Life at 22 Weeks


"I am seriously considering buying a fainting couch," I told Danny, as I covered myself with my third coat of lotion that day. He gave me a bewildered look from the bathroom sink, put his toothbrush away, and shuffled out. My desire for a (Victorian-era) fainting couch (complete with fan, big dress, and lots of sighing) might seem to be very random, but I think it would really improve my life. 

I've written about the impulsive, intense emotions of pregnancy before. It's like being on the worst roller coaster ever, except that you don't get off for 9 months. Some days are definitely better than others. And some days, everything my fellow humans do is disappointing, annoying, frustrating, silly, contrived, etc. Some days, it's all I can do to close my eyes and pretend that I'm living in a post-apocalyptic world where I'm the only person left. It's surprising how much that helps, really. 

This brings me back to the fainting couch: I really think it would help me not be so overwhelmed by my emotions. Facebook is a land mine these days, perfectly engineered to either make me cry or send me into a seething rage. But with a fainting couch, I could immediately recline, fan myself, and maybe take a nap or pretend that I'm a character from a Bronte novel. Closing my eyes and pretending I live in an abandoned mansion on a windswept moor would be much easier on a fainting couch. I'm just saying a fainting couch would be a sound investment and would improve life for everyone. I would need two though, in reality: one for home and one for work, obviously. 

Besides my intense desire for a fainting couch, my 2nd trimester is going swimmingly. At 17 weeks, I wrote a post where I talked about how the 2nd trimester being "not so bad" is a total and absolute lie... maybe I was just really tired at the time. I have gradually become less exhausted, but I can still nap every single day without fail. (I'm beginning to suspect that my naps are a defense mechanism: when I get emotionally frazzled, I almost always react by taking a nap of either 1-4 hours. It's like my body goes into reset mode.) 

I can no longer reach my feet for basic tasks like buckling straps on my sandals, painting my toenails, or itching the bottom of my foot. I also can't sit up in bed anymore and so, to get out every morning, I do an impressive roll and dismount maneuver that would earn me at least an 8.7 in the Olympics. I eat all the time (carbs); I think about eating all the time (carbs); I despair over how much I'm eating (too much? not enough? I don't know?) (carbs); and then I think about eating some more (carbs). Then, I fret over how much protein I'm getting a day (because I'm mostly eating carbs). Despite all these (carb) concerns, I have had a shockingly easy pregnancy. The main narrative has been one of moderate to extreme exhaustion and mood swings. Truly, I can't complain (but when has that ever stopped me?). 

The best part: I feel Forrest throughout the day (most days). I look forward to the little kicks that reassure me, day to day, that he's still floating around in there, perfectly fine. I have clued into his routine pretty well: I wake up most mornings to kicks on the side I'm lying on. Then, after my morning coffee, he kicks frantically for at least an hour, which is exactly how I feel too. It's nice to know we have that in common. Then, after lunch, he kicks triumphantly towards my ribs and occasionally feels like he is trying to take a walk straight out through my belly button. At night, I'll lie down on my back with a bottle of ice water and drink, feeling him kick all over. If he hasn't moved much throughout the day, I mostly do this as a way to force him to prove he is still ok. He comes through every time, even with just five or six kicks. His preferred side is my right, or right below my belly button, but if he's feeling particularly antagonistic, he likes to kick wherever I feel most uncomfortable. Baby's are super fun like that.  

This all changes, of course, when I try to get someone to feel him kicking. I know he can be felt on the outside. I've felt it! I know you're strong enough, human child! But the minute Danny puts his hand on my belly right where Forrest had been practicing wall ball the second before, he stops. It's like he is playing the weirdest game of freeze tag. 10 minutes of completely still belly touching will follow until Danny finally asks, "Can I leave?" I begrudgingly let him walk away, all while thinking about that sweet fainting couch, and Forrest resumes his kicking, pleased to continue letting his father believe he's a figment of my imagination. 

Those little kicks are all the reassurance I need to keep on keepin' on as the days trudge by. I try not to wish for time to pass too quickly, because I know sometime in October I will wonder where the 40 weeks went and I will wish I had that time back--to prepare, to appreciate that I got the privilege to carry a tiny human inside of me, to roll around and nap in blissful peace. Already, I am bewildered that I got pregnant in January and it is JUNE for goodness sake. When I was 7 weeks pregnant, anything past 20 weeks seemed like a lifetime away, but here I am. I made it to 22 weeks and I've only spent, like, half of it crying. That's an achievement, right?