The second trimester arrived, and as my pregnancy was announced and grew more pronounced, people started asking “how far along are you?” I wish I knew. Pregnancy math has never worked for me. I suspect the only thing you need to study as an obstetrician involves this word problem:
There are 40 weeks in a pregnancy; you start counting two weeks before conception occurs. There are 9 months, but 10 lunar months in a pregnancy, and it all squeezes into 3 trimesters of 3 months each. OK class, if you are due in 17 weeks, there are 4.33 weeks in a month, and you are counting the last two weeks that you weren’t pregnant as part of the pregnancy, then HOW FAR ALONG ARE YOU?
Despite being in the land between my former clothing being too small and maternity clothing being too large, my husband swore I looked beautiful to him no matter what. Then I started suspecting that he was selectively forgetting that I was pregnant.
“Babe, do you want a soda?”
“Yes, I would love a soda, but I don’t want to drink caffeine.”
I heard the sound of air whispering straight through his head as he forgot the discussion we had on healthy eating. He asked, “Why not?”
Again, I turned to the only thing that obsessed about my pregnancy as much as I did, The Book (What to Expect When You’re Expecting). I found the list of symptoms has grown by 3 in the physical department and 1 on the emotional side (as if I hadn’t noticed). I anxiously awaited the butterfly movements inside that would represent the beginning of our mother & child interactions. When I finally did (albeit a month later), my husband accidentally wondered out loud if it might just be gas.
We left the doctor’s office in tears. At least Number 3 and I did. We were fervently hoping for a girl. After two boys in a row, we were tired of the noise, the frantic pace, and the poop jokes. She wanted a little sister to dress up and play with; I wanted someone that couldn’t hose down the entire toilet area. My husband took us to get ice cream in order to numb the pain. He also cheered us up by making us think of baby boy names.
A quick check in The Book documented only 16 physical symptoms and 2 emotional ones to deal with that month. Overall, though, I felt good about the doctor’s assurance that everything was progressing well. At night, despite my husband’s calm reassurances, I worried that the doctor somehow missed something. Just making it this far gave me a sense of accomplishment, but questions that couldn’t be answered by the doctor started gnawing at me: Is my baby healthy? Why is my normally devoted husband suddenly spending so much time in the garage? How can I get my toddler to behave without physically getting off the couch?
I wondered if my changing body was changing the way my husband looked at me. I started asking questions like “Do I look fat? It’s all baby, right? Do you think I should slow down on the Oreos? Should I start exercising? Can I wear your underwear?” All the while, I hoped the answer would be, “You look beautiful pregnant”, but instead he answered, “Babe, you know that you will always look beautiful to me, but don’t stretch my undies.”
Getting comfortable at night was getting hard by month six. I highly recommend the Snoogle body pillow, by the way. Finally falling asleep, I would have to wake up a short while later just to carefully turn to my other side. This, unfortunately would trigger the “OMG, You Have To Go To The Bathroom RIGHT NOW” bladder reflex. Otherwise, sleep is periodically broken by the pitter-patter of little feet running into the bedroom demanding water, potty assistance (I might as well go again too…), or just to ask if it was time to wake up yet.
Saturday morning arrived with the little ones asking, “What’s for breakfast?” I asked my husband to take care of this duty. He answered, “You know, I would, but I had trouble sleeping last night, and I’m kind of tired.” It wasn’t even 8:00 in the morning yet, and I literally felt the edges of sanity slipping away… the kids saw the signs, and wisely slipped away to fend for themselves for a little while. I explained, with all civility I’m sure, that I was the one who hasn’t slept well for Six months; I was the one that has been mentally and physically fatigued beyond all my limits for SIX months; and by the way, I am the one who has been MAKING A WHOLE NEW HUMAN BEING FROM TWO MINISCULE CELLS for the last SIX MONTHS!
After breakfast, which my humble husband prepared with extraordinary love (so I’m not going to complain that he did it wrong), I had the strongest desire to run to every store I could think of to buy things/register for/or get ideas for the new baby’s arrival. I made time for a look at The Book (yep, it says I’m nesting) and note no additional symptoms for this month (woo-hoo!). I encouraged my husband to register for our new hospital’s tour. “Why?” he asked. “We have plenty of time to do those things…How far along are you, anyway?”
By the end of my second trimester, people were beginning to ask a different question:
“You’re not going to pop here, are you?”
This question would follow me around the grocery store, on vacation to the beach, and (my personal favorite) on elevators. I loved the attention and the blessings our family would receive from most people after they eyed my bump. I even got a kick out of that one lady that was literally speechless after she found out which pregnancy I was working on. Even if the questions sometimes got a little personal, my husband and I were always treated with kindness and encouragement by those we encountered in our second trimester journey.