I think I might have been in a little bit of denial. My second trimester was pretty good: no major problems, a decent amount of energy, overall feeling pretty good. I knew from experience that the third trimester would be different, but it’s not like it happens as soon as the clock ticks 27 weeks. Maybe because we’ve been so busy the last few weeks–with end-of-summer fun, our new baby cousin, getting ready for school, and all that–but I was still feeling fairly good most of the time. This week, the third trimester hit with a vengeance, and all I could do was give in.
You know those contractions I mentioned a few weeks ago? The ones I was trying to blow off and “work through?” Well, they’ve been getting stronger the past few weeks, and this week they were enough to make me get serious about taking some time to rest each day. I even called the nurse practitioner about them one day because I felt some different feelings down south in conjunction with them, and just wanted to double-check if there was anything to be concerned about or to watch for.
It’s probably payback for my blasé attitude toward some of my checkups and testing, but now I’m being forced to keep an eye on things. I’d probably be the worst bedrest patient ever, because putting my feet up for an hour a day is almost enough to drive me nuts. It’s about the same time each day, late afternoon, that the contractions fire up. Usually just as the boys are about to get up from naps and demand (I mean “politely request”) snacks, and the time when I start thinking about getting dinner going…not exactly convenient timing. But now that I’m seeing them fall into a pattern, I’m learning to: a.) get as much done in the morning before I lose my energy, b.) try not to over-do the heavy lifting, bending, and being on my feet during nap time, and c.) save some of my sit-down stuff (returning emails & phone calls, paying bills, etc.) for rest time.
I’m starting to wonder if this will just be the status quo for the next nine weeks. I kind of hope not, because I suck so bad at sitting still, but I also kind of doubt it’s a phase that will pass. So, I’m gearing myself up for some forced rest time each day, and hopefully I can find a few projects, or even *gasp* a grown-up book or two to read. With Gracie starting school next week, I’ll have quiet time each afternoon when the boys rest, so I’ll try to use that to my advantage and rest then, rather than scurrying around trying to get stuff done without them under foot.
There have been a few other changes that I’ve noticed this week. The “fluttering butterflies” or “popping popcorn” sensations of fetal movement have been replaced by something that feels more like “a mutant alien is trying to escape through the side of my abdomen.” I promise, I say things like that with love, but Oh. My. Word. This kid is active. He reminds me a lot of his older brother…the one who came out huge and grew up to be an incredibly ornery and active toddler. It makes me wonder if there’s any kind of connection there, and if so, if we’ll ever be able to find a babysitter once they’re two and four. Something tells me we’ll need a night off every so often.
The other noticeable change: apparently I’ve spontaneously become enormous. This change is only noticeable to others, though. I haven’t seen a drastic increase in my girth; gradual, yes, but I didn’t just puff up like a blowfish in the last few days, at least I don’t think I have. But the frequency and intensity of comments from others has ballooned in the past week. Things like “You look like you’re ready to pop!” and “Ten weeks to go? That can’t be right!” and the oh-so-delicate “Oh my goodness! Look at you!” from my mother-in-law the other night.
As much as I try to laugh this stuff off, I’m 30 weeks pregnant. I’m supposed to be getting big. I’m only 10 lbs. higher than my pre-pregnancy weight at this point, so I know that it’s not like I’ve been pigging out on junk. I’m just where I’m supposed to be, if not a bit on the small side, thank you very much. I’m also tired, uncomfortable, and hormonal, none of which offer much help when I try to bite my tongue and be civil back to rude people. I don’t have a lot of energy to spare at this point, and using it trying not to say, “Yeah, well I’m creating life within me…what’s your excuse for YOUR giant belly and rear?” is not my idea of spending it wisely.
Not only am I getting comments on the size of my stomach, I’m also getting them on the size of my family. I’ve had so many fun outings with all three kids in the past few weeks, but inevitably someone will see us out and about and say, “Oh, Mommy has her hands full!” with a knowing and pitying look. Grrrr. It’s just getting annoying. Yes, I do have my hands full: full of love, laughter, fun, the occasional poo, adventure, curiosity, mess, excitement, wonder, and the joy of watching my close-in-age kids grow up so attached to one another. They are indeed each other’s best friends, and we had them this way by design.
So, I’m thinking of making a t-shirt, just so I can get my point across without actually having to say anything to people who don’t know when to keep their own mouths shut. The slogan might be a little something like this: “Yep, my belly’s big, thanks for noticing. And yep, it’s my fourth in five and one half years, but we can feed, clothe, house, love, nurture, and discipline them all, so don’t worry–it’s not your tax dollars at work. We are blessed and lucky, so mind your own business, Judgy Judgerson. And if you feel the need to say anything, tell me how beautiful I look in the glow of pregnancy and motherhood.” Luckily, my ridiculously enormous belly would allow enough room to convey the whole message.