I am 36 weeks pregnant, but it feels like 136 weeks. In recent days I’ve been accused of being pregnant with twins too many times to count, and triplets were mentioned three times. Well-meaning people continue to suggest that there “could be another one hiding in there; you just never know!” I can only see the top curve of my belly, so when I catch sight of myself in the reflection of a store window or if I accidentally glance in the mirror, I am shocked at the size of my belly. I guess what I can see from the top really is the tip of my iceberg, and 90% of it is out of my view.
The morning sickness that returned in week 28 lingers, and I find myself dry heaving on a regular basis. I am also so tired that it hurts. I wake up just as tired as I was the night before. Miraculously, I continue to be pain-free as far as backaches and the like go. And, I’ve been able to keep the swelling to a minimum, so my feet actually look like feet. And yet, I am so pregnant.
I am so pregnant that walking my daughter into cheerleading practice requires a monumental pep talk. I am so pregnant that I have had all my prescriptions (and there are quite a lot…) transferred to a CVS much farther from home because it has a drive-thru. I am so pregnant that I set the AC in our bedroom to 62 and sleep on top of the covers while my husband shivers with an extra blanket and fleece pants. And, I am so pregnant that my biggest fear from my first pregnancy–hospital bed rest–sounds like a luxury vacation.
That’s when I knew I had crossed over–when I began to fantasize not only about bed rest but about hospital bed rest in particular. The idea of being required to lay around and rest all day, having people bring me food and water, and being forced to give up all my other responsibilities like driving kids around or preparing meals sounded truly magical. Nevermind that my only experience with a hospital stay was the birth of my twins. Nevermind that during that hospital stay, I slept at most for 20 minutes at a time, as people came in constantly to check my vitals or adjust my IV. No, I am so pregnant that I am willing to accept the lack of sleep in exchange for permission to do absolutely nothing except gestate.
I know that every pregnancy is different, and I know that there are women who feel fabulous for the entire nine months. And yet I can’t imagine how anyone continues to go to work or otherwise function normally at this late stage of pregnancy. I have a newfound admiration for those women who continue to get up and go, and especially those who have physically demanding jobs. I sincerely don’t think I could do it.
What I can do and what I have been doing is going to medical appointments — all the time. I am so pregnant that I have an ultrasound every Monday, followed by an appointment with my OB. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a non-stress test. Sometimes I also have to see the gestational diabetes specialist. As of week 36, I’m no longer getting injections to ward off pre-term labor on Fridays, but this reduction from 5 appointments to 4 feels formulaic at this point. The good news is that so far, every appointment has been a non-event, which was not my experience with the twins, who failed every non-stress test anyone tried to subject them to. Baby looks healthy and completely normal in every way, for which I am eternally grateful.
Well, I’m grateful when I can summon the energy for that emotion, that is. I am so pregnant that hot and humid days, of which we are having many this August, reduce me to tears. I am so pregnant that keeping my children alive is the low bar at which I aim. Unlimited screen time and cake for breakfast? Sure. I am so pregnant that I simply can’t fight that fight. I vaguely recall being excited about how I looked in tight dresses a few weeks ago but now I am so pregnant that nothing fits except one pair of leggings and one boring loose dress. I’m counting the days until my c-section and hoping they pass quickly and without incident because I’m just so pregnant.