For the past few weeks, I’ve been making like a pregnant sitcom star—hiding behind huge handbags and ensuring I’m only photographed from the waist up. That’s because I started showing WAY before I was ready to share my pregnancy news. I’d heard that bellies pop out a lot sooner with second pregnancies, but I had no idea I’d be smuggling a soccer ball at 10 weeks. Apparently, early bumps are also more common in older moms (me) and in women with weak abdominal muscles (also me, but really insulting!).
The upside of showing early is that there’s been almost no awkward period of looking puffy but not pregnant. I am so clearly with child. However, this proved problematic when an acquaintance ran up to me in the supermarket yelling, “Congratulations on the baby!” in front of my 3-year-old daughter, whom I had not yet told. Luckily, she was very engrossed in a box of cheddar bunnies and didn’t catch on.
When I was pregnant with my first kid, I didn’t spill the beans until 17 weeks because I was waiting for the amnio results. This time around, I was able to take that new MaterniT21 blood test and be reasonably confident at 12 weeks that it was okay to share our good news. That’s when I had about a dozen conversations that went like this:
“Friend”: Congratulations! How far along are you?
Me: 12 weeks.
“Friend”: Really? I would have guessed about 6 months. Are you sure you’re not having twins?
Listen, unoriginal people asking me about twins, given that I’m considered high risk (older, history of miscarriages), I’ve already had about 10 ultrasounds. Unless one of my babies is a stealth missle undetectable by sonar, then no, I am not carrying twins. I am just big. Huge.
Another comment I’ve gotten is that I must be growing a rather large baby, possibly of the Andre the Giant variety. As it turns out, during the first trimester, all fetuses grow at the same rate. So I cannot blame the baby. I could maybe blame the fettucine alfredo, but I choose not to.
As I ease into the second trimester (goodbye nausea, hello heartburn!), I’m enjoying being out and proud. There is no way to minimize this bubble bump, so I’m dressing to flaunt, in stretchy tops and body skimming dresses. I even wore a bikini to go swimming–something I can never do when I’m not pregnant, given a serious muffin top situation — and I’m enjoying rocking the roundness.
I am a bit afraid that if my girth continues to expand at this rate, I won’t be able to sit behind the steering wheel much longer. A mom friend who’s pregnant with her third told me she showed early, then leveled off, so I’m hoping it’s the same for me. Just in case, I’d better fit in one last grooming session and a pedicure before the territory below my waist becomes as inaccessible as the dark side of the moon.
Photo: Amy Wruble