Sunday, June 07, 2009

 

Deliver me. Please.

Pregnancy is really magical. This tiny life that you (and likely someone else) created becoming their own person right inside you. You can feel their every movement. I marvel that after my initial role in pregnancy (ahem), that my body is already pre-programmed to crock pot this child for over 9 months knowing exactly what to do and when to do it. All I have to do is provide the fuel, the cargo room and the transportation.

There are a few big lies out there about pregnancy, though. And I realize I'm not the first pregnant woman to ever live, so perhaps my revelations aren't all that earth shattering. The biggest lie, however, is that pregnancy is 9 months. It ain't. Look it up. 40 weeks -- divided by a 4 week month is actually -- ha, 10 months. Which is probably why after 9 months most women, no matter how magical their experience, are totally ready to end the inside magic/ever-enlarging-ness and get to the outside magic/poo. We're psychologically programmed to "be done" after 9 months.

And I'm there.

Looking back, I can't believe that I've been pregnant for nearly a year. The morning sickness seems like ages ago, as does fitting into regular clothes. I think of the early months of worries that I will soon be trading in for a lifetime of different worries. And the strange anxiety to deliver a healthy baby as soon as possible because the thought of anything going wrong at this juncture of the pregnancy -- so close to the end -- would be all too terrible to fathom.

You know how when you learn a new word you somehow see that word all the time after that? Well, I think that phenomenon extends to pregnancy as well. I notice other pregnant women all the time. All of my television shows seem to be featuring pregnancy at one point or another. I also find it interesting that, per Hollywood, you cannot deliver any shocking news to a pregnant woman without her going into labor. If this is some secret trigger for labor, could someone please whisper something shocking to me soon?

I posted before about the amusing one liners I found myself on the receiving end of -- and, happily, they kept coming. I was recently in the hospital elevator -- taking the long trip to the top floor where I work. The elevator was full of miscellaneous visitors, myself and a male coworker. It was quiet. I was minding my own business. Suddenly my male coworker pipes up, shatters the peaceful silence and says unnecessarily audibly, "So, Cathy, am I the father of your baby?" Wow. I mean, Wow. Come up with a clever or, hell, appropriate retort to THAT. I, 40 shades of red, came up with, "No, my husband is. But thanks for asking."

For non-Facebook followers, I have been chronicling the ever growing girth and chunk of my in-utero son. 4 weeks before his due date, he was already 8 pounds. So you can imagine, if he's hanging out at a solid 8 pounds what *I* must look like. I get it. I'm big. Believe me, no one is more familiar with my hugeness than I am. But for some reason, people really feel the need to let me know just how big I am and how much it has shocked their day to have set eyes on a pregnant woman who is just so damned huge. I get that it isn't meant as an insult. I get that some humans (most of which I work with or encounter at my place of work..a strange gathering place for people with the mental disability of flowing thoughts right from their brains to their mouths ) are incapable of seeing something without immediately commenting on it -- it's a lack of the internal filter. What I have come to love more than the "Oh my God, you're huge!" comments (which, I openly admit I am getting crustier and crustier about responding to in the moment) are the "Oh my God, are you having twins?!" comments. When is it ever appropriate to comment on a woman -- nay, anyone's size? I am thankful that 1) I am not thin skinned (though, currently I am large skinned..) and that 2) these comments always start with "Oh my God", so that I am able to have that moment to steel myself to the upcoming remark, sigh loudly and thank them for their thoughtful observation.

In opposition to all of that -- I've had to wait 9 and a half months for a random stranger encounter that was actually 150% positive. Today, at the store, a woman shopping next to me said, "I just have to tell you how beautiful you look." Just like that. Maybe it was pity or maybe she works where I do, too and was once pregnant, or maybe, just maybe I really did look beautiful at that moment, but I stopped her, touched her arm and thanked her so very much for telling me that.

When I was first pregnant, I was told that my pregnancy was, sociologically speaking, community-owned. People see a pregnant woman and want to touch her and engage her. While it's magical for me, other people also think it's pretty magical to have a new, growing life inside someone else. It also freaks some people the-hell out. When I enter stores, men will hurry, unfailingly, to hold the door open for me -- their faces dripping with some mixture of trepidation and sheer panic that I might actually deliver a baby in front of them -- to their utter horror. (Funny sidebar -- I understand that this "door holding" thing is temporary. Hold the door for me when I'm pregnant, sure, but when I'm carrying a baby carrier or pushing a stroller, I'm on my own.)

I think that for men, even fathers, pregnancy is still a fairly mysterious process and they'd prefer to keep it that way. They know enough about how it happens, less about what happens during the pregnancy and only where babies come out. One of the Mister's co workers tells my Mister that fathers in the delivery room is far too modern a notion for him. When and if his wife has a baby (and to be honest, he'd have to actually snag himself a wife first.. ) he will be firmly entrenched in a waiting room with a box of cigars -- and that is his understood role. My Mister has been a champion during the whole process, really. I must commend him. He has read books, learned all the terms and asked thoughtful questions of the doctor. We recently had a trial run of pre-term labor at the hospital a few weeks ago. He calmly ushered me to the car and remained a pillar of strength and fortitude for our overnight stay. He didn't flinch at the gross stuff -- of which there was a fair amount -- and I half had expected him to, but he did leave the room for the IV insertion. Needles aren't his thing.

Our new son is anxiously anticipated to arrive in the next two weeks -- whether of his own accord or with some medical intervention. Everything that I could possibly make ready has been readied -- pregnant or no, I'm still terrifically Type A. Last weekend was spent cooking, baking and food-saving furiously -- frozen dinners of our typical fare all ready for the nights when neither of us will have any desire to cook. The bag is packed, the car seat installed. Even the cats have been prepped -- per baby book -- with diapers to sniff and other baby shiz to familiarize themselves with that thing that will completely usurp their place in our home and hearts.

Now we just need that baby. I hope to do proper introductions in my next post.

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