January 31, 2007

Remember when I was only slightly pregnant?

I used to think it was silly to speak of pregnancy in anything but absolutes.

Could someone really be "very pregnant" or "kind of pregnant?" Wasn't it a yes/no situation? A matter of black and white, or, as the test would indicate, pink or clear?

Now I know the answer.

I can state, with confidence, that I officially feel "very pregnant."

My belly button hasn't popped out yet, but I can no longer see it without looking in a mirror.

My ankles are an abstract concept, unless you count the indentation I get after taking off my socks at the end of the day.

My belly grew so quickly that I still underestimate its size, rear-ending people while walking behind them, or standing too close to the refrigerator and opening the door straight into Rasbaby.

Being very pregnant is different from just being pregnant.

Physically, it's harder. Even with five pillows, it's hard to get comfortable at night. If perchance I do get comfortable, I soon wake up either because Rasbaby is pummeling me, or I have to go to the bathroom yet again.

People have started telling me, "I bet you can't wait for this to be over."

There's a grain of truth to that. I'm excited to meet Rasbaby. I'm excited for a day when I can sleep on my stomach, drink a cocktail, and eat a Dairy Queen Blizzard (though not necessarily in that order).

But I'm not miserable.

I don't hate being pregnant.

I don't mind being very pregnant.

I can see myself missing it when it's over.

I like the attention from strangers, the eager anticipation of friends and family, and the universal tacit understanding that I am not to move heavy objects or over-exert myself in any way. Even my cat is treating me more kindly than usual.

Each day, Rasbaby seems to get stronger. Even though they sometimes hurt, I love her little kicks, punches, and turns. They remind me that she is active, healthy, and a separate person with a mind of her own - despite still being part of me. I've almost forgotten what it's like to be a singular person, not accountable for anyone's life but my own.

Sometimes, I feel myself getting stronger too.

I cried when I found out I had gestational diabetes, and again when I learned I would have to take insulin to control it. I was the girl who couldn't say no to chocolate and passed out at the sight of a needle. Rasbaby brought out an inner strength I didn't know I had. I was actually relieved when my doctor upped my insulin from two injections a day to three - because I knew it would help Rasbaby.

Because of the diabetes, I'm now seeing my doctor twice a week for fetal monitoring and weekly ultrasounds. There's nothing like a doctor's visit every 3-4 days to make one feel extra pregnant.

I had my first non-stress test on Monday. I leaned back in an oversized recliner and was told to relax while a baby monitor recorded and amplified Rasbaby's heartbeat.

For half an hour, all I could do was listen to her.

Whoosh whoosh whoosh.

One of the most beautiful sounds imaginable.

Someday, she'll have a voice. She'll cry, she'll speak words, she'll have a thousand things to say.

Right now, her message is simple. She says, "I'm here. I'm growing." She says it more loudly, the more pregnant I get.

All the complications, the sleepless nights, the extra doctor's visits, and the moments of discomfort have made me pause and listen to her. Appreciate her. Change myself so that I might be a better mother to her.

So if you notice me waddling, staring mournfully at your ice cream sundae, or grabbing my belly when Rasbaby kicks extra hard, it's not because I'm unhappy.

I'm just very pregnant.

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