Since we are just getting this thing started, I figured I would chime in with how things are going toward the end of my pregnancy.
Roy and I are 33 weeks along. I would like to say that we are feeling great, and while he might be, I am most certainly NOT. The third trimester has consisted of daily unrelenting pain. At this stage of pregnancy, the pelvic joints start loosening up and expanding in preparation for the baby to fit through. I measured my hips the other day and they have increased by almost ten inches since my pre-pregnancy size–and it’s not just that I’ve gotten fat! At least not in that area. I’ve heard from friends who have had babies already that this expansion of the hips is kind of painful. ”Kind of painful” is an understatement. For me, it’s actually been quite excruciating. In addition to pain “down yonder”, I also have been experiencing the typical pregnancy back pain. Let me tell you, it is no joke. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and am one tough cookie, but this ever-present backache is pretty wicked. I have mild scoliosis and this has always caused me to be prone to backaches, so that might be a contributing factor as well. I also have not owned a car in almost three years and I attend UT Austin, so I do a LOT of walking every day. I thought the pain may have been exacerbated by how much I walk, but my midwife said that probably wasn’t the cause. She told me that the most likely culprit is carrying around a heavy backpack. I have a rolling laptop bag from my former life as a “travelling business professional” (ha), so I think I am going to start using that. I also got a belly support, which has helped immensely with the pain–however, it has contributed to yet another woe: the HEAT.
I think Austin likes to pretend that it is a tropical desert at times. This winter has been unusually un-wintry, which would have been great if I was my normal size 4 self. But now that I’m carrying around an extra 40 pounds, 70+ degrees while trudging around UT makes for an extremely hot Ray Ray. As I mentioned, the belly support really alleviates the nagging back pain, but at the same time it dramatically increases my body temperature. So even at 65 degrees outside, I end up sweating like a pig! It makes me want to take a shower in between every class. Needless to say, I am really thankful that I got pregnant at the end of summer last year and will have this baby before it gets really hot. To all the mommas out there who have gone through pregnancy during a Texas summer, I commend you. I would not be able to do it.
Oh yeah. As I so casually mentioned up there, I’ve gained 40 pounds. FORTY. Needless to say, my midwives have been all worried about this. The reason is, supposedly, too much weight gain can cause difficulty with birth and contribute to gestational diabetes. At my six month appointment, they actually told me to stop gaining weight. This goes cross-wise with all of the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years about health and fitness. In order to stop gaining net pounds while carrying a baby who is concurrently doubling in size every week, I would have to essentially lose weight in order to counter the weight of the baby. So I calculated that if during the third trimester, the baby is using an additional 300 calories a day, I would need to consume no more than about 1,500 calories each day because it would cause a minimal amount of “weight-loss” and result in a stabilization of my overall net weight.
The entire process was infuriating to me because weight by itself is a completely arbitrary metric, even more so during pregnancy. With the baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, and just plain old water weight, there is a whole lot more going on with what contributes to your weight than just extra fat. I might have expected such silly reasoning from an OB, but I expect more knowledge out of homeopathically-inclined midwives. But I cut them some slack. Just because they are totally “granola” doesn’t mean they have any significant expertise in the area of physical fitness. So I played their little game and cut my caloric intake for a month until my next appointment, and–surprise, surprise–it worked. I was the exact same weight at my next appointment. They were very pleased. I rolled my eyes.
I’m sure that they were convinced that I was going to end up with gestational diabetes. I knew better. For one thing, Roy has been measuring in at exactly where he is supposed to be every month. Gestational diabetes causes the baby to become larger than they normally would be and that can increase the likelihood of needing a c-section. For another thing, even though I have gained a relatively large amount of weight, it’s not as if I have been eating crap every day. As a rule, I usually only eat good foods. I never eat fast food and haven’t for I don’t know how many years. And yes, Joe and I go out to eat often, but we usually go to locally-owned restaurants (this is Austin, after all) so the likelihood of being served garbage is not very good.
This weight gain is a result of the fact that I had spent almost half a year eating fewer than 20 carbs a day and training for a 5K. I was maintaining a pretty low body fat percentage and a semi-low weight for my height and bone structure. Meaning, I had room to gain the weight that I have. I have actually been this same weight at one point a few years ago and was still considered within the healthy range for my body-type. But the midwives didn’t look at that. All they saw was I was X number of pounds at the beginning of my pregnancy and I now weigh X number of more pounds. Every appointment, they warned me. ”You have to be careful about this weight-gain, or you’re going to develop gestational diabetes…”
Well, I went in for a RhoGAM shot today and afterward I asked the nurse about my glucose tests. There was a mix-up in my charts and I had been given the glucose test on two separate occasions (that’s a long story for another blog), and the nurse told me both had come back with great results. The first test came back with 95 and the second one was 71–not sure what those numbers mean, but according to the nurse they were really good.
So there. This feels like a small victory to me. Proof that I know my body better than anyone. I’ve been in great shape for my entire adult life, especially the past two years, and even more so for the six months that led up to my getting pregnant. I was a little on the thin side when I got pregnant and my theory is that Roy needs the extra padding. That’s all.
Well, we have six weeks left until the estimated due date. The midwives have told me that since this is my first baby, Roy will probably be a little late. Which is fine with me. I want him to come when he is good and ready. But, personally, Joe and I are both so ready for him to be here on the outside with us. Joe has been an absolute saint through the entire process. He’s extremely excited too. He has even said he will kind of miss the pregnancy period because it’s been such a special time for us. He also talks about how much he can’t wait for Roy to get here and how we are going to have some nice, uninterrupted family time. When I hear him say stuff like that, my heart just feels like it’s going to explode with love. I really do have the best husband in the whole world. I am so thankful that God gave me such an amazing man.
I’ve been told that these last few weeks are going to fly by. I hope so! I can’t wait to see what little Roy boy looks like and learn more about his personality . I feel like I already know him so well that it’s kind of wild to think that I still haven’t actually met him yet! The bond and connection that have already been established is like nothing I could have ever expected and could never find the words to articulate. It’s bordering on scary how much I can love someone that I have yet to meet. As cliche as it sounds, that love is what makes every ache and pain, every medical annoyance, and the idea of going through natural, drug-free childbirth completely worth it. I have totally turned into a mom already in every way that entails. It really does make you realize that things are really not about YOU anymore–even when it’s the sore back or uncomfortably hot weather. All of these little annoyances just serve as a constant reminder of the joy that lies ahead.
Nicole added a great sign out thought to her entry, so I’m going to add one too. I heard this one in my birthing class yesterday and I’m going to keep it in mind when labor rolls around. ”The power and intensity of your contractions cannot be stronger than you, because it is you.” –Unknown