I’m well past my third trimester, but not far enough to forget the lessons of that final push (pun intended) towards motherhood. And since I shared in previous posts about the first and second trimesters, it seems prudent to finish what I started and elaborate on some of the hallmarks of the final stage of pregnancy.
1. You will feel bigger than possible. And then you will continue to grow.
I remember thinking in my second tri that I couldn’t imagine my body growing larger. I felt as though I was at max stretching capacity… then week 38, 39, and 40 came and while looking back at those earlier photos, could not help but laugh at such ridiculous thoughts. I suppose it’s not so much that you look huge (I wasn’t a particularly “huge” pregnant person), but that you FEEL huge. It’s a bit overwhelming towards the end and a nature’s way to con you into thinking that birth is actually a stellar exit plan.
2. The PEE.
Not only are you back to frequent day and night trips to the loo – you’re also terrified to laugh, sneeze, or jump. This particular issue does not resolve after birth… and likely is worse.
3. The Looks and Comments.
As I mentioned before, I did not have a very large belly, but in those final weeks strangers shifted from kind words of congratulations and looks of sweetness to wide-eyed states of fascination and fear. “Is she going to deliver this baby right here in the checkout line?!” Calm down people – I’m clearly upright and making eye contact. A sure sign that I am not in active labor, no matter how large this belly appears.
4. Genuine concern and curiosity about labor.
It’s about to go down. Being a first time mom, I had NO CLUE what labor would feel like and was slightly curious to venture into that unknown territory. Along with the curiosity came a healthy dose of concern about my ability to handle such a monumental physical and emotional task. Not to mention the little issue surrounding my ability to handle pain…
5. Expectant Mother Parking.
Even if you are able-bodied, take advantage of that stuff. It’s a limited time offer and once you have a newborn, you will wish there was also “newborn parking”. And by “newborn parking” I mean a place to park your newborn while you go shop. Just kidding (kind of).
6. The Due Date
Accept that your baby will decide to arrive whenever he/she is good and ready, not when they’re due. It’s a guess date. They aren’t “due” to arrive on that day, heck they aren’t even statistically expected to arrive on that day. Get comfortable with the baby calling the shots from now on. They’re basically tiny dictators.
7. Do your best to help optimize their position.
I found this to have been the great failure on my part. In my last month of pregnancy I was so busy nesting and moving into our new house that I really neglected my yoga practice and was not consistent in doing spinning babies suggestions to help the lil’ guy get into an optimal birthing position. This translated into a long and arduous labor. While I acknowledge that this could have been due to other factors, my personal belief is that I could have helped things move along faster had I kept up with that practice. Atlas’ position was keeping him from descending and also made it difficult to push him out once he was down there (5 HOURS OF PUSHING, PEOPLE – not cool).
8. Be Present.
Like I said about the Due Date, they will arrive when they arrive. I did not waste my time wishing he would get here faster. I enjoyed every second of pre-motherhood. I went out, saw friends, took myself on coffee/juice/shopping dates, and soaked up time hanging with my husband and dog. I busied myself with projects and enjoyed resting when I was tired. Now being on the other-side, I’m so happy I didn’t have a hurried mindset. I feel like I really soaked up the last moments of pregnancy.
9. The Hospital Bag.
Have it ready by week 38. Once you’re in labor, you WILL NOT want to pack stuff. Even if early labor is pretty chill, you’re bound to forget something because your mind will be focused on the fact that you are IN LABOR. And if you go into labor before then.. don’t worry about it. Most people don’t really use the stuff in their bags anyways.
10. The Baby Stuff.
All I really needed ready for baby’s arrival was burp cloths, diapers, wipes, a place for him to sleep, some plain white newborn onesies, swaddles for sleeping, and fingernail clippers (did anyone tell you that babies have razor-sharp talons? The stuff you need for yourself (recovery and breastfeeding) flies a bit under the radar so I will share that info in another post about the early postpartum weeks that helps you mama’s get yourselves stocked up before you are homeward bound in the post-birth time.