Monday, April 4, 2011

It’s third trimester time

We’ve entered the home stretch. I am 29 weeks pregnant – with twins and Type 1 diabetes and still at ‘advanced maternal age’ – and I entered the third trimester a week or so ago at 28 weeks. Forty weeks is considered full term, and that means that I’m in the middle of my seventh month.

To be honest, I started feeling the effects of the third trimester at around week 25 or 26, when my blood sugars began to fluctuate - totally expected for a Type 1 diabetic according to my doctors. I am still monitoring, dosing insulin accordingly, etc., only now I need a lot more insulin, and blood sugar control is not as easy as it had been in the first and second trimesters when my blood sugars were stellar. But considering I’m a Type 1 diabetic, both my doctor and I are pleased with my blood sugar readings.

Other changes that have been developing: It’s harder to move around. I walk – or rather waddle – at a snail’s pace. I can’t see my toes when I’m standing. I got a cut on my ankle, which I can’t see and have to contort every which way to get to, and I have been asking Lior to put band-aids on it for me. And why must everything fall on the floor? I am dropping things left and right, and it’s getting harder for me to squat down to pick stuff up. I am pretty good at squatting from all of my yoga, but between the weight in my tummy and newfound lack of balance, it’s getting a wee bit harder to do that successfully.

Sleep just isn’t the same. I miss a really good night’s sleep. I wake up really early, and for whatever reason, I’m not tired in the evenings. And so I don’t fall asleep until later than usual. I miss my solid eight hours.

The most popular question I get asked during the third trimester is: Do you feel movement? This question always gets me, especially when it’s from people I hardly know. And what if I didn’t? Am I going to tell you about it? But yes, the babies are moving. Actually, I hardly feel the girl because she’s nestled further back, but I go through so many ultrasounds that I know that she’s right on track. The boy is very active. He kicks and jabs, and my whole tummy jolts during one of his many soccer goal attempts. He’s clearly in training for the US National Soccer Team because I don’t know why else he would kick so hard in there.

The fun parts: We’ve picked names. I’m not going to tell you what they are though. Shhh…it’s bad luck to tell you before they’re born. Isn’t that such a tease? We’ve been decorating the babies’ room. Well, now there’s just a bunch of boxes sitting there. But we’ve painted, and Lior installed lighting over the weekend. The better to see them during 3 am feedings.

Here’s the deal: No one really prepares you for all that’s involved with getting pregnant. Actually, I’m not sure that you can prepare someone for all of this. There are so many emotional and physical ups and downs. I’ve never worried so much in my entire life and been so excited at the same time. I can’t wait to meet them, but at the same time, I’m freaking out about how we’re going to handle it all. I feel like a slow-moving cow with a very big belly, but at the same time, everyone’s telling me how great I look. People see a pregnant lady and are blinded by the pregnancy glow and stop seeing clearly.

Pregnancy is like the ultimate dichotomy, the yin and yang of life, opposing forces, a Star Wars flick where good and evil battle it out. Okay, maybe I'm going a bit too far here with my metaphors.

But life isn’t black or white. Just as nothing in life is either good or bad. Everything is just what it is. So perhaps pregnancy is the ultimate lesson in acceptance and being present?

I know I feel good physically – even during this third trimester – when I’m doing yoga or sitting in the sun listening to the birds chirp. I’ve been calling both my therapy. I know that I feel my best emotionally when I’m writing. Not so coincidentally, these are also my most present moments, when I'm in the zone.

In instructor Shiva Rea’s prenatal yoga video, which I have been doing a couple times a week, she says that pregnancy and motherhood are the ultimate opportunity to practice presence. She continues by saying that being a parent is the ultimate lesson in presence - with your children. Yoga, in her view, prepares you for that. I agree with her.

Seems to me that the process of pregnancy is preparation for what’s to come, not only in getting the nursery together, picking names, and learning all you need to know to care for an infant. The third trimester is a chance to practice presence under physical and emotional duress. And I know I feel better when I do.

The lesson is figuring out when you feel present and then incorporating it into your day as often as you can. You'll be grateful you did.

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