September 01, 2008


Right now it is beyond my ability to obey the lyrics of Faith Hill's song, "Breathe".

There's something about a small child shoving all internal organs out of the way that kinda' hampers any and all other body systems from functioning normally. I know my gallbladder is crammed up into my rib cage with my lungs, so who knows where my poor diaphragm is these days.

I remember dissecting frogs in 8th grade science lab. My group happened to have a male frog, but other groups had females. At least a couple of those female frogs were pregnant--ovaries extremely pronounced, abdominal cavities packed full of eggs, all other organs crammed into any available space... It made it difficult to find, let alone identify, which formaldehyde-soaked bit was a stomach, which were kidneys, etc. There are days of late that have me feeling like one of those pregnant frogs--without the formaldehyde, I hasten to add.

Abdominal discomfort sliding into pain is pretty standard these days. The uncertainty comes in trying to pin down the what or why of the discomfort. Have I not eaten recently enough? Did I not eat enough? Did I eat the wrong thing? (Greasy foods are guaranteed to make the next day a miserable one.) Did I eat too much? Am I lacking sleep? (This answer is almost always "yes".) Would a different position of sitting/standing/lying down help at all? (This answer is often "no".)

There is a picture I have of me holding Nathan in my hospital room within a day after he was born. Just looking at the picture conjures up the detailed memories: the soft weight of him draped against my shoulder, the heart-full knowledge of being able to cradle my son as closely as I wanted to after nine months of being kept at a distance, and the expression on my face... I can't think of a way to describe it except as feeling like I finally came home. All of me, every cell and fiber, was fully present in that moment, not wanting to be anywhere but where I was.

I know that there are future moments like that ahead of me with our baby girl; I know that the nine months' discomfort fades into acceptable memory.

It's just the present that's hard.

The last trimester of pregnancy is one of those times of life when most (if not all) women will fail to feel attractive--enough so that being complimented on how cute I look causes me to look closely at the person to see if they're in possession of their mental faculties. Elephants are not "cute". Whales ought never be described as "cute". I consider it a measure of my parents' training that I'm usually able to stretch a smile on my lips and bite my tongue from saying strongly negative things about the complimenter's eyesight. Despite being pregnant, I have retained my civility--most of the time. : )

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