After the first five months of growing this baby, I listed ten things I didn't expect about pregnancy. Now that I'm at the end of the second half, here are ten more things I didn't expect.
Rest is more than important. The second trimester was a dream, but once I got to about twenty-eight weeks, my body stopped trucking along at full-speed. I realized I couldn't run errands for more than an hour or so at a time, I needed to sit down and take breaks, and naps, or even just resting my eyes, was necessary. But these times were good for me to reflect - something I don't do often enough.
Snacks are a necessity when you're on the go. If I'm going to church, Target, the grocery store, or even taking a long drive to go eat, I have to take a granola bar and a sports drink. I've noticed that as soon as my body tells me I'm hungry, it's usually too late to do anything about it. I get weak and light-headed right off the bat, so I make sure to catch it ahead of time.
It's better to learn too much than too little. We attended an eight-week birth class all through December and January. While at times two to three hours on a Sunday afternoon seemed like a chore, I feel like we are equipped now with more knowledge than we will ever need to know about meeting this baby on its birthday. We have a arsenal of terms at our fingertips when the doctor calls things out in the delivery room, and if I can't speak up, Chris knows just as much as me.
Others will be more than open with their opinions. Once we announced we were pregnant, opinions started flying: what to register for or not register for, where the baby should sleep, what we should do about feeding and diapering and clothing, what kind of car seat or stroller to get, how I should handle labor and delivery, and so on. What we realized really early on is that all of those things only affect us - me, Chris and Baby. What we decide in the end will not affect the lives of others. Once we figured that out, it was much easier to nod and smile at others' opinions, and then have a talk with one another to decide what was best for us and our situation.
Maternity clothes really are temporary. Initially, I stocked up on the basics: jeans, leggings, shirts and tank tops. However, it was tempting to keep buying more and more clothes as my belly grew. I wanted to feel good in my new body and I was used to buying myself a new outfit every now and then. But I stopped buying maternity clothes after I hit the eight-month mark. I bought one more pair of jeans to get me through the last two months, and then stopped perusing the maternity aisle at Target. Knowing that in a few months I'll want to buy non-maternity clothes, I put a hold on my purchases. I've become creative with making the most out of the clothes I already have: long tops, stretchy pants, and lots of tank tops to go underneath shirts (which might mean I duplicate outfits quite often).
Making lists creates sanity. About halfway through my pregnancy, it helped me to make lists. I made lists for what to buy for the nursery, what things needed to be taken care of around the house, and what tasks needed to be checked off. It helped me feel calm about what was to come, knowing I could see it on paper, and the satisfaction of crossing items off the list made me feel much more prepared. It helped our weekends be more productive, too, knowing that near the end we needed to tackle a few things off the list each Saturday or Sunday. We've been able to sit back and relax (and wait) the last week or so.
Make time for each other is extra important. Dating each other has always been important to us. We've made sure to keep up a weekly date night, and while I know it will be much harder once the baby is here, we want to continue to make dating each other a priority (even if that means the baby is in the chair next to us). We've been intentional these last few months about having good, solid date nights. They are planned with purpose and include dinner at new restaurants, seeing new movies, and making sure to visit our favorite spots.
Clearing the schedule is a must. Pre-December, our schedule was jam-packed with travel plans, time with friends, after-work meetings and other activities. Post-December, we've kept our schedule pretty open. We made an intentional decision to keep January and February mostly open to allow for time with each other and time to rest. This doesn't mean our weeks don't get busy; it just means that they are much less overwhelming and our priorities are straightened out.
Accepting help is okay. I am the worst at asking for help. But the thing is, people want to help. Whether it's carrying a box for me, handling a household chore or taking over a meeting so I don't have to stay late at work, I have learned to just let people help when they ask and sit back and rest when needed.
There is no greater feeling of anticipation than waiting on the baby. It doesn't help that the doctor told me two weeks ago that I wouldn't make it to yesterday. And yet, here I sit. But this last month of pregnancy has been filled with anticipating when this baby will come, how it will come, what it will be, what it will look like, and how our lives will ultimately change for the better. We are living in twenty-four hour increments, not planning too far ahead, as we eagerly await its arrival.
If you are or have been pregnant, what did you experience during the second half that you weren't expecting?