In just five weeks, this kid has doubled in size to 4 pounds, 2 ounces.
We’re not talking about “just” two pounds. We’re talking about two ginormous pounds here. That’s two American boxes of brown sugar, a small pineapple, or a rack of baby-back ribs. Sure, compared to my beached whale-sized body,* two pounds is one good trip to the bathroom away from being nothing, but to know Baby B has duplicated itself in weight? Science! Miracles! Magic! (*To be fair, my bump is still considered “neat,” so maybe I’m a beluga whale and not a blue whale.)
The crazy thing to think, aside from the fact that I can officially say I’m due next month (I’m due next month!), is that this kicking, squirming, wriggly thing inside me is only eleven ounces away from weighing what I did when I was born. Yes, I am a twin and yes, I was early, but still. I turned out fine. Well, relatively. The point is that I’m about to be responsible for another human being, like, really responsible for it. Or maybe even more than that. As one of my friends relayed to me via Facebook, “The most American thing to do is bring another American into this world.” Even though this child will be halvsies, I’m sure it still counts.
Also, regarding the kicking thing, I was not prepared in the slightest for the amount of pokes and prods I’ve received from the inside. I keep trying to explain it to my husband: “It’s like whole potatoes moving through your intestines;” “It feels as if a bowling ball is resting in my pelvis;” “This kid feels like a really gurgly stomach combined with the immediate need to fart.” And then, of course, there’s the time during our last ultrasound where our child donkey-kicked the sonographer’s little device away during an unexpected and hilarious bout of independence and/or annoyance, surprising all three of us in the room. There’s almost no way to really describe this incredibly new and foreign experience. Though I’m not at the point where that stomach-ripping-open scene from Alien flashes across my vision every three seconds, that thought has graced my mind once or twice. Combine that with the fact that my belly feels like a taut water balloon and my bellybutton looks like a third nipple, and you’re starting to understand what the third trimester feels like.
To be fair, things have gone really well. I experienced virtually no morning sickness, never threw up, was able to eat any food I wanted in my first trimester. Sure, I was dog tired some days, but nothing a little midafternoon nap couldn’t sort out. And I was lucky to be able to grab midafternoon naps. The second trimester was pretty fun. I could almost convince myself I wasn’t pregnant at the start of it, still squeezing into “normal” clothes, going on a hiking holiday around the UK, and visiting the States for work and play. Aside from receiving the news that we were higher risk for Down’s Syndrome due to bloodwork (and subsequently learning we were 99.6% fine after another test), the second trimester was definitely my favorite. By the end, there was no denying my baby belly and expanding boobs. You know where I’m at for this last trimester, and it’s not bad, though my sleep gets interrupted by bathroom breaks (you really can’t ignore jabs to the bladder), restless leg syndrome is actually a thing, acid reflux sucks, and the skin along my waistband has been red and itchy for the better part of 20 weeks now. It’s all manageable and temporary.
I know I keep going on about this kid, but it’s our first and we’re excited and oh-my-god-where-has-the-time-gone? I can see why mothers miss being pregnant: I have a companion wherever I go and it’s quite clear he or she has a mind of his or her own. I usually have to hold my stomach so his or her movements don’t cause me to jump and squeal like a pig in the middle of grocery shopping, especially when pointy elbows and knees get involved. I also have to be aware that when I loudly shout things like, “Oh my god! Stop kicking me already!”, I must realize that people may think I’m berating my husband who is calmly sitting opposite me at the table in a coffee shop/restaurant/deli.
The journey has been both quicker and longer than I anticipated. Yes, I miss a cold cider in the summer, the scrumptiousness of fresh sushi, and spreading brie cheese on a celery stick (if you thought ants on a log was good…), but I know those things will come back into my life. And I know our lives will be changed forever. I already miss the sleep I’ll forego over the next few years, but I also know I can do this. The support that’s been selflessly offered over the past few months has been astounding to me – free baby clothes, borrowed equipment and toys, being able to complain about pregnancy aches and pains. There’s a whole not-so-secret world of parents out there who are honest, funny, and compassionate, and I’m pretty happy to know some of them already.
Now, of course, there is just the waiting to meet this little creature. And resigning myself to the fact that in the next five weeks, Baby B will likely double in size again. Still, I’ll be quite happy with having a child weigh less than what my father did when he entered this world at nine pounds, six ounces. Though this kid’s head is already measuring large on the growth chart… I can breathe through all the pain, right?