Where to even begin?
I am sitting immersed heavily in the “Fourth Trimester” at home, and the journey of pregnancy seems like such a blur, a dream. Did it really happen? Mamahood is all consuming. In one respect I wish to share this post as a means to diving back into the beauty of pregnancy – and yet my cloudy post partum brain finds the thought a little overwhelming!
At the end of third trimester I recall feeling like there was so much to share with you all. Much insight and big shifts (and fortunately I wrote myself a little list as a reference for this recall!). I’ll try keep things succinct – bub’s feeding “schedule” (pfft… no such thing here) will help keep the brevity!
ALL THINGS HEALTH
After an easy-going second trimester I hit the next stage with a fat lump of tiredness all over again (28/29 weeks). Not as bad as first trimester, but certainly noteworthy. I suspected some Braxton Hicks (practice contractions) around 29/30 weeks, but looking back now I cannot be so sure. But they certainly woke me through the night on occasion, whatever it was. I experienced my heart racing on occasion – working extra hard I suspect? And upon checking my bloods the midwives advised I had low Ferritin stores (normal for this stage of pregnancy, but important to observe in case my haemoglobin levels dropped, leading to anaemia.). I initially took some liquid iron (Floradix), but then hubby got me some specially ordered Iron caps made up from the compound pharmacy (Iron Picolinate – a type of iron naturally produced by the pancreas that does not give you tummy troubles!). The classic round ligament “pain” showed up for me during this period of pregnancy, however my saviour was focusing on opening up the front line of my body (hello hip flexors!).
The health of every family begins with the mother. She is the tree from which the healthy fruit must come. – Juliette de Bairacli Levy
On the topic of health, I began taking Ayurvedic herbs again during third trimester. Shatavari was my go-to every day, morning and evening. I introduced some wild-crafted reishi mushroom extract (from Superfeast). I invested in a high quality daily probiotic for supporting my gut health and immunity further (Fusion Health). And, in the last month of pregnancy in re-introduced the Ayurvedic herbal blend Triphala to prime my digestive organs and support the downward flow of Apana Vayu.
(Worth noting – I took more time for self care in the final weeks with pregnancy massage and natural beauty facials)
GATHERING THE TRIBE
My “baby shower” was around 30/31 weeks (getting in early, prior to Christmas and New Year festivities). It was a rare and beautiful opportunity for me to gather together all the important women in my life. I prepared a vegetarian feast for our (alcohol free) lunch, which we shared after a simple Homa, or vedic fire, ceremony. The support I received from my hubby, both on the day and during the lead up, in helping me organise this intimate celebration meant the world – I felt so showered by his love and devotion in making me feel super special.
CAPTURING THE MOMENT
Looking back I am oh-so-grateful for the time, generosity, and creativity of the incredible April Werz for her maternity photography. We had such a fun time together shooting my bump around 30 weeks and again (with hubby!) at 38 weeks. Celebrating such a magical time is so important, even with all the bodily changes and shifts. Many women seem to want to hide themselves during pregnancy, and yet it’s significant to step back in awe of the human body as inspiration to capture the time, the moments of magic, no?
Valuing and prioritising downtime – between hubby and I exclusively – was in the front of my mind knowing that those days would soon come to a (bittersweet?) end. We organised a week in Byron Bay (plus a night in the beautiful Burleigh Heads… can we move there please?) when I was 34 weeks. Staying in the hinterland on a stunning property (hello Italian bathtub, stunning sunset skies, a yoga room, and rolling grassy hills) we spent our days devouring the ultimate nutrition and eating the rainbow, plus beach escapes and simple chill time. Interestingly, I never got stopped by any airline staff to check if I had medical clearance to fly. Although I probably did a pretty good job covering up my belly very strategically with my belongings (rest assured I did have medical clearance regardless).
PLANS & PREFERENCES
The nature of pregnancy is naturally unpredictable (although nowhere near as much as the post partum days I’ve found!). So when I was getting organised in the days and weeks close to my due date (Jan 24th, 2017) I sat down, compiled, and printed off my “Birth Preferences” list. I found a website that offered a questionnaire of birth scenarios and options, answering each section, and then the site assembled an amazing PDF stating my preferences and my birth vision. Had I have not found this quick and easy way to put it all together I may never have bothered. Chance favours the prepared, as they say, and I never needed the print out anyway.
(NOTE – I intend to share my birth story in another post. But in short, I/we were fortunate enough to have the birth of our dreams… at home, in water, no drugs, and no stitches.)
I also intended to write out a Post Partum plan – including foods to eat and avoid, recipes I’d like made up for my recovery, things that need to be done around the house daily/weekly, and things that would make me feel good (like having someone run me a warm bath!). All this info was imprinted in my mind, however it never eventuated than I had it written out and stuck on the refrigerator!
It may be worth touching on the topic of “nesting” here too. Yes, in the 2 weeks before our bub was born I started to do a big clear out. However I attribute this strong desire and motivation to the fact that the infamous book “The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” (mentioned in My Mission Towards Minimalism), which I’d put on hold at the local library, became available. So I read it and tried to implement as much organising and tidying as I could (and LOVED every second – it’s a gem of a book). Still, our little man arrived early (Jan 19th, 2017) so I am yet to do all I’d hoped. And like many things, it can now wait!
FINAL DAYS & MOMENTS
My working days continued up until the evening prior to the birth. I had spent the final 2 weeks with really poor sleep and just feeling the overwhelm of sleep deprivation (yes, yes, I know it is/was a preparation for motherhood.. so I was told a million times – and yes it’s true, but this advice does not make the moment any easier!). I had no signs of labour kicking in – my ‘waters’ hadn’t broke, nor any of the other classic symptoms of impending birth. So let me affirm that your baby can come without ANY warning! Yet, all my intuitive senses during pregnancy were spot on (the sex of our bub, the fact he would come a few days early, his hair colour, body type, etc).
This only endorsed my certainty that we must, and can, surrender to and TRUST the very natural wisdom of the female body and the innate process of giving birth.
I know, and deeply appreciate, the very smooth pregnancy I had makes me very blessed in todays times. There were many things I believe that attributed to this (health wise, but also my mindset and clearing any deep seated fears that may have been lurking). Chosing to read and be invested in only positive birth stories and communication helped a lot. In fact, I minimised taking onboard too much information and “preparation”, which enabled me to feel very relaxed about the process of both pregnancy and giving birth. By no means did I allow myself to be ignorant. I was certainly informed yet remained objective through that process. There was never a moment I felt nervous or worried in the slightest. Even my midwives emphasised that mindset has the greatest influence on the process and experience of labour, no matter how much we may point the finger at others or external factors. Let me also acknowledge and appreciate how bold a statement this may seem. However, it does ring true for me in my experience. More to share on that in another post.
In case it is helpful…
- The Conscious Parent – by Shefali Tsabary
- Ina May’s Guide To Breastfeeding – Ina May Gaskin
- Belly Bean organic cotton pregnancy pillow
- Rockstar Birth e-magazine (free!)
- Business Of Birthing – documentary
- Breastmilk – documentary (search on YouTube)
- BedNest co-sleeping bassinet (our big investment – otherwise most other things were secondhand)
- Bambooty bamboo reusable nappies
- Tooshies By TOM – planet friendly disposable nappies and biodegradable wipes
Sharing other women’s pregnancy journeys – in person and online – has been a beautiful compliment to this time. It has brought me much insight and connection to all other mamas. Sharing these posts and documenting a fragment of my experience has been really beautiful for me, and I’m so grateful to have had much love and blessings from you and many in my community. The support is immensely valued.
If you’re feeling called to add to this post in any way I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment below! x x