I wake up this Saturday Morning and my sciatic nerve is killing me. KILLING ME – too much time on my back! I don’t even know how I end up on my back while sleeping anymore because I am surrounded by pillows. As I turn over to put my wedge pillow under my big belly, I stretch a little too much and it sparks a deep, lower abdominal Braxton hicks contraction – partially because of the stretch and partially because I have to pee. Gotta’ lay here and can’t move. At least the contraction overtakes the sciatic nerve pain. After a night of sleeping and peeing every hour and waking for an hour to rock my 18-month-old daughter back to sleep when she woke with a nightmare at 4am, I actually feel pretty good.
My husband, realizing I’m awake, (given my groans I’m sure), says, “Want to get breakfast this morning?” Such a wonderful question to hear and one I have loved for so long and look forward to. The only family time we have is when he’s home on the weekends and I relish in and cherish that time. On a lot of these weekends, we quickly get ready as soon as we wake up, grab our daughter and we all enjoy the hour or so time we have just the three of us at breakfast on Saturday morning. No phones, no TV, no cooking and no work – only our conversation and each other – it really is magical because we’re taken away from life’s issues and it’s only US. We laugh and comment on our daughter’s beauty and how funny she is, noticing how everyone that sees her gets a big smile on their face. Mattelyn is a different baby when her daddy is home and we’re all together.
Today is so different for me though. It’s been 90 degrees HOT all summer and suddenly this 39-degree Chicago morning in early, early October proves fall is HERE and jolts me from within as I realize how much closer we are to these babies arriving. Only 28 weeks pregnant with twins and I am bigger than I was when I gave birth to my daughter.
Determined to have this Saturday morning time at breakfast with my family, I roll my huge belly to the side of the bed and slide out. Standing gently on the floor so as to not wake the babies, I pad to the bathroom and *whence* passing my closet door realizing nothing fits from my last pregnancy and I haven’t shopped at all for winter maternity clothes. None of my maternity jeans fit. I have no shoes now that fit other than my worn out and stretched out summer Clarks sandals that took me through my second trimester and my Nikes. I have one long sleeve maternity shirt that looks presentable for a breakfast out that my cousin passed down to me that I will have to wear with my black ¾ length stretch pants and a pair of fluorescent orange tennis shoes. Ugh. What a sight. None of my hoodies fit and my sweaters that I wore over all of my clothes before are laughable this time around. When I look in the mirror, all I see is the fact that I desperately need my dark roots to be highlighted and I try brushing my hair to the side so my roots don’t show as much and clip the sides up. As I do every morning, I lift my shirt with one eye closed and the other eye squinting, scared to witness a stretch mark or my belly button to have “popped.” Neither has happened yet thankfully. I rub my tight big belly with belly butter and wonder how I can possibly get any bigger?
The babies are only 2.5 pounds each and I am entering the third trimester now and this is their big growth period, and I already weigh 170 lbs on my 5’2” petite frame. After I brush my teeth and wash my face, I go into my daughter’s room to change her clothes and get her ready. She is on an antibiotic right now and has a diaper rash. After changing her pants, applying her medication, and fighting through the usual morning temper tantrum of not wanting to lay down to have her pants changed, or to get dressed because she is a rambunctious toddler, I manage to get her ready except for her shoes. I stand up with cramping and short of breath and it’s back to my room to put on the necessary belly band that I have to wear now because of my contractions. This belly band is three glorious pieces that are all velcroed together – wrapping around my big belly, under my belly and up and over my belly, resting right under my bra. My bra is now an interesting fit because I grow almost weekly, so a make-shift nursing bra with not nearly enough support is this month’s winner.
This creates the most unsightly “back fat” roll under my bra and above my belly band. Any shirt I wear, exasperates this wonderful look. This whole contraption makes me itch like crazy.
After I get that on, and bend over to once again pick up my brush I have dropped at least five times already this morning, I have to pee, again, and forgo fixing my hair. This is fun too because now when I go to the bathroom, it is actually physically difficult to “wipe” without stretching too much and causing a contraction. I know this is too much information, but it is part of the twin pregnancy truth! As I make my way downstairs, both babies are kicking full-force – one in my ribs and the other on my bladder – as they are HUNGRY. I am really in need of a drink of water to curb these contractions. I am up to 80-100 ounces of water daily and that doesn’t include what I drink when I wake during the night. It’s the only thing that makes the cramping and contractions go away. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes last week (I also had it during my last pregnancy) and this morning is my first day to begin testing my blood sugar, 6 times a day. So I prick my finger and get my fasting blood sugar level and record it in my phone. I take my absolutely necessary Prevacid antacid medication because my stomach is as flat as a pancake now smooshed between intestine and babies and eating ANYTHING including half a banana causes heartburn and a feeling of needing to throw up. I get Mattelyn a sippy cup with ice water and prepare her antibiotic. After another round of coaxing and sweet-talking, then her obligatory temper tantrum and finally strapping her into her high chair, she takes the full teaspoon of cherry-flavored medicine and is happy as can be. I gather her diaper bag. Then I have to pee again.
My husband who asked if I wanted to go to breakfast over 20 minutes ago, is sitting on the couch mesmerized by his app-ridden iPhone. He’s got on a great pair of dark washed jeans I bought him. He’s leaned back on the chocolate leather couch with his leg propped up and looks like he’s all of 20 years old. His black hair is wet and fresh with gel, he’s got a great long sleeve jersey on, crisp and new, and really new white Nikes. He looks so easily put together – maybe took 5 minutes? He smells good, too. And why shouldn’t he look good? He slept a full 9 snoring hours and never woke up once. He looks at Mattelyn and me with a smile and says, “Do you need me to help you with anything?” I let him know that we are finally ready and I just need to pee again, as usual. Noticing my out-of-breath response, he reassuringly comments to me, “Don’t forget babe, women do this everyday (as if to imply I’m not going through anything unusual that I shouldn’t be able to handle) and you only have three months left.” Thanks for the reminder. (Grit teeth and try really hard not to describe what I just went through to get ready to simply GO TO BREAKFAST. He would tune me out anyway and I would only ruin my own day).
Ahhh, the unfairness that is pregnancy.
As part of a quick caption of one morning in my world at this moment in time, I decided to write this in my blog for anyone else who’s felt this way during their pregnancy or maybe feels this way right now. Not so that anyone feels sorry for me or as a plea for help or to say that this is something I can’t handle. But perhaps to read when I am older and child-bearing is behind me. When this moment in time will seem more relevant and have significance beyond what I can possibly understand right now. I can re-read and recall what it was like to assist God in a true miracle, the miracle of giving life to another human being. Or two human beings, as is my case. My husband has no idea what this is really like and he realizes he is extremely lucky not to have to go through this. His body isn’t completely taken over, he’s not sick all the time, his wardrobe remains in tact, he can eat and drink what he wants, he can exercise daily and maintain a routine, he knows what’s coming next, he didn’t have to quit his 9-to-5 for a 24-7, he doesn’t have to carry around an extra 70 lbs daily, loathing stairs, he doesn’t have to be concerned with people who stare and ask rude questions every single day – when he isn’t with me, no one knows he’s “expecting twins any day now,” he doesn’t have to think about every single thing he’s putting into his body, he isn’t constipated daily, he doesn’t get Charlie horses in his legs, he doesn’t experience the quick change in center of gravity that throws your balance off, he doesn’t have cramping and contractions, he doesn’t have pregnancy brain, his inner thighs don’t hurt all the time because all of his ligaments are loosening preparing for child birth, he won’t be cut open and have his stomach laying on his chest while two bodies are removed from his abdomen, he won’t suffer through the pain of pooping after giving birth, he won’t experience a c-section scar healing, he doesn’t experience not being able to sleep, as a matter-of-fact, he snores constantly all night long, he’s not out of breath all the time, he doesn’t have constant peeing or feel tired all the time and his hormones aren’t tweaking out. But I am the luckiest and most blessed person right now to be experiencing those very things. I have never felt better or more proud to be a woman, a mother and a mother-to-be. Because there isn’t anything more in life that I can do or accomplish that holds a CANDLE to bearing a child, giving life, and then raising another human being. I can’t believe what my body is capable of and am in complete AWE daily. To realize two hearts are beating inside me right now and I am single-handedly protecting them and providing them with their first experiences in life, is breathtaking. Our hearts are beating together as one right now and will forever be in a rhythm that only a mother and child’s hearts can. That is such an undeniable love and bond that can never, ever be broken. And until the end, I will forever be grateful for this experience. And, forever humbled.