Third trimester bumpdate … let’s gooo!
I’m actually writing this post after baby Britton has already arrived 🙂 because I wanted to get all the way through my third trimester before sharing about my experience. I feel like my pregnancy went by rather quickly, however, those final weeks really felt like a lifetime as we anticipated the arrival of our sweet baby. The last week of my pregnancy specifically felt like it lasted foreverrr because I honestly thought we were about to head to the hospital about 3 or 4 times before we actually ended up going. There were signs that week that kept us thinking “it was time”, however, we had to wait just a little bit longer. I’ll get into more detail on that week and our entire experience there toward the end whenever I share Britton’s birth story (coming soon!!), but for now, I want to focus on the third trimester as a whole and answer some of the most frequently asked questions I got throughout those final few weeks.
I know that there are a lot of fellow mamas out there who have sent me lots of questions regarding third trimester, and I’m happy to share my personal experience to help in any way I can. As a first time mom myself, I went into pregnancy with a TON of questions and I ran them by a lot of people along the way. It was so helpful for me to have other moms to relate to and talk to about everything (more info shared in my First Trimester and Second Trimester Bumpdates). Thankfully, my older sister, Brittany, had just gone through her first pregnancy about a year prior, so I was always asking her about everything along the way. She was such a helpful resource for me, and I hope to be that for you all who may be experiencing all of this for the first time too. 🙂 Of course, everyone’s journey is different so what may have “worked” for me may be different for others, but I’m happy to share my experience with you all!
All that to say, let’s jump right into it … here are the most commonly asked questions I received about my third trimester:
Did your fatigue come back?
YES – like 1st trimester type of fatigue. Once the third tri hit, I was way more exhausted again. More than anything though, I just noticed that I got more worn out a lot easier. It didn’t take much to make me super tired toward the end. On top of that, I wasn’t able to sleep well toward the very end since I was pretty uncomfortable at night, so that just added to my fatigue.
How did you handle being pregnant during COVID-19? How did you control your emotions during such a crazy time?
Wow, what a wild time to be pregnant, right?! Our doctor said it perfectly when he said, “I think it’s important to point out how much of a miracle it is to actually have a baby during this crazy time…” Amen to that! I’m sure that many of you pregnant mamas can relate when I say that there are many worries that run through your mind constantly throughout your pregnancy … Is my baby healthy? Is he growing well? What should we register for? What is our birth plan? Will my body do what it needs to do to take care of my baby? etc, etc, etc … But, when this pandemic hit mid-March, a whole new set of worries set in, and to be really honest, it changed pretty much everything. Canceled birth classes and hospital tours. No baby showers to celebrate with loved ones. No more visitors in the hospital. No one allowed to accompany me at doctor’s appointments. Canceled ultrasounds. I missed out on those last few date nights & special trips with my husband before a baby comes and makes it a little harder to get away just the two of us. And then, once my belly finally “popped” and we could feel the baby move, we missed out on getting to see friends & family and having them feel the baby move, see my growing bump in person and experience this special chapter with us. Then on top of all of that, there were the many concerns and risks of TJ or myself catching the virus, which was always a scary thought that brought on a new level of stress. Corona changed every big or small plan that we had set in place for our final weeks of pregnancy, and it hit me HARD. I didn’t really show it though. I held in so many of my emotions surrounding the whole thing because I somehow thought that if I didn’t let them out — if I didn’t acknowledge how upset I really was — that it would all just go away and things would potentially go back to normal before my baby arrived. Little did I know what these past few months would look like …
I did, however, have my few breakdown moments, where my family was thankfully there to comfort me and help me know that everything would be okay. But to be blunt … I was just angry, bitter, confused, and sooo sad that the end of our first pregnancy (a time that’s supposed to be so special) was going to look SO different than what I ever would have imagined. Covid changed everything, and if I’m being honest, I’m still a little bitter about it. I found myself asking God over and over, “Why? Why does this have to happen right now? Why does this have to happen at all?” … It took me awhile to process everything and to simply just get over it. Thankfully, after a lot of prayer and many, many tears, I pulled myself together and it finally clicked in my head that God was in control, and as much as I didn’t like all the changes set in place, He had a plan. (He still has a plan.) God had already written out our story many years ago, and this was always part of His plan so why should I question it … I may not understand the why, but that’s okay. I trust my Savior, and He never makes mistakes.
All that to say, I think it is okay to mourn what we thought this special time would be like. I think we can all agree that this pandemic has been upsetting to many for different reasons. But at the end of the day, we have to remember what is most important — My family is safe and healthy. We have a healthy baby boy. Precautions have been set in place to protect us all. And honestly, these are the things that truly matter MOST. I couldn’t be more thankful for our health at this time, and now our precious baby boy is here in our arms safely, which is all we can ask for.
If you are pregnant during this crazy time, hang in there. Cling to your people, cling to Jesus. Your story has already been written and this is all a part of the dance. All that matters is that we keep our babies safe. And I promise you, mama, when you hold that angel in your arms for the first time, none of the other “stuff” will even matter to you at that moment. You’ve got this — God made you a Mama at this time for a reason. And remember, He never makes mistakes! 🙂
What precautions did you take with COVID-19? Did the virus change the way your doctor’s appointments went?
Yes, like I said, the pandemic pretty much changed everything. Doctors’ appointments ended up changing as well. TJ (nor anyone else) was allowed to come to my visits with me — only I was allowed to go in. I, of course, had to wear a mask the whole time, and our doctor’s office wouldn’t let anyone inside until they had a temperature check and screening. We also had multiple ultrasounds canceled unfortunately. Unless our doctor ended up seeing something abnormal, they were not planning to do anymore ultrasounds once Covid hit.
Other than doctors’ visits, Teej and I (along with our family) quarantined at home from mid-March until Mother’s Day in May when we ate lunch together at our house. Mother’s Day was the first time that our family got together since we had all been safe at home, and even then, we tried to social distance during our gathering. Besides that, we pretty much just stayed at home until little man made his debut. Other than doctors’ visits, the occasional grocery pickup, and going on walks in our neighborhood, we pretty much didn’t leave the house, just to be safe. I was mostly concerned about getting the virus and it being harmful to my baby or risking not being able to even hold him for two weeks after he was born. Teej also had to be super careful because we wanted to make sure he was healthy and able to be with us during labor and delivery.
Overall, we were just cautious, we socially distanced ourselves, and we did exactly what our doctor recommended, and thankfully, we all stayed healthy!
Were you able to have a baby shower of any kind with the Corona Virus changing so much?
Thankfully, we did end up having a drive-by baby shower, and we felt so loved and celebrated. We did (unfortunately) have to cancel the original shower we had planned, which I was super bummed about, but our sweet mom and sister still wanted us to celebrate this special time in our lives, so they threw us a drive-by shower and it ended up being so much fun!
Did you have any swelling toward the end?
Ohhh yes! Mainly in my ankles/feet and some in my legs and fingers. I drank soooo much water and that honestly didn’t seem to make a difference, but on days when I stayed off of my feet, the swelling wasn’t as bad.
Mine went down a couple of days after giving birth.
What did you use to help prevent stretch marks?
How was the glucose test?
It was honestly NOT bad! I had heard so many horror stories about the taste of the drink being just terrible, but I honestly thought it just tasted like a sugary orange Gatorade. It was reeeeally sweet (but I have a sweet tooth 🙂 ), so I could see how it would make some people shaky, but if you eat something small beforehand, you should be okay! I just chugged it quickly so it went down really fast, and it didn’t seem bad at all in my opinion.
After I drank it, I waited an hour and then they took my blood. I heard back a couple days later and thankfully, I passed!
Did TJ take any Daddy to be classes or read any books to prepare?
Yes! He read alllll the baby books (which I think is so sweet). 🙂 He found them to be really helpful, and there were even a few things in there that he educated me on as well that I didn’t know about!
Unfortunately, all of our classes were canceled due to Covid-19. Our hospital did, however, offer a few online courses for new parents.
What postpartum products did you purchase to have on hand for recovery and breastfeeding? Also, will you cover any of your 4th trimester/postpartum experience?
Great question! I will cover this waaay more in depth in an upcoming blog post where I can go into more detail, but the must-haves on the top of my list would be these adult diapers (yep, #glamorous but just trust me!), Tucks pads, Dermoplast, this Peri bottle (better than the hospital one), large pads, these pajamas, these nursing bras (and/or tanks), a good breast pump of your choice (HIGHLY recommend the Elvie pump), and this belly band recovery wrap for postpartum (I’ve been wearing mine almost daily).
I do plan to share a more in depth blog post covering my postpartum experience and my “4th trimester”, and in that post, I’ll go into more detail about my own recovery, what I used, what I didn’t use, etc. Stay tuned for that to come to the blog soon!
Did you have any back pain, and what did you do to help ease the pain?
OMG, yes … it was so bad for me toward the very end of my third trimester. Like, to the point where I couldn’t even stand long enough to fold and hang up an entire load of laundry. Baby boy was sitting so low toward the end that it just pulled on my lower back constantly. Two things that really helped me was wearing this belly support band throughout the day (or at least wearing it if I was going to be up and moving around on my feet) and then putting heat on it every night … whether that be a warm bath or a heating pad in bed. Other than that, I couldn’t really take or use any ointments or medicines besides Tylenol, so those two things seemed to help the most for me personally.
How did you know it was time to go to the hospital?
I had been having contractions all week leading up to the night we went to the hospital, however, I knew active labor was beginning whenever my contractions ended up being about 3-4 minutes apart and started to get more uncomfortable overtime. (More details to come on my personal experience in my upcoming Birth Story blog post.)
I timed my contractions in the app called Contraction Timer and Counter and it was easy to track them that way.
If you had Braxton Hicks contractions, were you able to tell a difference between those and REAL contractions?
OH YES. I always asked this same question because I had BH contractions since the beginning of my third trimester, and I was unsure if real contractions would feel any different (besides feeling more intense obviously). People always told me, “OH, you will know the difference when you feel a real one … just trust me.” And honestly, that’s the truth. I hated when people gave me that answer though, so I will try to go into more detail for y’all so that you are more aware going in. Warning: Do not keep reading this paragraph if you don’t want to know the details on contractions … Not to scare you AT ALL (our bodies were literally made for this entire experience), but to be very honest, you will definitely know the difference between Braxton Hicks and real, active labor contractions. My personal experience went like this: Braxton Hicks contractions (during my whole 3rd tri). Then early labor contractions (I had these all week leading up to the night we left for the hospital & they definitely felt more intense than BH, but mostly because of the cramps. To me, this felt like really bad period cramps that would come and go. I also experienced a burning sensation down low whenever these would hit.) Then, once we were in the hospital, I experienced active labor contractions up until I hit 6cm when I got my epidural, and those were the real deal. Again, I’m not going into this much detail to scare anyone (you’ve got this Mama, trust me!) but I was genuinely so curious (when I was pregnant) to know how the real contractions actually felt so that I would know the difference between those and BH contractions. The active labor contractions felt like extremeee period cramps + someone squeezing your midsection as tight as possible, to the point where I personally was not able to speak through them. My best advice if you experience active labor contractions is to BREATHE. Breathe through them even when you just may want to hold your breath. It’s truly mind over matter. Again, you’ve got this mama! And epidural or not, our bodies were literally made for this!! Epidural or not, you are SO strong. Epidural or not, YOU are a freaking rockstar!!
Your body knows what to do every step of the way, and ultimately, God is in control. Trust the process — it’s truly the most beautiful, most magical thing I have ever gone through in my entire life! I want to relive that day a million times over!
What did you end up using in the hospital? Anything that you took that you realized you did not need?
Linking my hospital bag blog post here! It covers all details on things I used/didn’t use and what I packed as a whole. 🙂
Last minute things you did to feel more prepared?
We hired someone to come and deep clean our house right before baby arrived so that we were bringing him home to a very clean space (and of course, we enjoyed coming home to that too 😉 ) and then I had also organized and decluttered as many rooms as possible in the house in the weeks leading up to his arrival. This obviously isn’t necessary, but it made me feel like I had less on my to-do list and didn’t have any extra clutter lying around in the midst of all the extra “stuff” that comes with a new baby.
Other than that, having my hospital bag packed and ready to go a few weeks before my due date also made me feel more prepared just in case he came early.
Did you do anything specific to help induce labor naturally? Bounce on a ball, eat spicy food, drink red raspberry leaf tea, etc?
At my final doctor’s appointment (which was 39w 2d for me & two days before I went to the hospital), my doctor did what’s called a “membrane sweep” to help me go into labor naturally since I was already at 1.5cm dilated, 75% effaced. This procedure instantly started my early stage contractions that same day about an hour after my appointment (and those lasted pretty consistently until I went into active labor two days later). In between that doctor’s appointment and the night we went to the hospital, I ate lots of spicy food, did lots of curb walking, drank pineapple juice, tried pumping, etc. I’m not sure if any of those actually worked, but it was worth a shot! In the end, little dude came when he was ready … and boy was he readyyyy! Can’t wait to share the full story with y’all and relive that special day!
How did you mentally prepare for birth? Any tips for someone who is scared of birth?
Such a great question … Lately, I’ve heard so many of my friends telling me how scared they are to give birth someday when it’s their turn, and I just wish so badly I could put into words how truly magical the experience really is so that everyone could just be EXCITED and not scared. I personally hate feeling “afraid” of something, and I hate the thought of someone feeling scared of something that is genuinely so beautiful. However, I completely understand having that feeling. Childbirth is the most REAL, most in-the-moment, most raw, most exhilarating, most vulnerable, most beautiful experience in the entire world … and I don’t think I’m being dramatic when I say that. It truly is all of those things, more so than any other experience that I can think of. AND for us first time mamas, there is a whole lot of unknowns going into it … a ton of questions that we want to know the answers to before we undergo such a rewarding, yet challenging feat. So, I get it. Totally.
However, my experience was personally a little less scary going into it than it would have been maybe a year or so ago (obviously though, I had my nerves about everything going smoothly and getting my baby here safely). This was simply due to the fact that I had literally experienced the entire thing with my sister almost exactly a year prior when she gave birth to my sweet nephew. As y’all know, we are extremely close and share such a special bond, and I felt honored that she wanted me to be one of the people in the room with her when she gave birth to her son. I spent the entire day with Sis and our family at the hospital while she was in labor, and I was so excited to be there as she delivered our precious Macrae. I got to see every step of the process that day, and that day COMPLETELY changed my perspective on childbirth and how beautiful it really is. It’s literally a miracle being performed right before your eyes … and since that day, I’ve had such a peace in my heart about it all. I knew from that day on that when it was my turn, I would feel so much more at ease after getting to experience it all with my sister first.
That said though, I also had intentions of having my sister and my mama there with Teej and me on that special day, but our hospital experience was quite a bit different since Covid changed up all of our plans. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have family there with us (which was not at all ideal in my head). I understand why and I appreciate the precautions to keep us all safe, but I never would have imagined going through that day without my mom and sister right by my side and family members there to visit. Thankfully, Teej was still able to be there with me, and that is something that I will thank God for over and over for the rest of my days! I’ll get into more detail on all of this in the Birth Story blog post coming soon.
Now as for tips on how to relieve some of that anxiety before birth, I honestly just have to say that 1. God is in complete control. Trust Him. No matter what happens along the way, no matter if you are scared or feeling at ease, no matter if you have the perfect birth plan or if it gets blown into flames because of a pandemic … just remember, GOD IS IN CONTROL. If you’ll let Him in, He’ll be there with you every step of the way and I PROMISE you that you will feel His presence. That will give you the sense of peace that you have been longing for! 2. Trust your doctors and nurses. Thankfully, we had the most wonderful nurses who took amazing care of us and a doctor who genuinely cared so much for mama and baby. They all were placed in our lives — in our hospital room — on that day for a reason, and we felt so at peace knowing we were in such great hands. Trust your people surrounding you on that special day. They LOVE what they do and they all have a goal of keeping mama and baby healthy and getting that sweet babe in your arms safely. 3. Trust your body. Seriously though .. I said it earlier and I’ll say it again, YOUR BODY WAS MADE FOR THIS! I’ve never appreciated my body more than I do right now after seeing all the freaking cool things that it does. Honestly, nothing makes you feel more like a rockstar than seeing your body grow a human, birth a human, and feed a human. It’s just wild to think about, but it’s the most real, raw, natural experience for us as women, and I promise you that your body knows what to do. I promise you that it knows how to heal itself (that was something I was really afraid of). And I promise you that your body is stronger than you think it may be. Trust it. You’ve got this mama — you’re already the perfect mother for the baby that God has made especially for YOU. 🙂
That covers most of the frequently asked questions I received about my third trimester experience, so I hope this bumpdate was helpful to y’all in some way!
I’ve really enjoyed sharing my first pregnancy with all of you and connecting with so many other mamas along the way. Y’all have shown our little family SO much love, and I could never thank you enough for all the prayers and well wishes. Thank you so much for following along on this special journey of ours — I can’t wait to continue sharing our lives with you all post-baby! Britton Kai is finally HERE, and the party is just getting started!