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Third trimester of pregnancy truly a blessing

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I woke up yesterday to face the fact that I am truly in the grips of the third trimester.

Well, I didn't so much wake up as finally decide I might as well get up instead of continuing to stare at the back of my husband's head while he slept peacefully and I tossed and turned.

And if you've experienced the joys of a third trimester, you know that pregnant tossing and turning is a whole new world of fitful sleep.

We're talking 30-point turns just to flip sides every 20 minutes in vain attempts to relieve back pain, restless legs and heartburn. These are the kind of aerobic turns that may or may not tempt me to "accidentally" hit my husband as I rotate because, well, he just looks way too happy sleeping there while I hoist my body pillow over my head to switch sides.

Yes, the third trimester has definitely arrived. I cry for no reason and then inexplicably shift to rollicking laughter in inappropriate and often public places. I waddle rather than walk, and I hope that when I leave the house my legs are decently shaved because I can't see or reach them anymore.

So yes, I may wallow for a moment or two in a prenatal pity party about my aches and pains, but to the third trimester I say, Bring It On!

I've been here before and I've lived to tell the tale — and then I chose to do it again.

Here's the truth: I love being pregnant. Even with all of its accompanying discomforts, I love it.

But when I went into heart failure with my first daughter's birth three years ago, I was told that my procreating days were behind me. I mourned the news. I gave away my maternity clothes in a show of acceptance. I visited adoption agencies.

And then, I found a doctor who supported my desire to get pregnant again. Now here I am, fat, uncomfortable and deliriously happy about it.

I never thought I'd experience the joy of pregnancy again. I did not think I'd feel the kick of a baby inside of me or know the weight of a pregnant belly once again. How funny that this time around that weight doesn't seem quite so unmanageable or uncomfortable.

This time around, I know exactly what kind of pain and discomfort I'm in for, and I feel nothing but gratitude.

No, I don't love my stretch marks or my sleepless nights, but I love carrying this life inside of me. She's a life I didn't think I would ever have. Yet here she is, kicking that pointy little heel into my rib cage as I write.

I don't know what the future holds — who does? My doctors remind me that my heart could deteriorate during labor and delivery. So I don't know if in three months I'll be laughing or crying, cursing or praising my choices.

All I know — all I need to know — is that in this moment I am healthy, my unborn baby is safely growing inside me and my 3-year-old daughter's smile lights up my world.

In this passing snapshot of my life, I feel unbelievably blessed, and my heart is nothing but full.

Erin Stewart's blog, Just4Mom, can be found Tuesdays and Thursdays at deseretnews.com/blog. E-mail: estewart@desnews.com