Pregnancy Series: The Third Trimester

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If the first trimester was characterised by the sweetness of the secret and that first heart-altering scan, and the second, super-human energy, then the third most certainly has been about feeling all the feelings. 

On more than one occasion, the thought of watching my man cradle our tiny person in his arms has had me dusting a stream of tears from my cheeks.

A soaring tune on my iPod can open the floodgates, and I all but lose it over sentimental Facebook videos and blog posts that should come with a Definitely Not Suitable for Pregnant Women warning.

Surprisingly, I’ve been awash with a feeling of CALM READINESS for most of my pregnancy, but then there’ll be a day where an anxious thought will slip in the back door, and suddenly I’m worried about something 5 years down the track…. that will definitely never happen.

Trimester Three has had a definite marshmallow heart flavour, but it’s not just a ‘softening’ I’ve noticed. There’s a fierceness, a wild protectiveness, that’s also made itself at home in my bones.

In the way life so often dishes up ‘trial runs’ or ‘like experiences’, I feel like I’ve been called to step up AND sink deeper across the board — from my business to my relationships to life in general.

Which is to say, there’s been plenty of growing. Inwardly, outwardly, spiritually, emotionally.

A new evolution is drawing ever closer, so before that happens, let’s take a look at what I’ve been pondering / exploring over the past three or so months, shall we?

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30weeks

{30 weeks, away in Byron on a mini baby-moon}

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RRrecline

{39 weeks; before two becomes three}

prints

{Prints of the above, and also, a sneaky look at some of the last-minute maternity pics I did with Jo from The Luminous Kitchen who made me feel like a mama-goddess — on my due date.}


PREPARING FOR BIRTH.

It’s a funny thing, visualising the birth of your baby. SO MANY unknowns. Such a radically different and unique experience.

I’ve been slowly preparing for The Big Day for the entire duration of my pregnancy, but below are some things I’ve done to get ready in the third trimester:

1. Zenning out to HypnoBirthing meditations nightly. Adore Melissa Spilsted’s Surge of the Sea — Relaxation for Childbirth and Affirmations for Beautiful Birthing (on the same download)

2. Also really loving Naomi Goodlet’s Meditations for Pregnancy and Birth.

3. Holding acupressure points and rubbing diluted clary sage oil on my feet and belly (note: suitable for those overdue / in labour).

4. Crafting a ‘Birth Bible’ — essentially a Moleskine journal in which I’ve been recording my favourite affirmations and reminders, relevant information from baby books, notes for Ramai, and other bits and pieces that we may or may not use throughout the labour.

“Every surge of my body brings me closer to my baby.” 

I relax and let my body lead. I trust in its wisdom to do what its designed to do.”

“I feel confident, I feel safe, I feel secure.”

(etc).

5. As always, movement. Walking. Bike riding, beach-cruiser style. Limbering up ;) I’ve noticed that in the final weeks, I’ve felt slightly more spacious in my body (as the baby has dropped) and I’ve certainly been making the most of it.


THOUGHTS ON BUSINESS AND BABIES.

A while back a friend and I were deep in conversation about motherhood and identity, and she said something that’s stayed with me ever since, which was:

“Becoming a mother changed my perspective on certain things, the way anything big does… but I’m still me, you know?

Gosh, I loved hearing that.

As I face down mamahood, I’m welcoming the ways in which I’ll be altered, transformed and stretched beyond my current reality, but at the core of it all, and just like my beautiful friend — I know I’ll still be me.

Hopeful, determined, over-thinkin’, creative. A prone-to-restlessness, growth-seeker who loves to ‘work it out’ vs. be told what to do (yes, my inner petulant teen needs to be tamed sometimes).

ALSO: writer, mentor, entrepreneur — lit up by purposeful contribution and creation. One who adores an end goal but REALLY comes alive in the process.

That woman I describe now will still exist, and I can say with conviction that thanks to the plethora of women in my life who are both nurturing their children AND their creative spirits via their online businesses, I no longer believe something I once did:

You must choose one or the other — work or family.

My more empowered, modern day belief is that our interpretation and expectations of how it all WORKS and LOOKS might need to shapeshift, but we can hold space for these many varied energies and desires that sizzle and swirl inside us.

This is a (big) topic and one I can’t wait to dig into it further as I imperfectly plod my way through the experience of growing a little tribe alongside a business, but for now, I’m going to lean on this quote by Cheryl Strayed:

quotecherylstrayed

Thank you Cheryl, you beautiful badass, you.


THE NOT-SO-PLEASANT STUFF.

I’m not one to dwell too hard on the negatives, but it wouldn’t be right for me to share the utter beauty of this journey without touching on some of the less-wonderful aspects. (I’ll preface this by saying there’s no doubt most of these pertain to the ‘superficial’ BUT they do give an insight into the complete experience).

// Swelling and fluid retention.

Face/ feet/ ankles/ fingers/ calves; the feet especially when sitting at a right angle at the computer for stretches of time. Once I approached 39 weeks, things seemed to shift on this front (in fact, my weight has gone slightly backwards at my last 3 obstetrician appointments) but I’m not going to lie — there have been times where the swelling has been NOT GOOD. I thoroughly look forward to the return of my ankles and regular face once I’m not pregnant (ha!)

// Sinusitis.

This one has been a real bugger for at least half my pregnancy. Blowing my nose constantly throughout the day, mega-congestion at night, keeping my man up with weird choking sounds in the middle of the night — being perpetually blocked is no joke!

I’ve had acupuncture, taken supplements, sprayed saline sprays relentlessly and… nadda, unfortunately. Keeping the faith that this will dissolve after the baby arrives.

// Heartburn.

 Having never experienced heartburn before, I actually had no idea what the horrific icy-burning feeling was in the top of my chest until I consulted Dr Google. Thankfully this only showed up in the third trimester and seems to have disappeared now, but I can say for sure that eating too much in one sitting, along with chocolate, ginger and (unfortunately, as I craved it) orange juice, were major triggers for me. Boo.

// Iron deficiency.

Ramai and I are away on a ‘babymoon’ in Byron Bay, it’s the middle of the day and he’s talking to me and I say meekly ‘I think I need to close my eyes for a minute.’ Hello, exhaustion — where did you come from?

Turns out where that all-encompassing tiredness came from was a pretty severe iron deficiency (discovered after a blood test) but once I consciously started supplementing with a strong iron pill and upped my red meat intake, everything went back to normal pretty quickly.

* I’m mentioning this one as I’d originally put it down to ‘third trimester tiredness.’ If you’re pregnant and feeling completely zonked, it’s well worth getting your levels checked. 

// Hormonal skin. 

It’s hard to say ‘I’ve always had clear skin’ without feeling a bit ridiculous, so please forgive me, but after having a rash-like inflammation around my chin for almost my entire pregnancy, let me say with great compassion that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from long-term skin problems.

Try as you might, when you’re having ‘one of those days,’ angry skin staring back at you in the mirror has the tendency to leave you feeling more than a little disheartened, particularly when you’ve tried every freaking remedy under the sun to no avail.

It’s not quite eczema, but it’s not acne either, it’s only around my chin and sides of my mouth, and I’ve applied plenty of self-acceptance BUT it’s also okay to say these things suck.

On the flipside, the rest of the skin on my face has remained in check with a combo of:

1. Facials from Lauren at Raw Beauty as mentioned in the trimester two post.

2. Mukti Organic products — aka, THE BEST damn skincare products out. I’ve been using:

Marigold Hydrating Creme;

Hydrating Cleansing Lotion;

Rose Blossom Hydrating Mist Toner

And have fallen totally in love with these luscious products.


HANGING IN LIMBO-LAND.

Or, where I find myself currently.

For me, this period of time following my estimated due date has been (a) tinged with a bizarre sense of ‘Am I still pregnant?’ (I very clearly am) and (b) has acted as a kind of emotional classroom in which I’m served a brand new lesson daily.

Over the past 6 days, I’ve felt frustrated, disconnected, totally at peace, rational, irrational, accepting, excited, grateful… you name it. I’ve also come face to face with expectations and attachments to The Way Things Should Unfold that I had no idea I even had. (illuminating to say the least).

What I have loved, however, about these in between days, is the reminder about the impermanence of our feelings — if only we ALLOW them to roll through us instead of stuffing them away.

Sometimes, it’s taken less than a minute to shift from irritated to wildly appreciative. Admittedly, other days I’ve needed a good old cry or a tight squeeze from Ramai to catapult my head out out of small thinking and back towards the Big Picture.

Moral of the story: TRUST is the opposite of control. Here’s to trusting all is as it’s meant to be, and remembering what this is all about: the gorgeous baby boy we’ll be locking eyes with in no time at all.


A FINAL NOTE.

Reading other women’s pregnancy adventures (and yep, maybe stalking an Instagram profile or two) has personally brought me a lot of joy, insight and a sense of connection along the way, so regardless of whether you’re pregnant right now, wanting to be, or not interested in having children at all, I hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot into the past 9 or so months of my life. It’s been a beautiful experience writing and sharing it with you, and I thank you for all your support and love thus far.

If you haven’t yet, click below to recap:

// Trimester One

// Trimester Two 

As ever, your comments expand these posts in the best possible way, so get busy below. And if you’re feeling generous, feel free to hit those little share buttons below to spread the love far and wide. xo

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19 Comments to “Pregnancy Series: The Third Trimester”

  1. Nawww Rach you are truly a gorgeous soul. It’s a journey isn’t it?! A beautiful, yet tiring but ceirtainly transformational one. I can just see you flourishing even for into the beautiful self that you are as a mum. I was pretty lost when I had my babies and it took me some time to find my way, but once I found it, I found a better version of myself, so I do feel truly blessed and appreciate every struggle along the way. So what I am saying here is that you are already on such a beautiful path, this will be just an extension of this journey and expansion of all that you are. Enjoy the last days/minutes/hours. He will be here before you know it. ???

  2. Melissa Spilsted is the best! I did the course at 20 weeks and played those tracks every day. Flynn is such a chilled out baby and I think hearing those tracks helped. I also downloaded the breastfeeding and bonding track from the site. I found breastfeeding hard and this track help keep me calm when I was struggling. Feet swelling and sinusitis I also experienced at the end. Unfortunately, I got pregnancy insomnia at the end so I was tired but couldn’t sleep. You’ve so got this! Your body is preparing for a calm, easy birth! (I can still quote the affirmations by heart lol).

  3. What ? Where is the part about peeing your pants a little bit ? Oh – was that just me ? Oooooh I hope I didn’t say that out loud :-O

    That babe will be in your arms so so SO soon. Ahhhhh :) :) Swooooooon ! Good luck lady xx

  4. Have really loved reading about your pregnancy journey Rach! So exciting to think that bubbas going to be out any time now! Hope you have an amazing birth lovely, sending you heaps of love xxx

  5. Beautiful, I have lived ready your pregnancy posts :) your not alone in your crazy rash either, I had it mildly with my first child but it went not long after he was born, now pregnant with my second it has flared straight back up again, it’s disheartening when you try everything and nothing works. My doctor says its perioral dermatitis and is often caused my the crazy hormone surges in pregnancy, I hope it settles for you once your beautiful bub is born.
    All the best, you will be amazing :)
    X

  6. Oh honey it’s such a strange and beautiful time all at once. Skin problems say whaaaaat? I had the worst pregnancy pigmentation on my face it reduced me to tears many times – I just didn’t feel like me. It’s amazing how quickly things can return to normal after birth. I have loved reading your journey. We are bound together us women in an experience that we can almost not put into words for its beauty and challenging ways all wrapped up together. Thinking of you beautiful. Xxx

  7. Hi Rachel,
    All the very best for a smooth labour and delivery! I’m currently 32 weeks with my first, and it was really encouraging to read the part of your post about being still yourself, and being able to still pursue your passions once you have a child. Exciting times ahead! x

  8. Oh Rach…. Have just loved your pregnancy series… So beautiful to get such an insight into what it’s been like for you… You’re such a gorgeous soul!! Your little man is going to be one lucky little boy!! Sending so much love and light to you over the coming days!! Can’t wait to hear the news and see the pics when your little boy is born!! Such a special time. Big hugs and loads of love xx ??

  9. Oh lovely woman, this is just stunning. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and reflections on such a magical time of your life.

    Sending you loads of love and oodles of light as you and Ramai welcome your little man earthside.

    C xox

  10. This post resonated with me so much! This was my third trimester. I had such a great time understanding who I am as a woman and as a mother and it’s really helped me in the past eight months of this little one’s life. I wish you a happy, healthy birth! :)

  11. Thanks so much for sharing your joys and struggles so honestly!
    **Congratulations on the arrival of your new family member too!
    I love the idea of a “birth bible” to keep all of your ideas, affirmations and desire for the birth. I can’t wait to read your birth story to hear about how it went! I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed my meditations. Thanks for the shout-out <3
    No doubt you'll rock mamahood with the same grace and openness that you rocked through your pregnancy! Congratulations again :)

  12. Sounds like your mind is in the right place Mama. I did hypnobabies for all three of my pregnancies and it really kept me focused. I also highly recommend reading Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King–I gift this book to everyone and I can’t stress the importance enough. I read it for my first pregnancy and didn’t have the support I needed for the lift…it was a long one. For my second, I thought I will not do it the same I must try the lift. I had a friend who helped me and baby came immediately after. (baby was in right position this time.) And for the third I had a doula who didn’t quite get the concept but once she did the lift on me…well we barely made it to the hospital. If baby is in right position this really works. I tell everyone about this, I can’t believe it hasn’t become mainstream…it leaves everyone in awe everytime and relieved me everytime! Happy gestation!

  13. Awwww. Thank you, Rachel. I’m so glad that you enjoyed my ‘Surge of the Sea’ album and thank you for recommending it. xx A BIG congratulations on the birth of little Ryder. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  14. Hi Rach, This is the second time I have read your pregnancy blog post on the third trimester and I can honestly say it’s such a beautiful gift that you have been so generous to share your experience with us. I am 40 weeks tomorrow and eagerly awaiting the arrival of our wee (maybe not so wee) girl. For me going on maternity leave sent my excitement into overdrive and intensified my anticipation. I was almost certain my baby would make an early arrival. Of course now hitting the 40 week mark the past couple of days have had a real “knocked down” effect. Is she still coming or has she changed her mind? It’s an odd thought but its nice to know that I’m not the only person to have had unusual thoughts as the count down continues.
    Well thanks again for sharing and its wonderful to see your little man doing so well. Much love and light.

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