The great cornholio and other unorthodox pregnancy teachers

“I woke up with a start at 4:00 one morning and realized that I was very, very pregnant. Since I had conceived six months earlier, one might have thought that the news would have sunk in before then, and in many ways it had, but it was on that early morning in May that I first realized how severely pregnant I was. What tipped me off was that, lying on my side and needing to turn over, I found myself unable to move. My first thought was that I had had a stroke.” — Anne Lamott, “Operating Instructions”

I have been very fortunate so far in this pregnancy to have a minimum of physical complaints — sure, the first weeks of nausea and somnolence were difficult, and I’ve had more than my fair share of misplacing my own belongings and then blaming Devin for their absence. But I’ve gotten all the way into my eighth month without having gained 60 pounds, or watching my ankles turn into hams, or even having more than mild back pains. Sure, there’s plenty of time for at least one or two of those things to happen, so I hope I’m not jinxing myself here.

However, I am noticing a certain lack of ability to roll over in bed anymore. I can’t roll from side to side on my back because I invariably get stuck on my back like a helpless turtle, and at this point having the baby press against my guts makes me light-headed and gasp for air. However, to roll over face-down, I have to get up on my hands and knees, and even then my belly drags on the mattress and it tugs all the poor, strained ligaments trying to keep my uterus upright like the tethers on a full hot-air balloon. Neither of these options works well in the middle of the night, and sometimes I just can’t muster the ability to budge at all.

On top of that, I seem to be having another go at hearrburn — which has emerged and vanished a couple of times in pregnancy so far. Each time I fear it’s here to stay and then it vanishes again, but this time it’s too soon to tell. Since it’s been emerging in the afternoons the past few days, I’ve been walking around the office in what I’ve taken to calling Cornholio pose to try and raise my esophagus out of my stomach. It actually works, kind of.

That said, we had our first birth class on Monday and the teacher showed us all these diagrams of the insides of pregnant women. She had one for 28 weeks and another for 36. She said, “When women start talking about how uncomfortable they are at 32 weeks, I think, ‘Yeah… sure you are.'” That’s when she showed us the 36-week diagram, which looked like a madman had attempted to reconstruct some poor woman’s entrails. I still have three and a half weeks to go before I look like that.

So maybe I am jinxing myself. Keep your fingers crossed.

— Beth