March 5, 2001
Dot the "i"

Today's Pic
Look who came to visit this weekend! It's my baby brother, everybody!
One year ago (or thereabouts): I love making love to my husband in the afternoon.
   

The trouble with dealing with one's body lies in the difficulty of describing physical sensations. In the past week, I've had any number of distinctly different feelings in the general abdominal area, and trying to differentiate between them with words in incredibly difficult. Add to this the fact that every book, every expert, and every forum of women have only vague descriptions of the symptoms of common pregnancy ailments, and you have one seriously confused pregnant woman.

Our library shelves contain a series of readers with titles that begin "It Could Still Be": It Could Still Be a Rock, It Could Still Be a Dinosaur, It Could Still Be Endangered. I begin to feel that I could write my own books: It Could Still Be a Braxton Hicks or It Could Still Be a Round Ligament Pain. All the little aches and twinges begin to blend together; was that my uterus stretching or just remnants of repeated pelvic kicking? Was that a Braxton Hicks contraction or only gas pains? And how would I know the difference? How would I be able to describe it to somebody who might?

I've discovered the most annoying bit of this pregnancy thus far. My stomach is lying atop my extended uterus, constricting the path through which food must travel. Consequently, I feel uncomfortably full very quickly during meals, and the discomfort remains with me until the meal manages to work its way around the newly narrow corners of my digestive system. The other day, in an effort to aid the passage of a particularly troublesome bit of broccoli casserole, I got down on hands and knees and tried a few pelvic tilts. The success was embarrassingly immediate; I nearly had to bowl over a few patrons who had the misfortune of standing between me and the bathroom.

Heartburn, also, is a constant companion. I've been told that I can blame this upon the increased amounts estrogen in my system, which is inclined to relax all smooth muscles, including the esophageal sphincter which would ordinarily be working splendidly to contain stomach acids in their correct stations. Ha! What a funny joke on Mommy, to make her gag and grab her chest in the middle of the night! What fun! Well, at least I have a name for this malady.

I've entered my last trimester. Thirteen more weeks, approximately, until the Bit is scheduled to be evicted. I will miss being pregnant, don't get me wrong; I love the feel of these little bumps and pokes against my belly, and I love the smiles I get from perfect strangers. Somebody once told me, however, that the last trimester was designed to help women recover from the romance of pregnancy and look forward to its end, and I can really see the truth in those words.

   

Our second birth class was entertaining, if nothing else. The topics were "Birth Philosophies" and "Uterine Dependability." (Eric and I laughed ourselves silly paraphrasing a certain Charlie Brown melody with new lyrics from the latter of those topics.) It was in the second half of the class that I was forced to turn to Eric and whisper, "Well, this goes in the journal!" and he nodded emphatically.

I've been a good girl with regards to doing my kegel exercises this pregnancy. My pelvic floor has been getting regular workouts whenever the thought crosses my mind - in front of the computer, at traffic lights. When Melisa, the instructor, announced that we'd be discussing kegels, I nodded and thought to myself, "Well, this shouldn't take long." Boy, was I wrong. She whipped out a chart with an extremely cryptic diagram and placed it before us all. I stared, trying to make heads or tails out of the picture, until she announced, "This is the female pelvic area."

The lecture went on as she pointed to each of the, er, apertures in the region. The tour concluded with the memorable line, "...and this is the anus. It can wink completely closed. Give it a try; wink those anal sphincters!" I felt Eric's arm tremble as he tried not to burst out laughing; I wasn't doing much better at containing my own emotions. Things were not improved when she described the closing of the kegel muscles as "...more like a kiss. Everybody, give a little kiss!"

I managed to make it through the lecture, however narrowly, but I'm afraid that the exercises themselves were my downfall. Whereas before I had constrained myself to mere "tighten-release" exercises, my horizons were now expanded to encompass a whole new realm of possibilities. I don't know exactly how to put this delicately, so I'll just come right out and say it: in the company of three other pregnant women, I knelt and attempted to write the phrase "Happy Birthday" with my kegel muscles. Ahem. I managed to make it as far as "Now, dot the 'i'!" before collapsing in noisy hysterics against Eric's chest. Sweet heavens, I don't believe I have laughed so hard in months as I did in that moment. The class dissolved completely into fits of laughter, and the exercise was ended for the moment, thankfully.

Not, of course, that I was not directed to repeat it several times a day from now on. Traffic lights just got a whole lot more...stimulating.

   

The baby brother came in for the weekend! He was interviewing for a potential job in the Detroit area, so he crashed on our sofa for a few nights in the meantime. This was the first time he'd actually been up to visit us since we moved to Ohio, so I was quite excited to have him around.

Poor boy; he's never actually rented an apartment, having been a dorm worker for the past three years. Life is about to change drastically for him, and I'm not at all sure he's prepared for the consequences. He has absolutely no credit history, so he may have difficulty even convincing the complexes to consider renting to him in the first place. Thankfully, the position for which he was interviewing is a rather prestigious one, so he should be well on his way toward establishing himself within his field within a very brief time.

His visit was particularly well-timed, in fact. Eric and I, being in the process of packing to move, found ourselves in possession of far too much stuff; Cory, getting ready to live on his own for the first time, was in possession of far too little. We were able to send him off with plates, cups, blankets, and sheets, as well as books and bottles of wine. His car was very well packed when he finally drove away last night.

It will be rather convenient, I must say, if he does move up here this summer. He would be very close by to play uncle to his new niece or nephew, and Mom and Dad would be able to visit us both in one trip. Mighty handy, I must say. Let's hope it all works out satisfactorily for him.

   

That nasty storm is going backward and may be blanketing us with tons of snow tonight. I really, really am over winter.



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