9 months!! As my midwife told me during our Wednesday appointment, I just have to get through November 30th and then I will be in my ‘safe window of birth.’ I hope we can hang in there because at this point, I really don’t think the baby can get any lower without falling as the downward pressure is quite intense. My midwife was having a hard time measuring my fundal height because his head is already tucked so nicely into my pubic bone. In the past ten days I have had two separate episodes of strong contractions (three in an hour) that were strong enough to stop me in my tracks and force me to lay down and see if they would stop. They obviously did but the episodes were enough to remind me that I can’t keep going at the pace I’ve been going if I want to keep this baby cooking for a little bit longer. I’ve returned to napping when the boys nap in the afternoons and have slowly cleared my calendar so we can slide into these final weeks with less stress and activity.
One recurring issue I’ve had throughout this pregnancy are my hips and muscles and the thought of being able to roll over without fear of tweaking my hip sounds divine. My trainer and I have been working together each week to strengthen my supportive muscles without straining my abdominals, but unfortunately I can’t say that we’ve been totally successful. Between the exercises both my trainer and my chiropractor give me to help with hip and lower back pain, I’m uncomfortable probably 50-75% of the time, especially after sitting on a hard surface. Even though I have very minimal abdominal separation, or diastasis recti, I am not doing any direct abdominal strengthening and focusing on my back, glutes, and legs for strengthening. As a former triathlete, I know the importance of a strong core and where I always thought I needed strong abdominals, the further along in my pregnancy shows me how important strong gluteus muscles are for support and balance. So ladies, work on those buns of steel BEFORE you get pregnant if it means being more comfortable the bigger you get!
Each chiropractic adjustment I have my right hip is way higher than my left and the mobility of my right leg is quite limited. I’ve been working on keeping my hips loose (through pelvic tilts, pelvic rolls on a yoga ball, and squatting) but what I keep thinking is my hips that hurt are actually my gluteus muscles! Here’s what’s happening: my sacrum is tilted due to the weight of my belly. Due to my sacrum’s tilt, the nerves for my gluteus Maximus muscles are not firing thus preventing my gluteus Maximus muscles from doing their job of stabilizing me the larger I get. Instead, my gluteus medius muscles (which are meant for more lateral movement stability rather than forward/backward stabilization) are overworked and sore. When my massage therapist or chiropractor gets their hands on my gluteus muscles, a light rub down makes me sweat with pain but it is SO relieving! On the front side of my body, because my abdominal muscles are compromised and stretched, my psoas muscles are overcompensating and also getting sore. I thought I was in tune with my body before I had children through sports training and yoga, but pregnancy has certainly given me more knowledge of my body than I ever thought was possible.
Tied in with being hyper aware of my body, the other thing that’s been on my mind is postpartum recovery. Seeing all these babies being born around me these past few months and seeing the mothers’ recoveries continues to remind me that there is indeed life postpartum, no matter how far away it feels right now. As my friend reminded me recently, a big part of why we choose unmedicated, natural childbirth is that recovery is supposed to be much easier on the body. My recovery plan right now includes a hefty box of perineal ice packs, postpartum herbal supplements to manage uterine contractions and pain, abdominal wrapping, and placental encapsulation. I am also tapping an army of people to help with house duties and childcare so I can spend at least my first two weeks postpartum literally sitting on my bum and bonding with my new baby. I did not ingest my placenta after either of my boys but this time around I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the benefits of placenta encapsulation, I figured I might as well try it. I also love the idea of saving some capsules for menopause to use them for my own hormonal replacement if I need it. I’ll let you know how that experiment goes.
My next prenatal appointment is set for my 37 week mark this coming Friday, the 30th. Each day seems like an eternity until I will meet our baby but at the same time as I reflect upon the past 8 months, it only feels like yesterday when we discovered our little bundle. All the body pains, blood sugar drama, and emotional downs will all be worth it when we have our baby in our arms. I’d like to thank Giving Birth with Confidence for allowing me to share my journey with you. Only a few more weeks to go!!