First and foremost, Happy New Year! I'm feeling good vibes for 2018 for House of Mark as well as personally. I'm so excited for this year! Wishing everyone a healthy and successful year!
But, seriously where did the time go? Feels like it was just yesterday I took a pregnancy test but reality is that I'm almost in the home stretch. Only 3 weeks left until we meet this baby and complete our family of five. I can't believe we're about to be parents to three kids. I know our oldest is five now but I still get a "pinch-me moment" from time to time that this isn't real life. How we've come so far from our pregnancy struggles (more about that here) and and how life unfolds itself in mysterious ways - I have learned to trust the journey even if I don't understand it - because down the road it will all make sense.
I thought of making separate blog posts for every trimester but really there wouldn't be too much to share so I thought I would do a recap of the entire pregnancy journey in one post and also show you what I look like during my 36 weeks of pregnancy.
If you have read my pregnancy announcement (here), you know that I found out about this pregnancy pretty late, at two months. It certainly was a shocker (because we were not trying) but absolutely the BEST surprise ever. I mean, I was feeling pretty good not to have found out by obvious symptoms but only when I thought to myself "why am i late?". That's the only reason I came to find out. I'm pretty in-tune with my body so the fact that I had no idea was pretty shocking. Shortly after I found out, I began experiencing some symptoms. I had been feeling period-like cramps up until this point but didn't think anything of it because I thought I was about to start a very late period. And, I was breastfeeding Katherine so thought "oh, it's just crazy hormones acting up". One of the early symptoms this time around were exhaustion and fatigue. I would take naps throughout the day and even sleep unusually early (around 8pm) almost every night. I normally am a night owl sleeping around 2 am. Then, food aversions and nausea kicked in. Nausea was pretty bad this time which went into the first half of my second trimester (but thank God no vomiting). Some of the food/drink aversions I had were against chocolates and coffee which I LOVE both so much. Just the thought of both would make me gag, let alone seeing or smelling them. Nausea would come in different waves throughout the day - where I couldn't even keep food down and lost a few pounds too. I had no cravings at this stage at all. I was just turned off and sensitive to the smell, taste and appearance of food. Oh, and let's not forget the "every half-hour" bathroom visits. My bladder was on overtime at this stage even it meant peeing a drop, the feeling and urge was as if you have a full bladder and could not wait to empty it. This symptom takes a break for a while but then sneaks up again in the third trimester. Yay!
They do say the second trimester is like the honeymoon period of pregnancy and it's certainly true. Other than waves of nausea kicking in once in a while, I felt really good and pretty much back to my normal self. I started staying up late again, started having cravings and managed to keep food down with no disgust and queasiness, and my energy finally returned. I felt great physically - my baby bump was growing faster than ever yet I could still fit into my regular clothes. You know that pregnancy glow - well, this is the stage that I feel is most true. My skin cleared up from any hormonal breakouts from the first trimester. It's like my body does a chemical peel internally or something. My nails and hair get stronger and grow faster. Some say it's due to the prenatal vitamins but honestly I think it's the pregnancy and hormones. I've been taking vitamins for the longest time and only experience this boost in nails and hair during my pregnancies. As far as cravings this time around, I wanted fresh lime, spicy hot sauces on everything, pickled ginger and Thai food. Compared to my first pregnancy where it was sour and spicy (mostly junk food) and second pregnancy it was veggies and tropical fruits. Oh, and started craving coffee again which I was thrilled about; I'm seriously not sure how I survived without it the prior weeks. Another happy moment during this trimester is when I could finally hear the baby's heartbeat on my little home Doppler. In the beginning I would use it daily just for reassurance and confirmation that baby is still in there and alive. Up until I started feeling movements is when I reduced the usage to practically not using it all.
Oh the lovely third trimester! I'm currently 36 weeks. I wake up bright and early with full energy but get tired pretty fast and just want to sit with my feet up by late afternoon. HA! That's not possible with two kids but I try my best when the little one is napping or when hubby is home. Lately, whenever on the couch I'll have my feet up in the air to release some of that Nutty Professor swollen ankles that I've been rocking. I've been feeling really active movements where it actually hurts and I jump up from them. Not sure what this babe has been up to inside but it's definitely bruised up my hip bones and ribs. Sometimes, it hits so low into my pelvic bones that I fear it's about to drop out. LOL. Oh, and those Braxton Hicks contractions - known to be fake practice contractions - where it feels like the belly gets rock hard with pressure for a few seconds - it's just an uncomfortable feeling but nothing to fear about. Just the other day as we were heading out as a family, I felt that drop and hardening feeling and just stood frozen by the door with my legs crossed for about 2 long minutes fearing the baby is coming out. I know it's normal at this stage of pregnancy but still an uncomfortable feeling. Another new symptom in this trimester that I've been experiencing is severe heartburn that usually starts after dinner (no matter what I eat) and will hunt me down in the middle of the night and wake me up. And, once awake, kiss going back to sleep good-bye because not only is my chest on fire but the baby starts his/her action movie stunts. So, I start browsing through social media until I fall back to sleep or start shopping on the Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack apps and make executive shopping decisions at the worst time ever - so much easier to place orders at this time of day LOL. And, remember the overtime bladder situation from the first trimester? Well, say hello to that! I find myself constantly hanging out in the bathroom. And, as of late, I've been waking up from leg cramps that last for very very very long seconds (almost a minute) and the spot where it cramps usually aches throughout the day and sometimes up until the next day (when I get another one in the same leg). Other than these beautiful and growing symptoms I've been experiencing, I feel great overall. I mean, let's face it, I do have those moments where nothing fits and I break down and cry to my husband. So, going out has become really difficult. The leggings I've been living in would seriously yell at me if they could talk. At least they get a break in the washer every few days but yeah living in leggings has been comfortable but I'm so over it already. Looking forward to retiring all the pairs forever. My first two pregnancies were both due in the summer so living in summer and maxi dresses was much easier and a little more attractive dressing up the bump than this time around. But, it's all good, fashion can wait and I'm just counting down the days to meet this baby.
So lately, I've been going to NST monitoring twice a week, once at my doctor's office and once at the hospital I'll be delivering. Since this is my third pregnancy and third c-section and considering I'm a high risk patient, it has been advised to monitor everything closely to rule out preterm labor and any other complications. I'm crossing fingers everything goes as planned and this baby continues cooking until our scheduled c-section date of February 2nd. I still have to pack my hospital bag (I wrote a hospital checklist post here from my previous pregnancy) and finish up last minute organization and nesting, but I'm pretty much ready. I have bought a few necessary newborn pieces and swaddle blankets (all whites and neutral). But, once the baby is here and we find out the sex, we will wash and prepare the hand-me downs. Oh, and if a boy, we have a name selected that we love. However, if a girl, we have a handful that we like and can't seem to stick to one.
It's definitely a bittersweet feeling as I near the end of my last pregnancy. My husband and I have decided this will be our last. I think deep down inside my husband wants to go for our fourth child but I honestly don't think my body and all the complications I go through during and after pregnancy can handle it. I would've probably considered another baby had I been delivering vaginally but since I started out with a c-section, my doctor only continues with c-section deliveries for the rest of the pregnancies. My last c-section recovery was very difficult with continuous infections and the scarring took a long time to heal. So, I have come to terms that our baby-making chapter will soon come to an end but I look forward to raising this beautiful family of ours. I feel so blessed and lucky to where we are today compared to the hurdles we faced before. Looking back at my old self, I wish I could have known and told her that everything would be okay and by the end of it all, I would have three beautiful and healthy children with an amazing life partner on my side. But, it's the unknown that makes us push the envelope and fight harder to what we yearn. I have come to realize that nothing is coincidence. Everything we're experiencing is meant to happen exactly how it's happening. I embrace the lessons and I am very grateful. And, that's the beauty of life.