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Eight months pregnant, and counting
by Charlie Fern

I keep looking at the calendar.  Could it be only 8 months?  I have begun to doubt the lab reports, the doctor’s reports, the ultra sound reports, and the blood test results.  This baby is done.  It’s time to turn off the oven get the slow-cooker on the table.

I've become a grumpy, uncomfortably pregnant person yearning for tomorrow (GUPPY-FT) who shuffles on a bad day; waddles on a good one. My stamina is fading. I huff and puff after climbing the stairs to my front door. I've officially abandoned my wedding ring -- my hands and face swell like the little girl in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, especially if I don't drink lots of water. I've gained 27 pounds. Last month I went from 150 to 160 in 7 seconds flat, and I don't show any signs of slowing down. I have never weighed so much in my life.

Fortunately, my husband is 6'4" and 225, so I'm pretty sure I won't surpass him on the scale. But I do have 7 weeks to go. I am wearing his belts now, and oddly enough it's been a bonding experience. "Honey, which belt are you wearing today? Can I have the black one? It matches my shoes."  "Yes, dear."

I think my feet have grown a half size larger, and my heels hurt when I stand up in the morning. My toenails need cutting but I don't have any desire to bend over and do something about it.

Last night I dreamed I went skiing - I swooshed down slopes all night...then woke up to the reality that I am barely agile enough to maneuver on two feet, much less two skis.

I bought a maternity bra - looks like a sports bra with snaps where the front straps meet the cups.  I have learned all kinds of new yoga techniques to put it on. After I pull it over my head it usually rolls into a tight tube just above my shoulder blades, under my armpits, and at the base of my throat. If I can get it over the front of me after 15 minutes of contortions, I usually can get the back of it rolled down on the hour. Every day I marvel at my ability to contain enormous breasts *and* get a good workout.

I have been getting much stronger Braxton-Hicks contractions as well - and they have changed in nature.  I feel them a lot more after a long day - after standing too much or working too hard - or if I haven't had enough water. I also discovered that I feel rather lethargic and depressed if I don't drink enough water - I'm glad to know that something as simple as a glass of water can make a difference in my moods.

My OBGYN says to take a Tylenol PM or Benadryl at night to ease the pain and help with sleep. For the most part I have avoided taking anything but prenatal vitamins, even with allergies - but now I've decided to take her advice on that. And it has helped me sleep a little better.

I am out of breath more.  I think my son is going to be tall; he’s already crowding upwards, past my stomach and diaphragm and threatening my lungs. I have to focus on breathing and not eating as much.  I run out of room in my stomach before my brain sends the "I'm full" signal, so I regularly overeat and that additional two tablespoons’ worth of food, wow.  You want to talk about suffering. 

Yesterday I ate one peanut too many at lunch and lost so much lung capacity that I couldn’t get enough oxygen and I started to hyperventilate. This took place during a 3-hour road trip, so I didn't have much of a choice in positions. I leaned my seat back and closed my eyes and worked through it with sheer force of will. Which is probably good practice for labor and delivery.

Lack of oxygen brings me to my other major symptom: the "fog" of pregnancy.

My family is pretty sure I've lost my mind. I keep repeating myself or asking the same question twice because I've forgotten I brought it up in the first place.

 The other day I put a piece of bread with grated cheese on it into the toaster oven and set it on 350. Three hours later I walked back into the kitchen, hungry, and wondered what the burning smell was about.

A few days later I put fresh broccoli with cheese in the microwave and pushed the "hold warm" button, which is supposed to be enough to melt the cheese and keep it warm for a few minutes - a safe alternative, I thought, to putting it in there for a minute or two and forgetting about it and having to heat it all over again. An hour later it was still warming...but the cheese and broccoli had become plasticized concrete. I could be an alchemist!

Suffice to say, we're eating out a lot more often, and my Dear Husband is learning how to cook more than his three basic staple dishes.

In the past week I've lost my cell phone, my house keys, my sister's house keys, and my dog. Today, I've started to make the bed, do a load of laundry, and work on an another around-the-house project. I realized I hadn't finished any of those tasks when I was wandering from room to room looking for my phone, which I'd lost.

I could go on, but I think I've forgotten what else I've forgotten.

I'm also having trouble with balance. Every staircase I encounter poses an imminent threat to my safety - whether it's up or down!

The other day I got frustrated at the gas station because the nozzle kept clicking off while I was pumping gas.  I kept squeezing it to pump more gas and it kept clicking off. It didn't occur to me that it was clicking off because the TANK WAS FULL. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking "vapor lock". Or at least I'd like to think that.

That's still better than my sister, who will once drove away from the gas station with the gas nozzle still in her tank. I am comforted by the fact that most gas hoses have emergency break-away releases so you don't drag the entire gas pump down the road with you. Because I'm not so sure I won't sink to that point before all is said and done.

I suspect that I'm not done with the unpleasant symptoms to come, so I'm trying to keep my sense of humor about it. My husband will be knighted when this is over.

Waiting for the other shoe...or the drop.  It’s bound to happen sooner or later.
No wonder women resort to eating jalapenos, jumping on trampolines and nibbling the siding off houses. Helps pass the time.



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