It’s surreal to be typing this post in my final trimester of pregnancy with our second, healthy baby boy.
This very same week last year, I was preparing to have a diagnostic hysteroscopy to diagnose months-long bleeding following my D+C in October 2020. The surgery was in the middle of an unvaccinated COVID world, which meant I had to walk myself into the hospital alone and after the procedure, I was wheeled out to Zach waiting curbside. It was awful and terrifying, an uncertain future about what they would discover and what it would mean for my fertility. Thankfully it was only a small infection, as a result of the D+C, that they were able to remove from an otherwise healthy uterus. The prognosis was we should have no trouble getting pregnant in the future.
And here I am, one year later, entering the final weeks of pregnancy before I get to meet my second son. Life is crazy, beautiful.
I don’t share that to provoke sympathy but rather to remind myself, and anyone who may be in an uncertain time, that with time, faith, strength, perseverance, therapy, and a really stellar support system, the winding roads of life can lead you to an incredible, unexpected place.
MENTALLY PREPARING FOR LABOR + BIRTH, THE SECOND TIME AROUND
I’ve been spending a lot of time mentally preparing for labor and birth. The luxury of having previously experienced labor and birth is that, for the most part, I know what to expect. The other side of that coin means I also know how intense, challenging, and painful it is going to be. Not to mention the differences in subsequent births. They are typically faster than your first, your body is different, it’s a different baby, etc. Who knows what other curve balls may happen the second time around!
In order to avoid getting trapped in worry and anxiety, I’ve been doing a few rituals that have been keeping me grounded and confident that I am capable of managing the physical pains of the final months of pregnancy and that I will have a safe, healthy delivery and birth.
Painting Meditation. I’ve shared this so many times before but it really is a stellar expression of creativity and mindfulness. As you paint each triangle, you are meant to recite a part of the Metta Meditation and Prayer. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from harm and suffering. May my life touch your life always and for the better. As I paint, I say this prayer to my body, to my baby, and to me.
Yoga. If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I teach prenatal yoga and have taught it throughout this pregnancy. It really is the best way to connect your mind to your body through movement, which is exactly what labor and delivery is all about. I wrapped up teaching my classes a few weeks ago so I have had time to practice at home and take classes.
Birth Playlist. I did not have any music during Jack’s birth and it was the perfect choice for me. I wanted silence and darkness as I navigated my first birth experience. This time I have been craving music to support my emotional and physical stamina. It’s been so fun to choose songs, create the playlist, and listen to it while I paint, meditate, and do yoga to really center myself around my song choices. It also helps me learn if the songs are right (or not) for this birth experience. I’ve linked the playlist if you’re curious or need your own inspo.
Blessing & Wishes Book. In my last post, I shared that instead of gifts, I sent a mass evite to family and friends requesting them to share well wishes, words of wisdom, and/or blessings for baby boy. I recently finished putting all the cards, notes, and emails I’ve received so far into a leather-bound book. Reading through the words of love, wisdom, support, and blessings has been a series of gifts to instill confidence, intutition, and trust into my mind and body.
TAKING CARE OF MY BODY
Ah yes. The aches and pains of the third trimester. The first time around when I was pregnant with Jack, I remember wearing a belly band and having swollen ankles but that was the extent of my physical challenges. This second time around has been much more challenging. According to my midwifery care team, regardless of age, your body responds more quickly to your second (or third or fourth) pregnancy. Therefore the pregnancy hormones like relaxin, relax your muscles, joints, and ligaments so much earlier, thus causing pressure and pain in your abdomen, hips, low back, and pelvis. I have been shocked at how much harder it has been to just live life normally, even the littlest things like unloading the dishwasher.
Prenatal Chiropractic Care. I am so grateful I had a conversation with a girlfriend, who had her first son in January, where she suggested I should try prenatal chiropractic care. It was like a light bulb went off in my brain. Duh! I had met a stellar chiropractor in my prenatal yoga teacher training years ago but had forgotten all about it until my girlfriend mentioned it. The adjustments have been a game changer for pain and discomfort plus the additional benefits like reducing labor time and encouraging optimal fetal position for birth. I’ve linked my favorite local, Seattle practicioner above. She is a dream! I will continue care with her after the baby is born, too.
Nightly Epsom Salt + Lavendar Oil Baths. This one seems obvious but can sometimes be hard to prioritize. Epsom salts are great for achey muscles and lavendar oil promotes relaxation. Baths are also great to promote calm, reduce anxiety, and get baby floating off my sore joints and pelvis. It’s become an everyday necessity that supports my entire well-being.
Belly Mask. You may be familiar with face masks or facial sheet masks but did you know Hatch Mama makes a sheet mask for your belly? I heard such good things from a few other mama friends and after trying it out last weekend, I’m sold. The application is quite cold, even if you don’t put it in the fridge, but the benefits are worth it. A plant-based soothing serum of aloe vera and propolis, these biodegradable masks target stretch marks, postpartum scarring, and itchy, tight belly skin.
Prenatal Massages. I can’t tell you how many of my prenatal yoga students I have shared this with but it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. Ask your prenatal care team to prescribe you prenatal massages so insurance will cover a portion or the full cost. I’ve been able to get a weekly massage for the last two months and it’s helped so much. Bodywork and a nap. Two things that are GOLD to a pregnant woman! I linked my favorite local, Seattle gal who has healing hands. I will be seeing her for postnatal massages, too!
OTHER NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS
My appetite is all over the place. I am either starving or hardly hungry. As this boy gets bigger, there is less room for food so I’ve adjusted from three meals a day to smaller snacks or meals throughout the day. I’ve been craving more protein, particularly eggs and peanut butter (not together!). Also craving lots of sugar, which I know is a result of needing more protein. Fav sugary indulgences include mini Haagen Dazs ice cream bars and snickerdoodle cookies.
Zach and I have been in the throws of overnight/sleep potty training (and yes, we might just be insane for doing this right now). I have to document this shout out to Z for taking on so much of the “doody” duty. As I navigate trying to walk up and down stairs while having Braxton Hicks and lightening crotch, he is taking on so much with Jack and helping him adjust to life without a sleeping diaper. My hero!
Jack. Sweet, lovely, challenging, and stubborn Jack. With the overnight/sleep potty training, the imminent change we can all feel, and just being three years old has been a lot for this kiddo. He will be his joyful self and then on a dime will turn into meltdown mode over something small, but obviously very big to him. Zach and I continue to find the humor and rest in the in-between moments but damn this age is really something. Preparing ourselves for more to come as we welcome baby brother in a few weeks. I will also note that Jack loves rubbing my belly, talking to his brother, and giving us hugs and snuggles throughout the day. I know he is going to love being a big brother and will love being able to finally hold him.
Baby Boy’s Name. How’s the name game going you ask? Welp. We are this close to aligning on a name. It’s really too bad Zach and I didn’t have any girls because we agree on nearly every girl name we’ve ever discussed. Unfortunately, we have very opposite tastes when it comes to boy names. We will get there!
Organization Station. The nesting instinct has taken over and the name of the game is organization. Cabinets, closets, dresser drawers, kitchen, basement, you name it, we’ve been organizing it. Another thing we could have done months ago but hey, we’re doing it now and it’s like a little gift to ourselves every time we finish. It’s the simple joys!
Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. Soon I will be writing about our birth experience but for now, it’s time to rest. If you have any advice or wisdom to share, I’d love to hear it!
Stretchy pants, Glennon Doyle's Untamed, meditation + manifestation, whiskey on the rocks, Kamala Harris, date nights at home with Z, and singing the ABCs with Jack.