My Third Trimester Update

Jenna Kutcher 

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October 14, 2021


It’s honestly surreal to be writing this post. This morning I opened a doc on my computer titled “Letters to my Little Bean” that I started the day I found out I was pregnant with Coco over three years ago and wrote a little letter to my children. The document has grown over the years with page after page of little notes, things I don’t want to forget, my hopes and fears as a mom, and today it hit me that I am just so close to meeting the human that will complete our family. How the heck do you prepare your heart for that? 

It’s been an incredible (and fast) journey, this pregnancy, and so I want to share some questions and takeaways I’ve been having these past few months.

Q: How is this pregnancy compared to the last one?

A: This pregnancy has gone by so fast (and also sometimes it feels like forever), and while there are so many similarities to my last one, I’m recognizing how every experience, pregnancy, and kid is different. It’s this weird nuanced space of having been through it all before while simultaneously allowing this to be a new and unknown experience. 

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m 33 this time around or what, but there’s no denying my body has felt different this time. Maybe it’s because I can’t just lay in bed and chill when I’m tired or the fact that I’m carrying around a 30-pound toddler on top of this belly, but it definitely has been a little more exhausting, and my body has been sorer this time around. I’ve had more aches in my back, the same bouts of terrible heartburn that keep me up at night, and trouble sleeping, but I also have learned new ways to cope and deal with the not-so-favorable parts of pregnancy. 

It’s been hard trying to explain to Coco that it’s challenging for mommy to lay on the floor with her or how carrying her around isn’t as easy as it used to be. She’ll ask me, “Mommy, belly hurts?” and I do my best to explain to her that it doesn’t hurt, it just makes things a little harder! She understands, but it’s already breaking my heart turning down baby #1 to protect myself (and my back, lol) and baby #2! 

Q: What has this pregnancy taught you?

A: The biggest thing I think being a mom, in general, has taught me for this season is to keep in mind that literally everything is so temporary and fleeting. When you’re pregnant, it can feel like nothing is happening or it’s all happening so slowly, but all of a sudden you wake up and your baby could come any day.

It’s taught me to not wish it away, to just stop and savor what I can, and to know the hardship (and the heartburn) will be a distant memory soon enough! I swear the whole motherhood amnesia thing is wild because I’ll experience something and suddenly remember, “Oh yeah, I remember this,” when it hadn’t crossed my mind in years.

Q: What are your birth plans?  

A: I’m going into childbirth with a very similar mindset as I did with Coco. No grand plan, just the prayer that we both are safe and healthy. I’m curious to see how this birth will unfold since I was induced with Coco (thanks for being ten days late, baby girl!), and so I never really got the whole laboring at home experience. Instead, we checked into the hospital like we were going to a hotel, knowing that we would leave with a baby. I’ll admit, there were definite perks to being induced and while it wasn’t what I would have chosen, it was the route we had to take! 

I am super open-minded when it comes to being induced or having labor come naturally, open on an epidural or not, but I am super hopeful that I can deliver vaginally again (of course, if things end up in the operating room, I’ll be more than okay, but I do have high hopes of having a similar experience that I had with Coco — but minus the post-birth hemorrhage!) I am also just so excited to get to meet the baby and discover who he or she is! 

Q: You mentioned a complication, what is it?

This pregnancy does hold a minor complication called “Marginal Cord Insertion” where my umbilical cord is attached to the very edge, the margin, of my placenta. (Pro tip: Don’t google it, it totally freaked me out.) We discovered it at 20 weeks and have had to keep an eye on things a little closer (which means more ultrasounds, something I definitely don’t mind). 

There are two main concerns here: that the baby won’t be getting enough nutrients towards the end of the pregnancy, which can impact their growth, and a higher risk of bleeding during labor. Throughout my pregnancy, the baby has been measuring on the smaller size. but we’re hopeful it can stay on the curve. If the baby starts to fall to a low percentile in terms of weight, the doctors will induce early, to get the baby the support and nutrients it needs outside of the womb. It’s been tricky to navigate not knowing the expectations are in terms of timing, and I’m just hoping this baby can stay inside as long as possible! 

We’ve had extra monitoring this time around and may have to change birth plans, the timing of delivery, and a few other things to keep an eye out for unknowns. While the uncertainty of this complication has absolutely weighed on me throughout this pregnancy, I’ve tried to stay positive and just be open to whatever will happen as this little one enters the world. 

Q: Anything you’ll do differently postpartum? 

A: Having been through this period once before, I feel a bit more prepared for it. We’re not planning much for this time around (and we didn’t the first time!) We’re super thankful my parents can stay at our house with the dogs and Coco when we are in the hospital, and our plan is to try to keep a consistent routine for Coco with her half days at school and afternoon naps while we adjust to life as a family of four.

While I bawled when Coco waltzed into school on the first day, I am already so thankful for the consistent morning routine for her and all that she’s learning. She’s seriously thriving, and being with other kids and having an authority other than us has been such a blessing! 

With Coco, we both would just hang out in bed in the middle of the night whenever she woke up, we let her lead the schedule and rested when she did. But now having a toddler on a schedule means I’ll probably rock the night duty and Drew will be more on day duty. We’re super thankful that he’s a stay-at-home dad and that we get to go through this period together… and he’s a pro baby diaper changer! (It’ll be so weird going back to that stage!)

We’re going to keep Coco in her crib as long as we can muster. (She honestly still loves it and doesn’t really realize that you can stand in it? I don’t know how, but I’m grateful for that!) Since the baby will be in our room for a while, we have Coco’s “big girl” room with a big girl bed all ready, but we’ll keep her in her crib as long as she’ll stay and then move her into her new room to free up the nursery when we’re ready for the baby to scoot there. 

Q: Are you taking time off of work? 

A: Yes, definitely. Since the day I found out I was pregnant (literally) I started a doc of all the things we’d have to get done as a team prior to maternity leave. I took 12 weeks with Coco (most of which were spent in Hawaii), and I plan to take 12 weeks with this little one (we’ll be spending a good chunk in Arizona this time!) 

While having a baby in the winter months is awesome in terms of hibernation, doing life with a busy toddler and a newborn in subzero temps isn’t something we love, so we’re heading down south for some warmth come January! We’re super pumped about this because my parents and grandparents will also be spending some time in Arizona, so we’ll get to have family and warmer temps to be active outside while on leave!

I’m so wildly thankful for my team (all women) who have worked so hard to get ahead, create plans for while I’m off, and keep things running while I rest. It honestly takes a village, and I have the best team in the world who supports time away and who protects my leave. While I’m planning to not have to work for twelve weeks, I’m giving myself some grace that if I have a desire or want to work, that I can pop on sporadically to check-in! And you know I’ll be posting cute baby updates over on Instagram, so don’t worry, you won’t even notice I’m off. 

Catch up on the all the pregnancy posts here: 

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A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

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