Ahh third trimester, I’ve heard so much about you my friend, and now you’re here, the home stretch, the finish line in sight. Now my second trimester wasn’t the easiest thanks to hospital stays, unique conditions and other little unforeseen anomalies, but the whole time I was warned that what was to come was a completely different ball game. A new level of tiredness, new types of aches and pains, and somehow despite the warnings I decided to still be part of a show that had it’s production, technical and performance weeks just as the dreaded third trimester really gets going. I knew it meant long days, I knew it meant a lot of standing around under hot lights, in summary…what was I playing at?!! Luckily I have a chair and a sick bucket constantly in the wings, the most supportive cast and crew imaginable making it ten times easier, not to mention my husband as part of the management team looking after me in such a fantastic way. I love the theatre and the type of person that gets involved with theatre so although it’s a ridiculous decision to have made, I wouldn’t change it really. Anyway, I digress….
The third trimester has definitely brought it’s individual charms to the table, allow me to list them before they disappear from my brain, which leads me nicely to;
1) Baby brain really steps up a gear – the golden days of accidentally taking two handbags out with me are a fond memory, at least they would be if I remembered them…these days, I count myself lucky if I get to the end of a sentence without needing a prompt.
2) I used to go jogging and played netball three times a week, and I’m quite competitive so I always gave it my all (I’m 100% enthusiasm 40% skill, anyone with a height of 5’4″ was always going to be slightly disadvantaged!) but even then, the aching I wake up to and carry round in the day pales my previous physical exertion efforts into insignificance. There are muscles I didn’t know I had, but now they’re here, and they’re strained!
3) If I drop something on the floor now, that’s where it lives end of story. Hell half the time, if I sit on the floor, I’m happy to commit to that for the day, or at least until I get helped back up. I dropped my handbag in the toilets in Stratford last weekend and seriously considered the value of the items inside before deciding to bend over and retrieve it. It’s not graceful, it’s not comfortable and I now need to make a noise to get up from a chair…
4) The level of exhaustion has tripled, I am shattered all the time! My eyes now only bother opening halfway just in case there’s time for an extended blink that they can consider a sneaky nap. However…the unfortunate flipside of this is…
5) …my whale sized stomach doesn’t get comfortable easily and consequently doesn’t make for a good nights sleep. I’m tossing and turning all night, unable to lie on my front or back and therefore having to heave myself onto each side, with joints clicking in protest and knees suddenly inexplicably in the way, not to mention the ache in my hips from the extra weight on them! As you can imagine, I’m a delight to share a bed with.
The list could go on but you get the graceful, unattractive picture. I have embraced the look of a manatee, and just let the third trimester do it’s thing, there’s really nothing else for it, I don’t have the energy to fight against it if I wanted to.
The trade off is that we only have 9 or 10 weeks left and at the end of that we are going to meet the tiny little person that makes every single moment of this journey worthwhile. Even now I know I’ll look back on the pregnancy nostalgically, I already think misty eyed of the evening my husband and I spent singing Disney songs to bump as we watched the movements visible for the first time when I was in the bath. We already laugh about the panic pit stops on our way to the theatre, frantically yelling, ‘a bag, a bag, I need a bag!’ It’s true what they say about falling in love with your partner all over again as you get closer and closer to becoming a family. Don’t get me wrong, there have been downs, ‘do you HAVE to breathe so loudly?!’ , ‘I just really wanted my toast in triangles and I feel like you should know that!’ Or the really recent ‘I want a cuddle but when you touch me I’m too itchy, can you just PLEASE sort that out somehow.’ Those crazy moments that are equally part of the process.
So yes, the third trimester is a fickle mistress and one that does really roundhouse kick you in the face (metaphorically speaking of course..!) and I’ve managed to add in an extremely busy schedule to mine; but I can honestly say I prefer it to the second trimester scares. My sickness has stayed throughout the entire pregnancy and that has definitely not been fun, but the majority of things, you know are all part of that crazy magical journey of baby growing! So it’s the toughest thing I’ve done so far but I sit here in the firm knowledge that it only gets tougher, and I’m ready for it, I’m even managing to enjoy it. Although maybe baby brain helps with that, the bad times are even shorter lived than they would have been previously, and you have to focus on other things…such as how I’ve managed to end up in the car after rehearsal still wearing my maids bonnet, with no shoes, and somebody else’s jumper…