My Pregnancy Journey: Third Trimester

If you haven’t read my first trimester journey entry [+ how I found out I was pregnant], read that here. Second trimester journey is here.

Third Trimester

So much happened during third trimester — looking back at my journal, I’m like woah, that was a lot A LOT. There were so many important moments [I shared below!]. For me, the third trimester was so, so sacred. The theme for my third trimester = nesting, going inward, trusting, + savoring every second. Especially towards the end, I kept writing in my journal: SAVOR. SAVOR. SAVOR!

As a first time mama, it’s the wildest feeling knowing that “life as you know it” is ending, + that soon enough — you’ll be meeting your baby + becoming a parent! I truly could not wrap my mind around it. I tried my best to slow down, honor the closing of Isaac + I as “just the two of us,” + prepare for birth + motherhood as best I could.

1/16/22 [27 Weeks]: “My intention going into this next chapter is rest, nourish, + flourish. To give myself enough open space to take everything in to fully enjoy the ending of this “solo life,” + to honor everything that has brought me here… to become a mother. I am ready.”

Important Moments In The Third Trimester

#1] Saying Goodbye To Chicago

It was really hard to leave Chicago for me. Even though I knew in my bones that I was meant to have a home birth in California, fear took over me multiple times the weeks leading up to our move — “Are we making the right choice in moving to California? Why would I leave my amazing friends, my parents, my team… aka my entire support system… during the BIGGEST TRANSITION OF MY LIFE.”

I kept reminding myself that intuitively I knew we were supposed to move [we found our LA midwife that I was so excited about], that change is good, + that this will be a huge growth/upleveling period in many ways… but it was still very hard. We spent Week 27–31 in Chicago saying goodbye to everyone + everything.

#2] Moving To California

Week 31 — It took us two months of actively apartment hunting online every single day [+ two trips to California to look at homes in person] before we finally found an apartment we loved. We packed up all of things + towed a uhaul from Chicago to Santa Monica. On the drive to California, I was still very hesitant + nervous that we made the wrong decision.

However, as soon as we arrived— after jumping in the ocean, going on a hike, + waking up to birds chirping… I knew I was home. “It feels really really right. We moved at the perfect time — not too soon, not too late.” *Disclaimer: I don’t recommend moving that late into pregnancy lol. We were SO focused on apartment hunting that we pushed back all of the “baby + labor prep.” Also, I forgot about that fact that we had to furnish a home… all in two months [or less!]. The clock was ticking!

#3] Childbirth Education Course + Building Our Birth Team

With two months to go until our “due date” — it was time to start preparing for birth!

  • Week 32 — First midwife appointment with Abby. We had appointments every 2 weeks until Week 36. After Week 36, we had appointments every week!
  • Week 32 — Started all the bodywork sessions: massage, chiropractor, + accupuncture. I alternated what I did weekly, until Week 37 when I did *all the things.* Did I go overboard? Probably. But I would way rather “overdo” self-care than the opposite.
  • Week 32 — Started our Hynobirthing Class with Nina. It was a 5 week “complete childbirth education” course. We learned a lot of different techniques + tools to use for labor. Even though I didn’t use any of the traditional methods during labor, I enjoyed the course… it gave Isaac + I space to connect + prepare for birth.
  • Week 33 — Confirmed our postpartum care, Aleiela
  • Week 34 — Confirmed our doula, Amy. We did private prenatal yoga with her every week starting at Week 34, which was so so nice. Highly recommend prenatal yoga!
  • Week 36 — Confirmed our backup OBGYN, Dr. Afflack
  • Week 37 — Confirmed our photographer, Zo’e. I definitely don’t recommend waiting this late to confirm a photographer, but we were so lucky that it worked out!

#4] IUGR + Early Induction Scare

Ugh. This was definitely a very rough patch of the third trimester. It started at Week 28. I went in for a midwife appointment in Chicago + I was “measuring small” so a growth ultrasound was needed. We did the growth ultrasound, + everything was fine… but it was still stress inducing... + it was a precursor to the many *extra ultrasounds* I would end up needing.

Fast forward a few weeks [Week 33], we had moved to California + our midwife thought that the baby was breached, so she scheduled an ultrasound for us. [*Side note: A downside of the midwifery practices we worked with is that they did not have an ultrasound machine, so we had to go to a separate ultrasound tech.] Thankfully, he wasn’t breached… BUT, his tummy measured small at 6%, + he was then classified as an IUGR baby.

In that specific practice, it was standard protocol for IUGR babies to go in for monitoring 2x/week to track the baby’s heart rate + amniotic fluid on the ultrasound, as well as have a growth ultrasounds every 10–14 days. Keep in mind we had just moved to California, already had 4+ birth appointments per week [midwife, doula, childbirth education course, bodywork], were rushing to furnish our house, + still had not even set up a registry… plus, we were both working full time. Adding in 2 more stress-inducing appointments per week was very taxing on me [not to mention, the doctor we worked with had terrible bedside manners]. In my heart I knew everything was fine, but I didn’t want to put our baby at risk in any way… so I listened to the doctor + went in 2x/week for monitoring.

When we went in for our growth ultrasound at Week 36, his tummy decreased to 3.7%. Everything else was completely normal. Immediately, the doctor started talking to me about getting a c-section, + that she would be “surprised” if I went to 40 weeks based on his growth [aka that I would need an early induction]. I left the appointment in tears. + then had a few more breakdowns the next few days, trying to wrap my head around the fact that we might only have a week or so left before our baby arrives if we have an early induction.

After talking it over with my midwife, we decided to get an opinion by a new doctor. I still had such a strong gut feeling that our baby was okay. At 37 Weeks, the new doctor measured 9% for stomach (+ 90% for head…). His opinion was that the baby was okay [especially because everything else measured very normal], + that I didn’t need to continue monitoring.

It’s wild because when Noah was birthed — everything was very average: his weight, his tummy, his head, etc. He was not classified as an IUGR baby in the slightest. After sharing my story with others, I heard a lot from people about how they too had inaccurate ultrasounds + how it caused them a lot of stress. Speak up, get a second opinion, + trust your maternal instinct.

#4] Pregnancy Tumor

Week 32 — I got a pregnancy tumor in my mouth removed… which was the most random pregnancy symptom that I had [I don’t think they are very common, but my cousin also had one!]. A few weeks prior I burned the roof of my mouth, right between my two front teeth. It “blistered” like a normal burn — but because it was exactly where I eat + talk, it would break open every 2–3 days + my mouth would bleed.

Eventually, the wound closed up + a small bump appeared in its spot… + kept growing. It didn’t hurt at all, but because of the positioning + size, I developed a lisp. I talked to my cousin who had one + she said I would probably have a hard time trying to find a dentist to remove it because of liability while pregnant. THANKFULLY, my midwife found a holistic dentist who removed it. The novocaine shot hurt SO much. Thankfully the tumor didn’t grow back [which sometimes happens!].

#5] Creating A Registry

Week 34 — Why does no one talk about how stressful creating a registry is?! Or is it just me? Oh my gosh. I was so stressed. I literally spent HOURS on mom blogs, researching different baby brands, + texting my mom friends, “Do we actually need this?” We were planning on having a baby shower on April 3 [that would have been Week 38 — aka what were we thinking lol?]. Our early induction scare made that plan not possible, so instead we decided to have a Virtual Welcoming after our baby was born, which was absolutely the right move for us.

*If you’re feeling stressed about creating your registry, read this post: Navigating Your Baby Registry + All The Baby Links

#6] Furnishing Our Home

Week 33–37 — Furnishing our home! We went from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom apartment… so we had A LOT of new furniture to buy [+ everything for the nursery]. I spent so much time scrolling on instagram home decor accounts for inspo, taking multiple trips to World Market + Home Goods, messaging so many people on Facebook Marketplace, + creating google docs with all of our home decor options. It was a lot of work, but I’m so happy with how it turned out. You can see a tour of our home here!

#6] Babymoon + Terrible Food Poisoning

Week 36 — We decided to take a last minute weekend trip to Joshua Tree for our babymoon. [*Check out my Wellness Guide To Joshua Tree] We almost skipped this because we were so overwhelmed with everything, but it was really important for us to celebrate each other + honor this closing of “just the two of us.” We had a beautiful time until I GOT TERRIBLE FOOD POISONING. I literally puked 5+ times every 2 hours for 12 hours straight. It was insane. We called our midwife at 4 AM to make sure I didn’t need to go to the hospital… since vomitting can cause contractions. It was the most I’ve ever thrown up in my life. It was a wakeup call that we are approaching the labor window + that it was time to slow slow slow down. No more traveling, no more 8 mile hikes in the desert [yes, we did that during our babymoon + I’m not proud of that at all!], no more plans other than preparing for birth!

#7] Prepping For Labor

The last few days, weeks, + moments before labor are so wild. It’s such a sacred time + truly feels like you’re floating between realms — between the known + the unknown. I wrote about it here! I knew motherhood would be the biggest transition of my life + I wanted to do everything possible to prepare my mind + heart + body.

  • Week 36: Started eating dates! Drinking raspberry tea. Tried the epi-no a few times.
  • Week 36: Isaac + I started a morning practice of gratitude. At this point, we still felt very overwhelmed with everything going on [+ things to buy] + it was during my potential early induction period, so this morning practice allowed us to create space for each other. Every day, we set intentions + asked ourselves, what if this is the last day before our baby comes? It instantly helped us become present to the here + now + be as intentional as we can with the days (weeks) we had left before the next chapter in our story began.
  • Week 37: “Things are shifting. I’m starting to feel really really good with where we are at with everything.”
  • Week 38: My maternity leave started. My #1 intention for maternity leave = savor every second. Started rapid fire reading all the books lol: Happiest Baby On The Block, Zen Mama, Ina May Guid To Childbirth, First Forty Days.
  • Week 39: Prepped postpartum meals, set up the birth room, made a labor playlist, set birth intentions, recorded a pregnancy podcast with Isaac + journaled SO SO SO SO SO much.
  • *Also something else that I wanted to mention is that I was very particular on what “birth content” I read or watched. I was never fearful of birth + I wanted to keep it that way. I watched one birth video [+ I’m glad I did!]… it was very eye opening + made me realize how much of a journey labor would be. But I was ready for it! I knew that giving birth would forever change me + I wanted to be so present for it all.

Third Trimester: Physical + Emotional Changes + More Moments

  • Week 28 — I got bloodwork done, + my ferritin was really low (8). It needed to be at a 12 to prevent hemorrhoids, so I started taking this iron supplement. When I went in for bloodwork Week 32, my ferritin was higher!
  • Cravings: Eating more meat than ever before. Still loving hot sauce! Also loved coconut smoothies + raspberries
  • Even though there were definitely stressful moments during the third trimester, overall my mood was very inspired + empowered, + my energy was still VERY HIGH
  • Workouts: I stopped running 1.5 months out [I started getting lightning crotch a bit, so that was my cue to stop]. I did prenatal pilates, prenatal yoga, bodyweight/light dumbbell workouts, + went hiking! I was very active all the way up until birth
  • I had a bit of indigestion if I did yoga after eating, particularly when I put my head lower than my heart [like a standing forward fold]
  • My pregnancy melasma got worse
  • Week 33 — Took a baby CPR class
  • Week 35 — Had a spontaneous pregnancy shoot with my friend Kaitlyn + decided to announce that I was pregnant on instagram! See the post here
  • Had to pee ALL. THE. TIME. Noah was so, so, so low. When we had an appointment at Week 38, our OBGYN said: Isaac, you should be prepared to catch the baby” — meaning she thought he would fly out, based on his positioning
  • I never really felt any Braxton Hicks contractions, they think it was because my placenta was “forward facing”. I still felt kicks though!
  • Isaac + I created an “end of pregnancy” bucket list
  • My belly FINALLY popped… + I must say: EVERYONE IS SO NICE TO A PREGNANT WOMAN. I got so many smiles + congrats those last few weeks of pregnancy
  • Week 39, I had a “omg he might come today” moment. I wrote about it here
  • Emotionally = ALL. THE. FEELS. Particularly towards the end.

A lot of people have asked me: “How much prep did you do for ~newborn life~ in the third trimester?” Honestly, not much. I read Happiest Baby On The Block, fully prepped the nursery + bought all the things, hired a lactation consultant that would come within a few days after giving birth, + hired a postpartum doula. I knew that the first few weeks [+ months] would mostly be about breastfeeding, bonding with baby [all the snuggles], lots of naps, + focusing on postpartum recovery.

There are so many newborn programs out there [Taking Cara Babies, Tinyhood, Bringing Home Baby, etc], + I knew that they would be there for me when/if I wanted... I didn’t want to overwhelm my mind with information prior to birth. Instead, I really wanted to focus on preparing my mind + body + soul for the birth experience… the day my life would forever change. I was a about to become a mom! I was about to have a son! I also spent a lot of time in the third trimester simply honoring this beautiful season of pregnancy + trying my best to be as present as possible every day. I’m so grateful for my journey.

April 17: Our Due Date

April 17 was not only our “due date,” but also: Easter, 9 months of marriage, + the day my water broke! I share everything about that day in this post, but I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote that morning. It beautifully sums up what I was desiring for labor + meeting Noah:

“I pray that I am present. I pray that labor is exactly what I need to be initiated into motherhood — a transformation. May I remember that every pain has purpose + to let go of what is no longer serving me. What are qualities that I want to call in for motherhood? Nurturing. Open. Loving. Soft. Intuitive. Present. Supportive. Reliable. Lots of cuddles. Playful. Warmth. Calm. A lesson everyone talks about is remembering “everything is temporary.” May I take that to heart + allow myself to fully feel the beingness of this chapter. It’s here. I have everything I need.”

That night… my water broke. + SO IT BEGAN: THE BIRTH PORTAL HAS OPENED UP!

IT WAS TIME TO MEET OUR BABY, NOAH SOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elisabeth

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