Well, here I am at 27 / 28 weeks pregnant! I think this means that I am finally 6 months pregnant.. or somewhere in the ballpark, and just one week shy of the third trimester. Here is my update!
Pregnancy Differences: This being my third pregnancy, it is interesting to note the differences between my pregnancies. And as I close in on the third trimester, I wanted to shortly recap those differences. While my three pregnancies have been very different, they have also been very much the same. My second and third pregnancies have been the easiest; probably the second being the overall easiest in terms of symptoms (or lack thereof) and also the least amount of pregnancy weight gain. After having three pregnancies, I do believe (for me personally) that the two variables of pregnancy symptoms and weight gain correlate, where increased symptoms usually means more weight gain and decreased symptoms means less weight gain.
My first pregnancy was by far the most difficult. I think this is par for the course for most women. With my first, it was difficult for me to feel comfortable at all with the whole idea of being pregnant and pregnancy itself. Thereby, I feel like my pregnancy symptoms were exacerbated by this, and thus my weight gain followed. My body felt out of whack, I ate for two and often past fullness, which is something I assumed you should do when pregnant, especially coming from a person who is somewhat aware of a controlled diet. This increase in caloric intake, partnered with zero exercise (exercise felt unsafe during my first pregnancy), I packed on the pounds, like exponentially and hit over 55/60 lbs by the end of my pregnancy. I was highly dramatic and pretty self-centered throughout the whole process. I probably felt the all-around worst during my first pregnancy, and probably because it was my first pregnancy experience. Sorry Rhett (my first - he turned out perfect and is brilliant, so I don't think it factored in)!
Fast forward to my second pregnancy, and I felt like a pro, especially because my pregnancies were pretty much back-to-back (my boys being 22 months apart). I knew what to expect and also felt very in control, especially with my diet and with weight gain. I also had the right mindset and was committed to having a healthy/fit pregnancy, hopefully with a weight gain closer to 25 pounds. My symptoms were minimal, I was very active and gained about 30 lbs. I kind of say this laughing because my diet was very clean, and I still managed to gain 30 pounds (based on how I was eating and exercising, I probably should have gained much less, but I guess you can't control everything!).
This pregnancy is more similar to my second pregnancy, but feels a little more unfamiliar at the same time, probably because the gap between this pregnancy and my last was larger than the one before. My first trimester morning sickness was pretty bad - maybe more similar to what I felt during my first pregnancy as opposed to my second pregnancy (where morning sickness was present but not particularly bad). I also noticed that my body changed very quickly earlier on with this third pregnancy. I noticed my arms got flabbier and my thighs gained weight as early as the first trimester. In comparison to my second pregnancy, I only started to put on that fat during the final trimester. Albeit, my second trimester has been wonderful in terms of the way I feel - energy and such. I do feel bigger and less mobile in my second trimester as opposed to how I felt during my second pregnancy at this time. It is a bit harder for me to run after my four-year old and keep tabs on my two-year old... so maybe it isn't the fact that I am less mobile, but instead that I have more kids to care for, and they are more active and at an older age than Rhett was at this point in my second pregnancy (he was only 1.5 years old).
So all in all, my second and third pregnancies have been the best. In terms of weight gain, I am about 5 lbs ahead of where I was during my second pregnancy. Overall, I am pretty happy with that! My takeaway is that sometimes your body will gain differently in different pregnancies, and sometimes it really doesn't have to do with food consumption. I definitely ate the cleanest with my second pregnancy, but it was also a lot easier to eat cleaner and I noticed that my body gained slower anyways. I've been eating pretty clean this pregnancy and exercising more than I did during my second pregnancy. I think I've relaxed my diet a bit because I had such a hard time losing the weight after my second pregnancy that the strict conscientiousness of pregnancy weight gain was kind of all for nothing. I mean, yes, I felt amazing during my second pregnancy, but also couldn't lose the weight so it was even more of a let down. Maybe this time because I have more to lose, I will lose it at a more gradual pace rather than getting stuck at a number and retaining it for breastfeeding. I guess time will tell!
Breastfeeding: Speaking of breastfeeding... I have breastfed both of my boys and have LOVED it. Well, I say that I loved it - but it was actually quite difficult to get started with my first. There were a lot of tears and a lot of pain, and I often worried if he was getting enough milk. However, when I got the hang of it, I absolutely loved nursing my first. It was a dream and I nursed well into my second pregnancy, until Rhett was about 15 months. With Vance, breastfeeding came very, very easily. I had only taken about a four month break from the time I stopped nursing Rhett til the time I started back up with my newborn, Vance. The ease of nursing Vance was a dream, and the biggest issue I ran into with Vance was that my body was retaining and even gaining weight. I also had some postpartum depression/anxiety which messed with my milk supply for a short period of time and sort of aggravated the nursing process. Because I struggled and was so confused about my weight, I stopped breastfeeding him earlier than I would have liked - at about 10 months. Still, I feel very proud to have gone this far with him. Given my circumstances, this was the best I could do.
Now that I am going into my third newborn cycle and I feel a bit better equipped given my experiences, I now know that there is a strong likelihood that I may hold onto weight while I breastfeed. I think *knowing* this will make the nursing process a little bit easier on me. Last time, it was so hard on me because I didn't know whether or not it was the nursing that was causing the weight retention. I feared that maybe I wouldn't ever be able to drop the pregnancy weight, and to be honest, that scared me and made me want to stop nursing so that I could see if I could drop the baby weight sans breastfeeding hormones... and I did. It did take my hormones several months (like 5 months) to even out, but once they did, I used the Postpartum Slimdown and was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Phew. So I guess in knowing that I may retain weight while nursing on baby number three, but in also knowing that I can and will eventually lose the weight, I feel confident in the nursing process. I hope to breastfeed this baby until about 10 months to a year, depending on how I am feeling. If you are a mother who holds onto weight while nursing, it isn't very fun. I tend to hold strictly fat in my mid-section and thighs. No matter what I do (diet/exercise), the fat stays put. It can be frustrating when you are a person who operates on efforts and results! So I'd like to think that I will breastfeed for a year, but to be honest, not having my body for 2.5 years is a long time. As I am such a huge proponent of breastfeeding, I also believe that a mother's health and well-being is vital. The fact that I nursed Vance shorter than Rhett doesn't bother me. I mean ideally, I would have loved to be one of those mothers who lost the baby weight while nursing (as I did with my first), but that didn't happen to me with my second. So given my situation, I will just play it by ear how long I nurse for. Long story short... I WILL be breastfeeding my baby unless a serious health complication prevents me from doing so and I will breastfeed for at least 6 months. I believe that is a realistic expectation and also what studies show to be beneficial for baby!
Doctor's Appointments: I have the glucose tolerance test on Monday! I will update this portion of my post after the appointment. There is a big part of me that thinks I definitely don't have gestational diabetes, but you honestly never know. So we will cross that bridge when we get there! Update: I had my glucose tolerance test and omg, the drink was disgusting this time. And this is coming from a girl who actually didn't mind, dare I say liked the drink in times past. Not this time. For whatever reason, I felt nauseated the rest of the day. The syrupy sweetness of the drink was too much and did not sit right with me at all. The good news: I passed! A few days later, I received a call for both the glucose test results and for anemia test results. I passed both, which is very good news. At the doctor, I weighed in at 150 lbs. We checked baby's heartbeat - nice and healthy. Other than that, the visit was very routine.
Baby's Name: I am pretty sure that we have our boy name. I love it - it is unique and strong. We are still working out the girl's name, but I think we are getting close. We have narrowed it down to about 5 names that we like and will go from there or wait to decide once we get to the hospital. There is a big part of me that wants one of the boys to decide. I keep asking their opinion and they playfully respond with their favorite names. Not so sure if they are taking it seriously, but maybe once the baby is here they can really help us nail it down. Ideally, I like to be prepared before getting to the hospital so we don't make a rash decision about the name. I mean, it is going to be this little human's name forever!!... and it is super important. That said, it is baby number three and I would love the boys to see him/her and make the final decision.
Baby Prepping: So we definitely need to get the nursery (baby room) organized. I know that I posted a nursery reveal here, but this is technically Vance's room still and I think we will keep him in there for awhile. Baby's current room is our upstairs guest room. Luckily, we have two guest rooms, so I don't feel like we are losing a guest room and will have nowhere to offer guests to stay. But currently the upstairs guest room is decorated as a guest room, so it has a queen bed and other cute guest room furniture. It looks amazing, so I think we will keep it as such and simply add a crib in the corner and maybe a rocker and a changing table.
I also still need to go through all of my old baby clothes from the boys and wash them. The other day I opened the box of baby clothes and they wreaked of old baby breastmilk (yuck!!). So I still need to rummage through them, give away old/tattered outfits and organize the remainder in the drawers and in the closet.
Labor + Delivery: I still need to pre-register with the hospital. Update: I pre-registered, yay! I will be delivering at a hospital. I am a huge proponent of this and would have it no other way. I totally respect moms who do things differently, but personally I would never risk birthing outside of a hospital in case a complication arose. My plan is to get the epidural. I have really enjoyed getting the epidural with both of my boys and also feel the pain makes labor so uncomfortable ... I also don't see any benefit or any studies that point to the fact that unmedicated births are scientifically superior to medicated births. Correct me if I am wrong! So yes, I will be getting the epidural. There is a part of me that may try to go for it without one, seeing that my last labor was like 3 or 4 hours with Vance, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. And I honestly don't know why I am considering not getting one. Maybe I will ask them to do just a light dose - is that possible? Sometimes they way overdose it and your legs are totally numb - I feel like I'd want an epidural light if that is possible! The main reason is I just would love to be able to move around after delivery - but I guess that probably wouldn't be very healthy anyways. Mama needs rest. So we shall see how it goes!
That's all for now.