Monday, November 17, 2014

In the home stretch: week 30

Unless you have been through it, I don't think you really fully grasp how physically demanding pregnancy can be. Especially when you have other kids.

Everyone knows pregnant women are tired all the time, that our backs hurt and our feet swell. Not everyone realizes there's muscle and ligament aches and pains as our bodies stretch to accommodate the growing bowling ball resting on our bladders and pelvises. And of course, the more pregnancies you have, the more it all seems to hurt, at least in my experience.

The muscle aches and pains were a little bit of a surprise with Asher. They weren't too bad, more just aches than pains. With Elijah, they were stronger aches. This time, they're outright pains. It hurts to roll over in bed at night, to the point that I'm wide awake for a couple minutes every time and I have to grab something to help haul me over because pulling myself over using my arms is easier and less painful than using my body to roll normally. Getting up from a sitting position after I've been sitting for more than a couple minutes usually means my hips are locked or out of joint or something so I limp for a little bit, usually the distance from my side of the bed to the bathroom. If it's been an especially trying day, I have to hold on to something or I can't walk. Hot baths and stretching seem to help a lot, though so far everything is extremely temporary. I'm getting a massage someday soon to hopefully help more.

All this is made more interesting by having a two year old who really wants me to pick him up and hold him on my disappearing hips. It was so much easier to do that when there wasn't a bowling ball attached to the front of my body. Luckily, he's usually content to snuggle up on the bed with me or sit in my lap if I stupidly sit on the floor. (Getting up off the floor is already really hard, I'm really hoping I won't have to get down there come January.) He needs help with his diaper changes and my options are generally bend over and change him on his bed, sit down and change him on the floor, or lift him up and change him on the changing table. None of those are great. It's both awesome and frustrating that he's decided that he wants to potty train right now: awesome because we've already had a few successes, frustrating because he's still way too young to really potty train, so he gets frustrated and we get frustrated and then he ends up wearing Asher's underwear over his footie pajamas...though that is a cute visual.

Once the baby's born, though, I'll start to get my body back, but there will be weeks of OTHER aches and pains: breastfeeding hurts and is not physically pleasant, at least not for me. Bleeding, tenderness, all stinks. The muscles pains from delivery aren't limited to just your legs and pelvic area, for me they're all over. I seriously felt like my arms were limp rubber bands after Asher was born. Elijah was so fast I didn't have time to strain anything, so that recovery was much quicker. Plus the absence of hemorrhaging didn't hurt. Plus there's the uterine contractions that happen whenever you nurse that are killer. I had a prescription for extra strength ibuprofen with Elijah and you better believe I took those pills.

At the end of it all, though, you do have a wonderful sweet little baby to show for it all. I have very few stretch marks, thanks to good genes and a diligent application of cocoa butter lotion, but those are a result of carrying 2 3/4 babies in my body. My hips are wider from pushing two children through them. My belly will never be flat, my breasts will never be perky (without surgical help anyway) and my life will never be the same. It hurts, and parts of it really suck, but at the end, when you are handed that sticky, puffy squalling mess of a baby that you just delivered, you feel at the same time invincible and like you're foundering in a sea of uncertainty. Invincible because you just went through probably the most traumatic thing ever and survived and lost because you are now responsible for this tiny creature clasped to your chest. Its an awesome feeling. I look forward to it again in January. And most of all to the lack of constant discomfort come March or April.

Elijah 1 minute old. I already feel tons better.

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