I'm not a fan of pregnancy.
It's not an easy thing to admit publicly, what with the chorus
of passersby reminding me what a blessing it is. (After
all, don't I know that it all goes by so quickly?) Yes. Yes yes
yes. It's a biological miracle and I know far too many women who
would do anything to conceive a healthy child.
But I'm not good at pregnancy. In fact, sometimes I'm downright
awful. Sure, the first few days are [usually] a joy fest. From the
lightheaded twitterpation of seeing that positively affirming
peed-upon stick to those first giddy phone calls, the idea
of the new baby is downright fun. A couple of weeks later, however,
the reality starts to set in. And unfortunately, my reality
includes nonstop nausea, vomiting, and dizziness that puts post-30
hangovers to shame.
Eat a cracker, the passersby chide. Great advice! But
unless that cracker is dosed with enough Unisom to fell a water
buffalo, it probably won't make me feel as good as you think it
Doctor visits also bring their own version of Things At Which I
Am Not Good. These monthly (and later weekly!) checkups are a
special blend of pop quiz for which I always seem to have the wrong
answer. Did I gain too much weight? Try to be mindful. But
don't diet, that would be bad for the baby. Did I not gain
enough? Try to be mindful. Your baby needs the calories.
And the needles, oh, the needles! I don't think it's just my fear
of blood draws talking when I say there's no real reason they need
quite so much from me at every visit. I'm not necessarily
suggesting that they're hoarding my blood and creating synthetic
plasma, but I have seen True Blood and that's my
Then there's the gestational diabetes, which requires its own
blood-letting. Breech babies who enjoy clutching rib cages. The
varicose and spider veins in locales which, if discussed, would
make a rather effective abstinence PSA in our nation's high
schools. The hairiness. The loss of hair. Braxton Hicks
contractions that don't really hurt, it's not as bad as like,
labor, right? This go 'round I've even developed a sensitivity
to my prenatal vitamins, which manifests itself with even more
nausea and vomiting. Did I mention that these symptoms occur in
what's commonly referred to as the Feel Good trimester?
But the absolute worst part of my pregnancies is the proximity
of every single glowing and expectant mother who's never felt
more beautiful in her life, what with her shiny hair (but
not skin!), and sheepish declaration that not only was she never
ill, but that her cravings are for things like carrots and mineral
water. (I crave things like packaged liverwurst and onion dip eaten
by the spatula-full.)
And as I approach my third C-section, I can't pretend to be
anything but resigned to yet another spinal, and another lengthy
hospital stay full of catheters, I.V.s, and 'round-the-clock
prodding. In my most self-pitying moments, the nagging suspicion
that I'm just not cut out for baby-making creeps into my 3 a.m.
Until I have the baby, that is. And I know exactly how it'll
unfold: There I'll be on the operating table - mid-splay
- and my husband will hold that impossibly small and fully
realized baby up to my face. Yes, my arms will still be deadened
paperweights, but I'll suddenly be with my child. Not a
fetus or weekly belly picture or excuse for 4 a.m. peeing…but
a person whom I'll automatically love more fiercely than anyone
I've ever met, save for the two smallish imps awaiting my
homecoming. And the pain, discomfort, and oddness of the prior 39
weeks will no longer matter or be relevant to this, another
beginning of the thing I'm really good at: being a
And eating processed meat. I could bring home the gold for that
Keely Flynn is a Chicago playwright, freelance writer, and blogger living with three young children, an extraordinarily tolerant husband, and two cats who just try to make it through the day without being ridden like ponies. Check out her personal blog, lollygagblog.com.
See more of Keely's stories here.
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