Well it was Mother’s Day yesterday and Luca and Millie surprised me with a lovely card and teddy cushion, we had a delicious curry and spent the day with my Mum and Nan; which was officially my final Mother’s Day of being a parent of one!
Tomorrow we have 7wks left until Gabriele is due and it’s gradually creeping up. I’ve been looking at the massive lump that is now my belly, and have decided I’m somewhere between Buddha and the equator for clothing size. Summer is coming and I’m dreading finding clothes to wear before and after he is born as I know regardless of what I do I’ll look like I’ve been stung by a bee, puffed up and swollen. Not that I’m complaining, but just that I realise life doesn’t return to normal the day after he’s born, I guess in actual fact it might never return to normal again. I found three really dark black hairs on my belly today and plucked them out with the tweezers, they were surprisingly long and it baffled me how long they had secretly been hiding there just below my belly button, like rogue passengers all thick and dark cruelly eager to greet the world if an unexpected gust of wind should take my circus-tent-top up in public. It’s funny how a supersonic dose of hormones can make your body change in such a way that no matter what part of it or angle that you inspect there is nothing familiar or recognisable about you. It feels like I’m looking at a stranger in the mirror, but she has my voice and eyes, which co-incidentally are the only part of me that haven’t put on weight, although I suspect I’ve been storing excess butter (from my crumpets and crackers with cheese) in my eyelids because even they’re looking pig-like these days!
I’ve also noticed how my concept of spatial awareness is so far off par I’m almost dangerous. A bit like my inability to reverse park on a corner; on foot I see an obstacle to navigate past, take my route and BAM! my baby bump makes contact with the top of a chair, or a wall or table and I’m still genuinely surprised to have been struck, now I realise how the captain of the Titanic must have felt all those years ago. It’s as if my brain is in denial with my body and refusing to accept it’s new carriage.
And I’m feeling so forgetful recently I honestly think my Chihuahua would make more sense if he were given half a chance to speak. Dates fly out of my mind just like waking up from a dream wondering what it was that just happened, names confuse me when I’m talking to people, and more frequently I’m walking into rooms not knowing the reason for my journey nor why my pegs are in the salad tray of the fridge. I’ve been trying to write everything down in a logical system of lists and notes so as not to forget important things, like paying the car tax or collecting Millie from school! Us ladies really do get put through our paces in a way that men could never imagine, our whole worlds are turned upside down one brain-cell at a time and there seems to be nothing we can do to claw back even just an ounce of sanity.
I’m finding it ever more harder to put on my shoes these days, something that quite frankly I feel is a necessary ritual that makes the female race more dominant and confident. In the past I would effortlessly slip my toes Cinderella-style into beautiful skyscraper patent black stiletto heels and strut off like a peacock with my head held high; and now I huff and puff myself through a somewhat primeval ritual of squatting and leg bending similar to someone who has fallen off of a roof, trying to navigate my bump which I sometimes suspect is laughing at me. And five minutes later, out of breath and measurably disheveled I plod, stomp and bound off, cankles matching the girth to my thighs in my man-sized flats.
I am definitely not the glowing angel that I was expecting to be during this pregnancy, if anything I am a blooming mess, mentally and physically. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on my stretch marks that slyly crept across my stomach with Millie, but as my bump is so large I can only see belly button up which is so far undamaged. I know that I will get more stretch marks, and my mirror is ready to inspect the damage and perhaps shed a tear or so accordingly with the assistance of a chocolate bar or cookie-dough ice-cream, but that’s if I could actually SEE my lower stomach; because tilting back to bring my lower stomach closer to the mirror moves my head and therefore eyes further away, and bringing my face closer to the mirror to catch a glimpse sends my bum in the opposite direction. Like those annoying plastic birds that you find on comical office desks, mindlessly drinking from water glasses, filling up and swinging backwards, emptying out and falling forwards. All flexibility abandoned, all evolutionary grooming techniques abandoned, I have no monkey of my own to check my flaws nor groom me and my mirror is no longer working with me.
I keep thinking about the birth and I can’t even make up my mind about that. I have this determined mindset similar to the terminator for my labour. I’ve tried to coax and condition myself into the pulling a plaster technique when it comes to birth, I know it will hurt, I know what has to happen and I know what I have to do. So when the contractions begin, regardless of the pain I MUST stay standing, walk around, work with gravity and make it as quick and safe as possible. I tell myself I can be strong, it doesn’t matter if nurses and doctors… and students see my most intimate workings from ten different angles inside and out because everybody does it, just keep focused on the task in hand, breathe slowly and think logically. In reality I suspect I will probably pass wind when the midwives are in close proximity for inspection, possibly wet myself thinking my waters are breaking, be so paranoid not to push my piles out that I end up pooing on the bed, cry like baby in pain and have a face more sweaty and red than a butcher on national sausage stuffing day.
I want the day to come as quickly as possibly but equally never would also be acceptable. I can’t wait to hold our little Gabriele, but I’ll never be ready for the horror of a second birth. I want to laugh and cry at the same time thinking about it all happening, I don’t know whether to cross my legs in panic or bring my own stirrups along. Do I pull down the blackout blinds or sell ringside tickets? It’s both the proudest and most fearful time of my life and I just want a big cuddle and a hot water bottle, a re-run of Sex & The City on the TV and to be in my pajamas snuggled up on the sofa on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.
Work is becoming evermore harder; each time I fall into my car at the end of a shift to drive home I’m genuinely amazed at how I’ve managed to last as long as I have. The other day I was so out of breath and hot my face was bright red and my heart felt like it would explode out of my chest. My hearing keeps going barmy like I’ve been sleeping under water, my feet cramp up like claws without warning, my throat is constantly on fire from heartburn and my back feels like it’s been smashed with a sledgehammer. My housework and cleaning routines have taken a hit which only I seem to notice, as anything above crawling height is only getting half as much attention these days. I find myself on my hands and knees dragging the hoover around behind me as I do the floors and skirting boards which are immaculate, but wiping the window sills or around the door handles and light switches is too high for my spine to contend with. Before long I can see myself laying on a skateboard cooking dinner face down on the kitchen floor with a camping stove and spatula, similar to a mechanic inspecting the underside of a car simply because I’m too tired, weak and tortured to walk on both legs at once. Working, running a house, attending to a four-year-old child and being in a relationship whilst pregnant is in my opinion insane or incredibly optimistic.
I dream about laying in a nice deep bubble bath, time standing still, apple scented candles flickering a soft light across the room and filling the air with perfume, all of my aches and pains melting away, my joints being silenced by the comforting warmth of the water and the constant worry crease slowly soothed from my forehead by the heavenly silence… please insert your own witty remark here somewhere along the lines of ‘fat chance’ as my mind has unfortunately already laughed itself unconscious. I’d give anything for just one minute of not feeling like a battered old broken mattress.
But alas, every ache, pain and tear is far worth it for the miracle of a child. I am blessed to have such a beautiful angel as a daughter, to have had the chance to carry our unborn baby for such a short time before they were taken to heaven, and now to have this amazing little boy kicking inside of me. I realise how lucky I have been, and although some days may seem impossible, I know that just one moment with my babies is enough to make me forget all of the pain and suffering in life. I would walk the world on my hands and knees to see my loved ones smile, even with my cankles and muffin top!
Enough of my babblings for now, Gabriele is kicking away in the deepest depths of my insides and I’m debating how long my bladder can sustain his advances whilst I hold my position in my cosy nest on the sofa as I don’t think my house insurance covers accidental sofa-wetting and the downstairs toilet suddenly seems so cold and far away. Let the standoff commence! x x x