I’m in the process of planning a baby shower for a (much younger) friend, and this planning process plus watching her pregnancy grow on Instagram in cute clothes, with her barely-bigger-than-a-volleyball tummy has prompted me to reflect on the time I spent incubating my two favorite fetuses.
I was 26 when I got pregnant with my oldest child. After trying for a couple of years, I was actually in shock when it finally worked. The night decided we would swing by Kmart and pick up a pee stick test after dinner, I went ahead and had a second glass of wine, in case it was the last one I had for a while. I have always been quite the strategic thinker.
When I told my boss at work, he remarked that my due date falling at the end of a quarter (when many financial reports, for which I was responsible had deadlines) was terrible timing on my part. My answer, “It is continuation of the species, you know. I actually think it may be more important that the quarterly reports.” (Note: I quit that job as soon after the baby came I could squeeze my postpartum body into one of my suits to interview.)
Now I’ve always loved food, so I took this opportunity as a license to eat and I managed to gain 56 pounds which, with my first, was basically a 6 pound baby and 50 pounds of human bubble wrap. I gained as much the second time, but the baby was a more respectable size at nearly eight pounds. At one point I was waiting for an elevator at Enron, where I worked, and an elderly gentleman walked up to me when I was about seven months pregnant and said “Oh my God! Somebody must be having twins!” I replied enthusiastically, while gesturing to my large tuhkis, “Yes, I’m caring one in my a** so I don’t tip over.”
When thinking about pregnancy, the thing that scared me the most was the actual the birth experience. I had heard multiple horror stories: emergency C-sections, episiotomies (google it, but not while you are eating in case there are pictures), a birthing mom who refused the episiotomy and then had her birth canal rip into third degree lacerations through her rectum, etc.. These stories haunted me while in conception mode, and obviously still lingered as my first due date approached.
That is I was scared of giving birth until I got to be about eight months pregnant. Due to my enthusiastic weight gain, it was impossible to rollover without assistance. I even got trapped in a bathroom stall when I could not open the door due to my tummy. I was only able to exit the stall by turning around, leaning my belly over the toilet, and using my heel to pull the door open. Now that I think of it, that is probably the first yoga type move I ever attempted. There comes a point in pregnancy, no matter how much you “Love being pregnant,” where you are no longer scared of giving birth; the thought of actually staying pregnant is more anxiety provoking. God knows what he’s doing, because by that point you don’t really care how they get it out, as long as the kid gets evicted.
With my first child I pushed for two and a half hours, and he finally decided to make us parents as I laughed between pushing, and relaxed a little. Why was I laughing? Because David Letterman’s monologue came on the TV. I have always wanted to tell David that he helped me give birth. That darling 6 pound baby boy manage to come out face up, and break my tailbone upon exit just to add insult to injury. (There is my honor story to add to the list. You are welcome!)
My second child, even though he was nearly 2 pounds larger, I only pushed nine minutes. He was born shortly before noon, and I believe he was simply afraid he would miss lunch. Sixteen years later, and I do not recall him skipping a meal yet.
Now, my baby making days are behind me. It is teenagers, dogs and looking forward to being a grandma, but not for a few more years. I am glad I still hang around with fertile people, so I can snuggle babies when they are not crying, and generally avoid projectile vomiting. And if I never find under a car seat, a three-week old bottle, with formula molded into solid black block, it will be fine with me.