All of a sudden, I look pregnant. It’s earlier than I had expected it. For the last few weeks I could kind of hold it in for most of the day, but recently, I just look pregnant all the time.
I couldn’t figure out where this huge bump was coming from, because I can actually feel my uterus, and at 17 weeks, it’s still a few inches below my belly button. It’s feels hard and totally weird, but it doesn’t really stick out. This amazing graphic slider finally put it all together for me. The bump, at least right now, is not the baby. It’s everything that used to live where the baby is now hanging out. I read on one of my baby sites that sometimes short women show earlier because there’s just nowhere else for everything to go.
It’s been a month since I could comfortably wear any of my own pants without the aid of a Bella band to hide the fact that I wasn’t zipping them all the way up. I’ve been progressively working my way into actual maternity pants. Between three friends lending me pieces of their maternity wardrobes and a highly successful trip with my mom to My Sister’s Closet, I’ve now got two pairs of jeans and a pair of khakis that more or less fit me. My tops still mostly fit, though I’m delighted to have a few maternity tops lined up because sometimes I’m not going to be in the mood to rock that modern svelte pregnant lady look, and I’ll want something that doesn’t hug my curves quite so tightly.
Developing this belly has been a harder transition than I was expecting. I don’t have weight issues, and of course I’m delighted to start to look pregnant. But at a very primal level, there’s something totally bizarre about body changes this drastic and rapid. It’s exciting, but still kind of disturbing to poke at my newly rock-hard abdomen and feel the top edge of the uterus. There are muscles and ligaments pulling in odd directions all the time, and it kind of hurts. I’m already starting to change how I bend over and how I reach for things. I’m sleeping differently, with pillows massed all around to force me to stay on my side, because now if I sleep on my back, I wake up with crazy hip pains and both legs asleep.
At least I’m eating normally again. When I was around 8 or 9 weeks pregnant, I realized that I was hungry 100% of the time, but that any time I tried to imagine eating something with vegetables in it I felt nauseous. It was all dairy and carbs, in tiny portions, all the time for weeks and weeks. It was boring.
It was also emotionally stressful. For close to 15 years, I had had a terrible anxiety problem that caused me to feel extremely nauseous, sometimes even to the point of throwing up, whenever I was in a deeply stressful situation. Like a date. Ask Sandy how fun that was for the first few months of our courtship. I became a master of watching what I ate and how quickly I ate it, and monitoring my body constantly for signs that my stomach was about to betray me.
When this particular quirk of mine went away six years ago, I was delighted. But then pregnancy kind of brought it back. Even though the cause was different, the feeling of going to a restaurant and gauging the menu for what I could eat without feeling sick and then sitting there eating one tiny bite at a time while waiting for a sign that I could take another bite safely – it was terrible.
A few weeks ago, just as the baby books told me it would, the first trimester nausea started to ease up, and then it was done. I still have to snack more than before, and I still fall back on dairy and carbs a lot, but it sure was fun to have Chinese food on Christmas and African food on New Year’s Eve and be able to eat whatever I wanted.
The next big change, expected within weeks, is that I should be able to feel the baby moving. A few times so far I’ve felt a shiver or twitch that wasn’t strictly attributable to my now dreadfully slow digestive system (the details of which I will spare you), but I haven’t been able to say with certainty that it was Perquackey. Over the next month, as he grows bigger and his bones start to solidify, his movements will get clearer. Like everything else about pregnancy, it’s going to be awesome as well as incredibly confusing and strange.