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Worth It

August 6, 2012

For nine months, you give up alcohol.  No beer.  No wine.  No margaritas.  You give up coffee.  And caffeinated tea.  And brie.  And sushi.  And you microwave your lunchmeat, and you limit your tuna intake, and one night, your husband innocently brings home Indian food, which promptly gets tossed into the trashcan as you warn him from the bathroom, “If I even have to think about smelling chicken tikka masala again in the next nine months…”

You watch as your stomach inflates.  Your jeans grow tighter and tighter.  You watch a video about how to use a rubber-band so that they’ll fit again.  This is absurd, and also puts you at risk for accidental indecent exposure.  You spend an absurd amount of money on maternity clothes just so that you can feel slightly attractive again.

You give up any sort of skincare product with “unnatural” ingredients, and overnight your face grows acne the likes of which you haven’t seen since you were sixteen and in a constant state of disbelief that Joey Potter would even begin to waver between Dawson and Pacey.  Pacey, Joey.  The answer is always Pacey.  You realize that all of the effective ingredients in facial products are the unnatural ones. 

You try to exercise throughout the pregnancy, but you watch in dismay as you go from running 9 minute miles…to 12 minute miles…to 15 minutes miles that you don’t run at all, but jog so slowly that you look like a sad combination between the local senior citizen mall-walkers and Ethan Frome.  Other pregnant women call this “wogging,” which just adds insult to injury. 

For nine months, you get in bed to go to sleep.  You get up to pee.  You can’t sleep.  You try your left side, because babycenter.com and thebump.com and What to Expect When You’re Expecting have instilled in you a deep belief that if you, in fact, roll over onto your back while sleeping during pregnancy, chances are you will give birth to a chimpanzee.  Or a serial killer.  Or a serial killer chimp.  Your left side falls asleep.  You switch to your right side, which, for some reason that the books and websites never explain, isn’t as good as the left side—but at least you aren’t sleeping on your back!  GOOD GOD, NOT THE BACK!!! Your right side falls asleep.  You get up to pee.  You get back in bed.  You get up to pee.  You get back in bed.  You wonder what labor will be like.  You get up to pee.  You get back in bed.  You get up to pee. You think, “Fuck it”—and finally sleep on your back.  That hour of sleep is glorious.  You get up to pee.

Your ankles swell.  You live in maternity leggings.  An old man at the grocery store informs you that you’re “ready to pop,” and you consider lobbing a cantaloupe at the back of his skull.  You and your husband spend your last eight Saturdays as a couple stretched out on the floor of a stranger’s living room, practicing labor squats and breathing through contractions and holding ice cubes in your hands—because yeah, that’s what labor is going to feel like—an ice cube in the hand. 

You count down the months to your due date. And then you count down the days.  And then you count down the hours. 

And then your due date passes.  You are “past due.”  Expired.  If you were a bottle of milk, you’d be passed back and forth, sniffed dubiously.  Do you think it’s okay to drink?  I don’t know—do you think it’s okay? 

Your doctor threatens induction.  You eat spicy meals, and take long walks, and try to ignore the phone calls and e-mails and facebook messages all asking the same thing: “Is that baby here yet?!?”  You resist the urge to write back, “Yes! Didn’t I tell you?  I had the baby already!  Now leave me alone.” 

You convince your husband to have sex with you as one last ditch effort—and it’s a good thing, because you won’t be riding that ride at the amusement park again for a long, long time.  And, luckily, this does the trick.  There are contractions.  Water breaking.  There is a frantic drive to the hospital, and there are screams and moans.  There is blood, and there is vomit, and there is poop.  It is all somehow exactly and nothing like what you expected.

Your body literally breaks.  Literally.

And then, there is a baby.

And then, there is exhaustion. 

But then, four months later, there is this:

 

…and somehow, it all—all of it—is worth it. 

22 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2012 3:54 am

    and once again you capture it perfectly – the giggles make everything completely worth it….the worry, the morning sickness, the changing shape, the lack of exercise and (for me) the pricking my finger a bajillion times a day to check my blood sugar. 110% worth every bit of that when Wes smiles and giggles!

  2. August 6, 2012 8:35 am

    funny that its 4:30 am, I’ve been up for 2 hours and I’m reading this. This does make it all worth it! thanks for this!

  3. August 6, 2012 12:06 pm

    I love this!

  4. August 6, 2012 12:18 pm

    She is such a doll!

  5. August 6, 2012 12:20 pm

    great post 🙂

  6. August 6, 2012 3:32 pm

    And then they don’t want you to walk them to the bus stop because you are in fact, not cool…yep, totally worth it!

  7. August 6, 2012 4:17 pm

    Baby giggles 😀 Love it.

  8. August 6, 2012 5:02 pm

    baby laughter makes me want to explode….so freaking cute 🙂

  9. August 6, 2012 5:38 pm

    I am not with child (nor plan to be in the near future, haha) but this post was so well-written, hilarious, and overall sweet that I couldn’t help but comment on it!

  10. August 6, 2012 9:47 pm

    Amazing!! That little giggle really does put things into perspective 🙂

  11. August 6, 2012 10:11 pm

    Ummmmmmmmm I love everything about this post. Particularly the Pacey reference hahaha. But not hahaha. Because how could she ever waver? On the subject of being overdue, my mom’s best friend saved a voicemail my mom left her when she was overdue with my sister and her friend innocently asked if the baby had been born yet and it’s like ‘roid rage cause she’s so hopped up on hormones: “NO. I HAVE NOT HAD THE BABY YET. I WILL BE SURE TO LET YOU KNOW” oh man good times.

  12. August 6, 2012 11:12 pm

    Oh my gosh. I am not sure what had me laughing more…your post or watching Lila giggle like that!! She is precious Anna. You are amazing. I am in awe.

  13. August 7, 2012 2:44 am

    In some freaky way this takes the fear out of having a baby! Love it!!

  14. August 7, 2012 4:28 am

    LOVE THIS!

  15. Katie @ Legally Fit permalink
    August 7, 2012 12:12 pm

    This is beautifully written and so true. Her laugh is so sweet- she is such a beautiful baby!

  16. ginger635 permalink
    August 7, 2012 1:01 pm

    What at great post – you captured pregnancy so well! And, of course, that video of Lila is priceless! When I read something like this that you have written, I’m so proud, and I think all the parenting headaches (which you will soon face) were well worth it!

  17. August 7, 2012 2:10 pm

    Such a great post – she’s adorable!! My daughter will be 21 on her next birthday – I have no idea where the time went!

  18. August 7, 2012 5:43 pm

    Again, you speak the truth! I love this and she is one adorable little girl!

  19. August 7, 2012 8:51 pm

    Oh man, that is hilarious. So well done! I am with you all the way up until the end- still waiting for labor to begin. Totally expired like the milk, avoiding the calls and the last-ditch sex effort. Hopefully I get to experience the blood, vomit and poop soon and of course this whole motherhood thing. Thanks, I really needed that!!

  20. Rachael permalink
    August 9, 2012 1:21 am

    Wow. You are an amazing writer. Way to be, friend. Way to be.

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