Every stage of pregnancy has its difficult parts. As trimesters go, the first has got to be the worst with its never-ending nausea. Second trimester brings heartburn and headache. By the third trimester, your body is just trying to accommodate that ever-growing baby. Taken a week at a time, however, I feel pretty confident saying that, in my not-so-humble opinion, the last week of pregnancy is the hardest of all. There's something about those last few days of being pregnant that make them seem infinitely longer than those that preceded them.
I was lucky in that I was able to begin my maternity leave the week before my due date. It was a good thing, too, because I was miserable. I began my pregnancy with a low BMI, and I gained the recommended 40 pounds. But as a fine-boned person, carrying all that weight out front really did a number on my back and hips. The worst was the thrombosed hemorrhoids, though. I was in urgent care getting them excised on a Saturday and then in general surgery for a second round the following Tuesday. My husband and I went out to eat with friends a few days later, and as I sat on my doughnut pillow watching everyone drink beer and wine, I realized I'd never been more done in my entire life.
Fortunately, that "done-ness" was actually a sign that labor was imminent. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, my water broke. You'll get there, too, but not before you power through the following challenges of the last week of pregnancy:
Sure, it might be the week before your due date, but that's no guarantee that it's your last week of pregnancy. After all, calculating your due date isn't an exact science and some babies just need more time incubating. Some women can go to 41 or 42 weeks. My mom was 17 days late with my brother. Seventeen. Days. Granted, that was the '80s — I'm pretty sure they don't let you go that long anymore.
Yes, weight gain is vital to a healthy pregnancy, but that doesn't mean you necessarily feel good about it. In the last week, you're at your biggest. Your body is accommodating baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, and the fettuccine alfredo you just mainlined. Nothing passes the time quite like feeling uncomfortable and guilty.
When we kids were growing up, my mom used to explain that sometimes her patience was a watermelon and sometimes it was a pea. During the last week of pregnancy, I'm pretty sure your patience shrinks to the size of a goddamn poppyseed. Not only was I anxious to meet my baby, I had little tolerance for nonsense, like my husband snoring (on purpose, clearly) or the barista f*cking up my Starbucks order. I said extra hot, imbecile!
According to BabyCenter, a combination of a growing uterus, constipation, and an increase in progesterone during the third trimester make you especially susceptible to hemorrhoids. The itchy protuberance from your rectum will have you not only seriously questioning your life choices, but wondering how in the hell you're going to push a baby out over it.
If you're in the last weeks of pregnancy, get ready for "ready to pop" comments and attempts to grope your belly by strangers. Your loved ones won't be much better. If you're at all late, everyone from your mother to your high school lab partner will be messaging you to find out if you've had that baby yet. Still pregnant, guys. Thanks for the reminder.
It's not just hemorrhoids, folks. You may also experience (drumroll, please), back pain, leg cramps, shortness of breath, heartburn, and pubic bone pain. Braxton-Hicks contractions can be painful physically and, at the same time, get your hopes up for nothing. Everything's just so damn crowded in there, and those adorable kicks aren't so cute when they're aimed at your rib cage.
According to Healthline, you're more likely to experience insomnia during the third trimester. Yeah, tell me something I don't know. There aren't enough pillows in the world to make a woman at the end of her pregnancy feel comfortable enough to sleep. Even if she could get that way, the darling dear she's growing would decide it was time to go for gold in Olympic Squirming.
You're having first trimester deja vu, but this time your big belly makes it that much harder to hoist yourself out of bed or off the couch in order to get to the bathroom. And if you happen to sneeze or cough, well, let's just say you'll be changing your sweatpants.
Earlier in your pregnancy, even with the rough parts, there's so much to be excited about. By the end, though, and with the challenges of the last nine months compounded, you just want it to be over with. The good news is, if you have a serious case of "get this baby out of me," you're likely very close to the end. Hang in there, and have a cookie.
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