Sweet Escape

Just before the start of my third trimester, J and I escaped to the beach for our "babymoon." Since we had only been to the Caribbean one time before for our honeymoon in Jamaica, we thought we'd try it again. The flights aren't too long, we knew what to expect as far as my comfort level was concerned, etc.  So, off to Antigua and Barbuda we went!

After a relatively uneventful plane ride with one connection, we arrived on the island of Antigua and made our way to the resort, Sandals Grande Antigua. We were greeted with beverages (champagne for J and water for the mama-to-be) and taken to our room.   We didn't wait long before heading to the beach to see the white sands and blue waters.

Our view of the Dickenson Bay beach
This resort felt twice as big as the Sandals where we stayed at our honeymoon. Lush gardens, more restaurants, bigger pools, etc. 

Open air restaurants and beach side bar
Beautiful courtyards
Local critters- they were EVERYWHERE!
J on the porch of our little cottage
Since we only had about five days to enjoy the island, we booked a "Best of Antigua" tour. Even though the resorts are beautiful, we are the kind of travelers that want to really get a feel for the island and spend some time off resort too. The tour was great for this. Antigua is a very tiny island- only about 10-12 miles across. It ended up being just the two of us with our tour guide. He drove us around the perimeter of the island starting at the resort up north, and we headed down south stopping along the way to check out a lot of beaches, pineapple farms, and cricket stadiums.

The ride down there was BUMPY and I started to get a little nervous for the wee bean bouncing around in my belly. Since the island is only about 10 miles by 12 miles wide, it didn't take us long to get to the historic Nelson's Dockyard near the English Harbour area. The dockyard was used by the Royal Navy during the 18th/19th centuries, and is home to some quaint old buildings- officer's quarters, tiny cottages, etc. 

Check out my hair- it was HUMID!

Ruins from a lookout fortress

We took a ride up the hill to Shirley Heights for some AMAZING views. It was national sailing week the week we were there, and we saw tons of boaters out on the water. This is a little inlet area not far from where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. 
Beautiful beach and island topography
Look closely under the yellow blooms on the left for the little hummingbird
J found some funky looking cactus-type plant. It was kinda gross looking.

Other than our tour of the island, we spent most of our time here:

I couldn't get just one photo of the pool because it was HUGE. Since the beach got HOT by lunchtime and was a little too uncomfortable for me, we were better suited at the main pool. Every day we camped out on some lounge chairs in the shade, and enjoyed some fruity drinks - virgin for me of course but still delicious! 

On our last full day, we took a 10 minute ride into the capital, St. John's. If you've ever gone on a cruise to Antigua, this is where you would've stopped. We walked around town for a bit and checked out the town. St. John's Cathedral was gorgeous, but is in the process of a $12 million restoration project that will take YEARS. We walked around the grounds, but no visitors could get inside. 

St. John's Cathedral
Colorful buildings on narrow little streets
Other than laying by the pool and sightseeing a bit, we just relaxed in our cottage, enjoyed some island sun and sand, watched some cricket on tv, ate some yummy meals and I got to try out all of my summer maternity clothes for the first time.

Getting ready for the beach party at sunset
Belly doesn't look too big from this angle
Here is the belly! Almost 27 weeks here
Don't mind the sunburn and chub that is taking up residence on my upper arms. I think it's boob spillage from these pregnancy hormones- oy...

We got up early on the last morning and spent some time on the beach while it was still cool. I took one last swim in the blue waters and packed up to head home. It was a quick trip, and more low key in general when compared to the vibe in Jamaica on our honeymoon, but but just what we needed. I am thankful for my husband taking us on a getaway and to have added one more to the list of "countries visited" this year before baby makes his/her entrance into the world. Goodbye, Antigua! Babymoon complete.

Where things start getting real

I am 30 weeks pregnant.

(Just wanted to let that sit there for a minute).

J and I went to our all day birthing class yesterday, and I came home and thought a lot about this whole pregnancy thing. In the early months it was more about getting used to the idea that we, in fact, are going to become parents. We started registering for gifts, toying around with name ideas, collecting things for the nursery, looking at doctors, hospitals and courses available, etc. I remember thinking that we still had 9 long months to get used to all of this and we'd think more about the labor process after we went to birthing class.

Fast forward 7.5 months and here we are. Things are getting REAL. I'm starting to transition some of my work duties to the people that will be handling them for me while I'm on leave, doctor's appointments are picking up frequency, and I'm feeling PREGNANT. Even on cue this week, the wee bean's movements have started feeling a lot more like big rollovers and crowded maneuvers when compared to those early "popcorn kicks" and tiny jabs. I used to see one little spot on my belly moving as baby kicked in it's favorite spot, and now I'm feeling 4 body parts move at once from my pelvis to my ribs- seeing whole sections of my belly move and become positively lopsided looking. It is such an adventure!

I've gotten to the last few chapters of all of my pregnancy books, and am starting to read a lot more on the process in which this baby actually makes it's exit from the womb and entrance into the world. All of the information I've been reading and from birthing class yesterday is swimming around in my head, and I'm starting to realize that it's just about time to pack the hospital bag and get ready for the big show. I'm getting so anxious and excited to meet our little one, but am starting to get pretty nervous about the labor.    My goal is natural child birth which I'd expect is what a lot of first time mom's want. You always hear about people wanting to avoid the epidural because of the associated risks on your body and the effects it has on the baby. After class yesterday, I realized that even more importantly your options for staying comfortable and getting into positions to get through contractions are so much more limited after that epidural - you get stuck on your back like a turtle and sometimes labor progression can even slow down as a result. Top this all off with some complications my doctor discovered this past week, and it makes me nervous that natural birth won't be an option. I'm hearing a lot about the potential to need a c-section in cases like mine, and am trying to come to terms with that reality. I know that they've come a long way with delivering via c-section in recent years and that the end result is always getting to meet your baby, but it is just not what I pictured when I think of having a baby for the first time. I want to be able to have that baby put on my chest right away, and don't want to be strapped to a hospital bed being stitched up for 45 minutes while my baby is off in the corner or in someone else's hands. I know some people don't agree with me and that the birth experience is no less thrilling via c-section (me and my two siblings were all c-sections, so I have my mom's personal account of this after all) but my goal and dream is to get through this without needing one. While I know I have no idea of the pain that labor has me in for, I am praying every day that I find the strength in myself and it is God's will to let labor happen naturally for us. Still, I'm working each day to get used to the idea that a c-section might be necessary so it's not a shock or disappointment if the time comes for it. Only 10 more weeks, and we'll find out, won't we?

On a lighter note, our baby showers are coming up the next couple of weekends and the nursery is just about done! I plan to make one last trip to Ikea when I head to my hometown next weekend to look for a bookshelf and some other small accessories (and hope that a friendly salesperson will help the pregnant lady load it into her car!). I'll do the final reveal once we get all the gear in place. It's looking so cute! It is my favorite room in the house, and I already like to go in and just sit there looking at everything and imagining a little baby in the crib.

Any of you moms out there have similar "reality checks" about labor at this point or am I late in the game?