Well, here we are. Nearing the end of the last trimester, EVER. (Quick, find wood to knock on.) A close in a huge chapter of our lives that will have me cleaning out my bathroom cabinets and boxing up the maternity clothes. Gone will be the ovulation strips, pregnancy tests, bottles of folic acid, iron supplements and stool softeners, super-sized maxi pads and pain relieving sprays.
Some days when I realize this chapter is ending, I search my heart for the reasons we should continue. To try again, just one more time. I feel the movement in my belly, the miraculous and somewhat creepy elbows jutting behind my belly button and know I’ll miss it. The beautiful miracle of my body growing a human. The relief and awe as the sound of a booming heartbeat fills the doctor’s office air.
But most days, I want to punch the third (and worst) trimester in the face. The achy hips, the increasing exhaustion, the anemia related dizziness, the swollen feet with no shoes besides flip flops that fit, the middle of the night leg cramps that send me rocketing out of bed, hopping around like a mad woman praying for relief. And of course the weekly appointments.
During the first three trimesters of this pregnancy chapter, there were cliché runs to the grocery store for cinnamon and sugar pita chips and 10 a.m. Taco Bell drive thru orders. There was a nightly ritual of back rubbing, the application of anti-stretch-mark cream and awkward Bradley Method exercises. There was a weekly reading of BabyCenter emails on how the little one was developing (eyelashes), and my body was changing (pelvic muscles turning to goo!).
This time around? I didn’t pick a hospital until midway through the third trimester. I haven’t mapped a route to the hospital to accommodate for different traffic scenarios. I schedule my pre-natal visits not around my husband’s work hours but around my sons’ doctor’s appointments, preschool parties, nap schedules and music classes. The first time, people in stores oohed and ahhed over the first-time mom glow and the expanding belly. This time people ask if this is #2. When I say, nope, #3 they give that quiet “oh” with disappointment that I clearly don’t need the advice they were so wishing to impart or my favorite: “gosh, you’ll have your hands full!”
A month ago, I was writhing in pain from sharp gas cramps resembling real contractions, there was no call to the midwife wondering what was going on. And when I had a full blown crying fit about the fact my husband is not “attentive” enough to notice I didn’t have marshmallows in my hot chocolate (bless him), he just calmly nodded and headed for the kitchen. Because, third trimester.
Third time around, my only birth plan is “have baby at hospital and not in car.” Neither my babies nor my body have cared about my ideal birth scenario. My hospital bag will contain my toothbrush, pillow, sweatpants and phone charger. Turns out, the last thing I wanted to do after I pushed a 7-pound human out of my body was use a hair dryer or put on makeup.
The anxiety of my first two pregnancies revolved more around the pain of childbirth or how breastfeeding would go. Now, my anxiety centers on my fears of being able to handle it all post-baby. (Target runs for example. Is that even possible anymore?!)
The third trimester has its brief glimpses of magic when one of my boys kisses my belly or says goodnight to sister. When I get a Sonic milkshake at 10 a.m., and no one judges. When everyone opens doors or offers to carry things to my car. When for a rare time in my life, my own needs supersede that of everyone but my children.
As I finish out my final days of pregnancy, forever, I’m reminded of the physical sacrifice of growing, feeding and caring for little humans. Totally worth every ache and pain but a sacrifice nonetheless.
So after 10 trimesters of pregnancy, it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve given you my ab muscles, my hips and my…um..bladder control. You’ve given me an awe of my own body, the power of surviving childbirth, the knowledge of how miraculous a healthy pregnancy really is and the best products of my marriage.
Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’ll be enjoying these last few days of pregnancy drinking sweet tea and running to the bathroom every 20 minutes to pee.