Third trimester wrap-up

Well, I was worried that I wouldn’t get around to writing this while I was actually still in the third trimester… but this baby’s got other plans! I’m currently 41 weeks + 1 day as I write this.

40 weeks pregnant

This baby is taking its sweet time to make its grand entrance, apparently! 

I was lucky to have a pretty easy first and second trimester, with almost no morning sickness – just lots of exhaustion and growing pains, but nothing that wasn’t manageable. Then along came the third trimester, which brought with it a gooooood number of bumps in the road.

39 weeks pregnant

The third trimester

All complaints aside, I am so lucky to be able to go through something as incredible as pregnancy! It blows my mind every time I feel a kick {or giant wiggle, or rude foot poking me in the ribs} that I’m growing an actual tiny human inside my body. 

I’m feeling pretty good right now – no wild back or pelvic pain, no late pregnancy nausea, no issues with blood pressure, etc. My weight gain has oddly been steady since about 34 weeks {probably due to eating better thanks to gestational diabetes}, and baby has been growing PLENTY! Right now they’re estimating it to weigh around 8.5 pounds – also, we got to see some hair on the last ultrasound, which was the cutest thing ever.

We’ve waited to find out the sex of the baby, so there’s a lot of anticipation around finding out who this little baby is! We have names set aside for either way, and my husband is going to be the one to announce the baby by name to me once it’s born – I can’t stop smiling when I think about what this moment will feel like!

This trimester has been filled with ups and downs all over the place. We traveled home to Virginia for our wonderful baby shower, stopped working at my part time job, I dealt with a miserable pregnancy rash that left me miserable and stuck at home for weeks, we changed around the nursery set up about 500 times, I had to learn how to change my diet for gestational diabetes, and a whole lot more. What a wild ride it’s been!

gestational diabetes

Between 26 & 28 weeks, most doctors require their preggo patients to take the 1 hour glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes. I went along with it, having absolutely no expectation that it would possibly come back abnormal. Surprise surprise, I failed the first test, and had to take the lovely 3 hour test. 

Oh, lots of people fail the first one by a bit, and then easily pass the 3 hour test, I kept telling myself. Better safe than sorry to check, but I felt so confident! Lo and behold, the results came back – YEP, you have gestational diabetes. 

gestational diabetes

I’ve written a whole BIG LONG GIANT post about my feelings around getting diagnosed with GD, and what has helped me remain diet controlled and relatively sane, so please go check that out! 

I have to say though, having GD makes the imminent arrival of my baby somehow even more exciting – I can’t WAIT to not have to time my meals carefully, count carbs, and prick my finger four times a day. I’m hoping that I can keep some of the better eating habits that I’ve picked up over the last few months, but I’m really looking forward to not feeling so boxed in. I know it’s been great for me and my baby, though, and I feel proud that I’ve made it this far being well diet controlled!

the dreaded PUPPP rash

This was honestly the hardest thing I had to deal with during the third trimester. 

If you haven’t heard of it before, some women {1 in 150 to 1 in 300, weirdly unreliable stats} develop an intensely itchy rash that often starts on their belly, usually concentrated in the stretch marks, called the PUPPP rash – it stands for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, but they shorten it to the PUPPs or PUPPP rash. Makes you think of cute puppies, right? It’s anything but cute.

It generally starts in the late third trimester, but mine started showing up closer to 32 weeks, and I still am experiencing symptoms of it. The only real “cure” is delivery of the baby, which is super reassuring to hear when you have 8+ weeks of pregnancy left!!!

“Risk” factors include it being the first pregnancy, the mom being white, carrying a boy {so maybe this babe is a boy?}, and rapid weight gain in pregnancy {which I might have had due to GD}. If I was the praying type, I would be hoping and praying right now that it doesn’t occur in any of my next pregnancies, because it is wildly miserable!

This rash can spread, and oh boy, spread it did! It ended up essentially covering my entire body, scalp to toes, but the rash that spread presented more like pregnancy eczema, which confused my doctors {and the dermatologist I pointlessly went to see}. 

Doctors seem to only be able to consider prescribing steroid creams or oral steroids to deal with the rash, so to Google I went! As I’ve barely even taken Tylenol this pregnancy, I was hoping to avoid a medication like steroids. Google is filled with desperate women trying to find something to help with the intense itching – from cleanse diets to weird soaps to herbal tinctures, and more. 

I can’t even keep track of the number of different soaps and creams and teas that I tried. The ones that helped the most were Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap, California Baby Therapeutic Relief eczema shampoo & body washGold Bond Eczema lotion, oatmeal baths, Babo Botanicals sensitive baby lotion, and Eczema Honey Co cream. I mixed these up over time as the rash changed and eventually started to fade. Currently I’m using the California Baby wash and Baby Bontanicals lotion, and they’re doing a great job keeping the itching mostly at bay.

But really, I was absolutely miserable for an unfortunate number of weeks. This kept me up all night long – I had multiple days where I only got about 2 hours of broken sleep. I had to take the max dosage of Benadryl, even during the day, to get a little bit of relief. I was crying all the time, and scratching my skin raw. I’d shower, put on lotion, and an hour later, take another cold shower to slightly soothe my skin. I looked HORRIBLE. All clothes felt terribly abrasive, and there was no way I would leave the house with an angry red rash all over my body – not that I could drive while taking so much Benadryl, though!

So after so many weeks of no sleep, I gave in, and decided that trying oral steroids might be the only thing to really help. 

I felt nervous about taking them, because my mental health was already not in great shape at that point, and I’d heard that they can kind of mess people up. They can mess with your blood sugar, which was the last thing I needed while already dealing with GD. I didn’t want it to impact my baby in any negative way, and it’s one of those drugs that’s not really known to be safe during pregnancy {mostly because it’s hard to do any ethical studies of anything on pregnant women}. It felt like admitting defeat in my desire to have as “natural” a pregnancy as possible. 

But after all that, doing the 10 day dose of steroids was definitely the best thing I could’ve done for myself and my sanity.

It didn’t clear up the entire rash, but it calmed it down so much. The itching was less intense, and a week later, I was able to finally stop taking so much Benadryl at night to be able to sleep. The rash slowly started to fade from my entire body, and right now, it’s contained to my stretch marks again, but I’m no longer scratching my skin raw. 

the only real cure = patience!

I have a lot of hope that all of the itching will go away after this baby is born, but know sometimes the eczema-like rashes can stick around for a bit due to crazy hormones.

But wow, I will NEVER take having skin that doesn’t itch miserably for granted again.

being “overdue”

For some reason, I really thought baby would arrive early.

Maybe I was just really hoping, so that I could stop dealing with GD and the itchy rash a little sooner, haha. And we really are so excited to meet this little nugget! 

But here we are, 41 weeks and one day, technically “late term” now. We’ve had a few extra doctor’s appointments to monitor the baby and make sure the placenta is still functioning well, and it was reassuring to know that the baby is happy and healthy and still just hanging out and growing in there. Even with the GD, my doctor will let us go to 42 weeks before inducing, which I’ve been hoping to avoid.

“Due dates” are really such a wild guess, and some studies have shown that first time moms have an average gestational period of about 41 weeks, so I keep trying to remind myself that this isn’t a bad thing. 

So much baby in there!

Right now I’m working on switching my thoughts from being bummed that my baby isn’t in my arms yet, to being grateful that I’ve been able to carry this baby safely for so long. I am so lucky, and my baby will come when my baby is ready. My body knows what it’s doing! 

Still, mornings are really hard for me these days. I’m grateful to get a good night of sleep, but every morning I wake up with no labor signs at all makes me a little sad. I’m lucky to have a great support system here and lots of family & friends who are encouraging from afar.

come on, baby fogs!

Moose is ready to meet his little sibling!

Ben and I are so excited to meet our little one. I feel like I’m going to be wildly excited with every surge I feel once I finally go into labor. I can’t wait to see who this sweet baby will be.