Tag Archives: Third Trimester

Here Comes The Big Third

Here we go then, little love: the third trimester. The final stretch.

I do wish it weren’t my beachball face doing so much of the stretching. It’s almost impossible now to take a selfie where my extra chins aren’t hogging the attention. But I am trying hard to let the weight irritation go, this time around. It’s mostly worked, which is sort of astonishing to me. I haven’t weighed myself since June, and I don’t care. I take my clothes off to get into the shower in the morning, look at this giant curve of belly in the mirror, and think it looks rather lovely, actually. I mean, I really think that. I can’t say enough how foreign that is to me.

I can still walk, as long as I waddle straight into the embrace of a groinular hot water bottle afterwards (2sexy2handle). I am mostly remembering to take my medication. At night I groan and hurt and throw Gaviscon tablets into my mouth with desperate abandon, and she kicks a lot. So I don’t sleep much, but HA, sucker, that ain’t getting better any time soon.

I am anxious, though. Not about labour, newborns or having enough love to go around – we’ve done all that before, and odds are that it’ll be alright again. I just lie awake at night, for hours, imagining catastrophes. In the first trimester I once found myself (in a secret and ashamed way) wishing I were feeling horrible for someone more tangible – you’d go through just about anything for your children, wouldn’t you? The ones you can see and touch, the ones you love so much it hurts? It’s not so easy to suffer for someone who’s only just managed to move from blastocyst to embryo. I don’t know if that makes sense at all. These are the things you find yourself thinking when you’ve narrowly avoided a deep-dive vomit into your handbag in a public place.

Now I have the opposite problem: she feels like a person to me already. We decided to have a third because we felt like there was someone missing – now it feels like there’s a space shaped like her, waiting for her to step into it. I am in, all the way. I am so excited, which means I have lots to lose. My brain likes to remind me of it at 11.30pm.

But I am getting ready. Do you hear me, love? I am trying to be ready: for a last labour, a last first newborn cry, a last whirl through breastfeeding and weaning and sleep schedules. There’s a lot for me to get wrong, but her brothers will be able to tell her plenty about that. Barbara Kingsolver wrote something about last babies that made me sob the first time I read it, long before I had any of my own, and I think about it often now:

‘the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after…

She’s the one you can’t put down’.

It seems like a good plan, and I’m sticking to it.

To the Chinese cabbage in my uterus, with love

Dear baby, welcome to the Big Third.

(trimester, that is.)


Big in all senses, of course. I am now so huge I struggle to fit my beachball face into a photograph (see above), and you are shooting out like a firework. This week you are apparently the size of a Chinese cabbage. I don’t know what a Chinese cabbage is, but the only alternative I found was an aubergine, and I’ve never had one of those in my fridge either. Do you think that if I ate a whole aubergine in one sitting, I’d feel like I were having twins? Don’t answer that.

But isn’t it about time I addressed something to you directly? Because you are the quietest member of our household by far, and the jabs under the ribs you give me are quite often eclipsed by your brother trying to swallow his nail clippers. Now we’re in the home stretch of this pregnancy I feel like you deserve a little more than chocolate milk on tap (though I hope you like chocolate milk, given the circumstances).

You can respond to light and sound. You have fingernails and fat layers and unknowable dreams in the half-darkness. And suddenly I feel like I ought to be making more preparations. This morning it all got a bit much.

Sometimes I wonder what on earth we’re doing, making another person. Motherhood has laid me bare, made me more aware of my limitations than I ever was before. There is endless revolving worry while Henry sleeps at night, and happiness so acute it hurts too. I’m like that kid from Mean Girls who wants to bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles, because she just has a lot of feelings. I have a lot of feelings, these days. And deep down – alright, not very deep down – I’m utterly terrified that I won’t have room for any more.

But I would like you to know something. Yesterday Henry and I were at the park. It was blazing hot, so we [he] ran wild on the grass before heading to the playground. It was the sort of day where I haven’t bothered to iron his shirt and he finds my every move hilarious.

I thought that a scene like that, with you there as well, would be something really fine. That’s true even on the days where I cry and cry because I haven’t bought you a crib yet and Timothy is in Amsterdam and how can I possibly continue getting bigger for another twelve weeks, I mean seriously.  I think you will be someone I’ll be grateful to know.

Please come, when you’re ready (not yet). We’ll save you a seat.

The Big Three (28 + 1)

Welcome to the third trimester, my lovelies!

As I write, this babe of mine is engaged in his new favourite pastime – smooshing his little self against my stomach wall in a variety of amusing baby shapes. Like he’s playing Guess The Miniature Body Part with random passers-by (ooh, look, an elbow!). He does this all the livelong day, and ohhhhhh I’m telling the truth when I say that it hurts quite a lot. This child is made of corners. I keep one hand on my stomach these days, like I’m afraid he’ll tunnel his way out if I don’t push him back in. I haven’t ruled it out, either.

Every now and again I look down at the bowling ball I’m heaving around with me and think: whoa. There’s a baby in there?! He gets more baby-like by the day, too: he is the size of a 2 litre bottle, opens and closes his eyes, and reacts to light, voices and loud Dvorak in the mornings. He dreams, according to baby brain scans. What on earth are his little dreams made of? I wonder about that, sometimes. His subconscious can’t have much to dredge up apart from That One Amazing Time the Amniotic Fluid Tasted of Chicken Nuggets.

(Ew. Sorry.)

The Third Trimester has a portentous kind of ring to it, doesn’t it? Here we are, say the baby-fruit emails, where things start to happen. I had a moment of panic this morning where I thought: hang on a minute, we are two-thirds of the way through this baby-growing business and I haven’t even painted my rocking chair. What the heck am I doing sat in an office? I felt so overwhelmed I had to fetch myself a medicinal chocolate finger.

One thing at a time, though. I remembered this week Roald Dahl’s story about his mother’s pregnancies in Boy: how his one-armed father would take her on ‘glorious walks’ up Norwegian mountains, to impress beautiful things on the baby-to-be. I love that idea, medically accurate or not. So we listen to classical music in the mornings as I drive the sunny green way to work (TJ has a thing for the oboe, dismayingly, though it has to be said that he’s never heard his mama play one). I point out the poppies in the hedgerows (not that he can see much). I chatter so he knows my voice. And then, once we’ve started the day well, eaten nice things, and got through another long and sore day at work, we might think about clearing out some cupboards. If not, well, there’s nothing like yet another game of Guess the Miniature Body Part to make the old evening fly by.

PS: BIG RESPECT to the ladies who have carried twins or more. I ask this in absolute seriousness: how did you not burst open? I mean. Honestly.

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