The dog days of pregnancy

If it could be said that I had a rough period during my first pregnancy, it was the first trimester. I was so queasy that the only thing I could eat for three months was cheese and crackers. (Christmas fell during this time, and I was crushed to not be able to take part in the festive gorging.) I also got sick — twice — in that magical window during which you’re not even allowed to take a Tylenol without physician approval. What’s worse is I could only complain to people in my inner circle; I could not complain to the world at large, because the world at large did not yet know I was pregnant. I never realized how much comfort we derive from bitching about our little problems, but it really does help. (Or maybe I’m just not one to suffer in silence.)

Oh, I won’t say I didn’t have rough times after the first trimester. But other than my third trimester coinciding with a particularly brutal summer, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t really understand why everyone kept talking to me like I was in agony. I was hot, and in a fair amount of discomfort in the final two weeks, but otherwise I felt fine. Great, in fact. For someone lugging around another human being in her abdomen, bloody fantastic.

Now it’s all starting to make sense.

Some of my current suffering is my own fault. I was in far better physical shape last time around. I underestimated the importance of tight abs and strong thighs on the third-trimester belly. My entire pelvis aches every second of every day. Nothing alleviates the pain. It’s like Musak.

I’m also bigger than I was last time, because I thought it might increase my odds of a successful pregnancy if I weren’t underweight when I got pregnant. And I do think it helped me get and stay pregnant, so I do not regret the decision. But being 10 lbs bigger when I got pregnant has led to me being 10 lbs bigger throughout my pregnancy, pretty much. Which means I am currently the biggest I have ever been, and just keep getting bigger. My body is in shock. As is my brain; I keep running into things with my belly, because I just can’t wrap my mind around how big I really am. I’m dangerously close to requiring assistance with putting on shoes.

I’m also tired. So very tired. Not as tired as I will be when the baby is born, true. But still friggin’ exhausted. Because I don’t sleep. All day long, I could pretty much fall asleep standing up. I can’t stay that way, because I’m having crazy pregnant-lady nightmares, but I have no trouble getting to sleep. At night, though…that’s another story.

I was up until 1:30-2:00 last night. Not because I wasn’t tired. No, I itched. Despite the fact that I’d coated my entire body in lotion after my shower, I itched. Like I had bedbugs or something. Because I was too moisturized. Areas like the tops of my thighs, which apparently are less dry than my shins, would stick together and itch. Finally, I got up and put on yoga pants. Which just shifted the itching from my thighs to my belly, where the dreaded maternity panel sits. I could feel every hair on my abdomen. They all itched.

I folded the panel down. Which compressed my lower belly, making the baby squirm. It hurts when he does that, because quarters are cramped. The pain triggered contractions, which made my lower back join my pelvis in throbbing.

It also made me have to pee. About 5 times in 20 minutes. When I returned to bed the last time, my daughter rolled over in her sleep and put her feet on my thighs. Which made them itch all over again.

I rolled over. The baby rolled over. My daughter put her feet in my lower back. And the cycle began anew.

And then there’s the heartburn. I ate dinner — bland mac-n-cheese and peas — at 2:30 in the afternoon. I ate nothing after that, and drank nothing but water and peppermint tea. Eight Tums could not put out the fire. I have to sleep sitting nearly bolt upright these days.

When I finally got to sleep, I had crazy dreams all night long. I dealt with them, because I was too tired to wake up. After what felt like 5 minutes, my alarm went off.

I’d have hit snooze, but I had to pee.

I’ve stopped itching, at least.

Seven more weeks of this. Yowza.

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