My Pregnancy Journey: Heartburn, Itchy Feet And Other Third Trimester ChallengesBy Nikki Igbo
Published: September 1, 2015
At 35 weeks, it’s safe to say that pregnancy has made an indelible impression upon my soul. This journey to safely transport a new spirit from the mystery realm into this reality has been a constant reminder that life is a serious, though often comical, matter. I suppose if men were to experience even a single day of pregnancy, the world would be a much safer place. For those women who have ever carried a life within them yet still hold malice or contempt for any fellow being, I seriously question their humanity. Motherhood, which first begins with pregnancy, has so far reminded me that I am indeed responsible for something far greater than myself. No matter what that responsibility entails, there is no turning back. As such, during this final stretch of my pregnancy, that responsibility includes some seriously crazy stuff.
Let’s begin with the heartburn. Whereas the first trimester was a battle to keep anything down and the second trimester was a battle to keep from stuffing myself silly, this trimester is a reconciliation of the food I want to eat with the limited space I have in which to put it. A combination of hormones and a nearly 5 pound fetus prevents anything I eat from simply making its merry way through my digestive system. Instead, I eat and then I belch for the next hour, and then, if I even think of reclining, my chest and throat catch fire with the acid bubbling within…which sometimes causes vomiting. I rely on antacid to get me through each night. Recently I’ve discovered that if I consume my meals with a carbonated beverage then the bubbles somehow help to keep my meals flowing in the right direction with far less belching.
Oh, and then there’s the carpal tunnel syndrome. Though I play the piano and guitar and am a professional writer, I’ve never had a single issue with pain in my hands or wrists until this moment in my life. Turns out that the swelling and fluid retention that comes with carrying a child can also cause this happy little nerve-racking symptom. To cope, I make very ginger movements with my hands and wrists. The pain is, well, painful but at least I come off as being incredibly graceful in my hand gestures.
And let’s not forget the PUPPP (or the pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). I have on my feet and between my fingers. Apparently I belong to incredibly lucky one percent of pregnant women who develop this itchy yet harmless rash during their final trimester which can only be cured by actually giving birth. I find that a healthy application of cortisone cream relieves some of the itching but otherwise I just have to keep my mind off of my feet and fight the urge to remove the top layer of my dermis with my fingernails.
Finally, though my son has always been quite the mover throughout my pregnancy, I think he still feels as if he’s the little guy he was during my fifth and sixth months. Therefore he regularly stretches and kicks and punches and flicks as if he has an unlimited amount of space in which to do so. He often stretches his arms and legs simultaneously in four different directions. He isn’t just a constant pressure on my bladder; the little chief like to use his tiny digits to really poke this particular organ of mine which is an exquisitely painful sensation. And don’t let me or my husband put on any Soca music. That’s just asking for a most uncomfortable dance party in my belly. Yet despite my baby’s rough and tumble play or his physical protestations when he wants me to sleep on my left side instead of my right, I can’t help but love that he’s obviously a strong little guy.
I guess that all of these symptoms plus the fact that I have magically turned into a round caricature of myself are supposed to be a distraction from the event of childbirth itself. It is working to an extent though I do ask myself what I’ve gotten myself into on occasion.
Every time I respond to someone inquiring as to how far along I am, that person is quick to remind me of the inevitable pain I will experience. Fine. It’s going to hurt. But I’d much rather experience that temporary physical pain than the months of emotional pain I experienced after my miscarriages. It’s my responsibility to know that physical pain and appreciate it. It’s my responsibility to never forget that the business of life requires challenging work. It’s my responsibility to never ever undervalue the gift I’ve been so fortunate to receive. I welcome the challenge.
Don’t miss out on Nikki’s pregnancy journey. Check out the previous articles here: Part 1: From 2 Miscarriages to Positivity, Part 2: Pregnancy Worries, Fears and Prenatal Results, Part 3: A Few Notes About My Unborn Son’s Personality, Part 4: Recognizing The Exquisite Gift of New Life, Part 5: Hunger, Fatique and Looming Concerns of Parenting, Part 6: Pregnancy and Dealing with Inescapable Fatigue, Part 7: The Painful Realities of the Miscarriage Experience, Part 8: Musings on My Life As An Egg with Limbs.
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