Entering the dreaded 3rd trimester

3rd trimester

So I have to be completely upfront about this post and confess that the title is misleading when it comes to my own personal experience in regards to my third trimester and my pregnancy in general.

Now that I have finished my pregnancy and have had my little one, I would like to let all newbie mothers know that you don’t have to expect the worse. I entered my pregnancy expecting the worse.

I swore I was going to be a massive whale (by the end of my pregnancy I had only put on 8 kgs. Please note I’m not a skinny person! I am a healthy size 12 pre-pregnancy), I thought I would vomit everyday (I didn’t vomit even once), that I would suffer from heartburn and reflux (didn’t happen even once), that my feet would swell up and I wouldn’t fit in any of my shoes (my feet remained the same size and no swelling up until delivery date), that I wouldn’t be able to sleep properly (up until I began my contractions I was sleeping 8-9 hours a night, but I was getting up several times a night to go to the bathroom) and that every part of my body would be sore (my back was the only sore area and this only happened in the last few weeks of my pregnancy).

My third trimester wasn’t any of the bad things you hear about. I was still sleeping great right up until the end, I didn’t have any swelling on my legs or feet and the only pains I was getting was on my back and that was because my baby was posterior and really it was only in the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

The one thing that I did notice in my last trimester is that I didn’t have the energy that I had in the second trimester. As the weeks went on, I didn’t have the will to do much. Going to work was such a hassle every morning and I was so looking forward to my maternity leave.

I was planning to work up until 3 weeks before my due date but I literally couldn’t last at work during the day and found it so hard to wake up in the mornings that I ended up finishing up a week earlier. Luckily my work was really flexible and was ok when I asked to finish up a week earlier than planned.

Another thing I would suggest you do in your third trimester is getting as much done as possible before baby arrives. All those admin things you haven’t had a chance to do, things you still need to buy for the baby, basically anything that needs to be done, do them even if you don’t feel up to it because trust me when I say this, you don’t get much time to do anything once baby arrives. My little one is 19 days today and I struggle to get much if anything done at times. Having a shower is a feat in itself!

So whilst I know many women out there have had a really hard third trimester and pregnancy in general, I wanted to let mums-to-be know that its not always the case that you have a difficult pregnancy. Just the same way as you don’t always have to think you will have a hard labour.

Every women’s bodies are different when it comes to pregnancy and labour. Something I definitely learnt with my first bub.

 

Advertisements

My labour story – A lesson in not being in control of everything in life

It's a girl!

We have a girl!

So I finally had my little angel on the 4th June 2014 at 1.15am. She weighed in at 3.04kgs and was 51cm long.

I have been MIA for this reason and I have other topics around pregnancy that I will go back to but I wanted to post about my labour before I forget about it! If you think you get baby brains when pregnant, I think it actually gets worse once you have your baby. My ability to remember things is ridiculous.

So I went into this pregnancy initially thinking I wanted to get a c-section. My preconception of going into labour and giving birth was of utter horror and never could I imagine myself going through that kind of pain and agony.

When I brought this up with my partner, we had a long discussion around natural vs c-section. He wanted me to try and go through a natural birth as he thinks it is the natural and normal way for women to give birth. He agrees with a c-section, only if its needed and required.

I sat thinking about this dilemma of being scared to death about labour and birthing and doing what I thought was “right” for my baby (everybody has their own concept of what is right for their own child).

My partner convinced me start researching about labour and births and to find some good stories around labour as opposed to holding onto the bad stories I had heard.

So I did.

I googled and looked at blogs and spoke to other mothers to get a wider variety of stories.

I also began our antenatal classes which was also very informative and factual about birthing and labouring.

Until one day, after all that researching and listening, I felt confident. I felt confident that I could do it and I went from hating the thought of it, to looking forward to this once in a lifetime experience. I also had my partner by my side who gives me the strength and support that I need. So there it was. I had made my decision to go natural.

I began looking at ways to give birth. I wanted to have an active labour. I practised positions to help me through the contractions. Looked at various positions to give birth. Was adamant that I would labour at home as long as possible (according to what I read, it makes for a faster labour).

So 11pm on Monday night 2 June I had my first contraction. It felt like a bad period pain and I hadn’t had that kind of pain throughout my pregnancy. I remember just holding my tummy until the pain went away. I had no idea at the time it was a contraction. I went about my business when about 30 mins later, the same pain came back. I knew something was going on. I went to the bathroom and had some blood show. I freaked out at that point and called my hospital. At this point in time I was 41+3 days so I knew labour was imminent.

As I explained to the midwife the pain and length of it, she then said to me “that is a contraction”. Even though I knew it was going to happen any day now, hearing those words still sent me into shock. It was actually happening now.

She said to me “feel free to call me as they get stronger and closer together. We recommend you come in when the contractions are 1 minute in length and 5 minutes apart”. So began my labouring at home.

Since it was about 1am I thought I could get in a sleep before the contractions got worse, so I went to bed. The contractions were getting stronger so while I was laying down and trying to fall asleep, a contraction would come and I would slowly moan through the pain. Obviously this would wake up my partner and I thought there isn’t any point for the 2 of us to get no sleep so I went to the living room.

The contractions began getting stronger and closer together and I started recording the time they started coming and the length.

My partner couldn’t sleep anyways as he was worried about me and I guess the reality of a baby really coming hit him at the same time so he came and checked on me throughout the morning.

Finally at about 1pm on Tuesday 3 June the contractions were about 45 sec-1 min in length and 5 mins apart. We called the hospital and let them know we were on our way. So that turned out to be 14 hours of labouring at home. The contractions were definitely stronger and more painful and I was gripping and groaning harder to get through them.

I was convinced that given how long I laboured at home, I should be about 5cm dilated and shouldn’t have long to go to deliver my baby.

We get to the hospital and the midwife plugs me into their monitors and checks baby heartbeat which was perfectly normal and strong.

I just wanted them to check how dilated I was as I needed to call my parents once I was 5cm.

The midwife checked me and said “you are about 2cm dilated”. I was shocked! I said to her “that can’t be right!” but she was adamant and I knew she obviously knew what she was talking about but I was really upset knowing that I was so far away from delivering this baby and I was so exhausted already since I didn’t get any sleep the night before and with the pains stronger and closer together now, there was no way I could get any sleep.

The midwife suggested having a warm bath and walking around more to get the labour going. So that’s what I did. The midwife said she would check in on me in a couple of hours and see how I was going. By this time I had to start using the gas to get through my contractions and it helped to get the edge off the contractions, at the beginning.

At about 7.30pm the midwife came back to check on me and it was 4 hours later from when she first checked on me. I was convinced that she was going to say “5-7cm dilated”. I was anxious to call my parents but kept on waiting until I heard I was further along. She checked me again and she said “you are barely 3cm”. I wanted to cry at this stage from the frustration, pain, exhaustion and pure anxiousness of why things were not moving along even though I felt I was doing all the right things.

The midwife called my OB and told him my status. He spoke to me on the phone and asked how long I had been labouring for. By that stage it was 20 hours. He said he would come into the hospital and check for himself how dilated I was as after 20 hours I should have been further along. By this stage, the pain was much worse and the gas was not giving me the kick it was before but I was still holding on and trying to get through them.

My OB checked and confirmed that I was only 2-3cm dilated. He said my options were a) break my waters and induce me or b) go for a c-section now.

I looked at my partner and whilst I was tempted to take option b, I thought we have come this far along, we might as well try option a first. He warned me that the pain after breaking my waters and inducing me would get more intense and so I requested an epidural because I knew I couldn’t handle the pain much worse than now.

My OB broke my waters and said he would check back on me in 2 hours and see how much I have moved.

So the pain was at the point where I really really needed an epidural. The anaesthetist was in a c-section delivery and wasn’t going to be able to get to me for another 45 mins-1 hour. I take my hat off to those women out there who have been able to go through a drug free birth because for me personally, it was one of the most excruciating pains I have ever been through.

Finally the anaesthetist arrives and I worry that because my contractions are so close and I’m in so much pain, that I wouldn’t be able to sit still for the needle. I ask the anaesthetist if this will take the pain away. He assures me that it would and that I would even be able to sleep for a bit which is what I really need after being awake for over 20 hours. The needle goes in and he says it should kick in within the next 10-20 mins. And so I wait. I had 2 or 3 contractions that tapered down and I thought finally it is kicking in. Then the 4th contraction comes in and its even worse than all the previous ones and more and more contractions come. I’m telling everyone at this point that its not working and the anaesthetist puts up the dosage, and nothing still… the contractions were even more painful and closer together. The anaesthetist couldn’t believe it wasn’t working and didn’t really know what to do next.

The epidural failed!

 

By that time over 2 hours had gone by and my OB came back to check on me to see how dilated I was. Once again he checked and confirmed what I didn’t want to hear “you haven’t dilated since I last checked”. I just wanted to cry at that point.

By that time the OB checked on the baby and saw some distress and made the decision that I needed a caesarean as he didn’t want to put the baby under any further stress so off they want to prep me for surgery.

By that time, my only concern was the baby and the need for me to go through a natural labour went out the door. I just wanted a healthy baby any which way they had to do it. A feeling of calm came over me knowing there was some sort of solution and that it was going to happen very soon.

They took me into surgery, gave me a spinal tap and I couldn’t feel a thing. My eyes were wide open and for the first time in what seemed forever, I was able to breathe properly and just relax. My partner held my hand next to me and I knew everything was going to be ok.

The caesarean was fast and painless and at 1.15am they delivered my gorgeous baby girl. After 26 hours of labouring, it all came down to this extraordinary moment.

At that moment all I could do was cry to finally have her in my arms.

So whilst my plan of going through a vaginal birth didn’t happen and no matter how much work and prepping I put into trying to have a natural birth, the circumstances that happened for my labour wasn’t conducive in putting my plan into action.

At the end of the day, the most important thing was that I delivered a healthy baby girl.

And whilst a part of me is upset that I didn’t get the chance to go through the experience of having a natural labour, I am grateful that I was able to feel the intensity and the pain of contractions because I can only imagine how it feels when you go through the pushing stage.

My only advice I could give after my experience is to keep an open mind about your labour because things can happen that are out of your control and you need to be in a level headed frame of mind to take the curve balls and roll with it.

I wouldn’t change my experience for anything in the world.

 

Second trimester bliss

Second trimester

So hopefully by the 13th or 14th week your morning sickness has past.

For myself I was 13.5 weeks in when then nausea stopped and the tiredness also went away. I was so relieved and happy once that part was over.

I found it tough to work and feel sick and tired everyday. It also drained my weekends.

The other wonderful thing that happens is that you can start telling people the fantastic news! A lot of people still wait until the 12 week mark or after they get their results from the Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida test to tell people.

I was one who did want to wait until I knew everything was great with baby before I let my friends and extended family know. The only people we told straight away was our parents.

I have a friend of a friend who is 5 weeks behind me and decided to tell people before the tests results came back. Her test results came back in the high range of Down Syndrome and she then had to go through further procedures and tests. Whilst she was going through this torment, people around her kept on congratulating her on the baby. It was a horrible experience to go through and she had wished she had waited until after the results before she announced the news.

Thank goodness that after further testing the baby is ok.

So these three months are really the best. Most days I woke up and forgot I was pregnant!

The most exciting aspect of the second trimester is that you finally get to feel the baby kick. It was one of the most extraordinary experiences I can’t even describe. The moment when you actually feel a little life inside of you. No words can describe.

Most women feel their babies start kicking in the 18th-20th week.

I have an anterior placenta (which is not the norm but its nothing dangerous). This means that the placenta is sitting in the front of my stomach as opposed to the back. This meant that it created like a cushioning between the baby and my own belly so it took me a bit longer before I felt my baby kicks. It was the 21st week before I felt the ever so little flutters in my tummy. I wasn’t sure if it was my stomach rumbling or if it was the baby and then finally I knew it was the baby when I felt the repetitive light taps and when my partner was able to feel it, it was such a gorgeous moment for the both of us.

You also have your 20 week scan in the third trimester which is a big scan that in that you can see your baby much clearer, they take measurements of all your baby’s body parts and organs, ensure baby is ok and some ultrasound places give you the option to take a DVD home of this (once again, think about whether this is worth the extra cost).

This is the time to do all the running around you need to do for the baby because come the third trimester, you’re not going to really want to.

Don’t think it’s too early to start shopping for the baby. I started at 4 months and I’m so glad I did because I think I would be really stressed trying to buy things now.

There is so much out there that its overwhelming. We visited every baby store in Sydney so a lot of weekends consumed as well as researching.

Enjoy your second trimester! It’s a beautiful time to see your belly grow, enjoy life, see things differently, the world looks like a different place now that you know you will be bringing a life into this world.

The first 3 months

First trimester

So one thing that you learn very quickly is that every women, including yourself, is different when it comes to pregnancy.

I am currently 33 weeks pregnant and I have to admit, I have been very lucky with the way my pregnancy has gone but I also think that you may hear the bad things more than you hear about the good pregnancies, just like labour stories.

I have loved being pregnant! And I think its important to tell other pregnant women that you can have an easy pregnancy and hence why I want to share my story with others.

I too was expecting a hard pregnancy just because you hear so many bad things.

My first trimester I suffered from nausea. I didn’t want to eat anything, smells were intensified, so going to the food court made me sick. I think I literally lived off soup and cheese and tomato toasties. I did not want anything else.

Nausea was worst in the morning and I had to travel by bus and train to work so the movement of both made me feel even worse. Also riding in the car made me feel ill. Basically whenever I was moving around I would feel nauseous.

By midday to mid-afternoon the nausea will usually settle down.

To help with the nausea I would always have water on me (and continue doing this throughout your pregnancy) as well as getting fresh air whenever I felt sick.

First trimester I was also extremely tired! Now this was hard to cope with while working. So many times I wanted to go to my bed and just sleep. It’s not recommended to have caffeine during your pregnancy so I just tried to work through the tiredness but I do remember a particular day where I was nauseous during the morning and it really drained me and I had to leave work and go home and was in bed sleeping at 12pm.

I never vomited throughout the first trimester. It was literally nausea that hit me.

Take it easy and listen to your body! I was still adjusting from being a very active person to dealing with the nausea and tiredness and whilst I found it frustrating at the time, you need to understand that your body is working overtime to bring your baby and this precious life into the world and your body is adjusting to this and hence the tiredness and nausea kicking.

Also highly emotional! I cried all the time and I am a very non-emotional person. I would cry on my way to work, I would cry when I see a baby or kid. I was just highly emotional and sensitive. Again, its your hormones running wild and getting ready for your baby. Let yourself cry and all the emotions, good or bad, are perfectly normal.

I had a lot of anxiety those first 3 months which people don’t tell you about. As you will probably hear, the chance of a miscarriage is the highest in the first 3 months, so I was constantly worried. I was so worried. Sick to my stomach worried that I actually don’t know how I coped. I couldn’t help but think the worst sometimes and I was wishing the first 12 weeks away so that I knew baby was in a safer zone.

I won’t lie, it was horrible. The waiting and agonising. I made myself sick on top of the fact I was already nauseous

I can’t give you any advice on how to get through this except that if you make it past the 12 weeks mark then things definitely get easier.

Next up is your 12 week scan and blood test. This scan was incredible for me and my partner. We got to see our baby properly. This scan also tests whether your baby could have down syndrome or spinabifida.

Again the waiting on the results is the worst and at this point in time, most couples don’t tell their friends or extended family until they have received the results.

But enjoy the scan, it’s a most precious moment you will share as a family. Your little one up on the screen, your partner watching on and you get to see the miracle of life growing inside your belly!

What happens next?

What next

So you have found out you are pregnant! Congratulations! But sometimes hearing those words don’t really resonate immediately if like me you weren’t exactly ready to have a baby at that very point in time.

Give yourself time to go through the emotions. Whether good or bad.

I cried for days. I cried on my way to work. I cried when I was home watching TV. I cried if I saw other babies. I just cried.

I cried because I was so overwhelmed. To think I will be bringing in a life into this world that will solely rely on me to raise it and ensure its safety and happiness is such an overwhelming thought that all I could do was cry.

Tip: These thoughts never go away but get easier over your pregnancy to accept and get your head around. You cry. But much less.

If you have done a home pregnancy test, then next step is to go to your GP.

Your GP will run a blood test that will let you know how far along you are and also a general blood test on your health so will give you an STD test as well as look at your iron, iodine etc.

If the results come back that you are 8 weeks or more along, then you will need to do a dating scan.

Now at this point in time to save some money, you should decide on whether you will look to go private or public.

What this means is that you either get an Obstetrician to look after you during the pregnancy and for the delivery or you are taken care of by your GP or the public hospital you will deliver at.

The reason why you would save some money now is that if you decide to go to an Obstetrician, then most OB’s have their own ultrasound and can do the dating scan for you and its included in the initial consultation fee of $200 (that was the consultation fee for my OB so not sure if that’s the norm).

If you did not go to an OB, then you will need to pay for the scan which because I didn’t go that route, I’m not sure how much that is.

Again, be easy on yourself. If you can take a day off work, then do it. If you need to cry, then do it. The first moment when you find out you are pregnant may not always be the reaction you were expecting of yourself but I can say now going through it, I have never been this happy in my life! Pregnancy has been beyond amazing. Richest experience I have ever encountered. It has brought me and my partner closer together. Bonding with my mother has been lovely and so many other countless experiences

The reason

You are pregnant!

I have never blogged in my life but my mindset changed when I fell pregnant.

I am 31 years old. My partner is 34 years old. I have been with my partner for 2 years when we found out we were pregnant.

We had planned to try and get pregnant but thought it would take time because of the fact that I had been on the pill for years and something that I always have heard is that if you have been on the pill for years, then its harder to conceive. That myth I can vouch for is a complete lie! I got off the pill thinking it would take about 6 months to get pregnant but at my very next cycle I fell pregnant!

So much so that I actually didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was already 8 weeks pregnant! When my period didn’t come when it was due I thought it was because of my body trying to get back into a normal/natural cycle and therefore might have been delayed but when 2 months went by…well then I knew something was up…

A bit of background on me. I have always been a career focused woman. I have worked in the Finance industry my entire career and well motherhood is not something that the industry particularly embraces. Its very much a man’s world. When I fell pregnant I was half way through the semester doing my Masters! I have worked since I was 15 years old, vehemently independent and career driven.

I began this blog because I was in a position where a) I have a lot of good friends who are very similar to me in that they have their careers, very independent and not one of them have had kids yet and mind you, I am probably one of the youngest ones in my group of friends b) I am an only child.

Therefore zero experience of being around kids.

In fact when I think about it, when I fell pregnant, I don’t think I’ve ever held a baby in my arms and I have never attended a baby shower in my life.

I was completely lost when I found out I was pregnant. My one saving grace is my mother and thank god she is here to help me but so much has changed in pregnancy and parenting in 31 years that even she gets overwhelmed by all the different choices we women have when it comes to being pregnant and having children.

I am writing this blog for the first time mum’s out there who also feel like I do. Stepping into a new world blindly and trying to find your way through.

Keep in mind that I am no expert whatsoever! I have had to find things out my own way or researched things along the way.

I haven’t been able to find a one stop shop when it comes to help for a first time mum. I found myself spending so much time trying to figure things out for myself that I thought a blog like this would have been so helpful to me at the time.

I intend to address all issues and questions in relation to pregnancy and especially being a first time mum. No topic left untouched. Pregnancy weight, private vs public, what to buy, money, relationships, friendships, sex…no topic left unturned.

I also want this blog to be driven by you the reader so please feel free to ask me any questions or issues and I will address it on my blog.

Hopefully you will enjoy the ride as much as I have been so far and if this blog can help in the slightest…then I would know its been worth it