For whatever reason, lately I’ve had a lot of questions and comments from people (men and women) about what being pregnant feels like. (I’ve also had a lot of questions along the lines of “You still haven’t had that thing?!” But I’m trying to avoid being violent this morning.) I guess maybe it got my imagination going back to the days BP (before pregnancy, not the oil company that everyone loves to hate). While there really are no words that can either adequately prepare a woman (and this goes with the standard disclaimer that we’re all different, as our our pregnancies, apparently) much less clue in a man, I shall do my best:
1) Baby kicking: At first, it’s cute. At first, you don’t know if that’s what you’re feeling. The books all say to watch out for feelings like “gas bubbles,” but to me it was more like what swallowing a live goldfish must feel like. It’s not uncomfortable, just cute and odd.
2) Your belly button: For most of us, it pops out. That’s gross enough. What most of us don’t comprehend is how “different” that skin is. Perhaps because it’s spent most of its life tucked away upon itself, or maybe this area just retains a heck of a lot of nerves left over from our own connection to the old umbilical cord. Whatever it is, I have spent the last 2 months in fear of belly button chafing. As I’ve gotten bigger and bigger, I’m in a constant state of paranoia when I sit at tables or desks that I may somehow jostle or knock it loose. Irrational, yes. But it really is a gross feeling.
3) Baby squirming: You reach a point where the baby can no longer kick, as it gets too big and cramped in there. At that point, you get random and rather violent squirming that takes place. Please note, you can’t really blame the kid in there. I’d be pissed off and squirming, too, if I had no leg room for that long. In any case, the best analogy I could come up with for that one is this (and close your eyes at the end of this section and REALLY try to visualize it) – imagine that some surgeon opened you up unbeknownst to you and implanted a very large, robust snake in your lower abdomen. Think a 5 foot long python wearing SCBA (so it can breathe in there…duh!). Then sit back and let the magic happen. It will roll and boil and thrash. Imagine how that will squish your intestines, bladder (which I’ll come to later), stomach, and lungs. Imagine, also, how that will look from the outside. It’s horrific. At this point, it’s not cute anymore. It’s really gnarly. I’ve been saying for months that if I ever do this again (pause for hysterical laughter) that I’ll get a dancing hula girl t-shirt made, so at least we can watch some dancing. (Another disclaimer: apparently, not all babies move around this much. Ours, of course, has. Somehow, I don’t think this bodes well.)
4) Breathing difficulties. For a while, you get easily winded. You just feel like a big flabby hippo that Richard Simmons ought to be coaching. Then you hit this awful point where you feel as if your environment is randomly becoming anaerobic. This isn’t necessarily when you’re walking around or doing anything physical. You can be trying to talk or watch TV. Not only is this odd (and does make you panic a bit at first), it’s uncomfortable. All the books tell you “not to worry,” that the baby is getting everything he/she needs. That’s nice. The baby’s not the one out here gaping like a lamprey eel.
5) The Electrified Bladder: I’ve never met a pregnant woman that didn’t gripe about having to pee all the time. It’s just part of it, and most people fundamentally understand why. It doesn’t take a genius to comprehend that after that second trimester, you have anywhere between 5 and 15 pounds bouncing around and doing head spins on your bladder. What’s harder to articulate is that really odd sensation you get when (I guess) the baby hits a nerve. Imagine that some sick bastard biologist has implanted electrodes in your bladder. At random intervals, that bastard will hit the shock button, sending you into a rather excited state: you will jump (sometimes even squeal, if it catches you WAY off guard) and immediately panic that you are about to have wet drawers. You will race to the bathroom, at which point you MAY pee a few drops. That’s it. It’s strange and awful.
I may come up with more later, but that’s a pretty good start.