Tuesday, January 15, 2008


That widgetbaby to the right is looking awfully big these days. It's just one more symptom of something I'm reminded of a couple dozen times a day - the third trimester is just around the corner. Whether it's turning the page in my personalized Pregnancy Calendar to find a full-page spread dedicated to the wonders of The Third Trimester, or the weekly emails cheerfully noting that Hey! Congratulations! You're two-thirds of the way through your pregnancy!, reminders are everywhere. And not just external ones, either.

I have to admit, my body is starting to feel ... well, weary. Which isn't surprising given that I'm carrying about 30 pounds more than I was 6 months ago. According to one of the weekly emails, my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball, and there's a foot-long baby in there. While the uterus and the outward evidence of same grows, internally everything else has to move out of the way. I can't breathe into my abdomen the way I once did, and my lungs don't seem to expand as much as I need them to. Climbing the stairs at our house leaves me short of breath and sore in the legs. Bending over is becoming an absurd effort. I feel like in many ways, I already am in the third trimester.

I dashed into the grocery store yesterday to pick up about 7 items. Except "dashing" is no longer on the repertoire of "things I can actually accomplish at 24 weeks pregnant". Waddling, yes. Dashing, not so much. The first obstacle comes when I'm getting into (and out of) the car. I'm lucky in that most of the time I walk, not drive to my destination: I walk to work and only use the car a couple of times a week. But this just serves to make the awakenings that much more rude when I do get in the car, and realize howpoorly my new body and the old car seat are adapted to one another. I can hardly fit between the back of the seat and the steering wheel, and the seatbelt holder digs into me awkwardly. Once I get myself situated, of course, I'm out of breath. It just seems to take so much more effort to maneuver myself these days - the simplest actions can be ridiculously tiring.

I'm lucky again that Chris's car is a jeep-like model, which doesn't require me to sit down low to the ground (and perform the required acrobatics to get back out again). I'd be in even worse shape if that were the case.

I read about women in their third trimester who are tempted to give up even the simplest tasks, because they become too exhausting. I can completely relate. I look at myself in the mirror and ask, "Could I be any more pregnant?" And then I realize that yes, I can, and yes, I will, and I can't really imagine that or understand it, but I know it's true. I have about 15 weeks to go, and those weeks will be the ones of fastest fetal growth. My yoga teacher told me that from now on, I will have a different body every week - that's how fast things are going to grow and change.

For the first time, I understand why women do those plaster belly casts. My body is changing so quickly now, I can hardly get used to it. Maybe doing a cast helps women really see their bellies, separating that image from themselves, and having something permanent to look back on as many times as needed until it really sinks in.

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