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What It Feels Like to Be 8 Months Pregnant

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It’s New Year’s Eve — a time I’d normally be making a list of unreasonable resolutions that I mostly wouldn’t do anything about (and then I’d forget them all by February). However this year, I’m pregnant with my first child (she’s due at the end of January), so what resolution exactly am I supposed to make? I’ve got quite enough on my plate, thank you very much. My resolution is to have a freaking baby.

However, all these sort of normal life things like New Years do bring into bright perspective how close this big meaningful event is, and yet, how it still feels a million miles away.  Have you ever sat down in an empty restaurant and thought, “Yes! I’m going to get some fast service today because it’s just little ole me,” but it doesn’t quite turn out like that? Maybe because the wait staff doesn’t feel so rushed or pressured, they take their time and they’re very friendly and maybe a little surprised to see you there? Or maybe the food isn’t quite prepped in the kitchen because business is slow? You’re the most important customer and the least important customer. That’s a little bit like how it feels to be eight months pregnant. You’re ready to eat, but it seems like it’s taking forever, and at the same time, people are very nice about it.

At Christmas Eve dinner, a relative I see like once a year said to me, “It seems like you’ve been pregnant forever,” and I said, “You’re telling me, bud.”

Nine months is just the right amount of time to prepare for having a baby, if you ask me. It’s four weeks away and I’m  just starting to feel like maybe I can actually do this thing. In the beginning of my pregnancy I felt like there was so much to do, but at eight months, almost everything is done. Because we waited until after Christmas to get started, this week is “put together the nursery week” and it’s the last thing to do on the list other than actually push out this sweet little babe. Also because we waited until after Christmas, I’m way too pregnant to do any of it myself so my stepdad and cousin are doing all the actual assembly. It’s kind of fantastic.  

I mean, I may feel like I’m waiting around, but on the flip side I haven’t been allowed to lift anything heavier than a bouncy ball for two weeks. My stepdad is having none of that nonsense. I’m not kidding. He almost didn’t let me carry an actual bouncy ball (my exercise ball that I bought for my early labor) and he insisted on pumping it up for me. He wouldn’t even let me hold an empty basket in the store today, like, I’m talking about a wicker basket. People offer me their chair a lot. Also, FINALLY, people are telling me I look beautiful. Maybe they’re just being nice because of my double chin but I don’t care, and neither does my huge butt.

All the other stuff is finished as well. I’m pre-registered at the hospital. I took my prepared childbirth class, which was fantastic and I recommend to everyone. The opportunity to talk to a labor and delivery nurse who works in your hospital is a huge treat. Getting to ask all the questions you have is priceless (and mine was free!). We also had the baby shower, spent our gift cards, and there are only like, two fairly non-essential things left to buy that I need for the baby, maybe three. “Piggy Bank” might be on the list. Super urgent obviously… I mean, what will I do if my baby doesn’t have coin storage?  

My belly is enormous and I finally feel “movie” pregnant… which is to say, very pregnant. There is no maternity top in the world that could make me look un-pregnant at this point (despite the fact I’ve only gained 25 pounds, go figure, I look like I’ve gained 50). In fact my maternity tops themselves are getting a wee bit tight. I’m much happier in my plus-size nightgowns, which I practically live in, except for family functions and the odd shopping trip. I frequently check the mail and take out the trash in my robe. No shame whatsoever.

The whole physicality of the last month is quite different than the rest of it. I get super short of breath and my heart races. As instructed by the Internet, I have spoken to my real doctor about this and he’s checked my lungs and pulse and everything and I’m fine, he assures me, I’m just filled up with extra blood and a baby and some other stuff so I feel my heart beat a bit more and get short of breath. Apparently it’s normal.

Oh, I also fall asleep at 9:30 and wake up at 3 am and can’t get back to sleep, every night, and I have to take morning naps. It’s just that I wake up and have to pee so bad and I’m starving. No matter how much I eat during the day, I’m constantly starving in the middle of the night. This baby is not at all interested in her mom sleeping for eight hours straight. She is only interested in Snickers bars and fruit pops and yes, pickles. She would also like me to be very well acquainted with her foot. She shows it to me all the time, particularly when I am seconds away from R.E.M. sleep. I don’t have much choice in the matter. She’s the boss.

I cry a lot, par for the course in this pregnancy, but mostly at sweet songs and puppy food commercials. I daydream about my daughter. I become obsessed with tiny pointless things like, “Should I get that egg separator that looks like a fish? How do you work it?  Do you squeeze first?” I can ruminate over something like that for 15 straight minutes and not understand a simple question somebody is asking me for the third time. I’m told this is called ‘pregnancy brain.’

I have a theory about pregnancy brain, by the way. Since I have had to cut back so much, I am pretty much cured of my caffeine addiction. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I frequently just forget about coffee. However, I think this is partly due to the fact that I need the coffee to remember to make the coffee. Pregnancy brain might just be the absence of my two morning coffees. 

So being eight months pregnant is like this: You’re part celebrity with all the attention and coddling, part expert from all the classes and preparations you’ve done, part vegetable with the pregnancy brain, and part feeding trough to the CEO hanging out in your uterus. It’s okay though. I can live with it all. I actually don’t mind all this 8-months pregnant stuff. I’m just trying to enjoy my last few weeks of privacy and selfishness. I know there’s a whole different world around the corner.

Photo: Getty