What I Have Learned From My Third Trimester OBGYN Appointments

The third trimester is when things really start to feel real for most mommies-to-be. At least, that is when things started to feel more real to me. As a first time mom, I found some solace in mommy forums, the online community for the pregnancy app I have been using on my phone to track my symptoms, and of course my sister and best friend who have both been through it.

In the third trimester, your doctors appointments go from being every four weeks, to every two weeks, right down to every week. Once you hit the once a week mark, you think to yourself that there is going to be this constant flow of new information. This is the time you are going to learn about going into labour, what all these new and at times unbearable symptoms mean, and just how close you are to holding your baby in your arms.

The routine of your doctor’s appointment I think really depends on a few things. Of course a lot of what goes on in that room is based specifically on your doctor and how they like to do things, but it can also differ based on region and where you are in the world. One of the big factors is your health through your pregnancy so far and whether or not you are considered a ‘High-Risk’ or a ‘Low-Risk’ pregnancy.

What I have learned so far is that being in the lower risk means there will be a lot less tests, a little bit less information being given to you, and less of a chance to actually see how your baby is doing in there throughout your pregnancy. A lot of doctors will just smile at you and tell you everything is good without giving you any specifics because the truth of the matter is they see pregnancies like yours every day and they don’t realize how frustrating and annoying it is to not know certain things, especially as a first time mom.

You will get three ultrasounds in a low risk pregnancy here in Ontario, Canada. One in your first trimester just to be sure all is good. Here they will check to be sure it’s a healthy, viable pregnancy and not ectopic. You will get an abnormality scan somewhere around 20 weeks pregnant. Here they will do all the measurements, and let you know if there is something developmentally wrong (physically) with your baby. And for some (not everyone, and this is dependant on doctor) you may get a third ultrasound in your third trimester to check growth, however this is not standard and you will have to ask about it.

Since I got pregnant, I have gone for blood work about five times. I am anemic so they have wanted to keep an eye on my iron levels, and then there are of course all the other fun things they want to check out while you are pregnant. I will say, that before getting pregnant I didn’t know a lot about myself, like my blood type and all these other things, so I guess it is good I finally know that now.

Then of course there are other types of test you take, you take the glucose test, which is absolutely gross and I didn’t care for. If you pass, you don’t have to do it again, but if your levels are bordering, they will make you do it twice more. There is a stress-test as well, but this is something they tend to do with the ‘High-Risk’ pregnancies. I didn’t have to do a stress test as my blood pressure was pretty much always good and I had no symptoms that made them believe I needed one.

As a healthy pregnant woman, I felt like a lot of my appointments were going into the room, getting my blood pressure taken, having my fundal height measured, which is just measuring your stomach to see how your baby’s growth is coming along. (Your fundal height measurement through pregnancy should be the same amount of cms as your weeks pregnant or one cm more.) Then we would listen to baby’s heart to make sure all was good, she would ask me if I had any questions and off I went.

As a first time mom, I have to say that especially in my third trimester when I am hauling my butt to appointments every week, everything is swollen, I am miserable and struggling to squeeze into clothes that no longer fit as the end draws near, I left most of my appointments frustrated.

Why?

Well, because from what I could tell a lot of other mommies were getting internal exams done from about 36 weeks and I am strolling into my 39 week appointment practically begging for her to look under the hood.

I think if you haven’t done this before, and you don’t know what to expect from your upcoming labour, what you want more than anything is information and someone to tell you how you are doing. Knowing that you are dilated, or not dilated helps you mentally prepare for what is coming. It also takes some of the edge off of thinking that this could happen at any moment.

This close to the end, I think it would just help to know that the end is actually near. Having her just smile at me and say it could be any time now is not really comforting. I know the math, I know how long this is supposed to take. What I don’t know is whether I am actually close to delivering or not. What I don’t know is if my body has already started to prepare or if I am going to have to buckle in and wait it out for another couple of weeks (God, I hope not!)

If you are like me, and have had no issues through your pregnancy, at this point you are probably pulling your hair out. I haven’t seen my baby since my ultrasound at 20 weeks. Sure, I hear her heartbeat every week and feel her squirming around in there, but in the back of your mind there are still this laundry list of worries that you feel can’t be addressed until baby is here and that is super stressful. Add that to the constant discomfort, and you are a ticking time-bomb that is better off staying inside, watching Disney movies and eating bowls of cereal from that spot on the couch that now has your ass-groove permanently dented into it.

At 39 weeks with just one week to go (fingers crossed) I am hoping at this point that I don’t make it to my doctor’s appointment on Monday and the next time I am seeing a doctor it will be the one with their head between my legs telling me to PUSH!

Here’s hoping!

38 Weeks

Alright people, as much as I would love to say the finish line is in view, I don’t know if I can see it quite yet. The discomfort and misery are currently clouding my vision but I do have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon where I am hoping the doctor is going to check “under the hood”, pull back with a look of surprise and tell me the baby is coming.

Wishful thinking? Yeah, probably. But hey, don’t rain on my parade. It could happen.

This past week has been a constant search of symptoms. As a first-time-mom everything that pops up is new and has you wondering ‘Oh my gosh, could this be labour?‘ My body has changed so much already, it’s hard to even remember who I was before getting pregnant.

I can vaguely recall being able to do things, like stand up without someone giving me a push, sleep without some little prisoner inside my ribs rattling a tin cup against them and screaming FREEDOM all hours of the night, walking up slight hills without getting out of breath, you know… things like that. The simple things we all take for granted when we are young and wearing rose-coloured glasses.

Here are some new symptoms that have popped up in the last week.

I lost my mucus plug, or at least a part of it. 

I will spare you the gross, graphic image. But for women who are going through this the first time and wondering what it looks like, I will happily describe it for you. It is a clear/cloudy jelly type thing. Now, if you are like me and you tend to stumble into the bathroom in the dark at night, you could miss losing a part or the whole of it. It does make a bit of noise when it falls into the toilet, which I would have completely missed as I lost part of it in the night and the sound of it hitting the water had me turning the light on to inspect.

No, it wasn’t baby… as much as I wished that could be the end of it.

Now, something important to note is that losing your mucus plug does not necessarily mean baby is as close as you think. I was under the impression that was it, that jelly blob was holding baby in there like the plug in the bathtub and now that it was out things would be under way.

Sorry ladies, I lost a significant amount about a week ago and so far… no baby or signs of labour.

Apparently, you can lose parts of your mucus plug and it will grow back.

Ugh!

I feel like I have a cold or maybe the early signs of a flu coming on. 

One morning last week I woke up and my head felt like it was stuck in the clouds. I was crazy congested, had a slight cough and my body felt like it had been through the ringer (more so than the usual pregnancy body aches and fatigue).

Now, I have thoroughly researched this and spoken to a lot of women who are on their second or third child and this is apparently something that happens when you are close to the end of your pregnancy. Yet another odd symptom most first-time-moms would have never heard of.

So many mommies have told me they woke up feeling under the weather and cursing their luck at getting sick so close to the end of their pregnancy and a few days or so later, labour started.

Fingers crossed that this is what is happening here, because I have to say, feeling like you are having hot flashes, all those muscle aches and pains, and this new build up of phlegm is not helping me with my constant search for a pregnancy glow.

My vagina suddenly feels like it’s one of the drums from Drumline and is constantly being played.

Do you want to know what’s super uncomfortable? The feeling of someone pounding on your vagina…. from the inside.

Certain movements I make seem to send my baby into a frenzy and she takes it out on me by headbutting the crap out of my nether regions. It is probably one of the most uncomfortable things I have experienced thus far and happens just about as often as she kicks and moves at this point.

Nausea is back and with a vengeance!

I thought I was over this hurdle. I thought the nausea that had all but crippled me at the beginning of my pregnancy and stayed with me through the first trimester was a thing of the past.

Nope. Boy, was I wrong.

The past few days have been a struggle to keep absolutely anything down. My appetite has all but disappeared and I find myself forcing myself to eat little meals and snack because I know I have to. Yet, every morsel that passes my lips is torturous and usually about ten or so minutes later threatens to come up.

So is fatigue.

I am just as tired as I was in the first trimester as well. Every little task seems to be enough to make my eyes start burning, my feet swell, and have me begging for the couch or my bed.

What’s worse, is my sleep at night is all but impossible. This baby seems to be trying to plan her escape at night, and she won’t rest until she is out. I can feel her kicking, moving, swirling, flipping, everything and anything is going on in my uterus at night which usually has me lying with my eyes wide open, trying to push her down to the exit.

I am not trying to keep her in there, if she wants to leave, by all means, I will draw her a map.

Please… get out!

I have a season pass to an emotional rollercoaster that is far more intense than at any other point in my pregnancy.

So far in my pregnancy, I haven’t been the crying mess that most women seem to be depicted as in the movies. Instead I have been more cranky than usual. My moods tend to lean more towards being mean, angry, and having a shortage of patience.

My thoughts have been dark this pregnancy, if I am being completely honest. I find myself wallowing, dancing very close to depression that I can’t quite pinpoint to any reasoning.

Lately though, I have been more the weepy woman. I can have a single thought that makes my eyes glass over and my throat close up.

The past three days my husband has been off from work so we spent a lot of time together which really helped with my mood, but now today that he is back at work and I am alone again, I can feel myself being strapped into this rollercoaster of emotion, unsure what condition I am going to be in when the ride stops.

Anyway, I am off to the doctor. My Uber will be here any minute and I will be on my way.

I will keep you updated on what is going on (I know I have been slacking lately, and hope to get more on track).

Until then, keep pretending.

37 Weeks Doctor’s Appointment

I am so close at this point, I can practically see the finish line. My appointments are every week, and every week I keep waiting for them to tell me; “You are in labour now!” and get this baby out of here.

Every inch of me is uncomfortable and the word misery has taken on a whole new meaning. If I had thought I was miserable before, the fact that comfort is nothing but a distant memory, everything is swollen, and the pressure bearing down on my pelvic bone is enough to make me think it is about to snap at any moment, makes every waking moment of my day unbearable.

I have turned to the pregnancy forums to get some idea of when I can expect my little one. Really, it is a luck of the draw. Some women go months early, others right on the dot, I am hoping she pops her head out tomorrow because I am ready and willing. At this point, I have accepted that whatever isn’t done, won’t be before she gets here because getting myself to do anything is near impossible.

I am waiting for this ‘nesting’ phase to kick in, but my discomfort may be overriding it. I do little things, but soon my swollen feet start to throb and the little kickboxer starts using my ribs as a punching bag and I throw in the towel.

So far, all my appointments have pretty much been routine. I check in, get weighed, then get moved into the room. They ask me about new symptoms. Then I am laid out so my stomach can be measured, they check my blood pressure, and then they let me listen to baby’s heart. After all this is done, the doctor answers any of my questions and off I go.

At 37 weeks, three weeks away from my due date, I thought there would be a change. I thought they would start looking under the hood, giving me a better idea of when I can expect my baby and getting me better prepared for everything that was about to happen to me.

The hood remained latched, no one is checking under there and reading that other women have been checked at 36 weeks is making me a little nervous.

I asked my doctor today and she said she wouldn’t be checking under the hood for dilation until 39 weeks…

These days, that seems forever away.

Well, I am no doctor, so I guess I will just keep trudging around, jumping every now and them hoping she will just fall out. (Kidding… well, kind of.)

7 Months Pregnant

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Being pregnant is weird.

From the beginning of humanity, women have been pregnant. They have gotten pregnant and had children. Women have had children in the wilderness, unaided. They have had children while battles ensued around them, they have had children while in a lifeboat drifting away from a ship on fire.

Through the ages, childbirth seems to be the one constant.

As far as science has been able to trace us back, mankind is about 6,000 years old. That means that for at least that long, we have been pro-creating, women taking the brunt of the workload.

Yet, calculating your pregnancy still isn’t a very precise thing. We are all still a little bit fuzzy on exactly how pregnant we are, we estimate pregnancy to be 9 months long but we can be pregnant for as long as 45 weeks. Even when using apps and calendars to keep track of our ovulation, knowing that window, it isn’t used to calculate when we conceived. Our last period is.

How are we still not more precise at this point?

Anyhow, based on my estimated due date which is September 20th, 2018, I am 7 months pregnant at this point.

What is new at 7 months?

Sleep seems to be a thing of the past. I come home from work between 7:00pm- 7:15pm, strip down to my underwear and change into a loose-fitting top and migrate either towards the couch, towards my computer chair, or towards my bedroom. Why? Because I am exhausted and all I want to do is get off my feet.

From the time I get home from work, I am in a zombie state. Just sluggish, barely awake, drifting in and out of sleep. I think it must be a combination of being 7 months pregnant, having gained about 30 pounds, and it being the middle of the summer, most of which we have been experiencing a heat wave.

Most days, I am insanely uncomfortable. My clothes don’t quite fit. They are hiking up in places I wish they wouldn’t or too tight in odd places. In the heat my feet are swelling, so getting off them is a real treat at the end of the day.

If there was one thing I would probably say at this point of my pregnancy, it’s that being pregnant in the winter is probably more comfortable overall and easier in terms of oversized sweaters and track pants being completely appropriate.

In the summer when all you want to do is wear less, I have found it almost impossible to find the right clothes to make it all bearable. Not a lot of brands that carry maternity lines have those lines available to you in store and you really don’t want to order a bunch of pregnancy clothes, especially if this is your first time around and you have no idea how the sizing works, only to have to haul them all in to return them.

All of the weight I have gained seems to be in my stomach and in my breasts. Which means that for the most part, my regular clothes still fit, they are just uncomfortable. So a lot of the maternity clothes I have tried on, don’t quite fit the way I imagined they would.

What I would really love is the 90s pregnancy fashion. Some bicycle length fitted shorts in bright, bold colours and prints. Those oversized shirts that seemed to fit the shoulders and chest perfectly but moo-mooed out over your tummy making it completely comfortable. Those were also usually in some funky prints and colours. When I look at photos of my mom when she was pregnant, she just looked so comfortable. They didn’t have to be fashion forward styles, nothing chic that you would see on the runway. Just plain and simple comfort.

They don’t seem to make maternity clothes like that anymore. Everything needs to look cute, or classy or be stylish. I have to say, at this point of my pregnancy, I would wear a burlap sack with the bottom cut off if it were comfortable, I could care less.

At this point of pregnancy, all I can say I feel all the time is uncomfortable. All of my baby’s movements are big and dramatic. What used to be a flutter now moves all the skin in my stomach. I don’t know if it’s my little one’s feet, or butt, or elbows, but something is always in my ribs. Pretty consistent through the day, pounding away whenever possible. My stomach doesn’t quite feel heavy, but at times it feels like it is stretching which is of course, lovely. To make all of this a lot more exciting, there are at least ten times a day when I am sure I have peed myself, if only a little bit.

My calves are under CONSTANT attack! Through the night, I wake up about once an hour with both my calves as tight as they could be, cramps causing my eyes to water as I bite my lips trying to massage all the tension out which takes anywhere from one to five minutes.

That is me at 7 months.

Really, I know it sounds like I am complaining but this is honestly what it is to me right now. Most of the time I am miserable and I have no idea why and all I want to do is meet my little one and have them out of me and in my arms.

Two more months to go.

I can do this!