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.

 

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Your relationship and sex when pregnant

Pregnant couple

 

So before you continue reading this post, please keep in mind that this is my very personal experience of my own relationship during my pregnancy and by no means am I telling others what to do or not do. Only you know your relationship and your partner/hubby.

I have been with my partner for 2.5 years now and I have to admit that being pregnant has been the most amazing experience for us as a couple and has definitely brought us closer together. I have seen a side of my partner I have never seen before and I’m sure he has also seen a side of me that has come out since I have fallen pregnant.

One piece of advice that I have heard and have not forgotten until this day is the below:

“Do not forget your relationship. It is easy to be consumed by being pregnant and focusing on the baby but don’t forget that you and your partner came first and that without your relationship there would be no baby or family”

My parents got divorced when I was 3 years old and I have no real concept of what its like to be brought up with your mum and dad under the same roof. My partner’s parents on the other hand are still together, and he has no concept of what it would be like to not have his parents together.

As a result and because I would like my own child to be brought up with both his mum and dad together, I will do everything possible to work on this relationship regardless of the ups and downs that will come our way. And my partner also agrees with me which brings me to my first point

1. To always ensure me and my partner are on the same wavelength

I think its easy to lose track of each other’s expectations and hopes as life goes on, so its important to check in with each other and ensure you are both working towards the same goals and not focusing on separate paths.

Now when I found out I was pregnant, you hear so many stories about how pregnant women change because of hormonal changes and basically everything going on in your body, but you also hear how much men end up receiving the brunt of the hormonal changes and having to deal with “bitchy, moody, frustrating, crazy” pregnant partners.

I was very conscious about this and didn’t want to ruin such an amazing experience for the both of us by being moody or irritable. At the end of the day, your partner will never completely understand what you are going through and whilst they may empathise, starting fights with them or being bitchy towards them does not help either you or him. This brings me to point number two:

2. When I don’t feel great and moody, take time out on my own and tell my partner “I’m just tired”

I have to admit that throughout my pregnancy, my partner has been a fantastic support to me and not once have I ever felt alone or not supported and at the same time, I think the harmony between us has been due to the fact that I didn’t overload him with all my thoughts and emotions.

Men don’t get the privilege to know what its like to carry a life inside of them, and their ability to process what is going on will be very different to what we are going through and to expect them to understand us completely is unrealistic and unfair.

For me, the fact that he is there when I cry for no reason and lets me know everything will be ok is enough for me.

You will get days where it all gets too much and you just need to cry and as long as your partner is there to support you and be there for you, then for me, it has helped me through those times more than he can imagine.

Just knowing I’m not going through this alone makes me relaxed and have such a peaceful pregnancy.

Now sex is another topic that every pregnant couple will go through and every experience will be different.

For me personally, the first trimester sex was a bit off and on as due to my morning sickness and tiredness, there were times where I couldn’t get the energy to want to and my partner during my pregnancy only let me instigate as he would never want to come across pushy in regards to sex while I’m pregnant.

When the second trimester came around, I was feeling great and our sex life went back on track. Then I started showing more and more and my partner started to feel uncomfortable about having sex with me.

At first I cried about it thinking he wasn’t attracted to me and my own insecurities started popping up but when I had a good talk with my partner about it, I came to understand where he was coming from.

I put myself in his position and having sex with a pregnant women is not exactly a hot fantasy that every man has. I know there are men out there who are attracted to pregnant women and that’s great but I also know there are men out there who see a pregnant women as going through an extraordinary time in their life and doesn’t necessarily see it as a sexual thing and therefore I can respect what my partner was feeling.

He sees me as going through something very miraculous and special in his eyes and its like he didn’t want to disturb the process or been seen to “sexualise” me during this time.

And again, every couple is different because many times it’s the women who do not want to have sex due to feeling unattractive or tired but for me, I was more than happy to continue with our sex life but after our chat and reassurance that my partner thinks I’m gorgeous and attractive, then I respected the way he felt and tried to put myself in his head space.

Regardless of the sex, I do feel like this pregnancy has brought me and my partner closer together more than any other experience we have been through together so far.

During the pregnancy, there will be decisions that need to be made and disagreements may come up, but remember that you are both working towards bringing a life into this world and that everything will sort itself out one way or another.

My own experience has been fantastic and I can only hope that you also have a harmonious experience with your other half during this time in your life. Always remember that these are moments and experiences you will never be able to re-create so look at the bigger picture and leave the petty arguments aside.

 

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.

Public vs Private

Decisions

So by 8-10 weeks it is recommended that you choose whether you will go public or private for your pregnancy.

Now for many women this might not even be a choice because you may not have health insurance to cover you for pregnancy.

I also was quite clueless on my private health insurance but luckily I had a colleague at work who talked me through private health insurance and private care during pregnancy or else I think I would have no clue and also would not be in a position in choosing.

12 Months Waiting

  1. I’m not sure how it works in other countries, but in Australia, you can not make a claim on pregnancy unless you have been with the private health insurer for 12 months or more. So its not like you can fall pregnant and then sign up to private health insurance. You need to be with your insurer well before you fall pregnant.
  2. You also need to check what level of pregnancy cover you get! From looking on my side, it seems you have to get top hospital cover to be able to be covered for pregnancy at all the private hospitals. Some health insurance have basic level pregnancy cover, which only covers you for a private room in a public hospital and that’s about it.

Now please keep in mind that Australia as many would know have one of the best public healthcare systems in the world especially when it comes to mothers and their babies. Also the care at many of the public hospitals from what I hear is fantastic.

Like I say, everyone has their own cicumstances to think of.

Going private is definetly more expensive.

I have a more detailed expense breakdown as I have been keeping count on our expenses related to going private. Below is a breakdown (rough. If you want an exact number just ask me and I’m happy to add it up until now):

  • c$160 per month for private health insurance
  • $200 for the initial obstetrician visit
  • $100 for all follow up visits (this could be 10-12 visits all up)
  • $4,000 plan maangement fee (now this amount varies per doctor. Anywhere between $3,000-$7,000)
  • $200-$300 for ultrasounds (usually 3 throughout the pregnancy)
  • $70 per day in hospital co-payment (this was an option in my health cover that I took up to reduce my premiums)

Now I’m not taking into account what you get back from Medicare, but you do get money back from the OB visits, plan management fee and ultrasounds.

Just as an indication, rough estimates below:

  • On OB visits I was initially getting $40 back but then you hit a threshold which means you get more money back and after I paid the plan management fee, I started getting nearly $75 back on each OB visit
  • I got $500 back on the plan management fee
  • My last ultrasound cost me $209 and I got back $140 from Medicare but that’s because I have hit the threshold. Previous ultrasounds I got back less.

Some advice on ultrasounds. My OB would give me a referral to a certain ultrasound place but you can take that referral to any place that does the required ultrasound and they will accept it. The place my OB referred me to was charging $300+ per ultrasound. I rang around a couple of places in Sydney and found Bondi Junction X-Ray who charge $100 less!

You might get caught up paying more at these other places as well because they can make a DVD out of your ultrasound. In my mind, I don’t know when I will put a DVD in to watch my baby in my womb. I would rather be watching videos of my baby once they are out.

Me and my partner are middle income household earners so we tried to be as mindful as possible with the costs and what is necessary and what is just a waste.

Tip: The excitement of a new baby tends to send mums especially first time mums into spending overdrive! You think you need everything for this baby. A tip from someone who has and is going through this, I always think twice and take a moment before I consider buying whatever it is and always always think this “could this money be better spent on something else for the baby such as education, sports, music leassons or general savings for the baby?”. If you answer yes to this question, then put the product down and walk away.

So you might be asking “Why did you go private?”. My reasons are below. Again keep in mind of your own personal circumstances and do your own research to help you along:

  • My personaility type is that I am a very anxious person and I internalise this anxiousness and being a first time mum, I knew I needed peace of mind. Knowing that I had the same obstetrician seeing me every visit and who will be there for the labour and make the right decisions was important for me to be calm and in peace. This is one thing that is super important during your pregnancy. Stress free and peaceful
  • With my obstetrician I am able to see my baby every time I saw him as he had an ultrasound machine. This has been an amazing experience and I was so excited for my OB visits so I could see our baby, record him/her moving around, hear their heart beat (it still makes me well up in tears when I hear it) and again peace of mind of being able to see that baby is ok! I would tend to think bad things during my pregnancy so the anxiety was pretty bad and especially because you don’t get to feel your baby kick usually until your 4 months or more, so those first 4 months of being able to see and hear baby were so important to me
  • If you go private, you have the option to have an elective cesearean or go natural. In the public system, this option is not available to you unless you have a health problem that would require a c-section. When I fell pregnant I could not decide whether I wanted a c-section or go natural so having the option to go either way was again important for peace of mind (I will go into further details on what I have decided on doing for my birth)
  • Public hospitals are not inclined to wanting to do c-sections purely because it costs more money to have a c-section, not only the actual operation but recovery time is longer than natural and therefore take up more beds longer which means a lot of women who go public will have to go natural and if labour is long, then the hospital will encourage you to keep on carrying on with the labour. One colleague of mine was in labour for 22 hours before they decided to take her in for an emergency c-section. Again, I don’t want to be in a situation where I am not only putting stress on my body but also my baby just because I need to go natural. My OB and myself can agree at what point in time we need to go in for a c-section and having a professional who knows my history gives me assurance that he knows what to do when the time comes.
  • Being my first time going through labour, I wanted the privacy to recover on my own in my own room. In the public system, you are expected to share rooms unless you have a serious condition during or after labour, but the majority of people have to share. With private, you will get your own room if you deliver in a private hospital. You can go private in a public hospital but they still can’t guarantee you a private room which for me defeats the purpose.

Those are some of the reasons that I can think of at the top of my head, but again I want to reiterate that not every couple is in a financial position to be able to go private and to those I say that again, our health system is one of the best in the world and the public health system will look after you and the baby as need be.

For others that can afford to go private, then weigh up the pros and cons. We sat down and went over the numbers but the pros for me and my partner was the fact that I would be in a more peaceful state of mind (which I have been) and stress free when it comes to the baby’s development (again I can vouch for this).

It was also very important for my partner that I have peace of mind so he did not mind paying what we had to pay to achieve this.

In saying that, if everything goes smoothly with this baby, then I’m not sure if I would go private a 2nd time round. Reason being is that my state of mind might be different in that I hope I’m not as anxious second time round as I would already know what to expect but who knows. Will have to wait and see when the time comes.

 

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!

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