Today is the start of Week 24 and my pregnancy app tells me Baby B would be officially “viable” outside of the womb. Which is crazy.

It’s amazing to me how far humans have come with technology, especially medical, in even the three decades I’ve been alive. My sister and I were born five weeks early, which is not uncommon for twins, and we only stayed at the hospital for a few days before coming home. I have friends who knew their son would need to have open-heart surgery within three days of being born, and he did. And he’s one happy little guy today approaching his terrible twos. I have friends who had twins born ultra-early (we’re talking before 26 weeks) and it astounds me how well they’re doing and how healthy they look. They’re now over a year old. While I am in no way prepared for this little bean to come anytime soon, it’s reassuring to know that there would be a fighting chance of his or her survival outside the womb, and a chance to live a healthy, happy, normal life.

This blog wasn’t started as a Baby Blog (or Mommy Blog), and I certainly have other things going on (like my rockstar lifestyle of homework, course readings, volunteer teaching, cleaning, gardening, and walking the dog), but I can’t help but marvel at the transformation I see in my own body and mind, not to mention in my husband. He’s been so very useful – and he’s a pretty useful guy anyway – particularly in the domestic realm. He’s been cleaning, cooking, running errands, and organizing the house for me over the past couple months, but particularly the last few weeks, all while working full time. He rearranged the guest bed to clear out the nursery, and assembled most of the nursery furniture himself. (I mostly helped with hammering in wooden dowels.) He did the majority of repainting the nursery walls. He even scarified the lawn and laid down grass seed a few days ago. If he were the pregnant one, I daresay I’d call him out on nesting!

As much as I maintain my Big, Strong Marine persona, now that I’m getting close to six months in and nearing the end of my second trimester, it’s apparent to me I need to scale back what I consider “normal” in my day-to-day activities. I lift fewer (and certainly far lighter) items, I try to drink more water and eat more fruit and veggies, and I look to stay active even if it just means walking ten minutes to a hair appointment instead of driving. I’m definitely more clumsy (says the pilot who’s walked into an airplane wing with her forehead – true story) and hitting things with my bump surprises me. There’s no “suck it in” when you’re pregnant; you either fit in the gap or you don’t. Also, clothes. I’m officially out of jeans and any pants that aren’t stretchy on top or have a loose drawstring. This means I have four pairs, one of which are pajamas. Guess I’m going to wear the bejesus out of dresses as soon as this weather inches up a few more degrees. My tops are better, but bumpus isn’t that huge right now (I’ve gained between 15-18 pounds), so I’m just putting that inevitable wardrobe change off for now. But workout clothes… ugh. I’ll have to find the biggest shorts and t-shirts I can and wriggle into them. I may need to buy new sports bras.

Also, growing pains. I was woefully unprepared for my body to ache while pregnant. I’m not saying I’m a decrepit old woman already (my husband may say differently), but I was not ready for growing pains at age 34. I’m not even convinced I had them when I was actually a little kid – a perk of always being the smallest one in your grade. I was pretty sure my lower back would hurt, as years spent cramped in a tiny cockpit will compress even the healthiest spine, but it’s been my upper back that’s been aching lately. Truth be told, it’s not even my back. It’s my ribs. Yes, I wasn’t aware that a woman’s rib cage expands to fit all our lovely organs that the baby pushes up as she grows. Squished, really. I haven’t been out of breath, I haven’t grunted while sitting up, and I haven’t gotten dizzy from standing too quickly, but I certainly have had some aches between my shoulder blades from expanding ribs. And they stay there! In a way, I’m in awe: the human body is so capable, so adaptable, so versatile in what it can do that I can’t help but admire what’s going on inside my own skin. And I’m not even talking about making a tiny human yet.

This is my journey of figuring things out as they happen, reflecting on being pregnant, making life, and preparing to be a parent (oh, man). I’m terrified, excited, nervous, calm, anxious, and besotted. I have no premonitions about whether it’ll be a girl or a boy and I don’t care. Baby B kicks and moves on a regular basis (usually at 10:30 on the nose), I certainly can’t play “Gas Or Baby?” anymore, and apparently I need to start talking and singing to my belly as last week was the mark of Baby B being able to hear sound in the womb. Zee-bra, zee-bra, zee-bra.

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