The Good, the Bad and the Belly / by Leslie

I entered the third and last trimester on March 3rd. This brings much relief that if the baby were to be born now, he has a good chance of surviving, and every day that goes by he is more prepared for life outside my womb.

I have been experiencing a lot more movement. The baby is still small enough to be rolling around and changing positions frequently. He often startles me or jabs me in the bladder when I have to pee. Sometimes it feels like he kicks me just so I will change positions to give him more room. Most of the time though it is wonderful to feel him moving around. Today he was gently pressing out with his foot or hand and I pushed back and told him that I felt him in there, then he kicked hard as if he heard me! If I can feel his back, a long solid shape across my belly, I will rub it like I'm giving him a massage and usually I feel the shape melt away as he moves into another position. I like to think that he likes feeling me touching him.

My belly is certainly bigger. Strangers don't hesitate to ask me when my due date is anymore and the guy at the bagel shop even put his ear up to my belly, that was weird. On the one hand I enjoy the attention and feeling like I am a divine creature, but on the other hand people tend to use it as a reason to tell you about difficult labors and how your whole life is going to change, implying for the worst. Advice to those who already have children: resist the urge to tell new parents how much things will suck and try to focus on the things that you love about pregnancy, labor/delivery and being a parent. I've met so few people who just say, "it's amazing and you will love it."

Getting comfortable is now something I have to work at. No longer can I jump into bed, scoot under the sheets and twist myself into a comfy position. Now I have to ease myself into bed, carefully lay down, slowly roll to my side, arrange my four pillows, lift myself up to put my arm behind me, pull one pillow closer and wedge it under my chest so the muscle between my ribs doesn't hurt and finally take some deep breaths to relax from all the exertion, and that's when the baby decides to start kicking. This whole routine must be repeated after every bathroom visit, which has increased to about twice a night.

During the day it's a little better, since I am moving around more I am able to make more adjustments, but there are other challenges like getting dressed, bending over to put on socks and shoes and getting in and out of the car. Sitting on the couch is OK if I have a pillow behind my back and I stay pretty upright. Once I find a good position though I am loath to move, so I have been asking Chris to fetch me things more often and the dogs have to cover themselves with blankets. Usually Robin cries at me to do it for her, but lately I have been unwilling to get up, so she has had to use a neat move where she noses the blanket and pulls it over her when she lays down. Our recliner is a great place for me to sit, it allows me to stretch out my belly so the baby isn't squished, my feet are elevated but not so much that they fall asleep and with a pillow behind my back I can stay there quite comfortably for a while with my laptop on my lap.

Other complaints I have include having to avoid tomatoes and oranges to prevent heartburn, not being able to eat very much at one sitting, feeling hungry and full at the same time, aches and pains in places I have never noticed before (like under my ribs and my pelvic area), not being able to think about anything other than labor and the baby, lack of energy and motivation to do anything besides watching TV, updating my blog and making lists of things to do, asking Chris to do more things for me and feeling overwhelmed at all the stuff we still have to do.

All the complaints are nothing though compared to the fact that I have had a wonderful pregnancy so far and I feel thrilled to be at this moment in my life. It's something that I have been thinking about for years and in a lot of ways it is going by too quickly! I am trying to enjoy every moment and be fully present in every day. I love being able to slow things down a bit and practice relaxing and feeling peaceful. I love taking good care of myself and seeing my body change. I'm proud of the fact that I haven't gained a lot of extra weight and that everyone tells me I am carrying well.

I'm lucky that I have such a wonderful husband and I love all the new people I have met because of this experience. I am really looking forward to everything that is to come, this part is just the beginning.