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Pound of Flesh

Shiny, Happy Baby

My boy, back when he was still all shiny and new

Now that my son is 18 months old, I’m starting to get “the question.”

So, are you ready for another?

Another? My god, I feel like I just got done creating the one I have. People, I fabricated a human being out of thin air, and now you want me to do it again??

And yet, I do think about it from time to time. More than the little twinge I get when I see a mom cradling a shiny, new bundle, I think of the incredible bond between my sister and me and how I want my son to have that with someone.

Then I start remembering pregnancy.

The main thing I recall about being pregnant was feeling like my body was playing one humiliating joke on me after another. I had kept myself blissfully ignorant of the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, mostly so I would never be too chicken to attempt it. The downside of this approach was that I was completely caught off guard for all its inconvenient truths.

Everyone knows the pregnancy basics: your emotions go haywire, you gain a bunch of weight, you feel insanely tired and you barf from time to time.

I certainly wasn’t prepared for everything else.

You start off with the first few weeks when no one knows you’re knocked up. Despite your crushing fatigue and the fact that your clothes are getting tight, you pretend like everything’s normal. You don’t really look pregnant at this stage; you just look chubby. Most likely your co-workers have observed how many doughnuts you’re downing out of the community box and they just chalk up your weight gain to that.

Next, your sense of smell is heightened to a point where it could be considered a superpower, which would be cool if the person sitting next to you would stop eating curry for lunch and then throwing his leftovers in your trash can. Trips to the grocery store become unbearable. I don’t know who decided to put the fish display right next to the cheese aisle at my local supermarket, or if the d-bag responsible had any idea what he was doing to pregnant women, but it all seemed like a cruel joke at the time.

The only respite to the heightened sense of smell is the fact that your sinuses clog up, but your allergies go wild at the same time. And, as a possible result of all this, your nose gets bigger. I had actually forgotten about this one until my husband reminded me of it the other day. Thankfully, he was kind enough to clarify, saying, “It wasn’t so much that your nose got bigger, it was that your whole face got kind of puffy.” Ah, yes. Add puffy face to the list.

There’s your sudden hatred of foods you formerly loved, and your overwhelming urge to eat foods you would usually find disgusting, like a shriveled gas station hot dog or some slimy lunchmeat. Not to mention these are the very foods you are supposed to avoid thanks to the repulsive presence of listeria, which somehow doesn’t deter you from wanting them.

Let’s move on to bathroom time. Either you can’t go, or you can’t not go. Let’s just leave it at that.

Then there are all the wonderful things pregnancy does to your appearance. There’s the hormone-induced acne that pops up on your cheeks and along your jaw line. There’s the hyperpigmentation called melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” which causes dark patches on your skin. Mine conveniently showed up most prevalently on my upper lip, just where a lady likes to have a nice, dark shadow. Your constant sweating makes it impossible to keep your makeup in place. And, finally, your body hair starts growing at an impressive rate, which just feels like the icing on the cake.

What’s next? Ah, the constant crabby personality. During the time I was pregnant with my son, I’m confident most of my co-workers were humming the wicked witch song when I’d lumber past them on my way to the bathroom. God help the person who got in my way or asked me if I, too, thought the air conditioning was turned up too high.

As the months roll on, you start experiencing new and fascinating things like leg cramps, body aches, restless legs (not that you can sleep anyway) and lightning crotch. That’s right, lightening crotch. It’s real, and it’s freaking awful. Look it up.

Did I miss anything? Oh, your feet will get bigger, your skin will start itching like crazy and you will experience a complete and total loss of personal dignity.

Why on earth would I put myself through all this again?

Well, there was this one thing my son used to do when he was still shiny and new. He would look up at me like I was the most spectacular thing he’d ever seen, and then he’d blink this long, mesmerizing blink. His full lashes would fall to his cheek and linger there for a moment, and then he’d slowly raise his lids to reveal his stunning, bright blue eyes. He’d smile and gurgle and coo and stare into my eyes, and I would feel like the most magnificent woman on earth.

I guess when I think about the result, when I think about what a unique and funny and charismatic boy came from all that hardship, I realize that maybe there’s a reason pregnancy is so hard.

Perhaps, to receive such a mind-blowing gift, the recipient should be charged a pound of flesh, even if that penance is being applied rather than taken. It is a pretty miraculous outcome, after all.

Now, I hear my little miracle stirring in his bed and I realize he’s still pretty shiny and new, all things considered. He makes it all seem completely and totally worth the trouble.

But to go through it all again while chasing after a rambunctious toddler instead of lounging in bed with a bag of marshmallows? Now that’s a whole new consideration.

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Are You Due Soon?

Pregnant in Asheville

Happy and in heels in Asheville, NC

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to Asheville, NC to attend the wedding of two special friends. The garden ceremony was moving and intimate, the bride was stunning, the guests were a blast and the meal included some of my favorite things: ripe strawberries, chocolate cupcakes and mini-burgers — yum.

It was an escape from real life in more ways than one. In real life, cashiers say to me, “Are you due soon?” Soon? No, I’m only half as big as I’m going to get. But thank you for noticing. And last night, my husband marveled proudly, “I can’t believe how big your belly is!” When I said, “But everyone at work is telling me it’s not that big,” he responded matter-of-factly, “No. They’re lying to you. You’re only five months along and your belly is huge!”

I am not making these things up.

Last weekend I discovered all a pregnant gal has to do is shimmy into a dress and squeeze her swollen feet into something other than flip flops, and guess what? People are so nice! Every time I turned around someone was squealing over my belly, exclaiming over the fact that I was in heels or saying, “You look so great!!!”

It was fabulous.

When all the guests — including several elderly folks — left the garden ceremony via a winding stone staircase, I was the one clinging to the railing, holding up all the traffic behind me and arriving at the top panting and sweating. I stopped to catch my breath and the woman behind me didn’t say, “Good god, could you have taken any longer!?” Nor did she express her sympathy to my husband or ask me if I needed an ambulance. Amazingly enough, she said, “When I’m pregnant, I want to look just like you.”

Hallelujah! I think I actually said, “God bless you” (while mopping the sweat from my face like an overweight Southern preacher).

The star treatment continued all night long. When Vanilla Ice finally moved me to call out, “Make way for big lovin’!” and hit the dance floor, I felt like the belle of the ball. When we made it back to our room at the ungodly hour of 11:30 pm, my feet were so bruised and swollen I could hardly walk, and I fell asleep on the hotel bed as soon as I freed myself from my dress. But if my body could have taken it, I would have been shaking my booty and strutting around in heels until next Tuesday.

I’m already plotting my next opportunity to wear a dress and hang out by a staircase, just to get some more of that “baby just took her first steps” attention (“Yaaaay!! Look at yooooouuuu!!!“). In the meantime, tell your friends: if they’re looking for a pregnant chick who can shake it to “Bust a Move” for a solid 2-3 minutes, give me a call.

Pregnant in Heels

The Bust Life

Posted on

At 33 years old (can that really be right?), it’s become nearly impossible to remain blissfully ignorant of all the gory and incredible things a woman experiences during pregnancy. Still, I’ve been pretty successful at getting this far without knowing too much about it. The result is that each new development has been surprising and somewhat bewildering.  

Such as, people tell you your boobs will get big. No one tells you they’ll be massive. And heavy. And wildly sore, all the time. I’ve now graduated into the scary bra category which — for a gal who’s long been kidding herself by wearing a too-big B-cup — is pretty bizarre. My new bras don’t come in fun colors or feature little bows at the center. Rather, today’s number features three rows of three clasps at the back and a nice wide band to help minimize back fat. Which it doesn’t.

I always felt it would be kind of cool to be more voluptuous, but now that my body is expanding in every direction, I’m not so sure. Sometimes I find that some brownie crumbs have saved themselves for later by lodging in my cleavage — that’s about the only benefit. Worst of all, I keep hearing the same thing over and over: “And they’ll only keep getting bigger!”

The unexpected result is that, like Jon Krasinski’s character in “Away We Go” (a must-see, by the way), I’ve started to stare inappropriately every time I see a pregnant woman. Right at her boobs.

Hmmm … hers are pretty big. Wonder what they were like before …?

It’s not good. Hopefully I’ll grow out this phase soon. In the meantime, if you catch me staring at your boobs, please forgive me.

Not sure which is bigger: bump or bust!

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