My Third Trimester World, the seventh month
The third trimester doesn’t technically start until week 28, but somehow I’ve put week 27 in here too. Let’s just focus on the fact that we’re now in the THIRD TRIMESTER!! Holy heck! The second trimester was a dream and went by much faster than the first, as everyone says it would. Work was busy, I felt fantastic, my energy levels were pretty good and the bump popped out big time, without being crazy big or uncomfortable. It really was a sweet time.
The first half of the week went by in a blur of work and dates. I’m finding myself scheduling a lot of catch-ups with friends, anticipating that I may not have the energy or desire to do so in the later months. That may not be the case, my mum was bouncing around until the end, but I also know that that time will come before I know it, so I'm making the most of evening city dinners and such. It’s not as though I’ll never see my friends again, but I am fully aware that I will soon be heavily and happily distracted by the cute human we created.
Another major event this week was our first HypnoBirthing class. I’ve been super excited for this to start after being referred by a friend. All the reading I've been doing, from the likes of Ina May Gaskin and Sheila Kitzinger, has led me to believe that I will soak this information right up! During the classes we learn all about the birth process and the amazing things our bodies do at this time, as well as ways Ben can support me and things we can both do to have a birth that is as close to our goal of a natural birth as possible. I’ve heard from so many people that the breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as the visualisations they learnt during their HypnoBirthing sessions were incredibly helpful in allowing them to have a gentle birth. And I love how HypnoBirthing celebrates birth. I mean, I know that there are special circumstances and that some people have really awful, traumatic experiences, but there aren’t enough discussions about good birth stories these days. My mum had three wonderful natural births (I was even in the room when my baby brother was born) and she is a real champion about sharing her stories. Needless to say, she will be in the room with Ben and I. My mumma will be my doula. I think that’s pretty special.
We ate out a lot during the week and Asian seemed to be the go, with Thai, laksa and ramen dates. When cooking at home, I really got into mashed sweet potato and roasted brussels sprouts for dinner, often alongside Cherry Tree Organics beef, which the Bulk WholeFoods in Mornington stock. We also used their pork mince in a Ben-made stirfry. Man, that was good. I've been having animal-based protein for dinner most nights, as my body continues to tell me this is a good idea. I listen and eat.
My love for oranges deepens beyond belief, and I now find them to be positively the best thing in the world Well, maybe equal with potatoes. Grapefruit is also super great. I’m surprised I don’t have a citrus-stained couch, considering my daily citrus habit.
On the Sunday night of this week we reached a personal pregnancy milestone I want to tell you about. I remember it well...Ben and I had just eaten a meal of mashed sweet potato and steamed green beans with roasted brussels sprouts and trout and were sitting on the couch watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black (ps YAY, it’s finally back!). I felt a lot of movement (it was 9pm, prime baby dancing time), and so looked down at my belly, which was covered by my favourite grey, worn tshirt. Usually I lie down and expose my belly skin to watch our bubs move. Lying down, you’re more likely to see movement in this position. But this time, I glanced and saw my belly move through my top. No strategic positioning required! I had been waiting for this moment. Isn’t that mind blowing? We can see our baby moving from the outside...whoa, man.
And, oh! Right now I’m sitting at a desk in Ben’s office and I can see bubs kicking through multiple layers of clothing. I’ve just had an orange, so that may explain the eager movement. I'm such a sucker for this baby. He/she has me completely mesmerised.
Blood test results
I got my results back this week from my week 26 blood test, and my iron stores are indeed low (well, borderline). I expected this, in light of the increased iron requirements during pregnancy and my history of low iron levels. I will now take an additional iron supplement as well as the amount provided in my pregnancy supplement. That's fine, I'm not feeling too drained. I was super tired a few weeks ago but now my energy levels are pretty good. And my blood glucose test went really well, if I do say so myself. The staff wanted to frame my result, apparently, which makes me feel all kinds of happy.
The belly grows...
That it does.
One of the highlights of this week was our second HypnoBirthing class. We watched a video of a birth that was filmed late last year and, not that we have anything against videos from the 70's and 80's, it felt so much more relatable being present day. Ben loved seeing the role the birth partner played in the birth too, again, helping him to picture himself in that role. Yep, we're loving these HypnoBirthing classes, run by the warm and wonderful Emily from Acacai Wellness. We’ve created a little ritual of going out to lunch after HypnoBirthing class, treating ourselves to a beautiful meal at a favourite cafe and discussing what we learnt. It’s been so good for us. I would recommend HypnoBirthing most sincerely. I believe that all women should go into birth feeling empowered and supported, and that is precisely how I feel after these classes.
I’ve been loving on pumpkin and sweet potato this week, as well as lentils. Quince too, as my obsession with fruit continues. Haloumi has been on sale at the shops, and I’ve been grilling a few strips to add to salads or eggs. Or both, like the dish at the top of the post. And I’m still championing oily fish via salmon and anchovies. Bagna cauda (which I pour over vegetables) continues to be my best friend.
Our long weekend
Week 29 started with 4 days off for Ben and I. He completely disconnected from work and emails and was able to replenish his stores a little bit. Anyone who owns their own business knows how valuable (and difficult) it can be to do this from time to time. Our priorities were sleeping, eating, meeting friends and family for meals, watching movies (p.s. Up!?? So sad and beautiful) and doing fun thing like bowling with my brother, going to the cinema and GLAMPING!
Dryer and Freezer
This week we got a special delivery - our dryer and standing freezer! My parents bought us a dryer as a present (we're feeling super spoilt) and I bought myself the freezer as an early 30th birthday present. My birthday is a week or so after bubs will arrive...or so I think! I could totally have a birthday baby. Ben cannot wait to have ALL the warm, dry towels and I cannot wait to have ALL the defrosted bolognaise in the world in the months after our baby arrives. White goods comfort, folks. I'm into it.
Are you ready for me to have a mini therapy session? Ace, thanks, I appreciate it.
At our appointment with out Obsetrician this week we learnt that bubs is still hanging out in a breech position. For those of you who don’t know, this is not the ideal position for birth. You want them head down, not bum and legs first. I am so sincerely excited for our baby’s birth. A natural (or “normal”, as they call it) birth is very important to me. I want to do this. Growing up hearing great birth stories from my mum, seeing my brother born when I was five and doing these HypnoBirthing classes have only fostered my feelings of genuine excitement for the birth of our baby. And so it will come as no surprise that my goal is to avoid a Cesarean Section. I do want to say that I am fully aware of the fact that sometimes this is what happens because at the time it is what is best for bubs and mum. And if I end up needing one, I will be sincerely grateful that we live in an age when this is available to us. For real. But I do want the option of a natural birth, rather than being sent straight for a C section, as is common practice these days for breech births. It is extremely rare for breech positioned bubbies to be born vaginally.
And while my Obstetrician mentioned bubs’ position at 29 weeks like it’s no big deal, because at this stage it ISN’T a big deal (babies flip and turn a lot right now and many are in breech well into the coming month (or even months)), it FREAKED. ME. OUT. After our appointment, Ben drove off to work I sat in the car park, crying, googling for an hour “how to turn breech babies”...even though I was perfectly reassured and given gentle advice to wait and not worry, and that if bubs was still breech in a few weeks we would talk about where to go from there. There were a lot of things we could do.
So why did I freak out so much? The thing is, breech positions are a big deal to me.My siblings and I were all breech until around 34-38 weeks, but with warm baths and gentle massage mum turned us all...or we were just ready and turned eventually on our own. And I mean, that’s encouraging, right? Many people have similar stories. But I also have someone close to me who had 2 babies remain breech until full term, so she was sent automatically for C sections.
“Huh….”, I thought. “So, there’s a good chance I might have breech baby too…. I’d better do things to turn our baby…. like, now. Otherwise….”
This is how my brain worked.
All throughout this pregnancy I have trusted my gut, tuning into my body and listening. And right now, my gut tells me that bubs is happy in whatever position they’re in. They’re not ready or big enough to turn just yet. It’s all good. But hearing this news at my appointment, and the fact that having bubs in a breech position was already a big deal to me, made me forget my gut and flip out.
The freak out continues…
All week I was in a funk, googling ways to turn breech babies and talking to bubs to try and coax he/she to move...“It’s all good, baby, I know you’ll turn when you’re ready”, I said, but my tone stressed “please please please flip NOW!!” I felt weird and tense, which is the worst thing for bubs. They need you to be relaxed and then, when they’re ready, they’ll move. Hopefully... “Baby’s choice”, as Emily, our HypnoBirthing instructor, says.
After our class on Saturday and a big talk with mum and Ben (when I was totally that person crying in a busy cafe), I realised why I’d been freaking out so severely. Why, even though I completely agreed with Ben that I thought our bubs was doing what was right for them now, and that they’d likely turn when they were ready, I was still so unsettled. There was some major conflict happening, conflict between my gut instinct (that everything is fine, our baby is doing what is right for them at this point in time) and my thoughts of “shit, I’d better do things now to avoid a C section!”. I felt lost and conflicted and confused and STRESSED. I think because it means so much to me, I couldn’t take this information impartially, storing it in the back of my mind for “just in case”. And this is all completely my fault, of course, it’s not a case of people giving unwarranted or unhelpful advice. It was 100% my brain processing and control issues. It’s now clear to me how deeply I care about giving birth vaginally. I am genuinely so excited for our baby’s birth and I want to experience it fully. And that’s ok. But I also need to be ok with whatever happens, even if it doesn’t turn out the way I’d like. I need to give myself over to the process and trust. TRUST.
So where am I at now? Figuring out that I was so unsettled because, for the first time, I was battling against my instincts and not trusting, left me feeling light and sure, and happily back to trusting. I could then look at gentle, healthy activities to help bubs move when/if they’re ready with new eyes. Things like acupuncture, swimming, spinningbabies.com's recommended activities and visualisations to encourage bubs to flip. If he/she is ready. I’m also thinking about seeing a chiropractor. And the difference is that now I will be doing these things with trust and lightness, not fear and stress and questioning. And goodness, that feels so much better.
I also want to say that it’s also important to have grace towards yourself for freaking out. Is this a big deal in the scheme of things? No. At the end of the day all you want is a healthy baby. And a C section may just be what I need. But this was the first thing that has cropped up during my pregnancy that has been less than ideal. I have had a blessed, healthy, easy experience so far. And I freaked. I didn’t handle it too well. But I got there in the end, and I am so very happy to blame my thought process on the epicness that is growing a baby. If any of you actually stayed reading until the end of this very private but very public therapy session, I thank and applaud you. I really needed to write this down, and you’re so good to indulge me.
P.S. HypnoBirthing sessions that help you to recognise and release your fears, so you’re not holding onto them during birth (or when you’re trying to get labour to happen)...yeah, I’d classify that in the “really good idea” category. I cannot IMAGINE going further into my pregnancy with these feelings.
So clearly my brain jumble gut freak out monopolised week 29 and week 30, but other things did also happen, which deserve to be mentioned. I continued to eat a lot of sweet potato and steak. On the Monday night we ate at Entrecote and I lamented the fact that I couldn’t find room for the creme brulee after all those fries. I'm certainly getting frustratingly full from small portions these days (but then an hour later I could eat again)...I should have ordered the creme brulee to go. No, seriously.
I’m continuing to look to fats like avocado, nuts and butter to help keep my calories up because I honestly haven’t been that hungry and these are easy things for me to add to my diet in eager amounts. I think I need to up my snacks throughout the day to stimulate my appetite, but some nights it’s still extra butter and olive olive on my vegetables and/or eating nut butter from the jar. Fruit continues to please me immensely, especially oranges and local unwaxed fuji apples. I also made some date balls, which made for happy snacking. Another favourite snack is this plate of goodness below: apples, cheese, organic dried apricots and maybe a piece of raw chocolate, eaten alongside HypnoBirthing affirmations.
I’m a longtime fainter, having graduated from full-on blackouts (I vaguely recall one epic fall when I was in grade 2, when I sufficiently scared a few classmates) to being aware of the signs and sitting down before I face plant. And indeed this week I've been feeling faint on occasion, so the couch has been my friend. I know that as bubs keeps growing, my heart and whole body will be working hard, so this feeling isn’t surprising. I just lie down on my left side, breathe well, drink fluids and eat something. And just take it easy. Maybe this was related to my freak out, too...stress, man!! It affects everything.
My girlfriend who is due 10 days before me had her baby shower this weekend and it was such a sweet affair. She looked so gorgeous in her dress with her beautiful belly...she is positively glowing. I bought her some organic swaddle wraps and some darling French booties. And I ate two slices of her chocolate cake (thanks, Saville ladies! It was delicious!!) It made me so excited for our baby party next month. A room full of happy ladies, baby chatter and cake. How perfect.
Don't be fooled by these weights. They are, in fact, about 500g each. Baby steps. But, man it feels good to MOVE. I love this workout video so much.
How can this be the last week of month 7? Does this mean that next week I am 8 weeks pregnant? Whoa, man.
Sleep and back pain
Bedtime is now a bit of a disappointing affair. Even with my snoogle pillow I am finding it difficult to get comfortable on my left side, the ideal sleeping side for blood flow. I cannot lie down without my belly feeling very heavy and uncomfortable, so I need an additional little pillow to support it (my soft, tube-shaped travel pillow has been really good for this). And then to support my hips I'll use another pillow. But then comes the restless legs (which I’ve always had but are worse now)...it’s kind of exhausting. I think I’m just getting used to this bigger belly, and no doubt I’ll figure it out soon. And if it doesn't get better, I'll just get used to napping during the day. Good practice, right?
Oh, and this week I started to experience some pretty significant lower back pain. I’ve been sleeping with a hot water bottle on my lower back and saw the chiropractor for an adjustment ( a totally new experience for me), which feels like it will be super helpful. Friends have stressed the importance of chiropractic care to me, particularly prior to and after childbirth, so I’m getting on board. In the mean time, Ben has been super sweet helping me get dressed and tie my shoes. I think it's time I start wearing wearing slip-on shoes and a knitted muummuu for ease. Hmm, a knitted muummuu... *runs off to google*. Exhibit a, b, c and d. What do you think?
Preparing for baby
I am SO thankful to have such beautiful, wise friends. A few lovely ladies who have had babies in the last couple of years have been incredibly generous with their advice, as I text and facebook message them asking a multitude of questions (L, L, M and A, you know who you are! You're angels). The thing is, brands change so frequently, upgrading this feature or that, adding an extra $100 here and there. Sifting through the hype to find the truth is tough. Over the past weeks I gained valuable advice about car seats, nappies, swaddles, breast pads and sleeping bags. I also learnt why some sleeping bags have a big opening in the back. Turns out, it’s there for a reason. It would also appear that I have no self control regarding Nature Baby. Look at this sweet suit!! The cuteness...
I’ve been reading the book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, which I recommend for anyone wanting an educated, articulate view on birth. It's Australian, which is nice, and gives you good, measured information on medical interventions vs natural options. Anyway, the author's first bub came 4 weeks early (a number of people close to me have had that happen, actually), and this got me thinking that it may be prudent to buy some nappies and wipes and other newborn essentials. Just to have something in room bubs’ besides super cute leggings and books. I suppose I should finalise our birth preferences and write a hospital packing list soon!
Getting the room ready with our change table that we scored super cheap (it was meant to be display stock but was never opened). Though this product is cheap anyway. Also, the nursing chair! I mentioned in my previous pregnancy post that I was contemplating a rocker/glider for bubs' room. I was discussing my options at mum and dad's house when I realised how comfortable I was rocking in their chair. Um, duh! This was the chair I was fed in as a baby. Mum told me to take it and voila, I now have a comfortable recliner style chair in our baby's room (as well as the beautiful day bed).
Belly growth and bubs' position
Ok, so I think I was feeling pretty faint for the past week or so because of a major growth spurt. My belly is visibly very different this week, higher at the top and more “out”. It’s pretty spectacular. I have to drag my eyes away from the mirror. Rugging up in this cold weather makes it hard to show the belly off, but every night when I get into bed I have a good belly gaze session. Ben and I are so in awe of what my body is doing.
So you know how I wrote about my breech fears and getting back to trusting that my baby knows what’s best for now? Of course you do, that's all I really spoke about for week 29 and 30. Well after releasing those feelings (so many feelings!) onto the page and clearing my mind, things started to change. I was sitting in my husband’s office, waiting for our dinner date (steak frites!) and finalising my brain thoughts, when I felt a movement under my ribs. "Huh….that’s different", I thought. Before that all my feelings had been looooow in my belly and side to side. This was higher and fuller and just different. Since then, I’ve been continually aware of this pressure under my ribs, particularly on my left side. It could totally be bubs' head*, but I'm really hoping it's his/her bottom (ps baby bottoms are just THE cutest, they break my heart). I wish I could leave it be, to just go about my week and wait until our appointment with our Obstetrician next week. But these new feelings have been all kinds of fascinating, and though I’m trying to enjoy the movements without putting too much weight on “what body part is that?”, I'm not exactly succeeding. It’s hard. I have totally been avoiding lying down on the couch and sitting more upright, in the hope that this gets bubs in the best position and not “flip back” in case he/she has indeed flipped. Whatever our baby feels is best, right? I've booked in to do some acupuncture in a few weeks, so it's nice to know I have that in place if bubs needs a little more persuasion to move.
* spoiler alert, for those of you who follow me on instagram you'll know that indeed it IS bubs' head that is sitting under my ribs. He/she is still breech, wanting to hang out close to my heart. Bless. But seriously, baby, you can move now...
This week it was all about Dr Karg’s crackers with hummus and cheddar cheese. My favourite meal of the week was probably Saturday’s dinner at home. I baked dutch cream potatoes as wedges in the oven, while Ben grilled salmon and broccolini on the barbecue, and we ate it while sitting on the couch watching Argo. We keep forgetting to buy The Wire from ITunes, but man, I am so keen to get into that series! Oh, and while we cooked we drank Nudie sodas. Have you tried them before? They're basically just fizzy fruit juice, I’m terribly impressed with the ingredients list. But I must say, I cannot wait to have a glass of wine back in hand…
I keep meaning to make chocolate chip cookies but somehow never remember. Baking, cooking and sweets are just not on my mind these days. I’m still relying on nuts, seeds and nut butters, avocado, butter and cheese, as they’re calorie dense and can easily slip into a meal or snack in generous portions. They easily add a lot of goodness easily, which I appreciate because I’m really not ravenous these days. I haven’t been for a long time! Though as I type this I am feeling rather peckish....off to eat some dried apricots and cheese.
On reflection, a lot happened this month or so. A few ups and downs. Learning to trust... But I continue to feel blessed and healthy, and have a lot of perspective in this regard. We're very, very lucky. And we feel BEYOND excited for the arrival of our baby in 2 months. 2 MONTHS!! Gee whiz. Ben said to me the other day that he's been thinking on the fact that it's our last 2 months as a twosome. Broke my heart, that did. Broke my emotional heart.