The Last But Not Least Trimester

The Last Trimester

When I look back on this pregnancy, it’s hard to decide if it’s gone quickly or taken forever. Thinking about the first trimester and its positive pregnancy test and Christmastime reveal to our families, it feels like we’ve been pregnant for at least two years. Even our second trimester baby moon feels like it was about a year ago.

But when I look at it from my daughter’s perspective—who has grown from a cluster of cells to a fully functional baby human in these short 9 months—it doesn’t seem like very long at all.

Third TrimesterOne thing is certain. No matter how short or long the first two trimesters felt, the final weeks of this third trimester have been some of the slowest of my life, even though we still have a lot going on. The anticipation of my daughter’s arrival is absolutely overwhelming me at this point. My conversations with my wife’s bulging tummy usually end with something along the lines of “OK…so you can come out whenever you want to now. See you soon. I hope.

I scientifically understand that every extra day that our baby remains in the womb is probably a good thing. But emotionally, I’m ready to meet her now. I’m ready to swaddle. I’m ready to lose sleep. I’m done nesting. Let’s do this.

Right?

As I type away about my antsiness, I’m sitting on my couch in our newly reconfigured living room1 watching my beloved first place Chicago Cubs try not to lose a third game in a row to the White Sox. Theresa and I went out to eat on a few recent evenings and have been binging on episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine before bed. We slept in on Saturday and continue to do basically whatever we want, whenever we want—you know, like you do when you don’t have kids. When I talk about my desperation for this baby to be born, I know there is a sleep-deprived, not-so-distant-future version of myself who hasn’t done anything spontaneous in weeks, hasn’t seen a Cubs game all the way through since the Sox series, and thinks I’m a complete idiot for not savoring the final moments of child-free couplehood and a lack of responsibility for a helpless newborn.

I get that. And the thought of that version of myself always tempers my give-birth-already temper tantrums. Truth be told, we have been making the most of these last few weeks of freedom, and we’ve been doing a lot of stuff to prepare for the baby’s arrival. Here’s a rundown of recent developments.2

The Final Ultrasound

The Last Ultrasound

A couple weeks ago, we got another glimpse of our little girl through the prenatal nanny cam. She’s as healthy as ever and continues to block her face with her hand whenever the camera is near.3 Baby SkeletorShe’s also definitely still a girl, which is comforting to us, after friends of ours recently attended their final ultrasound and discovered that their little princess—who already had a name and plenty of female accoutrements awaiting her arrival—was actually a bouncing baby boy!4The ultrasound images gave us another look at her profile, which doesn’t seem to have my nose, so we’re safe on that front as well. No word yet on whether or not she has Theresa’s dimples, but she does appear to have some hair on the back of her head at least.

I have seen some really cool 3-D ultrasound images in the past that made me excited to perhaps be able to get a clear preview of our daughter’s face this time around. Unfortunately her hand was in the way, so the clearest images came from the non-3D scan, which ended up making her look a bit like Skeletor5 with empty eye sockets and nose holes on the frontal view. It honestly kind of freaked me out for a little while. That’s why I’m not putting too much stock in these photos and will just wait to meet the fleshed out version in a few days few weeks little while.

Learning Breast Practices

Breastfeeding class

Earlier this week, we attended a breastfeeding class at the hospital where we will deliver, which felt like the final piece of the preparation puzzle. The class was highly informative and we both feel a lot more confident about the breastfeeding process. Plus, we got to play with the baby dolls again, there was a giant stuffed boob that the teacher used to demonstrate stuff and there were sample diapers showing the various colors and consistencies of our baby’s first bowel movements. Props rule.

I appreciate the class’s attempts to include men and highlight their role in the birthing and breastfeeding process, but some of it still feels a bit shoehorned. The videos featuring real couples6 often showed the father walking up to the breastfeeding mother and saying something trite like, “How’s she doing today?” Did you just wake up from a coma, Dad? It doesn’t look like you just got home from work. Shouldn’t you already know how your daughter is doing? Didn’t you change a diaper yet today? I don’t yet know to what extent I’ll be helpful to Theresa or the baby in the feeding process, but I know I’m going to be as engaged as possible and hopefully attending to both of their needs, not just waltzing in to casually rub her shoulder and ask how everyone’s doing. Taking these classes and getting advice from others has prepared me as much as it possibly can at this point, but I know the learning curve will be exceptionally steep and a lot of things will fall into place after we meet our baby and develop our own rhythm (or lack thereof).

We Bought A Van

Go ahead, laugh it up. You can’t hurt my feelings…I drove a minivan throughout college! We realized that we would need a second vehicle once the baby shows up, so we figured we might as well invest in the future in the hopes that our daughter will have some siblings in the next few years. We looked at the Chrysler Pacifica and the Honda Odyssey, and the Honda won out.

It was one of the most straightforward car-buying experiences of all time, with a non-pushy salesman and a fair discount on the MSRP.7 The most dramatic part of the whole affair was definitely our test drive, as we were able to see how our minivan-to-be handled in the most torrential, blinding downpour imaginable. When I couldn’t see the road in front of me, I started to mentally work out the legal liability of getting in an accident during a test drive. We came back to the dealership thoroughly drenched and thoroughly impressed with the van, and the deal was done faster than you can say “Dodge Caravan.”

The best part is that they didn’t have the color we wanted, so our van will arrive in a couple weeks. It will be hot off the factory floor and no one else will even have test driven it! I feel like this is the car equivalent of farm to table.

Nesting Is Real

Nesting is real

Before I experienced it, I didn’t believe it. I had seen other friends post about the home improvement projects and decluttering initiatives they had begun toward the end of their pregnancies, but I always thought it was a self-fulfilling cliche. Right or wrong, we are now fulfilling it. After mowing the lawn last week, I decided it would be a good time to dig up some weeds in my backyard that had grown to the height of my hip. Then I figured I would sweep out the garage and clear up some junk that had been sitting there for at least a year. Later I fixed (successfully!) the toilet that had been running for six months. In the past few days, we have finished putting together the crib, tested out the pack and play, assembled the rock n’ play, set up the swing, installed the carseat and rearranged the furniture in the living room.

Showered With Baby Gifts

baby shower
It’s been a golden age for excitedly checking the mailbox that we haven’t experienced since our wedding gifts were rolling in. People have been beyond kind to us. Theresa’s siblings have given us lots of mint condition hand-me-downs, both of our families threw an awesome shower for us, Theresa’s girlfriends threw another shower for her, my coworkers threw a mini-shower for me, and friends have sent us tons of gifts. Chicago Cubs onesieThat doesn’t even count all the prayers, advice, support and well wishes we have received from all corners of our lives. We are so blessed and so loved, and so constantly reminded of those facts. Thank you all so much!

I want to especially call out my cousin Cyndi and her husband Rick, who sent us a bunch of awesome baby clothes8 while Rick is in the midst of aggressive treatment for cancer. Please keep them both in your prayers.

You Do Not Know the Hour

For someone who likes to plan as much as I do, these final weeks have been particularly unnerving to me. It’s exciting to think that things could escalate at any moment, but it drives me crazy to not know exactly when it might happen or where we might be when it does. Will I be at work? Will we be watching TV at home? Will it happen in the middle of the night? Along those lines, it’s hard to celebrate the “lasts” of anything, because we’re never quite sure if it actually is the last time we’ll be doing something without bringing a diaper bag along.

Last week Theresa called me shortly after I arrived at work and I silently freaked out before answering the phone. Now she’s having major pains and contractions almost incessantly9 which makes me wish all the more that this baby would get the show on the road.

That said, it’s very exciting to know that we are on the cusp of such an unforgettable and momentous experience that will literally change life as we know it forever.10 I’m sure that I’ll quickly forget all these trivial anxieties as soon as we’re holding our baby girl in our arms…which will be our reality sooner than it seems.

  1. We moved some furniture around to make room for the breastfeeding glider.
  2. Each one of these probably could have been its own blog post, but ain’t nobody got time for that.
  3. Does this mean she’s a thumbsucker…or just shy?
  4. Incidentally, they’ve already had their baby, along with several other people who were recently pregnant alongside us, which isn’t exactly helping me to be patient.
  5. of He-Man fame, if you’re reading this and much younger than me.
  6. who must have been paid a lot to have their first labor/delivery/newborn experiences filmed from start to finish
  7. If you’re anywhere near Highland Park, I highly recommend Muller Honda!
  8. Like this perfect Cubs onesie!
  9. Especially when she’s trying to sleep! How cruel!
  10. Not to be dramatic or anything.

4 Comment

  1. Rosie says: Reply

    Magnesium (absorbed through the skin is best, so oils or lotions or Epsom salt baths) is supposed to help with prodromal labor, although it might not be such a horrible thing – I had weeks of it before Peter was born and was actually dilated to 7 when we got to the hospital! As opposed to 1, 1, and 3 with the other kids. It’s a seriously frustrating mental battle though, and I’m sure it’s worse when it’s your first and you don’t know what “real” labor feels like for comparison!

  2. The last month of pregnancy seemed to last as long as the first six months after the baby’s birth, so I feel your pain. Also, you do know that the first baby *tends* to take a bit more time to cook than subsequent babies, right? Makes sense, what with having to break in a “new” cervix and all. Anyway, prayers for and congratulations to all three of you!

  3. Angela says: Reply

    As a fellow planner and the mom of the aforementioned surprise boy, the last weeks are really tough, but this is totally worth it!!! It is totally valid to feel like she is never going to come, even though you know it is not a logical thought! We can’t wait to meet baby girl, but we know not nearly as much as y’all!! Lots and lots of middle of the night prayer for y’all right now!

  4. Brent says: Reply

    I kind of had the opposite experience. I managed to slow the pace and stop and appreciate the last moments of not having a the life of a crying baked potato in my hands. Your wife is about to become unbearably uncomfortable, too, so focusing on the uncertainty of “when will it happen” will only drive her bats. One thing you want to avoid is being disappointed if your wife doesn’t go into labor on, or before, the due date. THAT’s really dejecting, and if you’re disappointed, imagine how she feels.

    I know it’s not a particularly useful perspective, because you feel how you feel, but try to be outwardly encouraging, rather than disappointed, if your due date comes and goes sans baby.

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