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How are you feeling?!?!
The question comes frequently. And at 31 weeks now, I’m slightly surprised when I hear myself say, “Pretty good!”
On Sunday, when someone asked me, “So are you ready to have that baby? Are you ready for it to be over?” again, I was surprised that my immediate answer wasn’t to groan and say, “YES!”
I’m pregnant. Big and pregnant and hot. But still, feeling pretty good!
I felt really discouraged in the mid-twenties weeks. I’m not sure why. It was a funk I think. Now, I’m feeling a bit more settled into the pregnancy and feel ready and prepared to face the long weeks leading up into labor and birth.
I’m staying very active. Partially because I have to be active when I have a very active almost-five-year-old.
(29 Weeks, on the 4th story of a new playground structure…
me thinking this might have been a mistake…)
But mostly, because I know how important exercise is to the health of my child, weight management, and optimal fetal positioning. I’ve called it quits on YMCA yoga, mostly because it’s not prenatal specific and I no longer feel safe doing it. Also, because it was torture.
But, this is what I accomplished in the months of April and May:
I also climbed a mountain at 26 weeks.
So, I’m very proud of myself. Unfortunately, this also means I have to shower approximately 2.753098435 per day and I live in workout clothes. Which aren’t the most attractive.
It was about this point of my pregnancy when I realized that, while I don’t look nor feel ginormous (yet), I’m officially an extra-large when it comes to maternity tops. If I want my belly covered, that is.
This meant that when I went into Ross (for something else), and saw cute maternity tops for between $5 and $7, I went all out on adding to my summer wardrobe:
While I’m pretty much kicking butt at exercise…diet is trying to kick my butt daily.
I was trying hard to push my protein levels up during the second trimester, following (kinda-sorta-halfway) Brewer Pregnancy Diet recommendations and drinking heinous amounts of milk. And I kept gaining and gaining and felt fat and swollen all over. Then I heard a midwife on a podcast say that she recommends VBAC moms stay away from dairy because it can make both maternal and fetal weight go up and I was all like *FACEPALM.*
So, after confirming this with a few studies I found on the Internet, I’ve backed off on the milk, majorly. And am still trying to push protein and calories through nuts and meats (and smaller amounts of dairy). Also trying to add in more vegetables, which is hard with all of my food allergies and dislikes.
A lot of days, lunches look like this, (minus the milk):
(Do not be fooled…those peanut butter “cookies” are made with almond flour, dates, vanilla, and peanut butter. That’s it.)
(Yes, I have become that person that Instagrams her food. Because it makes me feel like I’m at least trying to be healthy. Thanks for dealing with it.)
Between my 27 and 29 week appointments, I didn’t gain any weight. So I think that my altered approach to protein has proven effective. Either that or it was a fluke.
Sugar continues to be both my lover and my arch nemesis. And once again, I am attacked with sweet tea cravings, just like I was when I was pregnant with Ezra. At least this time, I’m not using sweet tea to wash down blueberry muffins from Tim Hortons every morning.
My doula tells me that dates are a pregnancy super food that have all kinds of birth benefits, so I’ve been dabbling in date consumption. (Thus the peanut butter “cookies.”)
I’ve also tried them raw, with peanut butter, which was bearable…but ever since my first attempt, I haven’t felt like trying them that way again.
So now, I hide them in oatmeal with some apples and walnuts, or add them to muffins. Muffins are good because they are easy to grab on the go and I can make them healthier by eliminating or reducing sugar and adding crazy things like flax meal, nut flours, spinach, and raw nuts to them. I hate cooking and have no fondness for baking, but muffins I can handle and am decently good at.
At 29 weeks, I also discovered that I’m in the habit of only opening one of my bathroom doors when I have to use the bathroom. I had no idea that this was my habit, until I (we) quit fitting.
Baby continues to be active, both day and night. Which still has me very nervous about the future and how much sleep I will probably NOT be getting between the two of my boys. But the kicks and jabs are very reassuring.
It is wicked hot (we have been in the mid-to-high 90s for the last two weeks). But so far, I’m not that swollen…at least not as badly as I was with Ezra. I believe staying in the air conditioning and drinking a lot of water has been the main thing that has helped with that. Any exercise I am doing these days (walking and swimming primarily), takes place indoors at the YMCA, rather than outside in the heat.
My body still goes through a lot of aches and pains. I blame this on relaxin, the hormone which makes it easier to birth a baby by loosening all of one’s joints, ligaments, and tendons. Round ligament pain comes and goes, as does pain around my tailbone. Rib pain on my left side shows up nearly every evening. But by far, the worst pain comes from this thing called my psoas muscle. I had no idea what the psoas was, I just knew that I was in pain and assumed it had something to do with baby’s position. But my awesome chiropractor (who is subbing for my other awesome chiropractor who is on maternity leave) discovered this. I’m doing some exercises to try to help loosen the psoas muscle, which apparently is related to adrenalin and is where we hold a lot of stress in our bodies. This came as no surprise to me. So I’m also continuing to focus on mental exercises that help relieve stress and a LOT of self-care techniques.
Among one of my newest favorite activities is coloring quotes and affirmations available for download from Doodle Art Alley, which now grace the wall of my kitchen.
I’m also continuing to work on journaling and art therapy projects from Our Birthing From Within Keepsake Journal.
This assignment was on “Creating a Birth Space That Will Help Me Open.” Which sounds very strange, but I love the way it turned out when I used words instead of trying to actually draw something:
Then there was this project I came up with on my own, after my doulas recommended that I bring my own cheap pillows to the hospital because there are never enough pillows there. Enter some fabric markers and cheap pillow cases and I ended up with these:
So, these days, I’m very introspective and focused on preparing my body and mind for labor and birth and receiving this new one into our life. It’s active, but quietly so, if that makes any sense.
I am expectant, but not yet antsy. I have fears, but I do not let them overtake me. I am focused on my health, but not obsessively so. I am preparing, but not yet fully prepared. It is a process, and I’m trying to embrace and enjoy it as best as I can.
“You’re pregnant for around 280 days, and you’re in charge during every single one of those. Make the most of them, and enjoy the journey.” ~Kristen Burgess, Prescription for a Healthy Pregnancy
Today, after having lunch with a friend, I had a bit of time to kill before picking up Ezra. And there was an ice cream store right there.
I made a choice to indulge.
It may not have been the right choice. But, as I entered, this was hanging on the wall:
I was encouraged. I’ve not been perfect. I’ve given in too many times, especially in regard to diet. But I’ve also made a lot more good and healthy choices for me and Little Brother this time, and will continue to do so. And I still believe, even in spite of ice cream splurges, that this birth CAN and WILL be different.
Thanks for letting me share some of this journey with you.