of runny noses and sweater dresses

To all the women I’ve met who claimed to love every moment of their pregnancy, I have this to say: You lie. You like like rugs. Or maybe you just weren’t nine months pregnant smack dab in the middle of winter? Or maybe you just don’t know what it feels like to truly feel well – I suppose that’s a possibility. Regardless, while I am over the proverbial moon about this little girl of mine, I don’t feel ashamed in admitting that this last month of pregnancy has been a humdinger, and I am unabashedly looking forward to labor.

Probably I was spoiled with how well the first 7  1/2 months of the pregnancy rolled along.  I admit I possessed a bit of hubris – while I experienced nausea typical of the first trimester and one scary bleeding incident that placed me on a week of bedrest, for the most part I tripped my way through the majority of this pregnancy with a lot of luck – I benefited from the increased pregnancy metabolism and didn’t gain too much weight, I didn’t suffer from back pain and thus wore high heels daily, as well as cute pregnancy outfits like navy dresses and short sweaters,  and I felt, on a day to day basis, quite well and found myself baffled when the main question everyone asked me became “How are you feeling?” instead of ” How are you?”  It almost seemed, at times, that people wanted me to feel poorly – or maybe just wanted to be let into my pregnancy a bit – and so I would honestly say that I found myself more tired than usual, but otherwise fine.

I think things first took a turn for the worse when I stopped exercising except for walking.  I found anything besides a walk – from prenatal yoga to swimming – a trigger for terribly uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions and, since I am on my feet quite often for my job, I decided to cut myself some slack and take a break from workouts until after the baby is born. Probably a sound decision for my physical health and the health of my baby  but also the first in a series of steps that has led me to feel more “not-me” than I ever thought possible.

I’ve already written about the second mishap – breaking my metatarsal bone at the beginning of month eight – so I won’t recount that incident again except to say beyond taking away my mobility for a couple of weeks it took away my shoe collection, which was a huge blow…now for comfort and safety I stuff my feet into my well-worn Uggs, either pushing my pant legs up or pulling them over the boots, neither of which is a particularly attractive look given how short-legged I am. This new development has also eliminated my sweater dresses as viable clothing options since obviously, the sweater dresses NEED the high heels to be a complete look.

In addition to stealing my shoe collection, the break also meant instead of running my usual errands I had to stay off my foot for several weeks. Since I wasn’t going to work because of doctor’s orders I thought it would be pretty unprofessional to keep my highlight and waxing appointments for this month, and obviously getting a pedicure was entirely out of the question, and so now I have dark brown roots practically down to my ears (because the hair, it is growing like gang busters), eyebrows so bushy they rival my dad’s and rough, unpolished feet. That I have to place in stirrups. Weekly. Only to have my doctor sigh and say I could have this baby tomorrow or two weeks from now, there really is no way to tell.

Yesterday, I awoke with a head cold, and a puffy red eye ( this happens occasionally – it’s not pink eye – just really really dry eye). Instead of contacts, I’m wearing my glasses.  I’m blowing my nose approximately every second.  When I am not moisturizing my mid-winter dry skin with cocoa butter I’m squeezing eyedrops into my drippy eye while my daughter does hand stand on my cervix without showing any intention whatsover of vacation the premises. I think she is holding on with mad glee to her due date of Super Bowl Sunday so she can steal attention away from the Steelers.

Women who tell you  they’ve never felt better than when pregnant? I will say it again.  LIARS.  I haven’t even been cursed with some of the more routine pregnancy disturbances like heart burn and, well, other unmentionable discomforts but I am here to tell you late-stage pregnancy isn’t a cakewalk.  The sad thing is I realize women in third world countries do this all the time, with absolutely none of the comforts my first-world lifestyle allows. I realize women have babies without receiving adequate nutrition, water, healthcare – women have babies without proper roofs over their heads, and here I am complaining about shoes and sweater dresses.

I know I should probably feel ashamed of myself for allowing these shallow concerns to influence my last few days carrying my daughter. What I look like – what I feel like – should pale in comparison to the fact that I am carrying a full-grown baby inside me. And sometimes, it does. I cannot wait to meet this little girl. But others? Well, as I limp along in my worn out Uggs, pulled up over leggings or some other just-as-bad fashion decision, my bushy eyebrows beating against the rims of my glasses, my hair morphing from blonde curls into brown dreadlocks no matter how much conditioning and coming I do, well – I think it’s okay to admit that how I look, for better or worse, does affect how I feel, and it’s okay to begin thinking about the time, the time beyond this pregnancy, when my baby is physically here and I maybe I haven’t yet gotten back to blonde or returned to my high-heeled way of life, but perhaps my nose has stopped running and my eye has stopped dripping and I am able to perform a few sun salutations in my living room and during those salutations I will form an intention, and that intention will be this: to never, ever tell another pregnant woman that being pregnant is the best she will ever feel.

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11 Responses to of runny noses and sweater dresses

  1. Zoesmom says:

    That last month is so tough. Even the best pregnancies get really bad. And having a cold on top of it is definitely reason to complain. A lot. During my last month I used to say I am so consistently uncomfortable, it is not even remarkable anymore. Hang in there. You know what feels great? That first night in bed after you’ve delivered your baby. You realize that you have your body back. Try to take it easy and ask your doctor what you can take for cold relief.

  2. Big hugs! I think people forget how grim they felt and also, they are so happy to have their babies safely in their arms that it seems kind of ungrateful to complain. Not that I am saying you are ungrateful! The last month IS grim, and if it’s compounded by forced fashion errors, even worse.

    So soon, you’ll be looking into her lovely eyes and like the rest of us, you’ll forget.

  3. litlove says:

    Ooh that last month IS a tough one. It’s nature’s way of making you approach giving birth with optimism! I remember my sister-in-law saying how marvellous it was to be able to lie on her back again, and that as soon as the birth was over she just lay there, enjoying it. I’m really sorry about the cold – miserable. Take lots of lemon and honey and burn pine oils. None of them can hurt. And rest up! The end is in sight.

  4. smithereens says:

    Of course that last month is tough! See how you say that you’re actually looking forward to labor? I said as much (and I had no runny nose because it was summer) and I couldn’t believe I would ever say that of labor. Hang in there, it’s so close to the end now!

  5. katy says:

    You can do it, C! I think you’re onto something when you point out that being pregnant reminds you how unlike yourself you feel. And it’s important to be aware of that former self pounding to get back to the surface and to tell her she’ll be back before you know it. Just think! In a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to lie down ON YOUR STOMACH and take deep breaths whenever you want.

  6. Emily Barton says:

    Okay, next time I am whining away when I have a cold (better yet, next time Bob is whining about a cold), I am going to remind myself (and him) that at least I’m not 8-months pregnant with a cold and living in a third-world country. Maybe your little girl will sit tight for the Superbowl and be born on my mother’s birthday, Feb. 8th. But, really, I’m hoping she comes sooner (for your sake). Hugs and lots of positive energy flowing across the state your way.

  7. Andi says:

    Nicely put! I had some of the horrible parts of pregnancy: heartburn, namely. But overall I felt good until that last month, too. I was SO READY to have Greyson by the time it was all over, though. SO SO SO SO SO ready. Wishing you luck and comfort in the home stretch!

  8. shoreacres says:

    Well, I don’t care how you look. You still sound just as sassy and clever as ever, even in the midst of your “oh-good-gosh-can’t-we-get-this-over” experience.

    I hope this weather crossing the country doesn’t make it necessary to truck off to the hospital in the midst of a blizzard. These low pressure systems can be a (labor) pain – births always spike during hurricanes!

  9. Dorothy W. says:

    Oh, how exciting! I can’t wait for the announcement that your daughter has been born! I hope these last days goes quickly and that you feel as well as possible 🙂

  10. moe99 says:

    In the summer, one’s ankles swell up the last month of pregnancy, so it’s a tradeoff.

    And I know you like your high heels, but they really are not good for your back. My babies are 25, 24 snd 20 and I gave up high heels after my first was born. You can’t walk in them when you are carrying the baby in a pouch or pushing a stroller and when they become ambulatory, you can’t chase after them and if you accidentally step on them, it’s incredibly painful. But really, you need to be kind to your back because being pregnant is so not.

  11. Courtney says:

    Zoesmom – I’ve heard that about the first night after you have your baby – you just feel delicious because you can stretch and turn over onto your belly, etc – I am REALLY looking forward to the first evening with a baby-free belly!
    Charlotte – I know, even now, that this is ENTIRELY worth it – I can’t wait to meet my little girl. I’m just growing so anxious!!
    Litlove – I think you are right…otherwise we would spend our time dreading labor? Instead I am anxiously and, yes, even cheerfully, looking forward to the first signs…
    Smithereens – thanks for the pep talk! I have to admit I am doing MUCH better now that I’m done working – it’s like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
    Katy – I like your upbeat attitude! You are absolutely right – am so close to the end I need to focus on that!
    Emily – thanks for the hugs and positive energy -I can feel it! I am not at all going to be surprised if I have this baby during the super bowl but the option has s. very nervous only because of potential rioting, street closures, etc.
    Andi – I feel a lot better now that I am done with work…I tried working until I went into labor but found it really stressful attempting to do so.
    Shoreacres – we have been very fortunate in that most of the dramatic weather has missed us, and we are looking at a mostly mild and quiet week – we are counting our blessings in that regard!
    Dorothy, thanks! Any day now!
    Moe – I’ve been lucky to avoid back pain thus far in the pregnancy – very lucky, indeed. I know I won’t be wearing heals to chase my daughter around but I will NEVER give them up in the work place, NEVER, I say. My love for them is deep and true.

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