Week 24: Back Aches and Belly Envy

Lower back pain is now my near-constant companion.


In the last four weeks since the previous blog, what I've noticed most is that my pregnancy symptoms seem to be amping up a bit. Still minor overall, but here's an example: At 22 weeks pregnant, my emotions bubbled up. I found myself suddenly crying three different times out of nowhere, including right in the middle of my first HypnoBirthing class. Talk about unexpected. Up to then, my emotions had stayed pretty true to my personality, which is even-keeled most of the time.

About halfway through the 3-hour class, the instructor asked everyone in the room to share who they planned to have in the birthing room with them. I was completely fine—right up until it was my turn to speak. I said that, of course, James (Finn's dad) would be there, but also my sister Melanie and my 6 year-old niece Olivia would be there, visiting all the way from Virginia. That's when I lost it.

I was there for Olivia's birth in 2007, which was made even more special because we were never sure Melanie would be able to have a baby, due to a congenital heart defect. The pregnancy was considered high risk even though she was only 30 years old, but thankfully everything turned out just fine. Olivia came a couple of weeks early and was a tiny pea pod baby—only 4 pounds 2 ounces—but they let us take her home just two days later and she has thrived ever since.

When it came to me, the older sister (I'm 7 years older than Melanie), we weren't sure I'd ever have a baby, at first, simply because it took me a really long time to find a good guy to have one with. Then, it took a little over a year of trying, then not trying, for it to finally happen. Now that it is, indeed, happening and coming closer every day, the realization that Melanie and Olivia will both get to share the most special time in my life with me is joyously overwhelming. I just didn't think it would hit me like it did, in the middle of my first birth class.

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Also around 22 weeks, literally overnight, I woke up with lower back pain that is now my near-constant companion. I'm OK during the day when I'm up and moving about a lot, but when I first get up after laying down or sitting for a while, it aches! Every time! I assume that my expanding belly is causing me to overarch my lower back without me realizing that I'm doing it. I have been walking regularly, including some hills, but I have not been doing my prenatal yoga or Pilates videos much at all. I need to make those part of my routine; I'm sure I will feel better if I do.

Watch now: Cat/Cow Yoga Pose To Ease Back Pain >>

Little Finn is moving a lot these days, and I still find it hard to believe there's actually a baby inside me. But there's no denying it; my bump has finally debuted. It's one of the biggest moments I have been waiting for since I first found out I was pregnant. Now that it's here, I'm both happy about it, and perplexed by it. I've also developed a case of belly envy. Mine is not the cute round beach-ball belly I dreamed of (and that the other women in my birthing class have); it has more of a slightly oblong shape to it, and there's still a faint indentation of my old waistline. It looks ok in clothing, but when I look at it naked, it definitely weirds me out a bit.

I'm not dwelling on it, though. Too many other things to do, like concentrate on growing a happy, healthy boy. Part of that: Indulging in a little bit of dark chocolate a few times a week. Apparently, chocolate that is 70% or higher in cacao has beneficial antioxidants and a substance that has cardiovascular benefits, thought to reduce risk of preeclampsia. I've also heard now from two different people (a friend, and my HypnoBirth instructor) that having a little bit of dark chocolate regularly helps make happier babies. Apparently, there are real studies that back this up. Woo hoo!

My plans for the next couple of weeks as I head into the third trimester (already-wow) are focusing on creating a soothing birthing day playlist to listen to while I'm in labor, and making my list of must-have's for the hospital. I know I want to bring some flameless tea light candles and luminary bags to place around the room, a yoga mat (to roll up and place under my knees if I want to lay over the ball for a while), my favorite pillow and my own comfy pj's. Next month, James and I will be taking a one-time mandatory water birth class at the hospital that I am really looking forward to.

For now, I'm entertaining myself by watching videos of water Hypnobirths on YouTube. Never ending fun.

Read more: Here's what's happening during Week 24 of your pregnancy >>