Nine Months Pregnant: What's it really like?

Ever wonder what being nine months pregnant really feels like? In my pre-baby days, a passing thought might have run through my mind but I really can't remember. I know I was curious about what it felt like to be pregnant in general, but the notion of being 36 to 40 weeks pregnant would've been something beyond my realm of comprehension. 

My first time being nine months pregnant was certainly not a time I recall fondly. By 8 months along, my feet had swollen to elephantine proportions. I actually didn't recognize them when I would crane my neck over my giant belly to see them. I was living in the northeast and it was late October. That year we had a really bad snowstorm - a very early one for Pennsylvania - and none of my shoes or boots fit over my enlarged feet or newly formed cankles. Luckily, I suppose, I was emitting so much heat from every orifice that wearing flip flops wasn't that bad (once the snow melted of course).  Another ailment I suffered from was excruciating pain in the backs of my hands. Every morning I would wake up and have to massage my hands tills the pain subsided. And speaking of pain, my back just couldn't handle the weight and to be honest, the longest walk I could take without getting winded was from the sofa to the TV. That's what happens with a 60-plus pound weight gain I guess. 

Then there were the times I attempted shopping in my ninth month. One Saturday, I drove to the shopping mall, went to one store, then had to sit down on a bench for 10 minutes. After repeating that a few times I decided to just go home. I recall vividly another shopping excursion at a strip mall in which after a visit to one store, I walked into Bath and Body Works and asked for a chair. I sat there for half an hour talking to the staff before I could even get off my butt to shop!

Fast forward 2.5 years. Here I am again. But this time, it's completely different. I carry my nearly 30 pound daughter around and barely notice. My feet look nice. While I've gained significant weight, the only noticeable place is my belly. Sure, my boots don't fit over my calves right now, but I live in a warm climate so I can leave them in my closet and not think about what outfits are missing out on such fine footwear. My hands and back are no worse for the wear and I certainly wouldn't get winded in a shopping mall (not that I get to many with my daughter in tow) or walking to turn on the TV. 

How much of the vast differences can be attributed to the sex of the baby? (This time it's a boy). Or the climate? Or just the pregnancy itself? Although I don't have the answers, I can say this definitively: Being nine months pregnant is not easy physically or mentally. 

Aside from the aches and pains or worse, you are trying to wrap your brain around the fact that in a few short weeks you will be taking a newborn baby home with you. You may be worried how that baby is going to exit you and enter the world as well. Is your birth plan going to work? What if you are one of the 33% of moms who have a c section? 

The thing to remember through all of the anxiety provoking moments of the ninth month is that you're on the home stretch. You've come so far. You've grown a baby inside you and he or she is just hanging out to get a bit bigger before making a grand entrance. Give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath and try to pamper yourself a bit. You've spent the last 3/4 of a year worrying about the person inside you. Take 5 for you now. You'll feel refreshed and ready to take on the changes coming your way.