I may be 26 weeks pregnant, but my body believes my third trimester arrived three days ago. It came on like a ton of bricks- one day, I felt great, and the next, WHAM! I was exhausted from pushing Tye in the stroller a few blocks, every time I bent over to pick up one of the million items on the floor my belly and back hurt, and by the end of the day, my entire body felt absolutely exhausted, despite my afternoon nap. With only a week and a half until I officially enter the third trimester, my body isn't that far off. I just wasn't expecting those typical third trimester symptoms until, well, the third trimester. Fortunately, I've been surrounded by gentle reminders to appreciate every day of this pregnancy, and I'm truly working on that.
I'm forever grateful just to be pregnant. Today, October 15th, marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day with special meaning to me. Almost three years ago, I had an ectopic pregnancy that ended in emergency surgery to remove my ruptured fallopian tube. The devastation of losing a pregnancy is hard to describe and rarely discussed publicly, as if miscarrying is shameful. I found, though, that by talking openly about our experience, I was introduced to a flood of other women who had lost a pregnancy and even more stories of hope. I learned that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage (1 in 3 by some estimates), which helped ease my own feelings of guilt. Remembering how fortunate I am to have become pregnant with one fallopian tube, and to still be pregnant, being grateful comes easily.
As my pregnancy progresses, I'm thankful for each day that Baby Girl stays inside me. Much as I did with Tye, I'm reminding this babe daily to "Stay inside until January," our pregnancy mantra. Some days, I feel as though everywhere I turn, I encounter another story of a premature birth. A friend just told me of a sorority sister who delivered her twins at 24 weeks. Loving, concerned friends and family members reminded Tyler and me that I shouldn't be lifting anything heavy during the move, or better yet, shouldn't lift anything (and Tyler has been fabulous, helping me throughout). With at least three close friends who delivered prematurely immediately following a move, moving was a real concern for us, and one we continue to take seriously (the boxes aren't gone yet!). I'm thankful that we've progressed into a portion of the pregnancy in which Baby Girl would possibly survive if she was born, but even more, I'm grateful for every day she remains safely in utero.
I'm also reminding myself to treasure this pregnancy because there's a chance it could be my last. Though right now, I can say I would like another child someday, I don't know what the future holds for our family. To assume I'll be pregnant again would also rely on me becoming pregnant again, an uncertain venture for any couple. When I think about the possibility that this could be my last time experiencing pregnancy, I can't help but cherish each day.
Since she learned we'd be moving, my dear friend Ines has been wishing for me to find peace after the move so I could just enjoy being pregnant. Now that the chaos is beginning to calm, I'm able to concentrate on my connection with Baby Girl and finally realize Ines' hope for me, something I didn't realize how much I needed. All these reminders of how fortunate we are aren't going wasted, either. I'm grateful for the conception and safe continuation of this pregnancy, and for the wonderfully easy second trimester with which I was blessed when I needed it most. When my continuously changing body requires me to slow down now, I'll gladly use the extra time to be present in the moment, enjoy the beauty of today, and say a little prayer of thanks.