Pregnancy Purgatory

Waiting for a baby to come is a lot like preparing to go on a long trip – you know you are not going to be available for a while so you rush around trying to make sure everything is taken care of. Pay the bills, water the plants, stock the house with food, clean the kids’ rooms, etc. People call it nesting, but it’s more like frantic preparation for being out of commission for a few weeks.

The problem with this is – sometimes you do all this, and the baby doesn’t come. Food gets eaten, rooms get messy, more bills arrive. Then you have to start all over again. But with each passing day, you are bigger and more tired, so it all gets a little harder.

And you are left in a type of purgatory, waiting, not making any plans beyond what you are doing that afternoon. Sign the kids up for camp next week? Forget about it. You might go into labor on the way there. Run down to Reno, an hour away, to get your car fixed? No way, Jose. Don’t feel like standing in a pool of my own amniotic fluid in the middle of a Honda dealership. So we wait.

It’s a strange time, when you pass your due date. Friends and family members stop calling because they don’t want to bug you so instead they text you and send you messages on Facebook, then get tired of doing that and just call you anyways. (For those of you reading, I don’t mind the phone calls! Let’s me know you care. Ahhhh.) If you call someone to say hi, they immediately think you are in labor, like you would be the one calling them. I don’t think so, unless that person doesn’t mind holding a conversation between screams of pain and “Why the fuck did I want to go through this again?!”

It becomes a little challenging to go out in public where you know a lot of people. Friends and acquaintances look at you like “What the hell are you doing here? I don’t feel like delivering your baby in the middle of the farmers market.” Or they give you a look that says, “What??? Still no baby? You are going to be pregnant forever.” In fact, I had three people last week ask me: “Are you pregnant with number four????” No, dipshit. I am still on the same pregnancy – I’m not so crazy as to go for four kids or get knocked up as soon as I pop one out. It takes 9 months, if you remember. Although with comments like those it starts to feel like an elephant’s gestation of 22 months. Can you imagine being pregnant for almost 2 years? All those maternity clothes you would need? Humans would definitely not have more than one kid.

Now five days overdue (sounds like I’m on the same schedule as my kids’ library books), it starts to feel like it will never really happen. I stare at the empty baby swing, the cradle, the changing table stocked with diapers and little, tiny baby clothes, and it’s hard to imagine that a little person we have never met and have no idea what he looks like will soon be taking up real, actual space – outside the womb. Sometimes I feel like I will be pregnant for 22 months.

That would mean I have 13 months left.

Then I really would be the size of an elephant. And that, my friends, would really suck.

Shopping for opinions at the grocery store

It’s funny the people who will talk to you when you are pregnant. And the stories they will tell you. It’s like having a huge belly is like having a new puppy – it’s an open invitation for complete strangers to come up to you.

The other day at the grocery store check out line, in a manner of five minutes the clerk had told me the entire story about her second child’s birth – how she almost didn’t make it to the hospital, how they had to call the police for an escort, how the baby was born 3 minutes after she took her clothes off in the hospital room. All while I am slowly backing up with the groceries in the cart, with two children pulling on me, trying not to be rude but desperately wanting to get the show on the road so I can go home and lie down. I was worried by the time she finished her story I’d either be in labor or the people waiting behind me in line would kill me out of impatience. Luckily, I got out of there in one piece. I guess there is an unwritten rule about ganging up on pregnant women.

A few days later I was at a different grocery store (see a pattern here? I swear I go other places besides the store.) I’m in the parking lot when this macho mustacheod-Budweiser delivery guy walks up to me. He asks me where the nearest hotel is, then he says like he’s some kind of expert: “I think you’re having a boy.” Wow! When the Budweiser guy has an opinion on what you are carrying, you know you must be huge. It’s like being a walking billboard that flashes: “Please tell me if I have a boy or a girl in my tummy. Strangers’ opinions preferred.”

The best reaction you get from people is when they find out you are due any minute. Today, once again (of course) at the store, the check out lady asked me when I’m due. When I said this week, the women in line behind me backed up about two feet like they were afraid my water would break that very second and spray all over them and they’d have to deliver the baby right there and then on the dirty Savemart floor. One store owner even told me: “You’re making me real nervous by coming in here.” Like I would be shopping for beach toys for my kids if I was in labor. That sounds real fun.

So, for now, with three days to go until my due date, I wait. And I fantasize about not going grocery shopping. But I think there is a Miller Lite delivery guy waiting to tell me what I’m having. I better not let him down.