Belly Button Watch 2K3

In a matter of days, if not hours, the little indentation in the middle of my belly is going to erupt in a volcanic burst of nubbly flesh, and all at once I will be sporting the dreaded pregnant belly button. I’m not dissing outie belly buttons when I say that I am completely horrified at the thought of a small plug jutting out of my flesh like a gigantic third nipple. It’s just that my belly button was born as an innie and has no business becoming an outie, at least not without my express permission.

As I watch it inch outward, now parallel with the curve of my growing abdomen, I can’t help but feel completely powerless. Having already given up control of my bladder, appetite, and complexion, I thought that my belly button was mine, something from my old body that I could hold on to. I always thought that my belly button was deep enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about what would happen during pregnancy, but I’ve got a little less than three months to go and if it continues protruding at this rate, it’s going to look like I’ve had a third breast surgically implanted at the waistline by the time I go into labor.

The belly button revolt is just one of the things I thought wouldn’t happen to me. In fact, the list of things I thought I would never have to endure is so embarrassingly long that I ought to be publicly flogged by a group of angry mothers, all of whom have been warning me this whole time that the worst is yet to come. At the top of that list was “I will never waddle,” because I thought that I would have way too much dignity to be caught walking like a drunk monkey in public. In the past two weeks my waddle has become so violently pronounced that my hips have left noticeable dents in the doors of more than a couple cars in the parking lot at the grocery store. I feel bad because I haven’t left my name or number in any of these instances. What would I say? “Tell your insurance you got side-swiped by an ENORMOUS PREGNANT LADY.”

I also thought that I couldn’t possibly become more clumsy or numb-skulled. In addition to being wholly incapable of uttering a complete, coherent sentence, one that doesn’t cause my husband to look over at me in total confusion and plead, “What the hell did you just mumble?” I can’t think of the right words to use for anything. A couple nights ago I subconsciously knew that I wanted to wrap up the leftovers from dinner in a tupperware container, but I kept telling Jon to put the lasagna in the tussle-wob-naters. “The what?” he kept asking. “THE TUSSLE-WOB-NATERS!” And the more I repeated it the more it sounded right.

Last week I threw my sunglasses away, accidentally, into a seven-foot high dumpster, because they were in the same hand I was using to toss away a bag of dog poop. I actually thought I might try to climb inside to retrieve them, but I knew that if Jon found out that I was repelling down the inside of a garbage receptacle in my six months pregnant state, he’d kill me before the bacteria would. Sunday morning I fell down the basement stairs again as he sat helplessly three rooms away, and the pain in his worried face when he came to pick me up off the floor was worse than the bruise on my left thigh and the near fracture in my left foot.

I’m honestly trying to be more careful: I’m taking the stairs a little slower, trying to cut my waddle from a five-foot radius of destruction to a mere three-foot radius, and thinking through words and syllables before my vocabulary turns into a string of cindenipherable won cents. And when it comes to this traitorous belly button, well, let’s just say we’ve got a Costco bulk-sized container of duct tape in the basement.