t do it at all, so I just try to make it a priority before going to bed to pack my bag and eliminate as many barriers to entry as possible. Plus, it’s walking, so it’s difficult to come up with a good excuse for why I can’t just do it. It’s sort of remarkable how surprisingly tiring it is (third trimester is crazy in that way), but it feels great and I think the baby loves it!
I wasn’t exactly a beacon of health and nutrition before getting pregnant, and that hasn’t changed much. I’ve had a serious sweet tooth throughout the third trimester, and I indulge it regularly. Some of my go-tos have been Julie’s ice cream sandwiches, ice cream sundaes (normally not an ice cream girl), sour gummies, popsicles, dessert always when we’re out to eat, and then when I’m feeling like I want to make healthier sweet-decisions: dates with peanut butter and sea salt, smoothies, and dried or fresh fruit.
I might be back with one more end-of-the-line update before this little thing gets here! Stay tuned.