At 2:34am this morning I scurried blurry eyed into the bathroom for my nightly pee break, the first in what is usually three to four stumbling trips past bulky furniture and through menacing doorways that seem to grab my pinky toes every time I walk by. I’ve grown to appreciate these nocturnal pee runs as they are the only time the baby isn’t sitting directly on top of my bladder, and I can pee more than a half-thimble at a time. Often during the day I will call out from the bathroom to my husband in the other room, “Do you hear this?” and he will get quiet enough to witness the four minute drip-drip drizzle as I perform somersaults and handstands on the toilet in an effort to maneuver my bladder into peeing position.
I’d been warned that this would happen, that there would come a time in my pregnancy when I wouldn’t be able to empty my bladder in one go. But no one ever told me it would happen this early, or that I wouldn’t be able to empty my bladder in 15 goes. At 2:34am this morning I was seized with an almost paralyzing panic, a sickening realization that I am at that point in my pregnancy, a week and a half before my third trimester, the point when my body starts to become so unbearable that the lesser of two evils is actually going through labor.
How terrible does life have to be that the actual process of childbirth is a preferable state of being? I honestly thought the The Belly would grow gradually enough that it would feel like a natural extension of my body, and this is perhaps the BIGGEST misconception I had about what it would be like to be pregnant. There is nothing natural about The Belly. It feels like an alien object has been implanted haphazardly into my abdomen, perhaps a basketball inflated with 20 lbs of loose gravel, and it’s constantly shifting its weight from organ to organ. For the first time in my life I’m constantly aware that I have a gall bladder.
Did I mention that this 20 lb basketball has legs and arms and an annoying habit of trying to get my attention EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at 11:30pm by poking her toes into my bladder? It was cute the first time, for the first 15 minutes. But two constant hours of twinkly toes has me concerned that she’s got an acute case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or worse yet, that she takes after her father and is troubleshooting a FireWire port she recently installed in the placenta.
I know that her raging activity will slow down soon, that I’ll miss the hourly thumping and nudging and bumping up against my spleen. But right now I’m having a hard time concentrating on basic conversations, on simple activities like counting out change at the grocery store, on eking out the tiniest bit of pee after a full 10 minutes of sitting on the toilet with my leg behind my head, when all I want to do is yell out loud to my belly, in as diplomatic and non-threatening a way as possible, “IN OUR FAMILY, WE DON’T KICK PEOPLE LIKE THAT.” And yet, how could I possibly expect her to take me seriously when “we” actually have thought about kicking people like that?