Being Pregnant in the time of COVID-19 Pandemic: Third Trimester

Third Trimester

We’re in the final stretch!

I know several women who did not enjoy being pregnant, and honestly, going into it, I expected myself to be one of them. Surprisingly I loved being pregnant. Or at least I loved the first 30 weeks of it. The last 11 weeks were very uncomfortable, but I think this may have more to do with the fact that I was in the last trimester during the warm and humid summer days. If I had the last trimester in winter, I would have been more comfortable and probably would have continued to enjoy the pregnancy with full gusto.

The main reason why I loved being pregnant is that I had an easy pregnancy. The baby grew and I never received news where I had to be concerned about the baby. I barely experienced any morning sickness. I received fantastic care from my doctors. I didn’t develop gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. Other than the few hours where I had the pregnancy scare, I didn’t experience anything worrying or had any problems.

The other reason is that I enjoyed my time off from running. In retrospect, I think I was slightly burned out from training. I loved not running and taking things easy. If I felt like exercising, then I went out for an easy walk in the park.

Glucose Test

I got this done at the beginning of the third trimester. The glucose test is to see if you develop gestational diabetes. I wasn’t looking forward to the glucose drink because I had heard how awful tasting it was. It wasn’t bad actually. It tasted like flat orange soda. I wouldn’t volunteer to drink it again, but not the worst tasting thing in the world. I think I got the results a week later, and I didn’t have gestational diabetes.

Belly Size and Baby Activity

I looked like a beluga whale. I was ginormous. I’m not exaggerating. While it didn’t look like I was having twins, it was very close. While I loved being pregnant for the first 30 weeks, I was less in love with it for the last trimester. I was very uncomfortable and it was really hot and humid in NYC. I was constantly short of breath and fatigued. I remember I had to walk a half block and by the time I reached my destination, I thought I was going to pass out from the lack of oxygen. I was constantly gasping for air (whenever I went to the hospital, one of the COVID screening questions was if I experiencing shortness of breath, I never knew if I was supposed to answer yes, because I was, or no, because I probably didn’t have COVID).

Also by this time the baby was very active, which also contributed to my discomfort. Especially when his kicks and punches (and boy, was there a lot of them!) hit my bladder and lungs. I constantly felt the urge to pee and it felt like I needed to go very badly, only to literally have a couple of drops come out. It’s so weird feeling like your bladder is bursting, only to have practically nothing coming out.

The baby liked to sleep all day and stir awake in the early evening. Then he would get quiet again until 2 am. Then from 2 am to 4 am, it was party time. I would usually wake up from all the movements. Then he would get sleepy again and stop, which would be when I fall asleep again. I didn’t mind his nocturnal movements because it gave me comfort that he was doing well and because I wasn’t working so I could always sleep in or take a nap in the afternoon.

The Last Five Weeks

Starting around Week 36, OB-GYNs at my clinic sent me to get monitored weekly at the hospital where I was going to give birth. Because I was a high-risk pregnancy case, I had to get a weekly non-stress test, which monitored the baby to ensure everything was going well. Electrodes are placed on the belly and I’m there for 15-30 minutes for the actual monitoring. The fun part of these weekly visit is that the nurse asks you to confirm your identity by asking you for the year of your birth. I was ALWAYS the oldest patient. By a long shot. Occasionally there would be someone whose birth year was in the early 80s, but usually the mothers were born in the 90s or late 80s. The fist time I heard someone say a year in the 90s, I thought to myself, “Hey, I was in high school that year! What is a child doing having a baby?” Then I did the math in my head and realized that the “child’s age” was a perfectly reasonable one to be having a baby. Anyway, whenever I said my year, there was always a double take or a long hard stare at me because no one saw someone who was born in the 70s coming.

By this time friends and family were antsy about me having a baby and knew “it could be happening at any moment.” Knowing my history, I was quite sure that the baby was going to arrive after 40 weeks.

As you know I was enormous and I don’t mean this in a “of course, I’m enormous, I’m in the third trimester.” I was enormous because I had polyhydramnios, excess amniotic fluid, which occurs in 1-2% of pregnancies. And I also had a giant baby growing inside me. The technicians were montired me would give me estimates of the baby’s size, looked at me (not big except for the belly) and then ask if the father was a football player (not really, but I could tell that’s what they wanted to ask). Between the giant baby and the excess amniotic fluid, I developed a HUGE belly.

Because polyhydramnios can cause complications and again, I was of advanced maternal age, I got lots and lots of monitoring in the the final weeks. Ben and I prepared for the baby’s arrival. The nursery was set up. I packed for the hospital. I made arrangements for Bandit to go to one of her favorite sitters for when I went into labor. The sitter was very happy to take Bandit in at a moment’s notice and keep her as long as we needed her too.

At Week 38, I went to the hospital twice a week for monitoring. At Week 39, the doctor said that if I didn’t go into labor the following week, then they wanted to induce me at 41 weeks. I was fine with that plan. I really love that the clinic and the doctors I had believe in minimal intervention because based upon what I read, many OBGYNs try to induce older mothers before 40 weeks because they don’t want to risk having last minute complications. I love that my doctors let me have more than 40 weeks to see if I went into labor naturally.

Week 40, there was no baby.

Week 41, I went in for the usual monitoring. It was not the usual visit.

Next post will be the birth story!

7 thoughts on “Being Pregnant in the time of COVID-19 Pandemic: Third Trimester

  1. I was not one of those people who loved being pregnant. I had morning sickness through most of the 2nd semester and was super-sensitive to many smells through the 3rd semester, which would make me gag. I was constantly starving and I mean STARVING even though I was eating every 2 hours. I was pregnant through the hot, humid summer and developed carpal tunnel syndrome and had so much extra fluid on me despite drinking water, elevating my feet, wearing compression hose, walking, and doing everything else my doctor said to. I could go on, but I think you get the gist. I should say, I absolutely was astounded by the miracle of everything but still, I was not just glowing in bliss.

    • Oh, yeah, if I had even half of what you experienced I would have hated pregnancy too. The experience of being pregnant is idiosyncratic. Even the second pregnancy in the same woman can go quite differently!

  2. So interesting, I love reading these posts! I’ve never heard of polyhydramnios. If I saw a very large pregnant belly I would probably just assume it was twins or triplets, as most people probably do. Also I remember how in high school it felt so young to be born in 1974. Time is weird.

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