6 – Traipsing into the third

Its time for the next update from Ducky and me. Its been quite a few weeks since the last post as Ducky and I took a break from everything just so that we could focus on each other and our bonding.

First of all, I had written before that I started the third trimester from the 24th week. I didn’t realise that it starts only from the 27th week. In my mind I added 12 + 12 and landed up with 24….Anyway another learning in a very long series of them.

Secondly, I had mentioned that I would write about our plans to make Ducky’s life eco-friendly right from the beginning, but so many exciting things have happened in the last few weeks that I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Ducky is packing on the grams and growing stronger every day. Her kicks, jabs and punches are falling into a pattern – she loves to move around when she hears my voice as I counsel my counselees or when I am sitting down just after eating something. And of course, she’s the most active when I am resting / sleeping. I believe that this is her way of training me for the time when she enters this world and will be keeping me awake every few hours.

She’s grown big enough that there is not enough space for her to somersault anymore, but she loves to roll. It’s such a funny feeling when she rolls inside – it feels like my stomach is going gudugudu, like when it is upset – when infact it is just Ducky rolling around. There have been several instances when I’ve had to differentiate between Ducky just rolling and me having to go to the loo.

Her movements are powerful enough to be felt by others now. Occasionally she moves with such force that the movements can also be seen. It was hilarious the first time I saw my belly move like that – I didn’t know what to make of it for the first few seconds. This is very different from the little hills created by her kicks and punches. Here, the whole belly suddenly moves in a particular direction or is lifted up, like Ducky has put in all her strength into this one movement. WOW!! Is all that I can say. I am really curious about what Ducky is upto when I feel all these various movements – Is she kicking, is she shifting around, is she moving her arms and flexing her newly formed muscles, is she boxing, is she dancing, is she peeing, is she yawning, is she stretching, is she covering her face with her hands, is she cycling with her legs – so many possibilities. Imagining all of this just makes me fall more in love with this tiny being that we have created.

I’ve got to say that feeling Ducky’s movements is the most precious part of the pregnancy. I’m sure that those of you who have been through a pregnancy will agree. It is awe-inspiring and electrifying to be reminded with these movements that we are nurturing this tiny life within us. When Ducky’s movements wake me up in the middle of the night, when all is quiet around, it feels like our private bonding time and a strong connection is already being formed. I thoroughly love these times when Ducky and I converse about how much I look forward to seeing her in a few weeks, and not a moment before that. Even though this means that I am unable to sleep 3-4 hours at a stretch, I would not exchange these enrapturing experiences for a full night’s sleep. After all going through this pregnancy (and being able to focus more or less exclusively on the pregnancy) is a once in a lifetime experience. I can always catch up on my sleep after a few years – yes, I am well aware that it can take that long to get a full night’s uninterrupted sleep.

And it is only us, as the mothers, that are responsible for the baby’s growth in these 9 months. The 9 months of pregnancy is the time of the greatest growth spurt that an individual goes through in their lifetime. From a mere dot to more than 50 cms (about 1/3rd to 1/4th of the adult height), it is truly amazing what our bodies are capable of. No wonder there is so much of halla-bulla around a pregnant woman and the kind of care she receives through the pregnancy – both physical and mental.

Continuing to describe size, I am quite delighted that I have started to waddle and that I’ve reached the stage where I need help cutting my toe nails – my belly has grown so much that I can’t bend over it any more. Thankfully my mother and husband are on hand to do the needful. With my ever expanding belly, my centre of gravity is changing too as is my spatial orientation and I am having to be more aware of where I am going. I ensure that I keep myself very active and am as flexible as I can be at this state. Ducky has helped me significantly in this regard. She does not allow me to slouch or sit in any awkward positions. Standing erect and sitting with my back straight are the only postures that she is okay with and this has helped negate any backache that I may have had at this point. Actually I am quite surprised at how agile I am feeling at this point. Of course, this is bound to change over the next few weeks as Chaplu papa (my pet name for Ducky) reaches her full potential.

Being a counsellor, I’ve got to talk about the mental side of things. Stress is very harmful at this stage and I am really lucky to have all the family around me ensure that as little stress comes my way as possible. Not only that, I am making sure that I surround myself with happenings that keep me happy, fulfilled and very satisfied with life. I am also making sure that I do not excessively worry about anything, from the endless possibilities of what may go wrong to the labour and delivery. I believe that having a gynaecologist as a mother has been a wonderful boon, as I know I just have to tell her what I am feeling / going through and she takes care of figuring out what it is, what has to be done and takes on the worrying portion on my behalf. Both her explanations and my doctor’s are also very easy to understand and it is very reassuring to hear from them that all is going well. Amma has also explained in detail as to what some of the signs to watch out are and that understanding makes my life a lot easier.

Just in the third trimester, Ducky is scheduled to grow about 20 cms. Knowing this has helped me understand my increasing hunger pangs so much better. I’ve got to add that Ducky, my stomach and my brain are doing excellent coordination. Sometimes I feel a flurry of kicks from Chaplu papa along with images of food floating around in my mind – this is my cue to immediately eat something, whether I am feeling hungry or not. Chaplu papa has learnt to move around vigorously for a continuous few minutes if she is hungry. If I do not cooperate and eat something in the following 10 minutes, a bout of nausea overtakes me (just like those horrible first trimester days). Hunger rules the schedule for my day.

I eat an average of 10 small meals a day and am so glad that I don’t have any weird cravings. The only craving I have is for variety – Chaplu papa likes to eat different foods at each meal, and I’ve now become a pro at planning out a vast, yummy and nutritious menu. I have never had any trouble eating the same item over a few meals, so this sense of dissatisfaction is new to me. No doubt that this is part of Chaplu papa’s influence on me – after all, there is two way traffic between Ducky and me. I’m glad I’m still able to cook and enjoy making various things for myself and the family. And most importantly, I am very grateful to the fact that I have the opportunity to eat such a wide variety of nutritious food.

I’m really thrilled that Ducky has grown so big that she is pushing around all my organs, which is, of course, causing all sorts of associated discomforts. My intestines were one of the first organs to get squashed and I feel just like my 2 year old nephew – as soon as some food input happens, output has to happen immediately to make space for the new food. I’m finding this sensation absolutely hilarious!!! There have been times when I’ve had to excuse myself during meals, counselling sessions (so embarrassing) and meetings to evacuate as I no longer can control or hold things in.

There are times when Ducky’s movements feel like she is tap dancing on my bladder (especially in the night when I am sleeping on one side). As Chaplu papa grows bigger I can only imagine that it will feel like the whole cast of Riverdance is tapping away on my bladder, increasing the sense of urgency all the more.

Another subtle but unexpected change in my body over the last few months is that my pee has started to smell strongly!!! The bathroom has definitely become my new best friend. A huge plus point of visiting the loo so many times is that the number of times I practice keagel’s movements has increased. I prefer to practice these movements when I am peeing, as my muscles tense completely and therefore it is very effective. I am feeling more relieved everyday that I took the call to take a break from full time work and am able to take care of all of these needs from the comfort of my home.

The next effect of this trimester is tiredness. It sticks to me like a leech – I am able to shake it off for a few hours and then it’s back with a vengeance. However I don’t begrudge the rest that my body is asking for, considering that it is nurturing and bringing to life another human being inside.

Another funny thing that is happening to me is that I am having lots of dreams – and most of them are as strange as falling down the rabbit hole in Alice and Wonderland and landing up at the tea party. I’ve read that around this time babies start dreaming too and this could be a reason for the magnification of my la-la land time…Also my memory feels like a sieve – it retains very little information and sends most of it out of my mind. Lets leave the phenomenon of forgetting information as we cross doors, I just have to take a few steps to have forgotten what thought I had.

As I was putting together what I would need in the hospital for the delivery, it struck me that I have not appreciated not having to go through my periods for the last 7 months. Even though I use a menstrual cup and periods are not a messy affair, it has been a blessing not to keep an eye on when my period will start and dealing with the mild cramps.

With all of this going on, there is no doubt that I have said bye bye to the honeymoon period of the second trimester and hello to the achy wakey phase of the third trimester. 

Well, the countdown for meeting Ducky face to face has started – we have reached the single digits in terms of weeks to D day – and it is a very exciting and nerve-wracking time. I am so eager to see Chaplu papa that I am bouncing in anticipation for THE day – however I temper this by reminding myself that Ducky has a few more critical weeks of growth in my womb. I am quite sure that I will miss my baby bump and these incredible sensations when this part of the journey comes to an end. Until then, I am savouring every moment, etching some of these memories firmly into my mind and­ grinning through all the discomforts of this phase too.

So cherio for now. Take care and stay safe as the pandemic rages on. Ducky and I will send you our next update soon.

p.s. – A reminder that I use the feminine form of address for my foetus – as he is within the word she. We won’t know the sex of our baby until it’s birth

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