To begin, a haiku:
Pregnancy. You are
a tricky minx, your games are
mean. Two can play them.
Pregnancy is like a girlfriend you are really close with for a while, say 33 weeks, and then suddenly you realize she has been talking about you behind your back and what she needs is a high five in the face with a chair. But like a true frenemy you can’t shake pregnancy until she’s good and ready to be shook.
So if pregnancy thinks her last few weeks with me are all fun and games, I’m here to blow her cover. Pregnancy, if we were Facebook friends, I’d post pictures from your middle school sports tryouts and then I’d email pictures from your bachelorette party to your boss and then I’d shave words into your cat’s fur and post pictures of that. So there. Two can play this game.
There is an implication in some circles that pregnancy is the most wonderful time in a woman’s life and each second of it is to be cherished. I am thankful for my pregnancy and for the little oyster who should be here in FIVE WEEKS (!!) but I’m not going to pretend that gaining 40 lbs, losing 70% of your mobility and inadvertently peeing on your own hand when you use the bathroom should qualify as the best time in anyone’s life.
Some things that no one mentions about pregnancy before you become fast friends with her, and which she will use against you the longer you hang out with her:
The weight gain is a given. The truly handicapped ability to do simple things like, um, move, is rarely mentioned. In order to simply turn over in the middle of the night, I must awaken and mentally calculate the trajectory that will beach me on my other side for the rest of the night. Is it easier to get a rolling start and go across the back to land on the other side? Should I inch into a table position on all fours and then unfold limb by limb into a recumbent position?
I take a breath, conduct my final calculations, wave to the judges and picture the end goal until, with much ado and absolutely no aplomb, I am able to execute the maneuver.
The simple act of picking something up off the ground is also a thing of the past. I figured this would be the case, but I didn’t figure that powering through and reaching down for that pile of briefing papers wafting cruelly to the floor in front of all the other Hill press secretaries would lead to a head rush so bad I can feel my heart beat in my eyeballs and be out of breath for ten minutes.
I get having to pee constantly. This wasn’t a surprise. The difficulty associated with heaving myself awkwardly out of bed in the middle of the night was entirely new, as any core muscles I used to have have atrophied and the only thing going for me is my ability to convert my potential energy into kinetic. As we all know, an object in motion tends to remain in motion and since I don’t even bother opening my eyes for my midnight loo runs, the dog has learned not to sleep in the hallway. The effort of said awkward heaving generally causes a contraction or two which makes the trip to the bathroom that much more crucial.
Ah HA, pregnancy! You thought you’d get me on this one but I, I read ahead in my pregnancy week-by-week book and I was on to your game. Which is why I laid in a stock of Frosted Mini Wheats and fiber gummies and have partaken of these delights religiously, often twice daily. I made it a personal goal to avoid this ‘symptom.’ And by personal goal, I mean I put avoiding hemorrhoids above weight control on my priorities list. This was one indignity pregnancy would not inflict! If I had purchased Mini Wheats stock, the husband and I could both retire. Hemorrhoid-less, thank you very much.
For someone whose hair was schizophrenic before pregnancy, you’d think adding hormones and subtracting sleep would have little impact on my coif. You would be wrong. My hair, which prior to pregnancy did whatever it wanted and I was ok with that, now does nothing anyone wants and looks on a daily basis like it’s having a panic attack. The glossy, thick locks that everyone crows about on behalf of pregnant women have skipped me. The last time my hair looked like normal-person hair was after the little sister (read: a professional) cut and styled it. If my hair was always puffy, I could deal. Always flat? Same thing. But my hair, despite vitamins and conditioner, will be doing one thing when I walk away from the bathroom mirror and have totally changed its mind in the time it takes me to find and put on flip flops. Hair, WTF.
On the plus side, my nails are strong and white, thanks in large part to my vitamins and steady diet of Mini Wheats and milk.
On the plus-sized side are my feet. I’m so glad someone invented
circus tents pants so that I can hide my elephant paws under the guise of being professional at all times. The swollen feet and ankles are one of those things I thought I escaped. Then they seemed to realize they were supposed to be puffing up and to make up for their missed cue, are now working overtime to embarrass me and make lower extremity movement uncomfortable.
Pregnancy increases all bodily fluids, both in production and volume. My eyes are always leaking. My nose is always running. I’m always clearing my throat. The low-grade nosebleed I have had for weeks steps up the game now and then. And when all these things aren’t leaking out of my face, they are clogging things up so bad that I of necessity become a mouth-breather. Because that really helps a pregnant lady feel good about herself.
Or whatever the word is for being physically self-aware. Yeah, I’m still not there and this pregnancy is almost done. I still run my belly into the freezer chest at the store. I still smack myself with the door to the bathroom at work. I still bunt the husband into the hall closet when I think I can “just squeeze past ya” in the mornings on my way to the bathroom. I have managed not to resort to the pregnant waddle but other displays of gestational self-awareness are few and far between.
With all this said, I would like to make it clear that I’m grateful to have faced only indignities and no real medical issues with this pregnancy and the little oyster. Apart from being so tired I could cry (but I won’t because that would take energy), none of my complaints are anything out of the ordinary for a standard pregnancy. And with all THAT said, I do think it bears repeating that no one mentions these things when insisting that pregnancy is the best time of a woman’s life. Sure it is. A real gas, you might say. A real gas. Another thing they don’t mention.
To conclude, another haiku:
Pregnancy, full of
tricks. If we meet again, you
bring it on, you broad.