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    The Third Trimester of My Second Pregnancy

    The Third Trimester of My Second Pregnancy

    When I became pregnant with my second child, I began keeping a journal to document my journey. I have shared the first trimester and the second trimester of my second pregnancy, and here I share the third trimester and the birth of my son.

    The Third Trimester of My Second Pregnancy

    Week 27

    August 2, 2014

    Today I am twenty-six weeks and two days into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 27 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a cauliflower in weight, measuring a little over nine and a half inches from crown to rump and weighing about two (2) pounds. To my amazement, I am in my seventh month of pregnancy already! My daughter and I had our second WIC appointment on Monday, and I learned that my iron levels were slightly higher. I tend to run on the low side of normal, so the slight increase was definitely good news. I worry about the potential ill effects of low iron levels during pregnancy, especially because of my low levels during my pregnancy with my daughter.

    Aside from my slight increase in iron, the only major news that I have as I continue week 27 of pregnancy is that my allergy symptoms are again flaring up. My husband was sick all last week, and my daughter has had a stuffy and runny nose for a little over a week now, so I might also be a little sick. However, my only symptom is increased nasal congestion and drainage. I find myself once again going through more and more tissues. Thankfully, our local grocery store had a sale on tissues last week, so I stocked up on twenty boxes for only $20! My storage closet is again filled with tissues, which I will need during the coming months.

    In addition to blowing my nose every few minutes (and helping my daughter blow hers whenever I see boogers running down her face), I have continued to take at least one 25 milligram Benadryl a night. Last night I actually took two, one at 9:00 PM and then one at 11:00 PM right before I headed to bed. I was so miserable that I knew that I would not be able to get any sleep without an antihistamine. I had not slept well the night before because of my nasal allergy symptoms, so I really needed some better sleep. Fortunately, the Benadryl helped clear up my sinuses for a while, so I did manage to get a few hours of fairly decent sleep.

    My only other symptom of pregnancy that I have been experiencing over the past week is continued aches and pains as my ever-growing belly continues to expand. My lower back has ached a bit, and I can feel myself stretching out at the top of my abdomen under my chest. Luckily, I have not had any more headaches. Almost nightly massages from my hubby have helped keep my muscles aches and my headaches in check. Overall, I cannot complain at the moment. My pregnancy so far has been delightfully easy going. Here is to another uneventful trimester!

    How did you feel as you entered the third trimester of your pregnancy?

    Week 28

    August 10, 2014

    Today I am twenty-seven weeks and three days into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 28 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of an eggplant, measuring ten inches from crown to rump and weighing about two and a half pounds. To my continued amazement, I am in month 7 of pregnancy. And, as far as complaints go, I have few to none right now.

    I have been feeling pretty good over the past week. For the past two nights, I have not needed to take a Benadryl at bedtime for my allergy symptoms. Although I am not keeping my fingers crossed, I am hoping that my symptoms will continue not to bother me over the coming weeks. I suspect that I will get sneezy and boogery again once the fall harvest stops, but I am extremely appreciative any time my symptoms are mild enough not to need medication at night.

    In addition to some lessened allergy symptoms, I have continued to gain some healthy weight. I am not measuring in the upper 120s, which is perfect for me this far along in my pregnancy. I had some concerns about healthy weight gain at the beginning of my pregnancy. Because of morning sickness, I did not have much of an appetite during the first trimester. With my nausea gone, I have been able to eat a fairly healthy diet and have gain the recommended amount of weight.

    Unlike with my first pregnancy, I have not had as much body pain so far with my second child. Because of my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, the connective tissue in my joints is more flexible than normal. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had quite a bit of back and joint pain. So far, I have had only some minor pain that cleared up fairly quickly such as some hip pain. I am assuming that my condition means that my body is already stretched out enough to avoid any more major pain. Subsequent pregnancies are often less painful that first pregnancies as well. Either way, I am enjoying these pain-free weeks of pregnancy!

    The only other symptoms that I can report at the moment are increased tiredness and puffiness after exercise. Yesterday my husband and I took our daughter to the zoo. After walking around in the heat for an hour or so, my fingers and toes were noticeably swollen. I was also quite tired. I love taking my daughter for walks, but I have noticed that I cannot walk as far or as long anymore. I will still continue to exercise but will take extra caution not to become too exhausted or too swollen.

    All in all, I am feeling pretty good during week 28 of pregnancy, and I am definitely looking forward to my next prenatal checkup on Thursday! How did you feel during the beginning of your third trimester?

    Week 29

    August 16, 2014

    Today I am twenty-eight weeks and two days into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 29 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a butternut squash in weight, measuring sixteen to seventeen inches from head to heel and weighing just over two and a half pounds. I am still in month seven of pregnancy — although I cannot believe that I am so far along already!

    I had my fifth prenatal checkup with my midwife on Thursday. Baby Whomp Whomp’s heartbeat measured 136 beats per minute. According to my midwife’s scale, I have gained a total of eighteen pounds so far in my pregnancy. While pregnant with my daughter, I had gain twenty-three pounds by week 29 of pregnancy. More importantly, the height of my uterus increased from 22 centimeters to 28.5 centimeters over the past four weeks. My fundal height is now right on track for twenty-eight weeks. With my daughter, I also started out smaller than average and then seemed to blow up by the end, so I was not worried that I measured smaller than normal during my first two trimesters, especially because I have caught up again.

    In terms of third trimester symptoms, my only big complaint at the moment is increased upper abdominal discomfort. With my daughter, I experienced some burning sensations in the space between my belly button and my breasts. I am now experiencing the same discomfort. The burning feeling is a combination of my upper abdominal muscles and skin stretching. The discomfort increases throughout the day and becomes especially uncomfortable after I eat a large meal. I can ease the discomfort some by moving into a different position, but I expect that the pain will continue and even worsen as my belly continues to expand to accommodate my growing baby.

    In addition to the upper abdominal discomfort, I have also been experiencing more back discomfort. My husband gently massages my back, neck, and shoulders almost every night. He is able to massage some knots out, which helps keeps headaches to a minimum. However, most of the achiness in my back is from my body stretching out and from the added weight of my growing belly. I have found that doing some gentle prenatal yoga once or twice a day helps with the discomfort, but, again, I expect the achiness to continue as my belly continues growing bigger.

    All in all, however, I am feeling pretty good as I continue into week 29 of pregnancy. Fingers crossed, I have not had to take any Benadryl at bedtime for the past week. I have been feeling more tired than usual, but I am growing a little person inside me while chasing around an energetic toddler each day. Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that Baby Whomp Whomp stays put until at least week thirty-seven of pregnancy (October 9), at which time a homebirth is safe.

    Did you experience any upper abdominal discomfort during your pregnancy?

    Week 30

    August 23, 2014

    Today I am twenty-nine weeks and two days into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 30 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a cabbage in weight, measuring about seventeen inches from head to heel and weighing about three pounds. Baby Whomp Whomp needs to wait at least seven more weeks before arriving into the world — although I would be happy with him or her waiting just a little bit longer as well. But week 37 of pregnancy, which is on October 9 for me, is the earliest that he or she can arrive full term.

    At my most recent prenatal checkup last week, my midwife gave me a list to help me start preparing for the birth of my second child. I remember most of the list from my first time around with my daughter — including drinking red raspberry leaf tea in preparation for labor. For the past couple days, I have begun introducing iced red raspberry leaf tea back into my diet.

    I first started drinking red raspberry leaf tea after my miscarriage in the hopes of regulating my cycles and preparing my body better to conceive again. Derived from red raspberry leaves, the tea supposedly helps tone the uterus, strengthen the uterine lining, and lengthen the luteal phase. Red raspberry leaves are also high in flavonoids, tannins, and elagic acid as well as many vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and E, calcium, and iron.

    Because I am pregnant, I am most interested in red raspberry leaf tea helping to tone my uterus in preparation for labor and birth. Many women report quicker and less painful labors after drinking the tea during the third trimester. My first labor was incredibly easy at only four and a half hours. I did experience some painful contractions but nothing worse than some of my period cramps. Although I am a bit worried that my second baby will arrive before the midwife can get to my house, I am still drinking my red raspberry leaf tea in the hopes of a quick and not too painful labor. (As a side note, red raspberry leaf tea does not start or encourage labor but rather can help contractions be productive once true labor begins. Therefore, I am not worried that drinking the herbal tea will cause me to go into premature labor.)

    How much red raspberry leaf tea to drink and when to start drinking the herbal tea during the third trimester is still up to debate. I have opted to start drinking my tea now because my daughter arrived at only thirty-six weeks and two days. The tea takes a little while to build up to useful levels in the body, so I want to give myself enough time to reap all the benefits. I have been brewing a pitcher of the tea with three tea bags and have been drinking one pitcher every two days or so. I am a huge fan of tea in general, so I have basically just switched out my huckleberry tea for my red raspberry leaf tea. The herbal tea is also good to drink hot.

    One concern that I had with starting to drink red raspberry leaf tea again was that the herbal tea can lower the blood sugar. For women with high blood sugar, the tea can help lower levels. However, I have always had problems with low blood sugar. When I started drinking the tea during my pregnancy with my daughter, I had some quite significant drops in my blood sugar levels. So far, I have not experienced the same side effect while drinking the tea during my current pregnancy. However, I am ever vigilant about keeping my blood sugar levels up — even more so now that I have added red raspberry leaf tea back into my diet.

    Although only time will tell whether my upcoming labor is easier and less painful, I still have high hopes for drinking red raspberry leaf tea. More extensive research is needed, but past studies have concluded that red raspberry leaf tea is a great option for pregnant women. Because I am already a big tea drinker, switching to the herbal tea has been easier for me. Now I just need Baby Whomp Whomp to wait until after October 9, and then I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a speedy and not too painful labor and birth.

    Did you drink red raspberry leaf tea during your third trimester of pregnancy?

    Week 31

    August 29, 2014

    Today I am thirty weeks and one day into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 31 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a pineapple, measuring between seventeen and eighteen inches from head to heel and weighing almost three and a half pounds. Amazingly, I am in my eighth month of pregnancy.

    As I continue towards the end of my pregnancy, I have been focusing a lot on my belly. For the past couple of weeks, I have been experiencing quite a bit of discomfort and pain in the top of my abdomen directly under my chest. As my belly grows, the muscles in my torso stretch out considerably. Although I have not yet had any major back pain, I have had quite a bit of upper abdominal pain. For example, this afternoon after lunch, I had to lay down on my side on the couch for over an hour because the pain was so intense. I had eaten a fairly large lunch, which stretched my belly out even more. All I could do was lay on my side, propped up by pillows, with my top arm stretched behind my back. Otherwise, the pain was quite searing. Thankfully my toddler daughter played quietly on the floor in front of me while I waited for the pain to subside.

    Even while I write this post, I can still feel an uncomfortable stretching in my upper abdomen. The pain worsens throughout the day until reaching a peak by bedtime. I have found that massaging some baby balm into the area at night helps relieve some of the pain. Resting on my hands and knees with my belly hanging down also helps relieve some of the pressure. Fortunately, the pain should subside completely once I give birth and my belly is no longer stretched to the limit.

    In addition to upper abdominal pain, I have also been reconsidering the food that I put into my belly during pregnancy. A recent report from Consumer Reports advises pregnant women and children to avoid all canned tuna due to inconsistent mercury levels. Although I avoid all high mercury fish during pregnancy, I have been eating canned tuna a few times a week throughout my pregnancy. My family and I also eat canned tuna fairly regularly when I am not pregnant. The health benefits of fish are numerous, but now I am reconsidering the amount of canned tuna that I feed my family.

    Doing a little research, I found myself consulting the American Pregnancy Association. According to the APA, the canned chunk light tuna that I purchase for my family is a lower mercury fish. The APA recommends pregnant women consume no more than six six-ounce servings a month. I generally eat three to four ounces of the tuna at a meal a couple times of weeks. My daughter eats about the same or a little less. Therefore, she and I both fall well within the range recommended by the APA.

    Critics of the recent report from Consumer Reports argue that the advice to avoid all canned tuna does not take into account the many health benefits of fish. For example, fish is a lean, low-fat protein that is high in omega-3 fats as well as vitamin D and selenium. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend the consumption of twelve ounces of low mercury fish per week for all individuals including pregnant women. An FDA/EPA review panel concluded that the health benefits of eating fish outweigh potential harmful effects of mercury. Thus, until further evidence confirming the conclusion of Consumer Reports becomes available from the research community, I will continue to feed my family and myself canned tuna a couple times per week.

    Did you experience any upper abdominal discomfort or pain during pregnancy? Did you eat tuna or other fish during pregnancy?

    Week 32

    September 5, 2014

    Today I am thirty-one weeks and one day into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 32 of pregnancy. (Today also marks the sixth wedding anniversary for James and me!) My baby is now the size of a jicama in weight, measuring between seventeen and a half and eighteen and a half inches from head to heel and weighing about three and three-fourths pounds. I still cannot believe that I am already in my eighth month of pregnancy! Baby Whomp Whomp can safely arrive in only five weeks — although I am kind of hoping that he or she waits a little longer than his or her big sister, who was born at thirty-six weeks and two days.

    In addition to ongoing upper abdominal discomfort and pain as well as some slight achiness in my back, my newest pregnancy symptom as I continue through the third trimester is Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions refers to the tightening of the uterus for thirty seconds to two minutes in preparation for labor. Also called practice contractions, Braxton Hicks contractions are not indicative of real labor but are instead one way in which the body prepares for labor and birth.

    I experienced my first Braxton Hicks contraction back on June 23 but had not felt any more since then — that is, until last night. I woke up four times last night while trying to sleep because of some Braxton Hicks contractions. Each time, I awoke to a tightening in my belly. My abdomen also felt rock hard. Once the contraction subsided, I then had to pee, so I ended up needing to get out of bed to visit the bathroom four times last night. I then laid in bed for a little while, not able to fall back to sleep, as I made sure that the contractions were indeed Braxton Hicks contractions and not premature labor. Each contraction was irregular and non-rhythmic, meaning that I was experiencing practice contractions only.

    With my daughter, I began experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions much earlier in my pregnancy. In fact, I had kind of been wondering when I would start feeling some practice contractions during my pregnancy with my second baby. Week 37 of pregnancy is the earliest that Whomp Whomp can safely arrive full term at home, so I was bound to start feeling some Braxton Hicks sooner than later. Perhaps the massive amount of red raspberry leaf tea that I have been drinking for the past couple of weeks delayed the onset of practice contractions. Or perhaps, because I have given birth once already, my body simply did not need as much practice this time around.

    All in all, I am still feeling pretty good as I continue into week 32 of pregnancy. I have been experiencing some aches and pains, but nothing too intense. My upper abdominal pain does bother me quite a bit sometimes, but I have found that laying down for a while usually helps reduce the pain to mild discomfort. And the new onset of Braxton Hicks contractions has reminded me that my second baby will arrive before I know. Here is hoping for at least five more weeks of pregnancy!

    Week 33

    September 11, 2014

    Today I am exactly thirty-two weeks pregnant with my second child, meaning I am in week 33 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a durian fruit in weight, measuring between eighteen and nineteen inches from head to heel and weighing about four pounds. I amazingly am in my eighth month of pregnancy, and I cannot believe that time passed by so quickly this year! Baby Whomp Whomp will be here sooner than later (although I am still hoping for later rather than sooner).

    My midwife came to my house today for my sixth prenatal checkup and a home visit. I weighed a respectable 136 pounds, meaning I have gained a total of 24 so far during my pregnancy. The recommended amount of weight gain for a healthy weight woman is between 25 and 35 pounds. I gained 31 pounds with my daughter, so I am right on track with healthy weight gain. The height of my uterus (fundal height) also increased from 28.8 to 34 centimeters. For the first part of my pregnancy, I measured smaller than average, but now I am measuring larger than average. My daughter had the same growth pattern, so I am not worried about the sudden increase over the past eight weeks. Baby Whomp Whomp’s heartbeat measured 144 beats per minute.

    I am also happy to report that my iron levels have improved significantly, measuring 11 instead of around 8. Even when not pregnant, I tend to measure on the lower side of normal. However, over the past few weeks, I have been drinking red raspberry leaf tea by the pitcher-full each day to help tone my uterus in preparation for labor. Red raspberry leaves are also high in iron. Because I have not made any other significant changes in my diet, my improved iron levels are likely the result of all the tea that I have been drinking lately. Because I like the taste of red raspberry leaf tea, I will probably continuing drinking the brew even after I give birth to keep my iron levels up. I will also gladly share with my daughter when she asks because her iron levels also fall on the lower side of normal.

    All in all, I am feeling pretty happy about my current pregnancy. I had a pretty easy time in general with my daughter, and my second pregnancy is going even more smoothly. I have had some minor aches, pains, and discomfort, but overall I have felt great. Now my only big concern is reaching the week 37 of pregnancy mark. My daughter arrived — full term — at thirty-six weeks and two days. Baby Whomp Whomp needs to wait until at least October 9 to make an appearance. He or she is still high in my belly and head down but sideways, so I am staying positive that my pregnancy will continue healthily to full term.

    How did you feel as you reached the final weeks of pregnancy?

    Week 34

    September 18, 2014

    Today I am thirty-three weeks exactly into my pregnancy with my second baby, meaning I am in week 34 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a cantaloupe in weight, measuring between eighteen and nineteen and a half inches from head to heel and weighing between four and a half and four and three-fourths pounds. I still cannot believe that Baby Whomp Whomp could arrive safely in as little as three weeks. My daughter arrived at thirty-six weeks and two days, but I am hoping that my second baby waits just a little longer. Of course, my daughter is stubborn like her mother, and I expect nothing less from Whomp Whomp, so I can totally see my second pregnancy lasting until forty-two weeks and six days! But, so long as he or she waits until at least October 9, I will be happy.

    My only news over the past week is that I have been busy with vaccines. Last Saturday, I headed to Kroger to get my annual flu shot. I have gotten a flu shot every year since the age of 7. As a child, I had asthma, putting me in a high risk group for complications from the flu. Now that I am pregnant, I am in two high risks groups. According to recommendations by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine (flu shot) at the start of the flu season. To protect myself as well as my second baby, I received the flu shot free of charge from Kroger. My daughter and husband will both get theirs on October 2 at a flu shot clinic at our county health department.

    Today my daughter and I also headed over to our county health department so that I could get a Tdap booster. Tdap prevents tetanus (T), diphtheria (d), and pertussis (ap). I was specifically concerned with the pertussis, or whooping cough, portion of the Tdap vaccine. According to recent recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women should receive the whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy during the third trimester. A recent study also confirmed the safety of the pertussis vaccine during pregnancy. By receiving the whooping cough vaccine, mothers pass on some protective antibodies to their children before birth. Those antibodies then help protect newborns until reaching two months old, at which time infants can receive the DTap vaccine. I had received a booster a few days after the birth of my daughter almost three years ago. Today I received another booster, which should offer my second baby some protection until he or she is two months old.

    I am a huge proponent of vaccines. And I am not just all talk. To protect both myself and my unborn child from influenza and pertussis, I received both the flu shot and a Tdap booster in the last week. If more vaccines were recommended during pregnancy, I would get those as well! Vaccines safely and effectively save lives, and the health of my unborn child and soon-to-be newborn is not something that I am willing to risk. As always, the only side effects that I have experienced with both shots is a little soreness at the injection site. But I would rather risk some temporary aches in my arms than either the flu or the whooping cough — for both me and my children! If you are pregnant, be sure to talk to your health care provider about any vaccines that you should receive.

    Did you get a flu shot during pregnancy? Did you get a pertussis booster?

    Week 35

    September 26, 2014

    Today I am thirty-four weeks and one day into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 35 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a coconut in weight, measuring between eighteen and a half and twenty inches from head to heel and weighing about five and one-fourths pounds. I am still in my eighth month of pregnancy. I am also anxiously counting down the days until October 9, which marks week 37 of pregnancy and the earliest date than Baby Whomp Whomp can safely arrived. My daughter arrived just two days into week 37, making her full term. I would prefer if my second baby baked a little longer, but so long as he or she waits until at least thirty-six weeks, I will be happy and relieved.

    Over the past week, I have begun experiencing a crazy amount of late pregnancy aches and pains. First, I have begun experiencing more frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions. I occasionally experience the contractions during the day, usually when I am up and moving around a lot, but, for the most time, my BHs are keeping me up at night. I often find myself waking up to a little pain from the tightening of my uterus. Moving into a different position on my bed or getting up to empty my bladder usually solves the problem. However, with each contraction, I am reminded that my second baby could arrive in as little as two weeks!

    Although the searing pain in my upper abdomen has subsided for the most part, I am now experiencing some pretty intense hip pain. I am literally feel my hips starting to spread apart. Sleeping gives me the most trouble. I have to lay on my sides instead of my belly or back, putting quite a bit of extra pressure on my hips. Sitting down is fairly painful at times as well. Standing offers me the most relief, but then I find myself feeling overly tired after being on my feet too long. Additionally, with my pregnancy with my daughter, my hip pain continued well past my giving birth, likely due to my overly flexible joints as a result of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Again, although annoying, my newfound hip pain is a sign that my body is gearing up for labor and birth.

    Speaking of feeling extra tired, I have been beyond exhausted the past week. I am not sleeping well at night because I am ginormous and nearing labor. My daughter has also been sick the past couple of days, which means I have been up with her a couple times a night to get her some medicine or just comfort her in general. I find myself needing to rest more and more throughout the day. On Thursday, for example, I pushed myself too hard to catch up on household chores. On Wednesday, I had intended to vacuum but overly tired after cleaning up the living room. Thus, on Thursday, I tried to squeeze in some extra vacuuming. Huge mistake! I was exhausted by evening — any my legs were barking at me from being on my feet all day. Basically, I just need to slow down a bit over the next few weeks. I am the type of person who has trouble relaxing sometimes, but I simply must force myself to sit down more often for my sake and the sake of my second baby.

    Finally, I have also been experiencing more shortness of breath recently. Because I have asthma, I am no stranger to breathing difficulties. However, now I find doing even simple tasks breath-taking. Walking and down the stairs to and from the laundry room leaves me winded. Putting clothing and linens away while I fold the laundry leaves me panting. Even reading aloud to my daughter results in my needing to catch my breath. I am definitely not ready for Whomp Whomp to arrive quite yet, but I will be quite relieved once I can breathe fully again. Having my uterus and my growing baby pressed up against my lungs sure leaves me wanting for more air!

    All in all, however, I am still having a pretty easy time with my pregnancy. My only worry right now is that Whomp Whomp will decide to come before October 9. However, for his or her sake, I keep insisting that he or she wait until at least thirty-six weeks. After that, any day is fine! Of course, I also joke that, because my daughter arrived full term but early, my second baby will be oppositely stubborn and will wait to arrive until full term but late. I guess only time will tell now!

    How did you feel as you neared the end of your pregnancy? Did you experience any new pregnancy aches or pains?

    Week 36

    October 2, 2014

    My Birth KitAlthough I am not “due” until November 6, my second baby could safely arrive any time between October 9 and November 19. On October 9, he or should would be early but full term at exactly 36 weeks, or week 37 of pregnancy. By November 19, he or she would be late but still full term at 41 weeks and 6 days, or week 42 of pregnancy. However, because my daughter arrived at 36 weeks 2 days, I have already organized my birth kit in preparation for my homebirth.

    For the majority of my birth kit, I purchased a premade bag from my midwife. The kit includes the following supplies:

    • Cord clamp
    • Baby cap
    • Sterile gloves
    • Peri bottle
    • Bulb syringe
    • Adult diapers
    • Chux underpads
    • Sterile gauze
    • Shepherd’s purse

    In preparation for my birth with my daughter, my husband and I initially attempted to find all the supplies in the premade birth kit. However, after failing to find some of the medical supplies, we opted to purchase the kit through our midwife. To make things easier again this time around, we purchased the premade kit as well.

    In addition to the premade birth kit, I have also gathered some other supplies. Last weekend I bought some inexpensive flannel-backed vinyl tablecloths to use as drop cloths for the floor. With my daughter arriving earlier than expected, my husband and I were totally unprepared with drop cloths. When I went into labor, we scrambled to pull some flimsy and slippery plastic tarps out of storage. This time around we have prepared by purchasing the tablecloths well in advance of the birth.

    Other supplies that I have already purchased for my birth kit include a low stool to squat on (my husband become extremely tired holding me up last time), a plastic bowl for the placenta, arnica to help prevent swelling and bruising, vitamin K drops, and a belly compression band. Supplies that we already have around the house include a pile of old towels of various sizes, plastic bags, and menstrual pads. The newborn cloths are already folded neatly in the cupboard in the closet, and my small stash of newborn diapers is washed and ready to go.

    As I await the impending arrival of my second baby, I have neatly stored the majority of my birth kit on top of the dressed in my bedroom. As soon as labor begins, my husband and I get quickly and easy get all the supplies out and ready. Although I am still urging Baby Whomp Whomp to bake for at least another week (if not longer), I am now ready for his or her arrival — or at least my birth kit is!

    If you had a homebirth, how and when did you organize your birth kit?

    October 3, 2014

    Today I am thirty-five weeks and one day into my pregnancy with my second baby, meaning I am in week 36 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a Crenshaw melon, measuring between eighteen and a half and twenty and a half inches from head to heel and weighing about six pounds. I am in my ninth month of pregnancy! Baby Whomp Whomp is almost fully developed and mature. He or she could safely arrive as early as next Thursday on October 9, although I still hope he or she decides to bake just a little while longer. After all, my “due date” is not until November 6!

    Other than the continued aches and pains that I started experiencing last week, I have not really had any new late pregnancy symptoms pop up. My neck is still achy, resulting in more and more headaches. Laying down and getting back up are difficult because of some lower back pain. I can also still feel my hips spreading apart. Also, as my baby begins to move down into my pelvis, I have noticed that I need to run to the bathroom to empty my bladder more often. Walking around for extended periods of time makes the problem worse. Baby Whomp Whomp seems to get a little too much joy out of headbutting my bladder. My toddler daughter is definitely becoming increasingly worried that Mommy will pee pee in her undies!

    Although my baby is beginning to move down into my pelvis, I still find myself having some difficulty breathing. I cannot read aloud to my daughter as long as previously. Walking around, although good for me and for baby, leaves me winded. Walking up and down my basement stairs to and from my laundry room leaves me absolutely breathless. Even tasks as simple as folding the laundry leave me gasping for air sometimes. Although adorable, a teeny tiny baby butt pressed into the lungs still leaves a mama-to-be wanting for breath.

    I am also having a heck of a time getting enough sleep at night. First, getting in and out of bed is a herculean task anymore. Rolling over and finding a comfortable position is even more monumental. I keep adding more and more pillows to my bed in hopes of finding a position that relieves the pressure from my hips, back, belly, and neck. Of course, as soon as I do find a comfortable position, Baby Whomp Whomp starts moving around like crazy. I have found that playing “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” right next to my belly helps calm my baby down some. (My daughter also love the jazz classic while in utero.) However, sometimes my baby just likes to whomp me repeatedly while I try to sleep. Trust me, kid, I am already ready for the sleep deprivation to come. You do not need to start preparing me anymore now!

    All of my aches, pains, and complaints are pretty typical for a woman in her ninth month of pregnancy. Sure, sometimes I get annoyed from being overly tired or feeling less than optimal at the moment, but my pregnancy has been darned easy up until now. Really, my biggest worry is that Baby Whomp Whomp will not wait at least six more days to arrive. Just hold on until October 9, kiddo! Then you can make your grand entrance into the world whenever you please!

    How did you feel as you entered your ninth month of pregnancy?

    Week 37

    October 11, 2014

    Today I am thirty-six weeks and two days into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am in week 37 of pregnancy. As of Thursday, I was considered full term! My daughter was born today during my pregnancy with her, so I am feeling super relieved not to have had a premature baby. My second baby is now the size of a stalk of Swiss chard in length, measuring between nineteen and twenty-one inches from head to heel and weighing about six and one-third pounds. I am in your ninth month of pregnancy and feeling great about heading into the homestretch of my pregnancy.

    On Thursday, my family and I headed to my midwife for my seventh prenatal checkup. I weighed 140.5 pounds, meaning I have gained a healthy 30.5 pounds so far during my pregnancy. Because I was a healthy weight prior to conception, my recommended weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds. For week 37 of pregnancy, I am right on track. My uterus measured 36 centimeters, which is absolutely perfect for exactly thirty-six weeks into my pregnancy. (The average fundal height during the second half of a pregnancy corresponds to the week number.) Baby Whomp Whomp’s heartbeat measured a healthy 130 beats per minute.

    Now that I am officially term, I am feeling emotionally great about my pregnancy. I am no longer worrying about delivering a premature baby. My second baby can arrived whenever he or she wants now, although I would still prefer that he or she bakes just a little bit longer. I keep joking that, because my daughter arrived early, my second baby will arrive late. I would definitely not be surprised if both of my kids stubbornly plotted against me in such a way! As I say about my daughter, she is stubborn like her mother. I would be surprised if Whomp Whomp were also not stubborn too.

    I am also happy to report that my second baby has moved further down into my pelvis. Four weeks ago, he or she was head down at a slight angle. His or her tiny bum was pressed against the upper right of my abdomen, and his or her knobby knees frequently poked me in my left side. Whomp Whomp is still facing towards my left with his or her back towards my right side. But the head has moved significantly further down into my pelvis. My second baby is getting into the perfect position for an impending arrival!

    All in all, I am feeling pretty good right now. I do get more tired more quickly than usual. After a busy morning with my daughter, I usually end up laying down on the living room couch for a while after lunch to rest. By the end of the day, I am physically exhausted (although not always tired). Breathing is still more difficult than usual, I have been experiencing a little more back pain, and I can feel the muscles stretching rather painfully in my right side. However, all in all, I feel pretty good for week 37 of pregnancy, and I cannot really complain. Now the fun part begins — waiting for labor to begin and welcoming my second child into the world!

    How did you feel once your pregnancy reached term?

    Week 38

    October 17, 2014

    Today I am thirty-seven weeks and one day into my pregnancy with my second child, meaning I am now in week 38 of pregnancy. My baby is now the size of a jackfruit in length, measuring between nineteen and twenty-one inches from head to heel and weighing about seven pounds. I am in my ninth month of pregnancy and am considered full term. My daughter was born at thirty-six weeks and two days, so I am now five days further along than the first time around. My second baby can arrive safely any day now, although I am still hoping that he or she waits at least a week or two more.

    Without sounding like I am bragging, I must say that I am feeling pretty good as I near the end of my pregnancy. And my pregnancy overall has been just as easy. I had some morning sickness during the first trimester followed by some rather annoying allergy symptoms during the second. But overall I have been happy and healthy. Even now, despite some general discomfort, I consider myself pretty lucky. By the end of the day I am usually exhausted, I get tired more quickly throughout the day, and I am feeling some aches and pains throughout my torso — all of which are normal for week 38 of pregnancy. All in all, I cannot complain!

    Although I would love for my second child to wait until closer to his or her estimated due date to arrive, I am now completely ready for my impending labor and birth. My birth kit is complete and ready to be put to use on top of the dresser in my bedroom. My midwife texted my husband today to let us know that my GBS (group B streptococcus) came back negative. All that needs to be done around the house is bring up a few baby items from the basement, which the husband can do as soon as baby arrives.

    And baby may arrive any day now! For the past week or so, I have noticed an increasing amount of Braxton-Hicks contractions throughout the day. At first, I experienced the practice contractions only at night while trying to sleep. Now I am feeling more and more throughout the day. Just the other evening while taking a walk with my husband and daughter, I had to stop twice because of some rather uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions. I have also been experiencing more and more practice contractions throughout the day, indicating that my body is gearing up for real labor.

    In addition to an increasing number of Braxton-Hicks contractions, I also began noticing an increase in vaginal discharge yesterday. The increase has been enough that I have had to change my mama cloth multiple times a day. The discharge is milky in color and may indicate that I am losing my mucus plug. This evening while showering, I also attempted to check on my cervix. After charting my cycles for months while trying to conceive my daughter, I began extremely familiar with my cervix. Tonight, however, I could not feel my cervix at all. I suspect that I have begun effacing and dilating already, which is quite normal for the end of the third trimester.

    Furthermore, my daughter and pets have all begun acting a little peculiar. My cat, Princess, has become quite clingy. She insists on sitting on my lap whenever possible. Normally she is more aloof. Two weeks before the arrival of my daughter, Princess became just as clingy. Both of my dogs, Espen and Kenobi, have also started insisting on piling on my lap when I sit or lay on the couch. Let me tell you: Having three small animals piled on a pregnant belly is not always comfortable! But perhaps all the strange animal behavior coming on in my house is an indication of an impending birth.

    My toddler daughter has also started acting a little more clingy than usual. She loves her daddy, but she seems to want her mommy more and more recently. This evening before bed, she and I were cuddling on the couch like usual. When my husband tried to carry her into the bathroom to floss her teeth, she absolutely freaked out. She ran back into the living room and insisted that I bring her into the bathroom. She was also quite weepy this evening. When I jokingly asked her if she thought the baby would come tonight, she said yes. (If the baby does arrive tonight, I told my daughter that she and I would be playing the lottery together!) Could my toddler daughter sense the impending arrival of her little brother or sister?

    My official estimated due date is November 6. Now that I am well past the week 37 of pregnancy mark, all that I have left to do is wait for the arrival of my second baby. I have my next prenatal appointment with my midwife scheduled for next Thursday. I am healthy, and baby appears to have grown right on track for his or her gestational age. Baby Whomp Whomp could arrive at any time now. As for making a guess about a birth date, I honestly have no idea or preferences. Part of me wants a pre-Halloween baby because I would love to see my two kiddos dressed as pumpkins together. (I bought a newborn pumpkin outfit at a garage sale for super cheap this summer.) Another part of me hopes for a November baby simply because I have so many fun Halloween activities planned with my daughter over the next two weeks. But, as I learned with my daughter, my second baby will arrive when he or she decides — regardless of my schedule!

    How did you feel — physically and emotionally — during the end of your pregnancy? Did you have any signs of an impending birth prior to active labor?

    October 19, 2014

    Heather Pregnant 4 Weeks 5 Days and 37 Weeks 2 DaysI woke up on Sunday morning on October 19 around 6:00 AM to a fairly typical Braxton-Hicks contraction. At thirty-seven weeks into my pregnancy, practice contractions had become pretty common for me while lying in bed. When I rolled over as usual, the contraction stopped. I had a couple more contractions between then and 8:00 AM when my morning alarm sounded. However, the contractions did not feel out of the ordinary, so I assumed that I would get up and continue with my day like any other day.

    When my alarm went off, I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom. As I put my contacts in, my daughter appeared at her bedroom door. Because my mom takes my daughter to church and Sunday school on Sunday mornings, the next step in my morning routine was to get my daughter and me dressed. While I changed her diaper and put on my daughter’s church dress, I experienced another contraction. Again, however, I assumed that I was having another Braxton-Hicks because of the quickness and discomfort but lack of pain.

    My thinking that I was just having Braxton-Hicks contractions quickly changed as I continued to get my daughter ready to head out with my mom. While getting a bowl of cereal to share with her for breakfast, I experienced a painful contraction that resulted in my bending over the kitchen counter. Still I tried to continue with breakfast as usual. My daughter and sat on the living room couch while I shared the cereal with her. At one point, though, I ended up dashing back into the kitchen in pain. I sat the bowl down on the counter and asked my daughter to bring me my phone. I called my husband, who was working out in his office in the garage, at 8:38 AM, and told him to come in the house.

    When my husband came inside a minute or so later, I asked him to finish feeding our daughter breakfast. I told him that I was having some painful contractions but was not sure if I was in labor yet. He finished feeding our daughter while I moved around the house, breathing through my contractions. However, after a few minutes, I decided that I was probably in labor. My husband called our midwife to let her know and then called my mom so that she could get our daughter out of the house. (I originally wanted our daughter present at the birth, but she kept trying to climb on me during my contractions, so I decided to have my mom take her instead.)

    My labor with my daughter lasted only four and a half hours from water breaking to birth, so my midwife immediately headed in our direction as soon as my husband called her. She also called the nearest assistant midwife, who also immediately headed to our house. Similar to my first labor, my second labor started with strong contractions close together. However, unlike my first labor, my water did not break right away.

    With my midwife and her assistant on the way, I settled into a comfortable position on the toilet in my bathroom. I asked my husband to start setting up the birthing kit, which included putting down tablecloths on the bathroom floor. Of the two times that I yelled at my husband during my labor, one was when he was being terribly noisy while setting up the tablecloths. He tried to shake out the vinyl in the bathroom. The loud noise really bothered me as I tried to relax myself.

    Because of my super fast first labor, my biggest concern this time around was giving birth before my midwife and her assistant arrived. Then, immediately after I settled into my bathroom, I started feeling the “pushing feeling” that signaled that my body was ready to start birthing my baby. I vividly remember telling myself and my baby to wait until the midwives arrived. I kept saying aloud, “Baby, you need to wait for the midwives,” and “Heather, don’t push.” At one point, I did tell my husband that he might need to catch the baby if I gave birth before the midwives could arrive. (He, funnily, started looking up on his phone how to deliver a baby.)

    At first I was able to resist the urge to push. I focused on my breathing and panting in an attempt to ignore the pushing feel. However, after a short while, I found myself unable to fight the urge to push. I tried my hardest, but sometimes my body started pushing against my will. Hoping that my midwife or her assistant would arrive shortly, I found myself pushing my baby down while sitting on my toilet.

    Because I was incredibly fearful that I would give birth on my own, I kept one of my hands between my legs, hoping that I would not feel a little head pop out. With each contraction, I attempted to fight the urge to push with little success. Then, with another contractions, I found myself pushing and felt my water break. As liquid gushed over my hand into the toilet, I screamed to my husband that my water had broken. To my relief, he shouted back that both midwives had just arrived. As my midwife entered the house, he told her that my water had broken. She told him to help carry in supplies and then rushed into the bathroom to me.

    I was still on my toilet with my hand between my legs. I sort of remember telling my midwife that my water had broken but that I could not feel a head yet. I kept pushing with each contraction, and I remember myself saying that I did not want my baby born on the toilet. At one point, I was able to move myself into a standing position next to the toilet. I had planned on squatting on a stool because I had squatted during the birth of my daughter. However, I could not squat. This time around, my body wanted me to stand with my legs wide apart and my knees slightly bent.

    As I stood, gripping my bathroom counter with one hand and the adjacent wall with the other, I remember a midwife trying to listen to the fetal heartbeat with a Doppler. I vaguely recall hearing a little heartbeat before another contraction took over and urged me to push. Soon after, I felt a little head appear between my legs.

    Because my labor was progressing so quickly, the pain as my baby’s head emerged was much greater than during my daughter’s birth. I remember saying that I was afraid that I was going to tear because of all the pain. The thought quickly passed, however, as I gave birth to the rest of my baby. As I looked down, I saw my midwife catching a little body as my baby emerged into the world.

    As I still stood in my bathroom, my midwife quickly handed me my baby, and I discovered that I had given birth to my son. My husband entered the room from the doorway and looked over our new baby boy with me. Will was born in the morning on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at thirty-seven weeks and three days after less than two hours of labor.

    I then decided that I needed to sit down again. I handed my son to my husband, who forgot about the umbilical cord! I shrieked a little, which made my husband stop and move back closer to me. After my midwife placed a pad across the toilet seat to catch the placenta, I sat back down. In a blur, my midwife clamped the umbilical cord that had stopped pulsing, my husband cut the cord, and I pushed out the placenta into my red placenta bowl. At some point as I held my son skin-to-skin against my belly and chest, he latched on to my breast and nursed a little.

    My mom and daughter arrived back at our house shortly after Will emerged into the world. I remember telling James to call my mom immediately after my water broke so that she could bring our daughter back home. However, Will arrived so quickly that only my midwife, her assistant, and my husband were present for the birth. Both of my parents and my daughter met Will soon after his birth. And my daughter spent the next few hours popping in and out of my bedroom to check on her new baby brother.

    After a little while, I moved into my bedroom and lay down on my bed with my new son in my arms. As the midwives started checking him and me over, he started having problems nursing. When the assistant midwife checked his temperature, his numbers kept measuring around 94 and 95 degrees, which was worrying low. Our house had been only 66 degrees at the time of his birth, and no one had thought to crank up the furnace for a while. My husband and dad brought in towels warmed up in the dryer. My husband also heated up our rice bag in the microwave. I kept Will skin-to-skin against me. However, he was not warming up and not nursing.

    Luckily the assistant midwife was also a lactation specialist. After a while, she suggested expressing some of my colostrum to spoonfeed Will in an attempt to get his glucose levels up. She massaged my breast and expressed some colostrum onto a spoon. She then helped me feed Will a small amount of colostrum to get his strength back up. Shortly after, he started nursing again, and his temperature finally returned to normal.

    At less than two hours from the onset of active labor to the birth of my son, my labor and birth at home went extremely quickly — and extremely smoothly. Although I was a little worried that my baby might arrive unassisted, both my midwife and her assistant arrived at my home just in time! I did require some stitches for some tearing, but, aside from the stitches and some swelling, I otherwise felt pretty darn great fairly soon after giving birth. And now my family feels complete — mom, dad, big sister, and baby brother.

    How did you feel during your third trimester?

    References

    Drinking herbal teas during pregnancy: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/herbaltea.html
    Mercury levels in fish: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/fishmercury.htm
    Pregnant women should avoid all canned tuna: Report: http://www.today.com/health/pregnant-women-should-avoid-all-canned-tuna-report-1D80094758
    Red raspberry leaf: http://www.redleaftea.com/herbal-tea/red-raspberry-leaf.html
    Red raspberry leaf tea: http://www.midwiferycareassociates.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Red_Raspberry_leaf_tea.84131530.pdf
    Red raspberry leaf tea: http://www.pregnancy-health-center.com/red-raspberry-leaf-tea.html
    Red raspberry leaf tea: What every pregnant woman needs to know: http://journeytocrunchville.wordpress.com/2008/07/28/red-raspberry-leaf-tea-what-every-pregnant-woman-needs/
    Red raspberry leaf tea in pregnancy – Benefits of raspberry leaf: http://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/raspberry-leaf-pregnancy-red-raspberry-leaf-tea#.U_QPe_ldUxE

    Image Credits

    The Third Trimester of My Second Pregnancy © 2014 James and Heather Johnson
    The Third Trimester of My Second Pregnancy © 2014 James and Heather Johnson
    My Birth Kit © 2014 Heather Johnson
    Heather Pregnant 4 Weeks 5 Days and 37 Weeks 2 Days © 2014 James Johnson

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