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Welcome to the 3rd trimester (and pregnant lady whining)

28 Weeks

This week, Niblet is about 2 1/2 pounds and between 15 and 16 inches long, depending on which pregnancy website you’re reading. She’s getting so strong and her movements so frequent and varied. Sometimes she jabs, sometimes she squirms, I can feel her rolling over, turning, and sometimes it feels like she’s stretching her arms and legs out, pushing her butt and back out against my belly so that it gets very hard and makes my belly button pop out. She also does this thing where she bounces from left to right, like a rubber ball bouncing between two walls, or a kid overdosed on sugar in a bounce house. It always makes me laugh because it’s so weird and it really feels like she’s just playing around in there, having a grand old time.

I’ve let my nesting instincts out of their cage and have been working my tail off (with my sister and Mike’s help) to clear out the second bedroom (formerly Mike’s office/our TV room) so we can turn it into the nursery. By the end of last weekend I wanted to crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep, I felt so overwhelmed. It seems like the more work I do, the more I discover still has to be done. I’ve already taken three carloads of crap to Goodwill and there’s still more stuff to go through. (WE’RE I’M A HOARDER.) We moved the TV, the dog crate, and the snake’s tank into the living room, and Mike’s desk and computer into our bedroom. In one weekend our apartment went from spacious to teeny tiny. I can’t move in any room now without banging my knee on an awkwardly placed piece of furniture.

Whine, whine, whine, I know. Poor me, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and all the comforts of modern living, blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a loving husband. Play that tiny violin a little louder, please.

But I’m not done yet.

Getting dressed every day is like waging a small battle with myself. I’ve gained 24 pounds so far and I waffle between loving my pregnant body and wanting to die a slow death because I feel like an obese hippo. Nearly all the office-appropriate maternity clothes I borrowed from girlfriends are too small in the thigh and rear, my underpants are too small, dresses that were cute two months ago look like tents now, and nothing is comfortable. There are tears nearly every morning and Michael, bless his heart, has to talk me off a ledge. A couple of days ago he insisted that I go out and buy a few more things to get me through the next three months because “crying in front of the closet every day isn’t productive”. I hated the idea of buying clothes this late in my pregnancy, but I did, and I’m so glad I did. It’s helped. I bought size large non-maternity leggings, tunic-length camis, and a few flowy, wonderfully cozy sweaters. All clothes that are soft and stretchy, oh-so-comfy, and will hopefully still look cute post-partum when I’m hiding my I-just-had-a-baby-so-I-still-look-pregnant belly.

As much as I love being pregnant (and I really, really, really love it), I do not feel beautiful or sexy or feminine. I just feel huge. I can’t stand looking at myself naked. Which is probably why people asking if I’m pregnant or just getting fat especially stings. I’m really struggling with this because I want to raise my daughter to love, respect, and appreciate her body – not to hate it and abuse it the way I’ve spent most of my life hating and abusing mine. I want to somehow shield her from society’s expectations of being “skinny” and all the bullshit that goes with it. And I know that it starts with me – that I’m her first example of how a woman should feel about and treat her body. So I’m really trying to love my 150 pound body and appreciate it for the miracle it’s creating, instead of getting angry and saying mean things to it every morning while I try to squeeze into too-small maternity pants. I’m also cutting out ice cream and making an effort to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day (per my midwife’s gentle urging).

All that said, I adore not having to suck in my stomach constantly (I was a chronic sucker-inner pre-pregnancy) and being able to eat a big meal and not worry that I look pregnant afterwards because I AM pregnant is freaking terrific. See? UPSIDES TO EVERYTHING.

Also, Hi. I’m pregnant. And the hardest part is feeling fat. So, I’m done complaining and I will go back to being blissfully happy and excited and stupid-crazy-in love with the acrobatic water monkey who keeps making my belly button pop out whenever she wants to stretch her legs. Because honestly? I’d take a fat ass for a healthy baby any day.

10 Unexpected Side Effects of Being Knocked Up

1. I still haven’t suffered pregnancy acne. My skin is clearer than it’s been since before puberty and the awful bacne I had in the first trimester is totally gone! It’s a pregnancy miracle.

2. I only have to wash my hair twice a week. Pregnancy-related dry skin? It reminds me of when I was taking accutane in college (just discovered this drug is no longer available in the U.S. You’re about to find out one reason why…) and my skin was so dry I couldn’t shower more than once a week and every time I pooped my butt would split open and bleed. My skin isn’t that dry, but my hair looks fantastic after three-unwashed days which (except that brief stint in college) has never been true. I LOVE IT.

3. The Itching stopped at 17 weeks when I started using Mama Mio’s Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil, recommended by my cousin Stephanie, bless her heart. That stuff has been my saving grace and I totally recommend it to any pregnant mama, it’s worth the price tag, I promise. Also, so far, no stretch marks. Woot!

4. I can’t see my feet anymore. Or my crotch. I’m supposed to bring a cup of urine to every prenatal appointment and it’s supposed to be the first urine of the morning (that’s a great band name, btw: First Urine of the Morning). It’s a cruel joke because, here pregnant lady! Take this tiny cup and pee in it first thing in the morning, when you have to pee REALLYBADLY, and you’re still half asleep, and you haven’t seen your crotch in ages. Because what every woman wants is to pee all over her hand first thing in the morning. Seriously. (Also, I hope no one at the office finds out I keep a small cup of pee in the fridge next to everyone’s lunches. Super awkward.)

4.a. The other day I had to pee (again) and I was wearing these tie-front pajama pants and when I pulled the drawstring to untie them they tangled into a knot and I couldn’t see past my giant belly to untie it and I had to pee so badly that I started crying because I was trapped in my pants and I was never going to get them off and I was going to die of needing to pee. Then I finally got the knot undone and oh lord the RELIEF.

5. I haven’t been able to bend over in weeks, but my thighs are getting super strong from squatting down all the time. Also, I totally hurt my back taking a bag of garbage out of a garbage can because I’m 90 now.

6. Everyone says, “Sleep now because as soon as that baby is born you’ll never sleep again!” which is a horrible thing to say because you know who else doesn’t sleep besides new parents? Huge pregnant ladies. Every time I have to move my enormous body, I wake up. I wake up to pee. I wake up when she kicks. I wake up because I’ve sweated a pool into the bed despite the running the AC at 68 degrees. And once I wake up, I can’t fall back asleep. Two weeks ago Mike bought me a body pillow because all my thrashing around to get comfortable was keeping him awake, and the pillow has helped tremendously, but now I wake up every time I knock it to the floor. And lately I keep waking up on my back which is weird because I’ve never ever been a back sleeper and I’m super paranoid about it because doctors are like DON’T LAY ON YOUR BACK. Not awesome.

7. My boobs are the size of small countries. The D-cup bras I bought at around 18 weeks feel like tiny torture chambers now. I’ve given up on wearing anything besides stretchy sleep bras and tube bras. They look stupid under my clothes and they are not flattering, but they’re comfortable.

8. Also about boobs: they are still awfully sore. Sometimes I get shooting pains in my nipples for no apparent reason. Super fun times!

9. Haven’t really had any cravings besides beer, tequila, wine, excessive amounts of coffee, unpasteurized cheese, raw fish, under-cooked meat, nitrates, and runny eggs. All the things I’m forbidden from consuming. I want sweets constantly, but that’s true even when I’m not pregnant. There was a week when all I wanted to eat was goat cheese, and another week when I neeeeeeeded lemonade, but that’s it.

10. And just for fun, here’s some stupid things people* have said that people should never ever say to a pregnant lady:

  • At 20 weeks: “Ugh. I hope you’re pregnant.”
  • At 22 weeks: “Are you pregnant or are you just getting fat?”
  • At 26 weeks: “You must be due any minute!” and “Every time I see you, you’re eating.”
  • At 27 weeks: “You want some tips on how to get your body back after you push that kid out?”

*By people I mean men and I hate to point that out because I think men don’t get enough credit or encouragement in our society for being sensitive and gentle and I don’t want to generalize, but come on. Plenty of men have said lovely, complimentary things, yes, but only men have said rude and thoughtless things. Ladies have, on the whole, been supportive and kind. Why?