The Third Trimester: Thoughts on Growing a Person

The Third Trimester // Amy Elizabeth

When I first scheduled in to write this post, I thought that it would be relatively upbeat compared to my previous pregnancy updates. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have not been enjoying pregnancy at all, but the second trimester hasn’t been nearly as bad as the first (just like everyone tells you). I know plenty of people who have had a rougher time of it than me, so I’m sure this will elicit some eye-rolls, but I have really struggled with the tiredness, the nausea (thankfully past now), the aches and pains and all of the associated nonsense that comes along with pregnancy. I know it’s supposed to be magical when the baby kicks, and sometimes it is, but mostly it just hurts. I thought I was getting on top of everything; we’d ordered the pram and the nursery furniture, which definitely made everything feel so exciting, but I definitely hit a wall last Monday. In the last week I’ve had more than one cry over the fact that everything I’m feeling is an almost permanent state for the next three months, and could even get worse. 

Maybe I’m hormonal, or maybe it just sucks to be pregnant (or maybe a bit of both). I hate that it hurts every time I go to get out of bed. I hate that I can’t stretch enough to put my towel on the hook of the back of the door. I hate that I get out of breath if I walk up the stairs too quickly. I hate having heartburn. I hate that walking into town to get some lunch now feels like an ordeal, complete with stitch-like pains across my bump. I hate that it’s almost impossible to get comfy, but that turning over or adjusting position when I’m sitting or lying down is a mission in itself. I hate having almost nothing to wear. And this baby still needs to get at least twice as big as he is now… I also feel a bit useless in my current state, and whilst it seems a nice idea to have people doing stuff for you, I’m not very good at sitting to the side and letting everyone else get on with things. I am simultaneously worried about leaving work and counting down the days; I’m worried they won’t cope without me, and maybe more worried that they will cope too well and won’t want me back. It’s all just a bit much. Slowing down is *hard* and I go from being grateful that I have time off at weekends to nap and recuperate to feeling guilty for not making the most of this time. 

Can I confess something to you, dear Internet? I also sometimes still have doubts about becoming a parent – even now, when there are less than 100 days to go until this little babe is with us. I catch myself wondering whether this whole baby thing was such a great idea, when we could have been swanning off to exotic locations, or visiting friends, or working on exciting projects, or any of those many other things that feel like they’re slipping away at a rate of knots. This isn’t a logical thought, since those things are not closed off to us in any way even when we become parents, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m *really* ready to saddle my whole life to a tiny being who relies on me (on us) for everything. Before I was pregnant, I was adamant that was what I wanted for my life, but as the reality draws closer, the doubts creep in. Don’t get me wrong, I already love this little baby and my daydreams are filled with all of the fun we’ll all have as a family, but just sometimes I am struck by the reality of this parenting lark and suddenly my carefree life where I’m only truly responsible for myself seems all that more appealing. Does that make me a bad mother already? I hope not as I’ve barely even started yet. 

I’m also getting to the point of dreading the whole ‘birth’ thing. For someone who really struggles when it comes to all things medical, I’ve been surprisingly calm about the actual birth part until now. Whether it’s blind delusion, or all of the very calming yoga classes I’ve been going to, I was sure I’d have it in hand. I wasn’t looking forward to it, exactly, but it felt entirely manageable the more I read about it. I had visions of being super calm and earth mother-ish at home, lighting candles and letting my body do all the work. The closer it gets, the more I feel like I was kidding myself that such a thing is even possible; although we’re in the process of planning a home birth, the stats suggest that most first time mothers end up in hospital regardless of their best laid plans. I know there’s really no way to know what’s going to happen, and for a control freak like me, that’s pretty scary – especially when it could end up with me in exactly the place I *least* want to spend any time. Whilst I’m pragmatic that medical intervention may be necessary, and I’m not going to resist that, I am still holding on to a little bit of hope that I might be able to avoid it and stay home. I am trying to surround myself with positive birth stories, rather than accidentally falling down comment threads with too many horrific details – whilst forewarned can sometimes mean forearmed, I’m not sure that’s the case for me right now. 

On the positive side (just so this doesn’t become a total sob-fest), I have been thinking lots about what our little bubba will be like. It’s exciting that he’s entirely a mystery to us right now, but soon we’ll know him better than we know almost anyone else on earth. I’m pretty sure he’ll be fair with blue eyes, if genetics are anything to go by (and I am reliably informed they are) but other than that? There’s just no way of telling. I’m impatient to meet him (and dress him in adorable little outfits), so I’m trying to focus on that feeling, rather than anything else – which is easier said than done when he’s giving me a good kicking… 

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On Being Pregnant

Being pregnant is the singularly weirdest experience of my life. How could it not be? There’s a tiny person growing *inside* me. However natural that is, it’s also incredibly trippy. I know, of course, that I am just one in an incredibly long line in women to go through pregnancy but, despite having read all the blogs, questioned all my friends and done all my research, it still feels like such an individual and strange experience. 

Before I found out I was pregnant, I was desperate for children. Or, it certainly felt that way. Trying for a baby was far more emotional than I expected; the sense of failure and disappointment each time it ‘didn’t work’ was crushing, however much I tried to stay light and breezy about it. Luckily for us, it was a relatively short process (shorter than I expected) but my heart goes out a million times over to those who are not so lucky – I don’t know how people go on that journey for years without breaking into tiny pieces. Partly, I think, my need for control was what was making it more difficult; you have no say in what your body does, and there’s no way of knowing what will happen. I suppose it prepares you for having a child, when the idea of control is laughable, at best. 

However, the moment that little window on the test said ‘Pregnant’, it was like a switch was flipped and I wasn’t so sure, after all. Of course, by that point, it was too late to change my mind, but the feeling of finding out was so overwhelming that I just burst into tears. I don’t think even now that I could pinpoint exactly what emotions I was feeling but it was a mix of elation at getting exactly what I want, and fear that I had made a terrible mistake. Be careful what you wish for, and all that. The first few weeks were definitely filled with more of the latter; I was incredibly anxious that it would all go wrong, whilst at the same time equally anxious about what would happen if it all went right. There’s no denying that parenthood, in whatever form it comes to you, changes your life beyond recognition, and certainly does a number on your body, too. I spent a lot of time worrying and crying, which is not really what I pictured for my first few weeks of pregnancy. 

As I got used to the idea and started to allow myself to get a little bit excited, that definitely calmed down. However, that was when my pregnancy symptoms hit; and, oh boy, did they hit. So many women I know talk about how they loved (or love) being pregnant, but I am definitely not getting that feeling. As I mentioned last week, it’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride of experiences that have made me feel *very* sorry for myself. Suffice to say, I am not great in the face of adversity. I’ve just not felt like myself for weeks; being exhausted and nauseous all the time has stopped me from doing a lot of the things that I enjoy, like blogging and baking, and I’ve gone from being an ‘up and at ’em’ sort of girl to a ‘let me just take a nap’ one. And there’s nothing wrong with being the latter, but it’s just not *me*, you know?

I’ve also had to face my greatest fear – blood tests. I know that no one exactly loves them, but I have been phobic of them pretty much all my life. I’ve avoided them thus far (thankfully due to good health) but that wasn’t an option. I had a small meltdown in the midwife’s office and eventually managed my first one on the third attempt, thanks to some very wonderful nurses at Chapel Allerton Hospital who I want to shower with flowers and chocolates. 

Thankfully (for me, and also for you, as this is turning into quite the essay…), I feel like I’ve turned a corner over the past week or so. A little bit of feeling faint and a sore back are still plaguing me, but it’s infinitely preferable to eating toast for every meal and napping as soon as I get in from work every day. Now that we’re into the second trimester, it also feels okay to get even more excited – to plan a nursery and think about names and coo over tiny baby clothes. The mantra I’ve been working with until now has been ‘if you’re going through hell, keep going’ but now I think I’m ready to switch to ‘it will all be worth it’. 

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When 2 Become 3…

So, the secret is finally out! Not that we’ve been able to keep it much of a secret at all… not drinking over Christmas and New Year definitely tips people off, and I’m a terrible liar at the best of times. We’re very excited (and also a little bit terrified) to announce that our first baby is due in July 2017. 

I should probably have titled this post when 3 become 4, because technically we already have an extra member of our family in Tuna but I don’t think she’ll mind on this occasion. In fact, she’s been indifferent to the whole thing (like she is about most things, really…). 

I found out pretty early on, so despite only being 14 weeks along I really feel like I’ve already been pregnant for years but we’re only just getting to the good bit. That is, the bit where we can actually buy stuff for a nursery and think about names. I’ve got some thoughts to share about being pregnant more generally next week, but suffice to say it’s not been my favourite experience so far. The nausea! The exhaustion! The blood tests! The constant worry! In fact, you might even have guessed that something was up by my inability to blog for about three months straight. I’m hoping I’m out of the woods with some of that stuff now, although I’m just about to tackle the fun of maternity dressing now that I actually have a tiny bump (!). It’s all very surreal, let me tell you. 

So, if everything goes to plan, a tiny Paul or Amy (or, more likely, some mix of the two) is on their way this summer. It’s all about to get a little crazy around here… 

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