It’s official: Marty and I now have matching bellies! 30 weeks down, 10 to go! The Cast Iron Baby is still growing right along, moving and kicking a lot, and according to the midwife, positioned head-down and ready to be born at the end of March! I am still feeling excellent, though a bit more tired as I get bigger and move toward the end of pregnancy. But many of the common complaints of pregnant women I have not had, at least not yet, and I attribute this to good eating and diligent exercise. It was a little hard not to eat too much sugar over the holidays, but the baby is good motivation to do the things I should be doing anyway. The period of being really, really hungry all the time seems to have passed, and there’s less and less room in my belly for food. So, I’m eating smaller meals but trying to make sure I get all the proper nutrition for pregnancy. I recommend lots of meat, beans, and nuts for protein and iron. I usually try to eat lots of calcium at breakfast time, and have been buying calcium fortified juice. Juice is the one thing I always crave, and during the third trimester, babies’ bones grow a lot, so moms need extra calcium.
Weight gain so far: 30 pounds! I definitely feel heavy. This is probably a little more than I should have gained, as the recommended amount is 25-35 pounds and I still have two months to go. My mom said she gained most of her weight in the second trimester, so I’m hoping that’s what’s going on with me, too.
My body has been surprisingly comfortable during pregnancy. I expected a lot of backaches, and lots of women seem to have trouble sleeping, among other discomforts. I think that exercise is really, really important to keep the pregnant body happy and comfortable. Since its winter and I have the time, I’ve been pretty diligent about attending yoga classes, swimming laps, or walking, most days. I definitely feel less energetic on days I don’t have time to exercise, and have been sleeping well and have had few backaches.
So, overall, being pregnant is still awesome! I don’t know what I’ll do when random people at the gym stop telling me how beautiful I look in my bikini. I’ve attended yoga classes at the YMCA for nearly 4 years and never chatted with anyone, but now everyone wants to know when I’m due and tell me their birth stories. All the teachers know my name and help me change some of the positions to accommodate my belly. It’s really sweet how concerned people are about the yet-to-be-born baby.
To get ready for the birth, Marty and I are attending the Confident Birthing childbirth class taught by Kyndal May. The class is designed for couples who are planning to have a natural, unmedicated birth, but also teaches you about your options in the case that complications make this impossible. Marty calls Kyndal “the orgasm lady,” because a lot of the first class was about orgasms. (Sorry, Kyndal. He still does take all your advice very seriously.) It turns out that the same hormones that enable women to have orgasms also enable us to birth a child, AND, things that might prevent orgasms can also prevent labor from progressing. So, for a birth, it makes sense to create an atmosphere that might be orgasm-friendly. We’ve learned this, and many other amazing facts about the female body. It’s a lot of information, and Kyndal is amazingly well-informed. As one graduate we know puts it, you practically graduate from this course with a Ph.D in childbirth. The more I learn, the more I am convinced that an out-of-hospital birth with a midwife is the way to go. So far, highly recommended.
We’ve also been talking a lot about how weird it is that we need classes to learn how to birth babies and breastfeed them….haven’t women been doing this for millions of years? Unfortunately, with today’s pace of North American life we’ve lost a lot of that intergenerational knowledge. Gone are the extended families living in close vicinity, where moms learn from other moms. A good deal of my knowledge of what to do about a newborn comes from my Peace Corps days in Paraguay, where women were still birthing at home and breastfeeding all the time. Mothers of many of the women in the class didn’t have natural births or breastfeed their babies, so we are super grateful for both my mom and Marty’s mom, who did these things, and will probably be able to point us in the right direction once the baby is born.
Finally, thanks to everyone who hosted and attended our baby showers in Pennsylvania and Maryland over the holidays! Real thank you notes are on their way, as soon as I remember to buy some stamps. Maybe there will be a Boise celebration too, stay tuned!
(Didn’t know I was pregnant? See Eating for Two.)