Gratitude: the last word on my last pregnancy

Posted on Mar 7, 2011 in Featured | 12 comments

5 weeks pregnant (& blissfully unaware)

5 weeks pregnant (& blissfully unaware)

For many years now, I have taken the last week of December and first week of January to reflect on the closing year and anticipate the coming new year. Last year, I even chose a word of the year. I had every intention of doing that again this year but alas, in my advanced stage of gestation, I found that I could not think beyond the task set for me for mid-February: birth. Between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, all I could focus on was preparing for the new baby. My blog was quiet. My life was full. And tiring. So, this year there was no word of the year. But there was a word. The word that continued to bubble up in my mind every week was gratitude. For my pregnancy. For my baby. For the fact that it was my last foray into childbearing.

20 weeks pregnant

20 weeks pregnant

I was grateful for:

  • pregnancy perks:
    • my strong fingernails
    • my shiny & manageable hair
    • gaining weight (I’ve struggled with being underweight since high school)
    • bigger boobs
  • friends and strangers who revelled with me in the anticipation of waiting for a baby to arrive (being pregnant in the winter with bulky coats and sweaters over my belly meant that even at 9 months few people noticed that I was pregnant so I didn’t have a lot of people asking about my pregnancy).
  • the wonder and magic of pregnancy – feeling baby’s kicks and rolls
  • Rain’s utter delight in my pregnancy and growing belly and his excitement as the birth drew near
  • a complication free pregnancy
  • an informed pregnancy (knowing that I could decline diabetes screening and other tests, knowing that I could dialogue with my midwives about our hopes and expectations for the birth, knowing my body and intuitively understanding the process I was going through because I had experienced it twice before)
  • access to midwifery care
  • access to modern medicine like the routine 20 week ultrasound that re-affirmed that our baby was healthy, hospitals & specialists should we need them, and an ever-growing body of research about pregnancy and childbirth
  • a healthy baby
  • an amazing birth team and excellent prenatal care
  • my beautiful pregnant belly
25 weeks pregnant

25 weeks pregnant

Lest you think I am one of those annoying people who have perfect pregnancies with no discomforts, I did have my fair share of complaints. There was the debilitating all-day nausea that plagued me for the first 20+ weeks. There was the nasal congestion that started the first day and just got worse and worse until I was sleeping propped up on 3 pillows, spraying saline up my nose daily and wearing the oh-so-fashionable Breathe Right strips nightly (have you seen what those cost?!?). There was the middle of the night acid reflux – waking up because you have vomit at the back of your throat is not very fun, but it did give another reason for sleeping on 3 pillows. I also have to mention the restless leg syndrome, swollen cankles, bleeding gums, and unmentionables like hemorrhoids. But the worst? The worst was the awful SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) in the third trimester. SPD is caused by the hormone relaxin which softens the ligaments and causes the pelvis bones to begin widening and separating in preparation for birth. The last 10 or so weeks of my pregnancy I could barely walk as I suffered from sharp shooting and grinding pains in my pubic bone and SI joints. Rolling over in bed, getting up from the couch or out of bed (every 1.5 hours for a trip to the bathroom to pee) was agony. The muscles supporting my belly and the weight of my growing baby felt permanently strained. Essentially, I was in almost constant pain for the last trimester.

30 weeks pregnant

30 weeks pregnant

Yet, I was even grateful for all of the pain and discomfort because it gave me the peace needed to accept that this is my last pregnancy. It confirmed for me that I am totally  fine (ok, maybe 90% fine) with never being pregnant again. It reminded me that I am getting older and pregnancy isn’t as easy as it once was. It actually helped get me excited about leaving it all behind. In fact, I’m grateful that I can get rid of maternity clothes, baby clothes and baby toys as we outgrow them. I’m grateful that since this is our last baby our family can start looking ahead to times when our plans, vacations etc. will not be constrained by having a baby in our midst. I’m happy that in a couple of years I can return to school or we can take that cross-Canada train trip. Or all of the other things that we talk about doing when our kids are just a little older.

36 weeks pregnant

36 weeks pregnant

And lastly, I feel so fortunate to have been able to go through it all one last time. Despite the anxiety of an unplanned pregnancy, despite my on-going fears about managing 3 kids when I already find 2 an often overwhelming challenge, I feel so blessed by this sudden life adventure. Now I don’t have to wonder; I know without a doubt what it feels like to be done. And for that, I can express no other word than this: gratitude.

38.5 weeks pregnant

38.5 weeks pregnant

Was there anything that you loved about being pregnant?

12 Comments

  1. What a lovely post!

    The first time around I loved my round belly and not feeling like I “needed” to suck anything in like I had pre-pregnancy! I’m looking forward to having my belly grow this second time around. Makes me happy just thinking about it. 🙂

  2. There were so many thing that I loved with my both my pregnancies but that were extra nice with my second pregnancy because I knew it was my last one. I enjoyed my cravings for cake, treating my first born with extra attention as I knew she would not be my number one anymore, getting extra sleep and taking naps, the feeling of my little angel moving around inside me, and the anticipation of a natural child birth. The last one was all consuming. I was determined to learn all I could about child birth so that my brain would let my body let go and do what it was made to do. All the best to you!

    • Mmm…cravings for cake. Dessert was a major consideration in all my meal planning and grocery shopping. It was awesome.

  3. I can so relate to this post! I’m suffering some sever pelvic pain at 30 weeks right now and cannot wait to get this final pregnancy over with. Thank you for writing this in such a positive way!

    • I’m sorry that you’re suffering through your final weeks. I hope you’re able to relax and enjoy it a bit.

  4. You looked so fabulous. I’m glad you have those photos!

    I can’t think of anything in particular I loved about pregnancy at the moment. My babylust is too busy drowning out any other coherent thoughts. Babybabybaby I want a baby.
    Twitter: AmberStrocel

    • Thanks Amber. I’m glad I have them too though I am sad that we didn’t have the cash to get professional ones done. I don’t have any of those classic ones with my other kids hugging the belly. And only 1 from 3 pregnancies of me and Aaron together. 🙁
      I hope the babylust fades with time. I know it’s hard. And I’m hoping mine doesn’t come back.

  5. I agree with Amber – your photos are gorgeous!

    I loved my first pregnancy more than my second – I loved how my body felt strong and full, and giving birth made me feel like a superhero. The second time I had more discomfort but a better appreciation of the fact that it was temporary.
    Twitter: TheParentVortex

    • Thanks.
      My first pregnancy was definitely my best one too. I felt like a million bucks the whole time. the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

  6. You make such a beautiful pregnant woman! I’m glad you were able to enjoy it, despite the SPD (living that right now, so I hear you) and other complaints.

    I love how surreal it feels to have a whole human being inside me. It washes over me in unexpected moments and makes me wish I could see through my belly to wave.

    I love how my bellybutton popped to an outie this time around.

    I love maternity clothes. There, I said it. They’re so comfy!

    We’re thinking this second one is the last for us, so I’m trying to eat up the moments and enjoy.
    Twitter: Hobo_Mama

    • Thanks Lauren.
      Yes, that whole human being inside is pretty amazing. My prenatal yoga video pointed out at one point that I had two hearts inside my body and it kind of blew my mind. So much more poetic than the idea that I also had two bladders in my body. 🙂
      Enjoy these last few months.

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