In this final instalment of my Trimester Diaries, I share my experiences of the third trimester. This includes information about my now breech baby and what that means for our birth plan. Welcome to the third and final blog post in the series, Pregnancy Diary: Third Trimester.
I decided to start this blog series to share my pregnancy experiences in each trimester. If you haven’t read the other blog posts yet, you can read the first trimester one here and the second trimester one here.
So, let’s crack on!
Why not check out the vlog version of this blog post below? Then head on over to our YouTube channel to watch other vlogs in this series!
Pregnancy Diary: Third Trimester
Third Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
Being perfectly honest, the third trimester hasn’t been as bad as I was expecting it to be. There have been a few difficult weeks here and there for various reasons. However, as I’ve been on maternity leave for the most part, I’ve been able to relax and put my feet up.
One thing I have struggled with is fatigue paired with insomnia. I’d be really tired at night but totally unable to sleep. At some points, I was getting four hours’ sleep a night. I’d wake up feeling exhausted, and then repeat that again the following night. Thankfully, it only lasted a few weeks, but it was awful.
I developed mild PGP (pelvic girdle pain) and had to have a consultation with a physiotherapist. They sent me a pregnancy brace to help support my bump when I was walking or cleaning the house – basically any time I felt I needed a bit of help during physical activity.
One thing that’s become noticeably worse in the third trimester is heartburn. As the baby gets bigger, my poor vital organs are running out of room. Then, when you pair this with some lovely bruised ribs, it all gets a bit uncomfortable! The heartburn has been making me feel sick sometimes too, which isn’t pleasant.
My bump growth in the third trimester has been so quick! This has been the only trimester where every weekly photo looks different. My bump still looks ‘neat’ and is relatively compact. I get comments all the time along those lines, but I still feel massive. I’ve definitely reached the stage where I am ready to not be pregnant anymore!
The baby has been so hiccupy in this trimester. I can feel them really strongly now, and they happen about three times a day. I’ve been trying to rub what I think is it’s back to help but I have no idea if it’s actually helping or not!
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As space becomes more of a luxury, the baby’s movements have become less kick-like and more like readjustments of limbs and stretching out. This has been really painful in places, and sometimes causes sciatica in my leg to flare up. In some cases, I’ve had to stop what I’m doing and breathe through the movements. The third trimester hurts a lot more than I thought it would!
At some point between my 32 and 36 week midwife appointment, the baby decided to turn breech (head up). This has thrown up a whole lot of questions and options for Sam and I to work through, which we obviously weren’t expecting.
If I’m honest, I wasn’t surprised when the midwife said she thought it was breech. For a few weeks beforehand, I’d been saying to Sam that the movements were different. I had been getting a lot of painful activity down in my pelvis that I just thought were hands and arms. Turns out, they were feet and legs. Plus, my ribs have been in so much agony because an actual human head is wedged underneath them. It all makes a lot of sense in hindsight!
Breech Delivery Options
At the 36 week appointment, me and my midwife had spent about 20 minutes chatting through my home birth plans. Within a matter of minutes, all of that had disappeared.
Home births aren’t recommended for breech babies in case of anything going wrong. Of course, it’s my choice and if I wanted to push for it, I could. However, as I haven’t experienced labour or birth before, I just don’t feel confident going for a breech birth – whether at home or in the hospital.
The other option was to have an ECV – External Cephalic Version. This is where they try to manipulate your baby from the outside by pressing down on your bump to encourage it to move into a head down position.
It’s only successful 50% of the time. Plus, because we realised quite late in the day that the baby was upside down, it just didn’t sit right with me. Some women just find it uncomfortable, and others have to take gas and air to get through the procedure. It didn’t sound appealing, and the baby can always turn back around afterwards too!
So, the other option was to opt for an elective cesarean.
This is obviously the total opposite of the calm, hands-off home water birth Sam and I had been planning for literally nine months. I spent the first week trying to logically process this all. In the second week, the emotions caught up to me and I couldn’t stop crying.
This option is full of uncertainties, and it is no ‘easy way out’. The recovery is hard, and the implications for future pregnancies and labour needs to be thought about carefully.
I am now considered ‘high risk’ just because the baby is breech. Even though both of us are still just as healthy as we’ve always been. However, it’s the option we have decided to go with.
How We Feel About It All
Being honest, it’s been difficult. This isn’t the way either of us expected this pregnancy to end. Coming to terms with the change of plan has been tough.
On the bright side, we know the day when we will get to meet our baby and finally become parents. I don’t have to worry about things like tearing or pooping during labour, but c-section recoveries can be complex and drawn out.
My advice to others in this position is to not let others make you feel as though you have just ‘given up’ by going for a c-section. Make an informed decision that is right for you. It’s your baby and your birth.
As the date of the operation quickly approaches, we’ve been getting more and more excited.
We have done NCT classes as well as the hypnobirthing classes. We really feel this has helped us to feel empowered and informed in order to make the right decisions for us and our baby.
One thing I am really unsettled over still is staying overnight on the ward without Sam. This is why we decided on a home birth in the first place. I don’t want to stay overnight in the hospital. However, I now have no choice due to needing to recover from the surgery.
Because of current restrictions, Sam can be with me in the lead up to the operation, in theatre (so long as I don’t need to have a general anaesthetic for any reason), and when I’m on the recovery ward. Once I am moved to the antenatal ward, he has to leave. Then, he can then only come back for 1 hour a day for an allocated visiting slot. We are really hoping that I am discharged the following day and can go home after one night.
My Experience of the Third Trimester and a Breech Baby
If anything, the third trimester has taught me that however much you plan, parenthood isn’t one of those things you can neatly control.
There are other factors at play, and other people involved. At the end of the day, as long as the baby is healthy and safe, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter how little one gets here. Our baby will be just as loved and just as happy.
If you’re in your final trimester now, or if your baby is breech, please feel free to get in touch!