Are you ready for this belly?
I’ve had a few people who haven’t seen me in a while and they are surprised I’m not showing more. Like, “You’re not massive! I thought you’d be grotesquely huge by now!” I feel pretty okay about that. I’m sort of tall, at 5’8,” and we know one of the guys is way down there. I can’t be sure what exactly “way down there” means. But all the ultrasound technicians have remarked that Baby A is about as low as he can go.
I know there have been times when I can push on the top of my belly, on what I assume is a foot, and feel it down in my butt. I wouldn’t even say “crotchal region,” I’d say butt. So this kid better make for the correct exit when the time comes.
Okay, so, kicking. These kids better be world class soccer players. If they inherit any traits from their father, they would be lucky to get his soccer legs. Holy crap, they are kicking the shit out of me. Nothing painful, but sometimes like popcorn popping all up and down my right side. I had coffee and a cinnamon roll the other day, and I thought the two of them found a dead squirrel and were kicking it around in my belly.
And also, nothing amuses me more than seeing the kicks through my shirt. I am at the stage where I can rest a book or cup of coffee on my belly, between my boobs. I wouldn’t dare balance a beverage there, because the boys will kick it. I can see the kicks. A book will jump in my hands. I know that Baby A is more on my right, with his head down in my butt, and his feet up by my ribs. Baby B is more on the left, but also with his feet pointing to my right. So it’s hard to know who might be kicking. They still have enough room to move around, but eventually, they are going to get big enough that they will be cramped, and they will “declare a position” for the remainder of the pregnancy.
I’m still moving around okay, but everything is getting more uncomfortable. Bending over, tying shoes, eating my toe nails, etc. I realize there will be a point I will not be able to do these things myself anymore. Getting up from the bed now involves doing a side pushup with my arms, because the extra weight in my belly renders my stomach muscles ineffective. I probably have another 10 to 20 pounds to gain before this is over.
There are two sleep positions that are comfortable. My right side, and my left side. Turning over is like a nine point turn in traffic. I can’t just roll over. I sort of have to squirm each body part over in succession, like a calibrated horizontal ballet, or a not-quite-dead beached whale.
This is on my mind, as I get more pregnant: My body becomes less my own, and becomes more of a gestational vehicle for new humans. It doesn’t feel natural. I know there are women who like being pregnant. And we, the big, societal “WE,” glorify pregnancy and motherhood. Indeed, with contemporary politics and media, pregnant women are more like public property (A WHOLE OTHER DISCUSSION).
It should feel like the most natural thing in the world, right? Here I am, making babies. My body has taken over, and knows exactly what it has to do. Even though I’ve never done this before. My boobs will cease to be ornamental and recreational, and actually fulfill their original purpose, which is to squirt milk and feed offspring. It’s fucked up.
I mean, I know. I know, I know, I know, this is what is supposed to happen, it’s not some goddamned novelty and I’m the first to experience it. I do believe however, I’m probably the first woman to blog about it.
But it doesn’t feel natural to me. None of it does. I haven’t been dreaming about having a baby all my life. Dave and I were enjoying our baby-free existence, but being in our late 30s, we looked at each other and figured we’d better get this show on the road. And that was the extent of our dreaming. We were as ignorant about childbirth or parenthood as two teenagers rolling around in the back of a pickup truck.
We are learning quickly. But what I am learning is not dispelling this feeling of all this shit being totally unnatural. Like for instance (this is gruesome, block your eyes): Vagina stitches. Stitches in the fucking vagina. Are you kidding me? Hearing about this made me cross my fingers for a C-section, but then…a line of stitches across my belly? Is that better? It’s all fricken horrific. All of it.
And really, I can’t even complain about childbirth. Yes, I am freaked out. Really. I am. I really, really, really am. Because I’m an anxious person, and I’ve lived a sheltered life, and I have never had any injuries or emergencies that required me to go to the hospital. Imagine having thirty eight years to build up any major medical procedure or any visit to the hospital as a XXX horror slasher flick. I AM FREAKED OUT.
But I can’t complain because billions of women have given birth before me. They do it all the time. All those billions of women, past and present, through the annals of history…they are stealing my thunder.