So it’s not been the greatest week or so.
Obviously the third trimester of pregnancy is grueling, even under the best of circumstances. I think even the most zen, earth mothery, nurturing women get to a point when they just want to be done. Whether it’s excitement to meet the baby, see your underwear, shave your legs without pain, whatever. I don’t mean to come off as unsentimental, I want to meet this baby. I can’t wait to see Briar with this creature, watch Sean cradle another little one in his arms, feel the impossibly soft skin against my lips, gaze into his or her eyes.
But I am ready to be done.
There does not seem to be a moment during the day when this life within me is not writhing, pulsing, hiccuping or attempting to pierce my bladder, crack a rib, or create intestinal unrest. I am not really feeling a glow. I am trying, but definitely feeling more run of the mill elephant than mystical, beautiful unicorn. And for the life of me I cannot mask the discomfort I feel, ahem, as we have come to call it at 118, “down south.” I walk like a wounded cowboy.
Sheesh. I tried describing it to Sean:
So imagine a hammock, ok? You gently ease into it,
simultaneously lift your legs and recline your upper body,
thus distributing your weight evenly,
allowing the hammock to tenderly cradle you.
Now imagine standing on a nearby table,
bending deep with your knees,
and launching yourself onto the hammock in a standing position,
the poor, woven hammock straining within an inch of its life,
to keep from letting your feet meet the ground.
I feel like the latter hammock.
So, enough of that, let’s get down to more specific indignities.
A few weeks back I had a head cold. I literally could not read to Briar because I would get winded my nose was so blocked.
I could not muffle the frustrated sighs throughout the night. You know those sighs that someone lets out and just hang in the air until you say,
“Can I do anything, honey?”
And the answer is always no. You’re just doomed because the only thing, THE ONLY THING, that would make it better is if *you* the innocent partner were to suddenly become afflicted with the same thing.
“NO, I’m fine.” Huge sigh. Pregnant silence.
“Ok. Love you.”
And then with lightning speed: the sounds of heavy slumber.
“Jerk. I can’t believe he doesn’t feel worse. I’m practically dying here. Pregnant, with OUR baby, unable to take drugs or breathe. Gawd!”
Moving on. The head cold passed. I wore the experience like a badge of honor at work. Others were fearful of catching it or the stomach bug, both of which have been circulating our town like wildfire.
“Lots of fluids, and sleep! Get all the sleep you can get.” I’d tell them. Lofty talk, thinking that I’d done my time and it was everyone else’s turn to be ill. Forgetting so easily that I am one of those special people who had chicken pox twice.
Fast forward to Thursday. A gorgeous day here in our small upstate town. I was looking cute against all odds- a flippy little tank top from Great Expectations Maternity, my sassy pink pants, funky clogs and a hip olive green jacket. The hair was doing the, “I’m resplendent with pregnancy hormones and can’t help but shine and bounce.” I’d even had time to apply mascara and lip tint and be to work by 8:30.
I hadn’t had much to eat because I got full quickly- just a few shared bites of granola bar with Briar, a bit of coffee and some yogurt. I drank water at my desk and took care of some paperwork. Round about 10 o’clock I got to feeling very faint and kind of shaky. I figured it was the curse of the third trimester- not much space in the tummy so hunger creeps up fast, often before you have time to realize it and you pass the point acceptable hunger into the danger zone with little warning.
“Deb, I am going to head over to the coffee shop and get a bite to eat. I am famished.” I also offered to go to the banks for her thinking the time outside would do me good.
I crossed the street, entered the coffee shop and quickly decided on a cup of split pea soup and a bagel. Lord help me the kid behind the counter moved like he was underwater.
“Hi, sesame bagel with maple walnut, no need to toast it and a cup of the split pea. Nothing to drink this time.”
“Ahh, did you want the bagel toasted?”
“Did you say regular cream cheese?”
“Um, maple walnut please.”
“Maple walnut on a toasted sesame then?”
“No need to toast it, thanks.”
“So, but still with maple walnut.”
“Ya, that’d be great.”
“Did you say you wanted soup?”
“Yes, split pea.”
“Ok, so not the lentil?”
“That’s correct, just the pea.”
“Ok, I’ll go toast that bagel for you.”
He walks to the door of the kitchen, turns, “I’m sorry, did you want a drink?” and he slowly returns to the register.
“No thanks, just the bagel and soup.”
“It was the pea and maple, right?”
I scanned the counter for samples…what are the chances? They always have samples. Ok, read the paper. Just read the paper.
The shaking will stop. My mouth felt dry and overrun with saliva at the same time. I was not feeling right. I went into some sort of trance state, because the next thing I knew he was handing me my untoasted bagel and soup, yet 20 minutes had passed. Yes, 20 minutes. Great coffee shop, nice people, slow service. I took the food over to Sean’s office and sat and ate. My hands were shaking as I mechanically spooned the soup to my mouth, stopping occasionally to stuff a piece of bagel into my mouth. Please just let me feel normal again. I started feeling better but the food was sitting pretty heavy in my belly. I made my way to the banks hoping the walk would work things out.
No such luck.
I returned to work, but found that sitting at my desk just made me focus on my discomfort. Movement. I needed to move. I had some business to take care of at Great Expectations so I headed over there. Whew, after the two minute drive and ten steps in the door I needed to sit. We talked and reviewed some things while I sat and nursed a bottle of water. After about 30 minutes I abruptly excused myself.
“You ok?” she asked.
“Ya, I just, umm, I just feel off. Going to go back to the office, maybe head home. I feel a little queasy.”
She looked at me, “You want to use my bathroom?”
I chuckled, “No, I’m not actually going to be sick, just don’t feel well. Thanks. Bye.”
I drove back to the office and hobbled back to my desk. I couldn’t sit up for the pressure on my tummy. My wonderful co-workers came in, literally propped my feet up and begged to help.
I decided I needed to go home and that I would probably need a lift. Driving seemed like a bad idea. So they called Sean. Debbie was great, she prefaced the call, with,
“She’s ok, but Sean, can you come and get Amanda, she doesn’t feel well.”
I probably would have forgotten that the call could be taken to indicate labor had begun and given someone’s husband the scare of his life if I had been the helpful friend.
“Get here quick, she’s not doing well!”
Sean said he’s be right over. One of the women started crying and rubbing my belly talking about the connection Sean and I have and how lucky I was. All I could think about was how out of sorts I felt.
Sean arrived and walked me out to my car like I had a bum leg, arms wrapped under mine, supporting my weight. We got to the car and I realized I’d forgotten something on my desk. Sean said he’d run in and get it. I waited outside in the sun. Five minutes passed. I felt so weak and woozy.
“Maybe I should pop in the bathroom and see if I can get sick.”
I walked back into the building, stepped into the lobby and time stopped.
Sean came to my side, oh no, oh god please no I thought.
Then the thing that I managed to escape in all my years of elementary, middle and high school happened.
I mean I opened my mouth and let loose a surge of vomit that effectively blanketed the entire entryway to the carpeted Chamber lobby. I watched it all splashing on the floor all the while thinking,
“Oh my god, I am doing that. That’s coming from me. Stop it. Stop doing that. Close your mouth. Move!”
Sean, holding my elbow, said between a couple of my convulsions, “You want to move outside?”
So we went outside. I was just apologizing. My co-workers were there cooing, “Poor thing” and “It’s ok” and I started up again. Right by the door for pity’s sake.
Retch, “Oh my god I am so sorry.”
Retch, “Inside, oh I am so sorry.”
Retch, “I can’t believe it. Sorry, sorry, sorry.”
It was humiliating. The worst was when I saw Sean and Steve (someone with whom I have a very shaky relationship even on good days) working together to clean the carpet.
Eventually we made it home, the hems of my pink pants and my shoes totally soiled. Sean stayed with me for a while and then went back to work when I said I thought I was done.
So not done. Ugh.
My mom called at one point and we talked for a while until of course I had to do the pregnant lurch to the toilet again.
I continued purging my system until 8 that night. Lower back pain and contractions heightened the fun. We called the mid-wife who said a trip to the ER was unnecessary unless the contractions got closer together.
Friday was retch free, but the bug had other fun in store for me- we’ll leave some things to the imagination.
Saturday morning I tried to have a bit to eat and drink. It didn’t go so well. Between being more than 8 months pregnant, sick, cooped up on a nice weekend and mildly depressed I was ready for some diversion, or maybe just some pity.
I was lying in bed, not having showered because I’d been too dizzy and weak, wearing a pair of stretch pants and a shirt that didn’t quite cover my belly, smudged glasses and a pair of socks with a hole in the toe and heel when my mom called.
“We’re here with Abs and we just got a little nostalgic. We’re just hanging out right now, but later we’ll be going to a show and Bed Bath and Beyond.”
“Ya, I almost didn’t want to say anything because I know you find it way more fun than any of us.”
“How you doing?”
“Well I’m not throwing up anymore.”
“That’s good. I’m sorry you don’t feel good.”
“Thanks. I just want to feel better. This morning I was sitting with Briar and I was trying to drink some water and have a bite to eat. All of a sudden I kind of burped but stuff came out of my nose and my mouth. It was awful.”
“You know your sister is glamorous. She’s wearing these slinky, low cut black tops, gauchos and heels. She’s just stunning. She and her friend Alda are actually sort of like walking art. They have managed to take their artistic talents and translate them into their whole sense of fashion and how they carry themselves. It’s great. Guys just don’t know what to do when they see the two of them.”
Inside my head: Um, I don’t know what to say. I did just tell her that I had stuff come out of my nose this morning, right? Maybe she is trying to make me laugh with a sort of reverse psychology. Tell the beached whale feeling pregnant woman who has been stricken with projectile vomiting, diarrhea and nose leakage trauma that her sister is stunning.
“You know, I wish I could just bring Abbie, Alda and Alan out to you so you could see what lovely people they are. And Abbie’s hair. She’s just hot.”
More inside my head: This is insane. I’m laughing. I am laughing literally because there is no way that this is the right thing to be saying to me. I am living one of those moments that will be a funny story. This is too rich. I am sick, sad, and swollen and I am being told my sister is ‘hot’. It’s ok.
“Ya, it would be great to see the three of them.”
“Alright, well I love you. Feel better.”
“Thanks. Love you too, mom.”
Oddly, the exchange did brighten my mood. I knew it would get me to sit at the computer and do a nice juicy blog entry.
And I am, of course, thrilled that my sister is looking glamorous, so don’t feel bad Abs. Just laugh cause you know how ridiculous things get sometimes.
So for anyone out there feeling sick, fat, tired, blue or whatever, I hope something happens to you that is so absurd that you are able to come out of it, if only long enough to say, “Give me a break, that’s ridiculous.”