At 31 weeks, I have entered the final trimester of my first pregnancy. Once I hit the age of 30, pregnancy talk became something very normal in my life. The moment any of us uttered the words, “no thank you” to the glass of wine, we all knew why. I watched as friend’s bodies changed over the course of the 40 weeks. They shared their stories as they went through the unique learning curve that is bearing a child and we celebrated their wonderful children and their motherhood. My husband and I switched from the “Oh shit, this would suck if this happened” to the “When do you want to start trying?” conversation. No matter how “normal” pregnancy had become during the past three years nothing could have prepared me for the past 31 weeks.
There are truly beautiful moments in pregnancy that I will cherish forever. Hearing our parent’s jubilee when we told them they would be grandparents. Seeing the look on my husband’s face as he realized he was going to have a son. The first time the baby kicked and I knew it wasn’t just gas. Talking to the amazing women in my life and having them share their birth story with me. My favorite are the quiet moments, before bed or just after work when I can feel him move. I find myself talking to him as I rub my belly gently, dreaming about what the future will hold for him.
Pregnancy is beautiful, it is also extremely awkward and messy. It has been some weeks since I have seen my feet. I know they are still there because they often hurt. When I do get a glimpse of them, I am shocked, as they have morphed into paddles attached directly to my calves. My once delicate feet with tiny ankles have long been replaced and I wonder if they will ever return. Last week, I quickly scarfed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast and scurried to work. The day was full of meetings and at around 3:00, as I sat on the toilet during one of my numerous trips as a pregnant woman, I noticed my shin. Down my shin and on the top of my foot was blueberry jelly. Not a small dot but a decent glob. Yes, for the past six hours I had walked around with blueberry jelly all over my leg. Awesome.
Not only is pregnancy messy it is exhausting. Hell, you are growing a human being and that shit is tiring. There is the first trimester, where if you don’t spend your time with your head in the toilet, you are spending your time with your head on a pillow…or book…or computer… or any flat surface…after all you can still bend forward at this point, anything will do. Then there is the second trimester which everyone says will be full of energy. In their defense, you do have more energy than the first trimester but that is not a high bar.
It was during this phase that I had worked what felt like a million hours one day (probably like 9.5 hrs) and decided to head home. It was officially summer and my walk home had left me overheating and panting. I stripped to my undies and went about my home duties…feed the dog, wash the dishes, sit on the couch…you know the drill. Before too long it was time to meet a girlfriend for ice cream. I quickly got dressed, wiped the sleep out of my eyes and heaved myself into the car. We had a lovely time and right before we left I stopped by the bathroom (seriously, I am in there all the time). As I looked down I realized…my dress is on inside out. To be honest, I found this hilarious and got in the car and called my parents.
There have been other times where revelations have not been taken so well. It is no secret that a pregnant woman’s hormones make her a bit crazy. I genuinely thought I was doing great until my husband revealed that I was “a bit harsh” at times. Aka, pregnant Ali was a bit of jerk. As I thought back over the past 31 weeks I did see validity in his point. Now I am completely ok with his point, I am growing a fucking human after all, but the other emotions can be overwhelming. Like the crying…
Working in the service industry you are used to seeing the “less then best” side of people. Normally you laugh it off. Being pregnant, my eyes well up, my lip quivers and I think, “Why are you so mean???” Plus, there are the movies. Now I have always been a crier at movies but now the few tears have turned into a strong 30 minute ugly cry. Snot, swollen eyes, mouth wide open and chest heaving. It is really not a good look, especially in a movie theater.
There was one day when I knew my hormones were out of control. I yelled at a customer service rep in a way that almost got me hung up on (not proud of that). I had team members skirting around me and sheepishly asking, “Is everything ok?” (not proud of that). I was on edge. As I was walking through the kitchen, I noticed a giant pan of beautiful crispy roasted potatoes. “Hey Julien, are those for staff meal?” When he replied yes, my heart exploded with an intense mix of relief and happiness and I just started crying. I turned to Kevin and sniffled, “We are having potatoes for staff meal!” With a look of “Holy shit, what just happened”, he hugged me and gently said, “how about we send you home after staff meal?” I proceeded to eat my giant plate of potatoes, head home and make a giant pot of mashed potatoes and watch Bridget Jones’s Baby. I felt great the next day.
Pregnancy is weird. My back is constantly hurting. I can look at a tomato and get instant heartburn. A solid night’s sleep is this elusive desire that is just out of reach. My nose is either full of snot or bleeding (why that is a symptom of pregnancy is beyond me but it is weird). My hair has straightened, my skin covered with dark hormone spots and my belly button has vanished. I genuinely have no idea what is going on in my body right now. With all of this happening, it is easy to be overwhelmed.
But then, there is a quiet moment… and he kicks. All is washed away as a sense of peace fills my heart and I think, “Hi Sweetheart, your mom is here.”