When Jon and I went to the doctor early last week we learned that my belly had grown over three inches in less than two weeks. It was encouraging news, as my belly has measured below average for most of my pregnancy, and it seems that this child has decided to save all her weight gain and growth for the last few weeks. I’m not sure there are words to describe just how uncomfortable it is to suddenly be three inches wider at the waist, and my doctor, sensing my noticeable discomfort, kind of rolled his eyes and said, “You haven’t seen anything yet. The next few weeks will be the worst part of your pregnancy.” I have never wanted to take up violence against a human being so fiercely in my entire life. No man, not even Doctor Jesus Christ, should ever try to convince a woman in her ninth month of pregnancy that he knows anything at all about what it’s like to be pregnant. Just go ahead and shut up, you uterus-less cod.
Although the last couple months have been extraordinarily uncomfortable, I would take the third trimester ANY FUCKING DAY over the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. But this doesn’t mean that I’m not going to go ahead and complain about this last trimester. In fact, the number of things to complain about now overwhelmingly swamps the number of things about the first trimester, but at least now I can smell shampoo without taking a shower in my own vomit, and that alone makes these last few months infinitely more bearable.
The worst part about the third trimester would have to be my inability to sleep. I have always been an expert sleeper, almost Olympian in my skill to ease into unconsciousness within moments of hitting a horizontal surface, and have been known to sleep in bursts longer than the average lifespan of a large canine. But in the last couple months I have averaged about 20 minutes of solid sleep at a time, and this is due entirely to that horribly unnecessary force of nature known as gravity. By the time I fall asleep on my left side, the weight of my body has crushed my shoulder and thigh, forcing me to roll over to my right side. But where I was before able to roll over while still unconscious, I am now forced awake involuntarily and have to physically maneuver my body into another position, usually through means of a crowbar, forklift, or a team of three to four muscular contractors trained in heavy-lifting. This left-to-right side maneuvering continues throughout the night so that by the time the alarm goes off in the morning I have changed positions no less than 4,000 times, leaving my poor husband bruised, blanketless and reminiscing about how much less energy it took to demolish three layers of linoleum than to push his wife over in the middle of the night.
I am also under the impression that everyone else in the world is pregnant, men and children included, and when I see anyone bump their stomach into a solid surface I want to make sure their baby is okay. I can’t watch more than 30 seconds of a football game, because there are over 20 babies on that field at any given time, all in danger of being tackled and stomped. By the fourth play of the game I’m in tears, having just seen six or seven babies smooshed into the astroturf, appalled that these men could just run around bumping into each other without one concern for the babies in their bellies. Last week I saw a commercial where this gigantic man belly-flops into a pool, and I immediately called my husband at work and sobbed How come no one loves their baby?! For the remainder of the day I walked around feeling like I had done the actual belly-flopping, my whole chest stinging from the impact. I’m pretty sure a single episode of WWE Smackdown! would leave me a drooling, twitching lump on the floor.
Another inconvenient side-effect of having a six-plus pound critter fighting for space in my belly is being constantly reunited with the taste and texture of things I’ve just eaten. Everything causes heartburn, including water, ice cubes, and air. Yesterday I took a handful of Tums, and then I burped Tums for the next three hours. There are nights when I’m awake for hours at a time, left-to-rght side maneuvering, stifling monster burps of food I’ve eaten over the span of three days. A horizontal esophagus seems to exacerbate the heartburn, so while I’m trying to relax and sleep, a chunk of the bagel I had yesterday morning is dancing on my back teeth with the red onion from the stew I had for dinner earlier in the evening. My dog is constantly smelling my breath and licking my face, searching for bits of the Baja Fresh burrito I ate last week.
You can now understand just how wonderfully magical it is to be a ripe pregnant woman, belly widening inches per day, grumpy and irritable from sleep deprivation, burping acidic salsa into her dog’s face. Don’t let anyone ever tell you this isn’t an exquisitely beautiful experience.