OVERALL: what started as smooth sailing became a wild ride by the end of this trimester. As covid-19 restrictions started loosening over the summer, we jumped at the chance to travel more before the postpartum slowdown. In the beginning of July (the start of my third trimester), I celebrated my birthday with a 17m bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail, and later that month, we daytripped down to Congaree National Park in Columbia SC. August took us north to Shenandoah National Park and west to the Bartos reunion in Fairfield Glade TN. In September, we joined my family at Holden Beach NC for a few days. By the time we got back from the beach, I was ready to stay home for the next six months or so! I like traveling but I started to feel like I didn’t have enough time at home to get ready for the baby. In between trips I got our birth supplies together, started acupuncture to turn our breech baby head down (it only took 1 session!), made a bunch of freezer meals with my sisters, and sorted through all of our baby girl clothes (what’s left of them, after the wear & tear from three previous girls).
Around 35 weeks I started having almost constant cramping and pressure, from how low baby berry was (that’s a good thing, but still uncomfortable). We had 2 pretty big scares with a round of intense contractions, one at Mammoth Cave National Park in KY (literally wandering in a giant cave wondering if we would have the baby in there), and the other at Holden Beach (thinking I was going to give birth in a Homeway rental house)! Both times everything ended up being fine, but we decided “wildberry” is a pretty accurate nickname for this little one who keeps proving to us that number 5 can still be surprising!
WEIGHT GAIN: 12lbs, for a total of exactly 30lbs this pregnancy.
WEARING: new leggings & larger t-shirts (ordered a few fresh things from Amazon to get through the last few weeks), my favorite Bao Bei support bands, a couple of knit maternity dresses on repeat, these distressed denim shorts from Pink Blush, & the comfiest nursing bras from Bravado.
EXERCISE: yoga 3x/week using the Prenatal program from Tone It Up on the weeks we were home, and a fair amount of hiking on most of our trips.
CHECKUPS: three. After my acupuncture appointment we confirmed baby girl’s position (and got another peek at her) with a second ultrasound. I’ve had weekly chiropractic adjustments for the last month, and started double doses of Floradix & ChlorOxygen to get my hemoglobin levels back up. I am so grateful for this low-risk pregnancy!
BIGGEST DECISION: making plans for the birth and afterward. In the past, I’ve always packed the kids up to spend the night with grandparents or relatives while we have a baby. That gets a little harder each time because we have more kids to shuffle around! I was so inspired by my friend Monica’s birth last January – she calmly had her baby at night, while her two daughters were asleep, and the girls were able to wake up and see their little brother right away. I started to love the idea of keeping the children here with us! Greg was a little hesitant but I think he’s on board now. Sophia is 8 1/2 now, the same age I was when my youngest sister was born, and Zoe is about to turn 7. I really wouldn’t mind if they were at the birth. I think homebirth is an incredible chance to show our daughters the beautiful way God designed women to bring a baby into the world. Birth is a completely natural process that doesn’t (usually) require a team of doctors and nurses. Of course we don’t know how this particular birth will go, but my prayer is that it will be a positive experience for all of us!
Greg has planned out his paternity leave and it looks like he will be able to take a few weeks off from work. His first thought was that we could road trip down to Texas during his break! I, on the other hand, was picturing cozy fall mornings in bed with my baby, pumpkin lattes, and quiet fireside evenings as a family…
NAME SUGGESTIONS: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah (Sophia & Zoe), Juliette (me)
MILESTONES: being pregnant with both of my sisters!!! My two local sisters are both due at the beginning of next year, so we’ve shared a few months of pregnancy and a “hatchlorette” party to celebrate all of us! Also: washing & organizing baby clothes, stocking up on diapers, & finishing our (tiny) nursery space.
FAVORITE THINGS: endless glasses of crushed ice; the “Veda” print from Lou Lou (couldn’t resist ordering one of their silky soft swaddle blankets); tearing a loop off our paper chain each Friday night & counting down to my due date; reading “the First 40 Days: the essential art of nourishing the new mother” (a fascinating look at postpartum care)… and getting ready to meet my daughter!! I can’t wait!