When you arrive at month seven of your pregnancy, you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's the last stretch and you're closer to holding that sweet baby in your arms. Unfortunately, the third trimester is also full of aches, pains, and sometimes strange symptoms. Baby is quickly running out of room and mama is running out of patience. Every trimester has its highlights and challenges, but there are definitely things I wish I'd known about the third trimester.
I had a dreadful first trimester. Fatigue, nausea, and vomiting were daily realities all the way through 20 weeks. I felt miserable so, honestly, months five and six were easy by contrast. Most women find the second trimester to be the best of the three. Like other expectant mothers, I felt energized, ravenous, and pretty damn adorable. Then the third trimester reared its ugly head. Suddenly, I was impatient, uncomfortable, and full-on overdue Rachel Greene.
There is some seriously weird sh*t that happens to you physically, mentally, and emotionally as you edge closer to the main event. There's some cool stuff, sure, but honestly a lot of it just blows. So save yourself some unpleasant surprises, and get in the know about Trimester Numero Tres.
That I'd Still Have Food Issues
Almost immediately after I found out I was pregnant, I developed a serious aversion to chicken. I thought it might let up over time, but it still grossed me out during the third trimester. (This ended immediately when the baby was born. I had fried chicken the next day.)
I thought I was past the puking phase, too. It didn't happen every day like the first part of my pregnancy, but every once in awhile something would totally throw me for a loop. Once, it was street tacos that had me hugging the toilet. Another time, gyros were the culprit. To my pregnancy stomach, nothing was sacred.
That My Gums Would Bleed
So. Freaking. Bizarre. All those extra hormones coursing through your body can make you susceptible to tender, swollen, inflamed gums. This means you will likely bleed during brushing or flossing. It's actually a form of gum disease known as pregnancy gingivitis. As someone who takes her oral hygiene and care very seriously, I was none too pleased.
That My Dreams Would Be So Vivid
You can thank those lovely hormones again for the onslaught of dreams you're now experiencing. Is your recall super vivid? That's probably because you're waking up so many times in the night (whether it's to roll over or get up to pee for the gamillionth time), right in the middle of a REM cycle.
The dream I remember mostly distinctly was about my grandpa, who passed three years before. My friend and I were on our way to an event, and Grandpa was in the passenger seat of a car with the door opened. "Hello, sweet!" he greeted me as he always did in life. "Are you coming in?" I asked. He replied, "No," and then disappeared. I woke up crying inconsolably and completely panicked my husband when I called him while he was in the field.
That The Glucose Screening Test Sucks
There are lots of little (and big) indignities during pregnancy, and the glucose test is one of them. I know it's important to screen for gestational diabetes, and I'm glad my test came back negative, but the experience was unpleasant.
First of all, my particular test required me to fast. Pregnant me does not like to be denied food. Second, it can take up to three hours, which I had to take off of work. Third, the glucose drink is disgusting. I was promised flat orange soda, and I got undiluted juice. Fourth, you get your blood drawn multiple times. Like, leave some in there, tech; the baby needs it!
That I'd Be Short Of Breath
As a third grade teacher, talking was a big part of my job. There I'd be, pontificating on parallelograms for the elementary set, and I'd get all breathless. There's a good reason for it. As baby takes up more real estate via an expanding uterus, there's less and less room for your other organs. Like your lungs.
Kids are pretty forgiving, but I gave a presentation to the district diversity committee (in front of my boss's boss) when I was eight months along. I never knew I could get winded talking about the gender binary.
That Baby's Movement Would Change So Much
Those sweet little fluttery kicks that mark the second trimester are nowhere to be found during the third. Fetal activity is stronger and more frequent. As your baby grows and adjusts to tighter quarters, there will be more and more squirming as opposed to kicking. That's not to say that you won't get a swift kick in the ribs once baby's head is engaged and they're upside down.
Another difference? Feeling your baby hiccup, which is a singular experience.
That I'd Wet My Pants
For most of my life, my nickname was "Camel Bladder." Seriously, I could hold it forever. And I had to. A teacher can't just walk out of a room full of 8 and 9-year-old students and expect to come back to anything resembling an orderly classroom.
That was all over once I became pregnant. I thought it was bad the first trimester, but once baby started putting more and more pressure on my bladder, I found that control was something I no longer possessed. I know lots of pregnant women pee a little when they laugh or sneeze, but for me it was coughing. Upon leaving the state fair, I coughed, leaked, and pronounced, "Oh!"
Husband: "You just peed yourself, didn't you?"
That Nesting Is For Real
I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, so once I was past the constant queasiness, I started organizing. I washed and folded all the clothes I got at my baby showers, created a breastfeeding basket, and made a nursery name sign. Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd even notice if and when my nesting instinct kicked in.
Well, kick in it did. I was a flurry of activity cleaning every nook and cranny in my house. I even pulled out the drain stopper and cleaned all the hair and heaven knows what off it. I gave birth that week.
That Hemorrhoids Would Nearly Destroy Me
I'd had hemorrhoids before, but I was woefully unprepared for what my anal veins had in store for me during month number nine. A week before my due date, my body produced the largest, most excruciating hemorrhoid known to womankind. That bad boy required two surgeries and multiple sitz baths, witch hazel pads, ice packs, and tubes of hemorrhoidal cream. And then I pushed a baby out over it.
That I'd Look 900 Months Pregnant
I've always been petite (thank you, Asian genes), and it took me a really long time to show. My father-in-law remarked, "I can't believe you're four months along!" I was five, for the record. Once third trimester rolled around, however, I was all belly. I looked like I'd swallowed a basketball. One of my third graders remarked, "From the back, you can't even tell you're pregnant. But from the front, it's like, whoa."
That I'd Turn Into The Evil B*tch Monster Of Death
My poor students and husband were the unfortunate victims of my easily-provoked rage hormones. Woe to the child who uttered "that's so gay." Or the husband who wanted to know what was for dinner. Whatever you decide to pick up on the way home from work, jerk. The last three weeks, my husband handled my mood swings pretty gamely. It's hard to stay mad at a guy who shows up to the door with a chocolate milkshake.
That Just When I Thought I Couldn't Handle It, That's When I Was Ready
So there I was, the Thursday before my due date, sitting at a restaurant with all my friends. They're imbibing and laughing, and I'm angrily sipping on lemonade whilst sitting upon my doughnut pillow. My friend, who'd given birth a year prior, asked, "Are you about to lose it?" "Oh my God, yes," I replied. "That means you're almost there," she explained.
She was right. I went into labor on my due date, and my beautiful daughter was born the next day. Sometimes, when you're in the third trimester trenches, you just need to be reminded that this too shall pass. And it's a pretty good payout.