Here is the final installment of my journey through pregnancy. A summary, really. This is my experience, I am in no way an expert on pregnancy, this being my first. I also want to mention that every woman has a different experience, and even each pregnancy is unique. Hopefully you have enjoyed reading along through my first time as a mommy to be!
Ahhh, the home stretch, the final months, the end of the “honeymoon-period.” What was it like for me? Well, it’s been a roller coaster. As of now I am a week from my due date and I am having mixed feelings. On the one hand, the last couple weeks have been the hardest, and I look forward to meeting my baby girl, holding her, and starting the next journey. On the other, this has been such an incredible experience, so indescribable, do I want it to end? If we have another in the future I get to do it again, but there’s something special about your first time, with anything. I am sure it’s the same with pregnancy.
The Third Trimester
I felt so amazing in my second trimester. I felt good about my body and I had a decent amount of energy overall. The third trimester was all about keeping moving. I battled a little bit with the rapid weight gain. It comes on QUICK once you hit week 29 or so, at least for me it did. I was OK with what was happening for the baby. I still kept a healthy mentality given my history with ED. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t look in the mirror a few times a agonize over the loss of muscle in my arms, the sudden cellulite on my knees (EEK), and how my limbs seemed to double in size so quickly once the end hit, despite regular exercise and healthy eating. My child-bearing hips are definitely wider. That’s what happens though. I am telling you this because it’s NORMAL for your body to change during this time. I am not bashing myself, just telling it how it is. I struggled with it a little the third trimester, but overall had a positive outlook. The baby is most important and if you take care of your body it’s going to do what it needs to do anyway. Overall, I am happy about how pregnancy looked on me throughout this journey. I don’t know if anyone feels good about their body in the very end, so I think I was entitled to have my weak moments of body anxiety.
Where’s ALL the weight gain coming from?
How much you do and should gain varies, depending on where you started. I was technically slightly underweight for my height, even though I was very healthy and strong, so I was telling myself that (and my doc telling me) as I crept closer to the 35 mark, my body needed the weight! A LOT of it is fluids at this point in pregnancy too. At my last appointment I gained 3 pounds of fluid in 1 week! Yes, it freaked me out, but I know how the scale works. I try not to let it get to me. It’s also because I am impossible about staying off my feet for long periods of time. I can’t JUST sit still and do nothing. My ankles and legs morphing together proved it.
Throughout this pregnancy, I have had to eat small meals often. In my first trimester if I didn’t eat SOMETHING every 3 hours (even though most food disgusted me) I got nauseous. Doing that kept me from getting really sick. In my second trimester I was really hungry every few hours, and HAD to eat something or I got cranky, dizzy or worse. At this point it’s probably habit? I find I am not extremely famished like I felt at other points in my pregnancy. As my stomach has grown, I can not eat as much at once. When I do, it’s trouble. As your uterus grows, it presses on all your organs. If you eat too much in one sitting, you’re not going to feel too great! I have done it, it’s not a fun feeling after. This is why I am constantly eating 😉
I didn’t really get too many weird cravings. Well, I had a couple weeks where I ate a thousand pineapples (doesn’t every pregnant woman?); then we had my recent mango phase. Oh and earlier on I had my beet juice phase. I didn’t eat perfectly though. My attitude BEFORE pregnancy was to treat yourself when you wanted, not to over do it but if you never deprive, you would never binge or look at food as “good” or “bad” setting you up for disaster. My letting myself indulge was maybe a little more than pre-pregnancy, but I never sat and ate a carton of Ben n’ Jerrys in one sitting either. I tried to make the best choices overall for me and the baby. That was always on my mind…Ella is eating this too, or would I want Ella to eat this? There were definitely treats I didn’t worry about…but overall I tried to make conscious decisions! As the end approaches I am lucky it’s getting nicer out. All I want are fresh salads and fruit anymore. In the winter months I craved more comfort foods. So, I am happy that as I make my transition from being pregnant, to not, I will already be in the mode of eating lighter, overall.
There were actually times in my third trimester that I felt better in the gym than my second. I remember a few occasions in my second trimester at the gym where I barely did anything (maybe 20-30 minutes low impact cardio) and got dizzy, out of breath, had to sit down and sip cold water. This made me slow down a lot overall. This was when the baby was pressing right up on my lungs. In my third trimester I recall having a few really great workouts where I got a few miles in on the elliptical and followed that with a decent strength training workout (for being pregnant). It may have had something to do with the baby dropping and freeing up some space for my lungs to breath. I am not sure though, because I am not quite sure the moment that she “dropped.” Many women can recall suddenly being able to breath (“lightening”)…I never remembered the moment, but maybe I can measure it by how I felt in the gym.
I was definitely not a super woman. Although I kept moving, I still listened to my body and did only what I could. Sometimes less. I see other pregnant women that are there every single day, whereas I would make it in about 3-4 days a week, doing prenatal yoga another day. If you workout even less than that, don’t feel bad. You need to listen to your body and do whatever feels right. We are ALL so different and each pregnancy is different. Just moving in general is good, even if it’s a light walk around the block a few times a week!
From the beginning my main motivation was the fact that I knew it was the healthiest thing for me and for the baby. It was business as usual, the thought never crossed my mind to stop working out. Early in my second trimester I had my cousins wedding (and a size 2 A-line dress that was pre-ordered) so I knew I had to keep up with my strength routine. As time went on and it got tougher, I knew it ALWAYS felt better once I exercised. When I stayed active regularly, I felt great. If I skipped the gym two days in a row, I didn’t. That was a good motivator. At this point in my pregnancy, it’s the same thing but mostly the fact that I know it will be 3-6 weeks before I can really workout post-Ella. That and endurance for labor and delivery. Then, I know staying active will help move things along as far as Ella arriving, or at least I would like to think so 😉
Symptoms I experienced the end:
The third trimester is a roller coaster, it varies so much in symptoms and how you feel. In the beginning, I still felt great. Not too many complaints. As time went on I found myself getting more and more tired again. Each day is different. I will be exhausted one day, and have burst of energy the next (bouts of nesting, perhaps?) Have terrible cramps and hip pain one day, and get through a great workout in the gym the next. It’s so unpredictable.
Heartburn–During pregnancy, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus. This hormone also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, allowing gastric acids to seep back up, which causes that unpleasant burning sensation.
Hip Pain: During pregnancy, progesterone act like a relaxing agent on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the body. This helps in preparing your body for childbirth. During this process, joints and muscle tissues which give support to the body get stretched and relaxed and lead to hip pain. My hips would often feel as though they are giving out. You have to be careful at this time to not overstretch them when you exercise. You may feel you can go a little further, but don’t!
Stomach Cramping: I have had the luxury of NOT having to deal with my period for over 9 months. However, I am now experiencing “menstrual-like cramps” again. This is your body “warming-up” for labor. From what I hear labor contractions are like really, really bad menstrual cramps. My doctor told me this cramping was a good sign. My last appointment I was about 80% effaced (my cervix was 80% thinned out, needs to be at 100% for birth), she said the cramping that was happening was responsible for helping things move along! My best relief method was sitting and rocking on my exercise ball, I highly recommend first time moms (all moms) to have one in your house towards the end! A lot of the birthing books recommend them and provide exercises you can do to help with labor.
Sciatic Pain: Ella just started resting on my sciatic nerve. I am lucky it’s not constant…but now I know what it feels like when I have new clients come to me with sciatica. I have a whole new appreciation for it! Ouch!
Pregnancy Brain: This is my WORST symptom. I seriously never felt more dumb in my life. It’s scary. I almost get upset thinking “will my brain ever come back?” I can’t think of words, names, finish sentences, my train of thought. I can not comprehend certain things. I used to be pretty sharp. A combo of that and ADD is really bad. This is the main reason I am stopping working this week, otherwise I would go until my water breaks. I have had many of my clients for YEARS, so it’s been fine, and I have been doing this for so long it’s like second nature. However, when I suddenly can’t remember what set you are on, it’s time to go. I also feel less than creative, and creativity is a HUGE part of my training (switching up workouts, keeping things fresh) and my blog. It’s gotten it’s worse in these last couple weeks. At least when I blog I have time to write, check my work, go over things and take time. If you saw me in real life though, it would be like talking to a pregnant Kelly Bundy (for those of you 90’s kids out there). I hear it only turns into “mommy brain” after so I am possibly doomed 😉
All the above complains are NOTHING compared to what some women go through the whole nine months. I feel my symptoms were mild and would go through this exact pregnancy again. I am now in my 39th week, and can not speak for the VERY end up until birth, but I figured this was close enough to give you my experience- from what I remember given the whole pregnancy brain thing 😉 If I wait any longer she might be here…and by then I will want to share my birth story with anyone who’s willing to listen.
Michael asks me every night, in an enthusiastic voice: “Laury, when do you just think you’re going to GO!!???”
Any day now. I am really hoping it’s before the Royal Wedding. As I mentioned on here before I was born 4 days before Princess Diana was married, my mom watched the wedding with me as an infant. It would be really cool if I could do the same with Ella! Fingers crossed…lots of keeping up with my workouts, squats and pressure point massage/ reflexology to help things move along 😉
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter…
…if you are interested in following along once I go into labor! I will have Michael drop a few tweets at you when it happens!
Moms, what was your worst symptom during pregnancy?
All, what’s the biggest myth you have heard about pregnancy?
Thanks so much for following along throughout my journey! I can’t wait to share the next phase with you all 🙂
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