As we watched Bachelor in Paradise tonight on our DVR, I watched my stomach move like a roller coaster. The sensation is one thing, but to see it is another. So, of course, I paused the show and said to my husband, “Oh my goodness. Just watch this for a second. It’s wild.” And, then, I felt a limb bulge out on my side, and it created a distorted shape in my abdomen. My shirt crept up, and I revealed my bare stomach to him. One reason was to show him the crazy movements the baby was making, and the other was to just stare at the size of my stomach at 35 weeks pregnant. He responded so seriously with: “This is your third time doing this. You are acting like you’ve never seen or felt this before.” He is right. This is my third time around, and I should be used to the jabs in my belly, and the appearance of my body. But, I’m not.
I don’t know if I can ever get used to seeing the size and shape of my body expand so drastically. There is no question I can appreciate it, and love why it is growing like this, but to actually look in a mirror and see it is a completely different struggle. I have always been short, fit, and athletic looking. Being pregnant has always felt like an out of body experience for me. When people ask if they can touch my stomach, I have never been insulted or uncomfortable. The truth is, the enormous belly sticking straight out doesn’t feel like it is mine, or connected to my body. So, believe it or not, it doesn’t bother me at all when someone reaches to touch.
I have always moved at a fast pace, whether I am out for a walk, running errands, or taking my kids to school. Being this pregnant, and having gained this much weight, I feel like a waddling snail; particularly when I walk my kids into school, and they run a mile ahead of me. Today, I waddled into a local pizza joint to pick up dinner. The girl behind the counter said, “You’re so cute.” I smiled. I feel everything, but cute. I am covered in acne, increasingly uncomfortable, and in need of a bathroom every five minutes. So, when my husband says, “You’re acting like this is your first time around,” it does in many ways feel like that is the case.
Sure, I am more aware of the process of pregnancy; the appointments, tests, milestones, and labor and delivery. But, even labor and delivery. Every single labor and delivery has a story, and they are all unique and different from one another. I didn’t have scheduled c-sections. My water broke in the middle of the night with my first, and never experienced contractions until in the hospital, and my second I had contractions, and my water wasn’t broken until I was admitted. Therefore, as I near the end of this pregnancy, I have no idea what will happen first to initiate labor, and what this story will entail. So, yes hubby, this is my first time around for THIS pregnancy, baby, labor and delivery.
At the beginning of this pregnancy, I felt nausea, which they call morning sickness. Here’s how dumb I felt- I actually thought morning sickness only happened in the morning. So, that was a first. Then, I began showing (a nice pouch out front) at what seemed the first day I found out I was pregnant. That was by far the earliest I needed to start embracing a growing body. At 28 weeks, I failed my one-hour glucose tolerance test. That had never happened before, and it showed red flags for gestational diabetes. So, I was brought in for a three-hour test where I needed to drink the sugar, and get my blood drawn four times, on every hour. Thankfully, I passed, but, still, another new experience in this pregnancy. And, finally, I have been more tired, exhausted I should say, and lethargic than ever before, and that has taken some adjustment, too.
Though I have had two babies prior to this pregnancy, each pregnancy has felt new and invigorating. Each step is so significant that it seems like I’ve never experienced it before. Whether it is the growing of my body and baby, seeing the sonograms at appointments, having check-up appointments, or even just feeling the movement of the baby, it all feels new, amazing, and exhilarating. To him it is a third child, but to me, it has been a long nine months of body changes, hormones, worries, fears, and excitement. Here’s to another labor and delivery story, and I can say not only will I never get used to being pregnant, but I won’t get used to giving birth either!