Motherhood, pregnancy

Pregnancy Update Baby #4: Finally In the Last Trimester

Today I hit 27 weeks and am officially in the third trimester of my very last pregnancy. I was randomly calculating numbers the other day (because that’s how my brain works), and I figured that by the end of this pregnancy and including all miscarriages, I will have spent about three and a half years of my life pregnant. That’s a lot of time!

I’m definitely feeling a distinct sense of relief that in less than 90 days (and much more likely in about 70), I’ll be done with this chapter of my life that has involved being pregnant. Please don’t misunderstand — after back-to-back miscarriages, I’m inexpressibly grateful for one last healthy pregnancy. But pregnancy and delivery have often been hard (and sometimes even traumatic) experiences for me, and since I deal with anxiety on and off anyway, it’s nice knowing that the particular uncertainties and hardships that come with this part of life will soon be over.

How I’m Feeling

In good news (GREAT news, really), I’m feeling very few prelabor symptoms at this point in the pregnancy, which is a far cry different than when I was pregnant with my third. With him, I started having pretty intense prelabor symptoms around 24 weeks, which sent me to the doctor multiple times on an as-needed basis. This time, I’ve experienced a few nights of more intense labor-like symptoms, but nothing so severe that I felt we needed to seek medical attention. For the most part, I just feel like you would expect to feel at over six months pregnant — large and growing larger, sure, and definitely fatigued, but not seriously freaking out that my water feels like it’s going to break at any minute.

The pattern of most days has been that I feel quite good until around 3 to 5 p.m., when the Braxton Hicks contractions start picking up. Since they ease up once I sit down and rest, I’m not worried about them, so I just use that time to fold laundry or help Raven with her homework, and Matt prepares dinner when I need him to. Occasionally there will be nights when the contractions won’t ease up much even after I’ve been sitting and resting for a few hours, but since they’re not regular or rhythmic, I’ve tried not to worry and just get to bed a little earlier than usual.

I don’t feel comfortable doing any form of exercise when I’m pregnant anymore, just because even being on my feet regularly and walking around the house a lot or doing light flower farming work outside will often set off the Braxton Hicks contractions enough that I then have to rest for quite awhile. Because of that, I have noticed that my anxiety is also higher, partly because I don’t have that physical act of releasing pent-up stress or worry and partly just because I’m further along in the pregnancy and so the uncertainty of what’s going to happen over the next few months is much more prevalent. Going on bed rest last pregnancy was surprisingly hard for me, and so was the knowledge that my baby was almost certainly going to be premature. While I’m highly encouraged that I’m not experiencing those extreme prelabor symptoms yet, my doctor has said that he will be surprised if I make it past 37 weeks.

Basically I go between feeling like everything will be fine and having a sense of peace about it all to having regular crying meltdowns a few times a week to help keep my anxiety and emotions at some kind of homeostatic level. I usually need a good cry only once or twice a month or so when I’m not pregnant, but I can definitely tell hormones are wreaking havoc with me this time around.

One more positive thing so far about this pregnancy is how much it’s helped to be seeing my specialized rehab massage therapist on a monthly basis, who has really helped my back to be much more functional this time around. I was in so much pain all the time when pregnant with Hyrum, and we have wondered if everything being so out of alignment before was part of the reason why he did come so early (just because perhaps my misaligned back forced him down into the birth canal much earlier). At any rate, I’m feeling very, very grateful that I’m still able to do basically everything I need to do on a daily basis, even if I have to do it at a slower pace.

Right now my flower farming chores are light (mostly just a lot of seed starting and watering of seeds), but in about a month, there will be a ton more as we start transplanting out, harvesting tulips, making deliveries, etc. I’ll be very interested to see how things shake out over the next couple of months for sure.

Weight Gain

Surprisingly my weight gain has been significantly less this pregnancy. In fact, I even had to bring it up with my doctor because I just wanted to make sure it was still all right that I wasn’t gaining up to the expected standards. By this point in my pregnancies with my boys, I’d gained 20 pounds, and by this point in my first pregnancy (with my daughter), I’d gained 30.

This time around I’ve only gained about twelve.

Even if I gain another ten (like I did in my pregnancies with my boys), I’ll still be under the usual 25-35 recommended pounds, but my doctor isn’t worried. I’ve still been eating well (probably better than I did with my other pregnancies, honestly) and drinking a lot, and I definitely won’t complain about having fewer pounds to shed once all is said and done. I know things could definitely start to pick up in this department as the weather warms up since I might deal with swelling or water retention a lot more, but we’ll see.

For now it’s meant that I have a little less weight to heft around every day, and I appreciate that.

Dressing the Bump

I used to be so much more into clothing and appearance, but becoming a flower farmer and moving out to the country has basically made me supremely unconcerned most of the time with all things fashion, lol. The name of the game lately is all about clothes I’m comfortable in and that I can do my flower farming work in, which means lots of sweats/joggers/leggings and pregnancy tees. If I go “out” to do something social or out in the general public, I’ll switch out my sweats or leggings for maternity jeans, but that’s about it. Oh, and I squeeze myself into a dress every Sunday for church.

We be fancy over here πŸ™‚

I actually have a ton of maternity clothes I’m not even wearing because they’re more dressy than I care to get on most days, so I’ll probably be parting with many of them before this pregnancy is even over.

Birth Plan

Because of known complications that I tend to have in my deliveries with my placenta, I’m hoping to be able to make it to the hospital in time to get an epidural to give everyone a little peace of mind (including my doctor). I’d chosen to go unmedicated on my first two delivery experiences, but the trauma that arose from the complications during both made me go for the epidural on my third. The epidural allowed the doctor delivering my third child to be able to push and maneuver much more forcefully so that my placenta was able to come out eventually on its own rather than having to employ emergency tactics later, and so we’re definitely planning on going that route again.

The thing I am worried about though?

Making it to the hospital in time.

Because we’ve moved to a much more rural area since the last time I delivered a baby, we’re much, much further away from the hospital. Before I had about a 25-minute drive (which turned into less than 20 when I was actually in labor), but this time the hospital is an hour and a half away. If my water doesn’t break at home, I should be fine since my labors tend to last for around 10-12 hours, but with my second child, my water broke at home and he was born after we’d only been at the hospital about 20 minutes.

That is not a route we want to take.

So we’re literally just sending up tons of prayers that my water won’t break outside of the hospital, and I imagine if I’ve managed to make it past 37 weeks, my doctor might just induce me so we can make sure I’m not having the baby on the side of the freeway (which would be life-threatening with my complications for sure).

Fingers crossed that Baby Girl stays put until 37 weeks and that my membranes stay firmly, stubbornly intact.

Other Thoughts

Now that I’m rounding my way into the final trimester, I’m starting to remember that having a newborn is really, really hard πŸ™‚ Even though it was madness on the one hand having our boys so close (seventeen and a half months apart), it was really nice in a lot of ways just because we were already in the baby mindset and hadn’t really had time to get out of it yet.

Now we’ve had years to recover from the newborn fog and have been enjoying relatively uninterrupted nights of sleep for the majority of the past couple of years, and I’m curious to see if it will be super hard to adjust back. I realized the other day, however, that the last time I had a newborn, my oldest was only 4 and a half, and this time she’s going to be nearly 8. That makes a big difference having older kids! We’re also currently potty training our youngest, which will be one more big thing off my plate, and so I’m hoping that the relative levels of independence of my other children will make this last newborn phase a little less crazy/chaotic and a lot more enjoyable.

I am eager to meet our little girl though, and I’m excited at the idea of knowing our family is complete. The kids are super excited for their baby sister to come, and I can feel the familiar happy flutterings about what she’ll look like and what kind of personality she’ll have. Being a mom is the best hard thing I’ve ever decided to take on, and I’m feeling pretty grateful to be able to take on that role one more time.

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