Whether you calculate by gestation (26+5), development (27), conception (27+3), or by 28 weeks, here we are in the hallowed third trimester.
And, right on cue, my feet swelled. If I stand for too long, or if it’s particularly hot, I notice a tight feeling when I wiggle my toes and I see my veins and tendons have disappeared from view. Never has a cool shower or paddling in the ocean felt so good.
The skin on my belly feels as tight as a drum, so I slather on moisturiser. So far, no stretch marks. Nor have I had heartburn. My chief complaints are fatigue (going up a flight of stairs renders me breathless, not helped, I’m sure, by the limited activity I’ve been prescribed) and feet that feel bruised (unrelated to the swelling) due to fallen arches. It’s hard to go to the grocery store, make dinner, eat it, then clean up afterwards. My feet start killing me and my usual remedy of putting them up isn’t always possible when I’m in the middle of cooking. I’m learning to space out chores and errands; I’m better able to gauge my limitations.
And constipation. Holy shit, I could share some dreadful stories… Let’s just say a daily glass of prune juice (delicious!), twice-weekly doses of Milk of Magnesia, and a good fibre intake is just-about-sort-of-but-not-really-maybe-almost? keeping my head above the water.
But I don’t mind the discomforts. This is exactly what I signed up for, and I celebrate every uncomfortable symptom for what it is: there is a creature growing inside me, and she has taken over my body and my life, and that’s exactly how it ought to be.
I had my RHogam and whooping cough shots on Monday. I see Dr. D, my lovely OB, every two weeks from here on in. She came into the exam room and exclaimed, Twenty-eight weeks! This is such a great milestone, you know. We obstetricians heave a sigh of relief in our own pregnancies at this point, because if baby comes early they’re usually just fine.
I was so happy to hear this from her. I know we are not out of the woods — I’m still at risk for pre-term labour, I still could have a scary bleeding episode, and I might still find myself on hospital bed rest — but I’m feeling more confident about this pregnancy.
So much so, in fact, that I’ve come up with an alternative to a baby shower. In the early stages of pregnancy, I vowed not to have one. It seemed like inviting bad luck, and I’ve had enough of that, thank you very much. But I’ve been thinking… I’d like to celebrate this pregnancy, this little girl’s life even before she is born — except there’s no one to invite to a baby shower. With the exception of DH’s family and a couple of friends I’ve made in San Diego, pretty much everyone I love and care about are thousands of miles away in either New York or Europe. It would be a strange and small gathering.
Plus, I don’t want people to feel like they have to buy us a gift. I am working on a registry, though, mainly so I can keep track of stuff we need, but I’ll eventually share it with people who ask for it — if they want to buy something, better they choose something we will love and use, right? I mean, my godmother is apparently scouring the streets of London looking for a dress in a very specific colour and, knowing her, she will buy a beautiful but totally impractical dress for a newborn. Far be it from me to dictate how folks spend their money, but I think I’d rather they choose something we actually need than something Baby will grow out of in a few weeks.
So my idea is this: to email my friends and family and ask them to hand-write a message of love or parenting wisdom or a funny anecdote, and I’ll create a scrapbook. While I’m at it, I’ll ask my friends who are parents for their wisdom on what we need, what we don’t need, what do they wish they had known, and, if they had a caesarean, what tips do they have for recovery… I’m really pleased with this idea — it won’t cost much and will be deeply personal. And wherever in the world they are, my loved ones can participate.
I’m also still settling into a new home and a new routine, with the renewed responsibilities that come from running a household — something I hadn’t done in the 3+ years that we were living with my in-laws. It’s a period of adjustment, and there’s always something to do around the house (hanging pictures, doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, researching baby stuff) or something work-related to take care of. In my down time, instead of blogging / Tweeting / emailing, I find I’m instead choosing to walk along the beach or curling up on our lovely new sofa with a book or to enjoy a much-needed nap.
Baby will be here in just nine weeks’ time, and there is much to be done, even if ‘doing’ means nothing at all.