As it turns out, the last month of pregnancy is just as bad as any woman has ever whined about it being. OK, maybe that’s slight hyperbole, but still... From where I am sitting it seems that the last few weeks are specifically designed by nature to make the woman actually look forward to the process of pushing a 7+ pound baby through an orifice that is normally a snug fit for a tampon. Believe me, I can’t wait, and I’m planning on doing it without pain meds. Of course my rational mind keeps reminding me that the fetus needs to stay put for another few weeks while it’s lungs and brain finish getting ready for the whole breathing thing, but the rest of me is pretty sure I’d jump for joy if labor started this very minute.
Things had been bad a couple of weeks ago when the fetus was still breech and attempting to colonize my ribcage. Then the fetus turned around and for a while it stopped feeling like the fetus was about to erupt through my breastbone like in the scene from Alien. I felt a lot better. Sadly, the feeling better part is rapidly going away. I’m pretty sure the fetus is still head down, but it is not getting any shorter, that’s for darn sure. Part of my problem is that I am sadly lacking in the torso department. Standing up I am on the tall side for a woman, but sitting down on a fixed-height chair I am noticeably on the short side compared to others. Combine that with the fact that the fetus seems to be above average on the size charts, and you have a recipe for crowded conditions. I am feeling the squeeze. My ribs ache, and my right hip (which hasn’t be able to stay in it’s socket since the start of the second trimester) hurts pretty much constantly. I also seem to have recently developed restless legs, which is not exactly an ideal symptom to pair with a funny hip. I periodically have to take limping laps around the building at work; it’s no wonder random people keep asking me when I am due. I also get random back spasms. I suspect some of the more sudden ones are due to the fetus scoring a direct hit on my spine. That brings us to the issue of my poor, crowded internal organs. I can’t climb a flight of stairs anymore without huffing and puffing like a heavy smoker. The heartburn isn’t so bad as far as actual discomfort, but it is completely unpredictable. It has absolutely nothing to do with what I eat. I had extra-spicey Chinese food at Mary Chung’s yesterday, including most of an order of refreshing bean sprouts, and not a bit of heartburn. A few days previously I had eaten only mild things and had heartburn keep me up half the night. The cause was very clear -- at one point I felt the fetus kick upward and the next thing I knew I was feeling the acid spurting up my esophagus. All I could think at that moment was there needed to be an announcer with a heavy European accent shouting “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!” It was indeed an impressive direct hit. In grosser news, there are the intestinal issues. Having a fetus taking up the space that your intestines used to be in will cause issues. This past weekend I learned the hard way that as unlikely as it sounds, it is possible to have both constipation and diarrhea at the same time. Not only is this just as appealing as it sounds, matters were made even worse when I had my first noticeable Braxton-Hicks contraction whilst sitting on the porcelain throne attempting to expel the boulder that was stopping up the works. There’s more, but you get the general idea.
The major bright spot in all this discomfort has been how supportive Warren has been. He has been fairly even-tempered when I turn surly for no apparent reason. He has shivered in silence for the past few weeks that I’ve had the AC in the house set on deep-freeze. He has picked up the slack in my household chores. He even made a special trip last night to get gas for my car so that I could be sure to get to the gym in the morning. Of course the last was partially enlightened self interest. It turns out that the drain in our shower is now clogging up if I even look at it funny, so either I shower at the gym or Warren gets to have his shower while standing in several inches of cold, slimey water, not to mention the couple of hours of work it takes him to attempt to restore something approaching reasonable drainage. The other reason I am still getting to the gym in spite of the increasing level of discomfort is that anecdotal evidence still indicates that the discomfort is worse if I don’t go to the gym, lame as my “workout” may be at this point. The woman at the gym who recently asked if I was having twins may think that I am hard-core to still be going at my present bulk, but it really is my only viable option. I am also hoping that the treadmill time will help the baby drop sooner, but I know better than to count on it.