3rd trimester challenges: waddling, baby kicks, screwing & nesting
Oh, third trimester. How you toy with us. No matter how many blogs you read or ‘know it all’ parents you hear from nobody can prepare you for the beauty of an experience that is the late third trimester. Here’s our top challenges for the third trimester of pregnancy, and what we’ve done to win at this new game of adulting.
1. Waddling Mummy woes and keeping Daddy on his toes
MUM: The waddling struggle is real and, believe it or not, it's not just a response to being the size of a bus. There’s actual medical legit shiz that explains why us third trimester ladies need to waddle along. I am not going to bore you with the science, but the hormones racing through your hip ligaments (the muscles that help you lift your legs to walk) make them lose. There’s also the fact the baby bump shifts your centre of balance. Basically, lifting your feet or your legs whether it’s to drive, get your feet up or walk is blimmin' painful. It kinda feels like your muscles are pulling away from the bone… that’s why I am waddling and that’s why when I finally sit down and get my feet up - which I have to do a lot now to avoid swollen ankles - I need Josh to take the slack. This means that once I am down on that sofa, I am down. When I drop something on the floor it is lost forever. He needs to bring me whatever I need until my next inevitable toilet visit and mountain climb up the stairs. And if something falls when he's at work, it will still be there for him to pick up when he comes home.
DAD: It’s kind of like living with a penguin. Jen currently waddles around everywhere and squawks when she’s after something. She’s territorial of the sofa, protective of her baby bump and the house is freezing. Actually, it’s exactly like living with a penguin.
Oh and apparently it’s the male penguin who looks after the egg? Well still, on a comparative scale of mummy penguin to mummy praying mantis, the third trimester has unsurprisingly been somewhere in between for me. Not quite running around manically defending the baby and not quite having my head chewed off and eaten - just yet.
2. Beautiful moment or alien movie nightmare?
“Ooh, look she’s moving!” Says Jen.
“Eww that’s frickin terrifying,” says Josh.
MUM: I wasn’t sure how I would feel about baby moving in my tummy, but as she is getting stronger I have really been enjoying feeling her roll around. I can now even feel her form, which is sometimes painful (turning over in bed is now a SWOT team activity) but also beautiful. I watch in awe as my tummy rises and falls in strange ways and I try to work out what’s what. I can now work out when babies little bottom is sticking out, which is adorable. So, I grab Josh’s hand or tell him to look over to share this wonderful experience. Then the magic stops… instead of a shared moment of awe I ge 'urgh that’s disgusting'. Lovely. This is not how it goes in the movies! I guess for Dad they can’t feel a sense of her soul and personality as she moves around, all they see is a fleshy belly moving up and down like something out of Alien! Over to you Dad, why are you such a dick about my belly bump movements? Explain yourself…
DAD: Well as already expressed, it's like something from Alien/Aliens (because we will disregard any Alien film after these) and the mental image is a chest-burster tearing it’s way out of Jen every time I see a baby move.
On a slightly more serious note, while I perfectly understand pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world, the idea of something growing like a parasite and displacing all of your organs is pretty terrifying. Though it has been pretty surreal watching this little creature grow bigger and bigger. Oh and if I’m fully honest Jen...Alien: Covenant was also alright.
3. Less chilling and screwing around, more screwdrivers
MUM: Rewind a year and our weekends were pretty much us glued to the sofa, guzzling our favourite tipple of choice and Netflix binging. Most importantly, taking breaks as we eagerly perched inside the bath leaning out of the window to have a smoke between episodes. Life was good. But honestly, I feel like we were hiding from reality most of the time. It felt good because it was so far removed from the world, but once we were sober and clear-headed we were yet again drowning in debts, worried about the lack of garden and tiny house we were living in and being able to buy in our next weekly shop. Sometimes I miss it, mostly when I get a whiff of the good stuff out and about in Brighton. But I know deep down that if we didn’t start adulting a little more and ‘chilling’ a lot less, we were never going to get our shit together. And now?
Well, the last two weekends have consisted of me biting my lip at an anxious Josh and attempting to fathom out a bunch of DIY instructions while uncomfortably manoeuvring myself on the floor with my increasingly heavy bowling ball belly. So far we've made a flat pack wardrobe together and sorted through the boxes that have been sitting for far too long in the spare room to make room for babies nursery. And... while there were a few close calls, we did all of this without killing each other. In particular, there was a bit of a foul start as we realised making a wardrobe with the wrong size screwdriver wasn’t going to work out (after 3 hours of trying anyway). Instead of losing our shit we managed to calm ourselves and step away before we popped out the next day in mutual parent mission mode to buy our very own special screwdriver pack that now proudly hangs in our newly organised under-stairs cupboard. Winners.
It’s been tiring, it’s been all rather overwhelmingly adult of us, but honestly - it feels good to finally be making progress with it all. For example, with our new special screwdrivers, I finally fixed the bottom drawer of our chest of drawers that's been broken and wonky for over 5-years. Who knew fixing and organising stuff could be so satisfying?
DAD: Adulting is weird at my age. I’ve just turned 27 and I know people my age who are married with multiple kids and a mortgage. But I also know people my age who still live with their parents or go out drinking most nights. I guess the position in life you’re in isn’t really important; it’s all about the effort you’re putting into it. What you reap is what you sew and eventually, everything around you reflects back. So really, it was time for us to get our shit together and figure things out a bit more. Because after all, the biggest reflection now on how Jen and my lives turn out is on how well-adjusted we can make baby once they’re in this world. Which coming from me and Jen will be challenge enough.
4. Making room for babies bits and bobs
MUM: We’ve also started getting baby bits and bobs together. Including ditching the Smart car and part exchanging to get ourselves a 5-door Citroen C3. Red of course. I also bagged a couple of bargains for us on Facebook shop finding a cute changing table for £15, a baby bouncer for £18 and a single guest bed (come little girls bed) for £20. There’s also items from our baby registry starting to arrive from our family and friends. We may not be sitting on our butts as much these days, but the nesting desire is real and Josh is definitely suffering for it because I have all the desire to make things happen with zero energy or physical ability to do it myself. I have to say though that so far it's going well. The more we work together to get ready for the baby, the closer we seem to be as a unit. Let’s hope we can keep the momentum going.
DAD: Buying the essentials for baby is definitely making the experience feel more real. Other than watching Jen grow and gush over baby’s every movement, I’ve definitely been taking a backseat on an emotional level. It’s partially due to feeling a bit disconnected from the journey, only really experiencing fleeting moments of involvement. I have however been burning quite a lot of calories of late! Jen's perpetual determination to nest and create the perfect nursery where 'everything has to be white or grey' has been a little grating at times, but I get it. I’m not much for aesthetics but I am all for prams, bouncers and all those things that will make life a little bit easier in the future. And as someone who freely admits they don’t get out as much as they probably should, I’m all for nesting.
So, what’s next for Mum and Dad?
MUM: I’m having two baby showers - one for my family in Portsmouth and another for my friends in Brighton. So once these are wrapped up we’ll know what’s left to get and what can wait…. I can’t wait to share the results! I also have a lot of writing to do so that I have all my freelance work wrapped up before maternity in May.
DAD: Me? Well I’ve got Assassins Creed: Origins sitting in the PS4, so I’m going to be shirking my duties for possibly the last time I will get to in my life. And I’ll probably be building some shit too in preparation. Cot, spare bed, this and that. Soon I’ll be able to feel like I’m finally coming off the subs bench and getting ready to be a full player in the parenting game!
Together we’re also hoping to create a beautiful nursery, well the best we can do with the budget. Most importantly though the next thing on the agenda is, well, actually having the baby! Watch this space.