Bumping along – the final instalment

As my third trimester of my third pregnancy starts to draw to a close ~ extraordinarily slowly, right fellow end of third trimester mamas?!? ~ it is time to document the journey, the highs and the lows, the wobble and the sobble I’ve experienced this time around. If I can recall I’ll try to compare to my previous experiences.

I recognise how unbelievably fortunate I am to be able to do this and there isn’t a moment that goes by that I am not extremely grateful. Thoughts and love to those on different journeys.

Big Ol’ Belly.

Cravings, aversions and nausea

First time around I didn’t really know what to expect, so whilst I thought I was sick as a dog, in hindsight, I was doing ok. My sickness didn’t last too long, maybe until 15-16 weeks or so. In every pregnancy the sickness really kicked in around 6-7 weeks (that’s abw when the little bean gets a heartbeat) and peaked around 9-10 weeks, then eased a little towards 12 weeks. I imagine that’s partly psychological, if you have a positive 12 week scan experience and you know for sure what’s going on, you can finally reveal why you’ve been so tired, hangry and dodging all the fun stuff.

First time around, I was rarely actually sick and I was getting maximum sleep and all the downtime I needed. Oh those rests in the sofa! The lazy mornings! What a hazy, happy memory. “Memory” being the operative word because certainly we don’t get those these days….

Everyone in

Since doing this a few times, I’ve recognised a direct correlation between sleep and sickness. Get as much sleep and rest as you can ladies. Yes I know that is often a physical impossibility if you’re already blessed with a little person or two, but any semblance of a micro nap or lie-in has really has made a difference to sickness over here. Conversely, a broken or very late night is lethal the next day.

Anyone that knows me will know that I LOVE food. Being pregnant is a challenge when it comes to food as it is my joie de vivre (and an important part of my marriage).There’s nothing more depressing than thinking you really fancy a huge bowl of spag bol and then, minutes after consuming the whole bowl, realising (whilst it’s still dribbled down your chin) that you actually didn’t want it at all. The smell of cooking has been a nightmare. And “cooking” includes any place in the kitchen; the fridge, the dishwasher, the sink. Everything smells yucky. If you want to guarantee a vomito, fry up some onions and garlic right next to me.

First time round I craved KFC (Monsieur FF was horrified, but quickly came round), gravy, salt salt salt, miso soup, sushi and soy sauce, and tuna. I think tuna because you’re not supposed to have too much of it due to the mercury content, so that automatically makes you think you want more. Likewise I wanted eggs benedict all the time and that was at the time where runny eggs weren’t quite “allowed”. My understanding is they are now considered safe (at least the ones with the lion stamp).

The dream to end all craving dreams

Second time around, I felt much more sick, I didn’t crave food as much and I was vomiting more frequently. I enjoyed deserts, sweet stuff, fruit salads. Meat was good. Potatoes were ok. Indian food not so much and garlic was a no go. Miso soup continued to be a saviour. Mexican food was also amazingly good and avocado generally saved my bacon. Mmmmm bacon too.

Third time round everything was much more extreme. I should note technically this qualifies as a “geriatric” pregnancy and, whilst that term is mildly offensive, I have to say it has been tough. That said I have two littles already, I work full time, and apparently Monsieur FF thinks that now we’ve done it twice there’s nothing to it, so it’s hard to gauge how much is down to age and how much is natural exhaustion.

True story.

I was a lot more sick at the start of this pregnancy. Sick sick. Into the toilet. I’ve had moderate nausea throughout this pregnancy, still now, and garlic and onions, and lentils randomly, are lethal to me. The smell of coffee. Eggs too are very hit and miss. White carbs help momentarily, and then actually make the problem worse. Specifically crisps and chips have not helped much this time, although I’ll make an exception for a Sheffield Poseidon fish’n’chips which definitely helps. I need to eat every couple of hours. I *need* to, that is non negotiable. If I don’t know that there’s food coming, I may enter panic mode. Ain’t nobody got time for me in hanger panic mode believe me.

Worryingly I could barely drink anything early in this pregnancy, and I wasn’t anywhere near hydrated. No drink would cut it. It may have been my body on strike when it realised there would be no more gin or Prosecco for a while, but every drink I tried smelt yucky and tasted even worse. That includes water. You know the tasteless, odourless clear stuff?

Poison I tell you

Coffee has always been a clear indicator of pregnancy for me – if I might be pregnant, I don’t need to go pee on a stick, I simply have a sniff of coffee. If it smells grim, chances are some magic has happened. In early pregnancy I can’t go anywhere near coffee or coffee shops. For months. That can be quite tough when that makes up 30% of your partner’s diet and making a morning coffee is my one romantic gesture of the day….

In the end I found some lightly infused sparkling water with cucumber and that did the trick for about 5 days, by which time Monsieur FF had kindly bought 24 gallons of the stuff, and then I went off that too. Zut. Bitter lemon was also ok, but it had to be the perfect mix of not too sweet, bitter or gassy. I recognise it is sad times when your conversation is whittled down to the citrus content of a soft drink. Thank you to all my amazing family and friends that stuck with me through this.

Happily, and mildly more interestingly this pregnancy I finally got to experience some of the more crazy cravings I’ve heard about but never felt before. Ice – again maybe this was linked to my mourning gin, or dehydration, but I was delighted if any drink was served with ice. Gimme all the ice! Oranges – I am not really a fan of orange juice in real life but when pregnant oranges and satsumas have been a joy, worth all the peeling. I had to refrain from rubbing them around my face. Coal / tarmac – sadly didn’t get to the point I wanted to gnaw on some coal or lick the road but I was closer than any previous pregnancies.

Emotions and Potions

On to the other fun part of pregnancy, the extreme hormones and physical changes you go through on the journey towards birth. Have I been hormonal this pregnancy? Yes. Have I been exhausted this pregnancy? Yes. Did I get a pregnancy glow? At no point. Aside from the fact I looked pregnant from approximately 9 weeks in, I felt like I was being drained of energy, moisture and life from week 6. Weeks 4-6 I spent telling myself I wasn’t actually pregnant as I didn’t feel very sick. It couldn’t be real. I dreamt it. Except the coffee aversion. Week 6 hit and I suddenly remembered what morning sickness was. Except it was all day and night and 5x worse than I remembered for the previous pregnancies. Then you have those awkward weeks of waiting, trying to squish into your clothes and dodging questions.We got an early scan and we started to tell people around 10 weeks because no matter what they would need to know something was going down. My colleagues at work were lovely, although they’ve heard this a few times by this point, so understandably it becomes more practical and logistical planning than anything else.

When I hit the second trimester I missed the fun, energised glowy part, and was battling with extreme expansion of all parts of my body. Big Bro highlighted my bottom was getting bigger just like my belly. Bebette spent a happy dinner time flicking one of my chins. Monsieur FF has been subjected to a number of accidental bat wing slaps and one lovely masseuse commented that pregnancy “really makes your ankles very swollen, doesn’t it?” My ankles were totally normal, standard Fawcett cankle.

I did attempt a small amount of pregnancy exercise, considering that I promised myself I would make more effort this time to stay fit. I thought I would try to be like the Insta mums that fit in a casual preggo workout around work, toddler play and adult time. I really love the Expecting and Empowered sister duo on Insta and they have developed a women’s physio – approved fitness program for the different stages of pregnancy (and post partum). If you’re committed and able, it’s awesome. I was markedly more tired than I remembered from past pregnancies and also struggled to “slot” a petit workout into my days so I did not do the program any sort of justice. However when I did do it, it felt good. And it was reassuring to know I was doing safe exercises. As a relatively novice gym goer, I genuinely wasn’t sure what was ok or not, so it was truly helpful.

Me working out

Sadly in my third trimester I got bad hip and pelvic girdle pain for the first time ever. No doubt linked to my inability to put Bebette down (she’s so cute and cuddly) and my tendency to jog everywhere due to time management issues, my hips just started to get fed up. I am also rather large, my bump is protruding, and sleeping on my side puts a lot of pressure on my hips. Having consulted a wonderful physio, I have a few exercises to keep me get comfortable, mostly pelvic tilts throughout the day. I have to keep knees together getting in and out of car and bed, and try not to flail around when turning in bed. I’ve also purchased a support belt which does help, although I have to strike the right balance between remembering to put it on and not wearing it for so long that I become reliant (and my insides are squished).

Ironically, after months of waddle and tenting, it’s only at the very end of this pregnancy that people have commented “you’re not that big for a third pregnancy are you?” (And I should caveat that is typically coming from someone I’m paying for something!!) – until recently I was being met with the usual dramatic gasps when I said I still had a couple of months to go, the raised eyebrows when I said it just one baby in there, and the classic inter-family “suck your tummy in a bit” as though I’m voluntarily making it larger. That said, I do massively overarch my back, and I do love the fact I’m pregnant – I’m like a pigeon. If I’m wearing a nice floaty top I can really nail the teepee tent look. A few small moments of joy have come from the youngsters, typically male, who genuinely look surprised when they ask if it’s my first baby and I say this is my third time on the expanding belly conveyor belt. I give those people a micro mental hug each time for sparking some hope that I don’t look like a broken, geriatric matriarch.

Roughly

Stretch marks are starting to dramatically appear now. I’ve been enjoying the Mama Mio butter and oil, and just recently trying the Little Butterfly range too. I can’t make any more recommendations on maternity wear since last time as again I’ve found everything generally depressing and poor quality and I’ve just survived on larger sizes and old bits and bobs.

So, on that happy note I’ll draw this post to a close. The end of an era. The adventure shall continue but right now we have no idea what’s in store. I would love to hear about your stories, your cravings and your experience of welcoming a new babe if you want to share in comments. Until next time (dramatic intake of breath at what lies ahead) …

Sucking it all in

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