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No Waist in the New Year

Lexi Walters Wright

22w5d –  So this was Christmas. And what have we done? 

A whole heap of not much. The Mister and I exchanged headcolds of the drippy-eye, swollen neck, uber-congestion variety, for which an ocean of saline spray and Breathe Easy tea were no match. For three days, I heeded Dr. Google’s quaint advice: run cool-mist humidifier; sleep with head slightly elevated; be thankful that you still are pregnant, you whiny ingrate.

(Y’ok, that last one is mine, but the treacly descriptions of comfort measures for pregnant sickees do seem to invoke a “Now, now” quality, don’t they?)

Facing a fourth night of waking every 40 minutes to explosively expel the gunk from my head and wondering whether the Nosefrida I’d considered registering for would be suitable for grownups, I caved and called my midwife, who recommended Sudafed. Blessed, blessed Sudafed. And so I slept, and recouped, and spent the remainder of the week holed up with my favorite dude, guffawing through the scant but atrociously funny parenting videos available on Netflix Instant and being grateful for being told to gain weight during a season in which the snacks literally poured in through the mail.

We ushered in New Year’s playing Scrabble Flash and doing a monstrous puzzle with dear friends, who didn’t blink when I crashed by 8:30 for a two-hour disco nap before toasting (with strawberry seltzer, natch) this fresh year, so full of promise, of renewal, of baby.

Like me.

I, too, as you can see, am getting fuller with baby. It is weird and it is awesome. I love waking up on my side in the morning to the Morse code thump-thumps that signal You have three minutes before you soil this bed. Be forewarned. I love that the full belly panel on my maternity jeans—yes, the ones I grumbled about buying—no longer buckles and rolls under my Ts without any actual belly to stretch it taught. I saw some colleagues for the first time in months, and they told me I looked great, which I internalized and tapped from for days afterward, especially when I couldn’t open my car door at the movies on account of my new spatial considerations.

The requests for pics of this expanding body have rolled in for weeks from far-flung friends. There’s nothing on Facebook—where is that belly?! These are people I love absurdly but whom I just can’t give the weekly shots they want this way. I remember so vividly after each of my miscarriages seeing the online evidence of friends’ pregnancies captured in regular detail, and how deflated I felt each time. Was the potential for seeing these women’s totally normal fetal progress enough for me to hide them completely from my status feeds? Yes. And yes, I’m ashamed of that.

We don’t bring back our babies by ignoring the triumphant pregnancies of those around us, I know, and not showing what pregnancy can look like doesn’t contribute much to the discussion of all its possible outcomes. But, um, I still don’t feel right plastering my Facebook profile with belly pics. Not now, at least. They need to come here for that. 

Tomorrow, the midwives get to tell me whether my holiday weight gain is naughty or nice, and when my glucose screening looms. (Here’s to you, Sally.)

Tonight, I will finish these jelly thumbprint cookies.