My current physical status is fifteen weeks pregnant, or, “had one too many slices of cake.” The first one tasted great, the second was good for a bite but then I kept going. We all know that feeling, right?
But actually, there were three cakes.
We spent a long weekend in New Mexico visiting my family, and it was a damn good time. I appreciate the southwest more with every year I’m away. (At this point, that’s twelve years and counting.) I love the drive from Albuquerque to our hometown, even though it means spending almost three hours in the car after two long flights. I love the bluffs. I love the red, yellow, orange, and white sand. I love the traffic, by which I mean the lack thereof. I love the expansive blue sky. I love the changes in elevation, which brings changes in scenery. I love that there’s a tiny town called Cuba, New Mexico, because it makes no sense. Without it, though, our bladders might explode.
In those five days, we had three celebratory cakes. Well, technically one ice-cream brownie pie and two cakes. There was a lot to celebrate! Two birthdays and one growing tiny human‘s lab results. A newly minted two-year old, thirty-one-year old, and a lemon-sized fetus. We also baked cookies and had a giant container of Chex mix (leftover from the party). In between parties, we took the kiddos for a hike at 9,000 ft, outside of Durango, and they were much less bothered by the altitude than these two East Coasters.
These trips home are for enjoying dry air, reading on the deck every morning (in a sweatshirt!), and meeting my seasonal green chile consumption quota, which isn’t easy. The bar is high. The chiles are spicy. But we do good work. We enjoy fajitas doused in green chile sauce, sandwiches layered with roasted green chile slices, and breakfast burritos stuffed with diced green chiles.
After any visit to the southwest, I’m full. Completely satisfied.
Throughout this trip, I noticed a shift.
I’m not trying to “eat for two.” I eat when I’m hungry, have a somewhat normal appetite, and finally feel a little more energized. But now, my body is changing, no question. This week felt like a big change—it’s hard to button my shorts if they’ve recently been washed and dried. Flying for a few hours is a little more uncomfortable. The woman in the aisle seat next to me must have cleared a full bottle of wine before boarding, then ordered another from the drink cart. Her aroma was the primary source of my nausea on the last flight. (I’m sure I’ve been that person, girlfriend. It happens.) The turbulence as we descended into Albuquerque, which is always expected and usually manageable, was a very close second.
My birthday gifts weren’t all focused around the tiny human, but a running theme was, “here are some things that might fit, or go buy something new and comfortable for yourself!” I’m thrilled to expand my closet, and daily wardrobe options, very soon.
Yesterday, when I bought our post-vacation groceries at five o’clock on a Wednesday evening, I realized that’s a bad time to try parking in the Trader Joe’s garage (because it also services commuters). I wondered, “Am I pregnant enough to park in the empty Expectant Mother’s spot?” (A: I don’t know how pregnant is pregnant enough; I do know I’m capable of walking more than one hundred feet to an elevator and that’s probably the real answer.)
It’s a weird thing, to see your body shift every week.
Real talk: by weird, I mean sometimes uncomfortable.
It’s not always easy. Some days I’ve felt and looked like I just ate a whole cake instead of stopping at satisfaction. Not a cute fifteen-weeks-preggo belly, but distended and uncomfortable. Some days that’s because of constipation—a lovely side effect of hormones, vitamins, and a shift in eating habits (see also: appetite). On most days the whole process is exciting and I’m in complete awe of biology, some days I just want to button my shorts with ease. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. My sister-in-law suggested the “hair-tie” trick, to extend the life of my button-up shorts and pants. (Not to worry, I wear plenty of running shorts during the week that require no tricks thus far.) So if nothing else, I’m armed with hair ties and trying to eat more fiber.
I read about the developments happening and still kind of can’t believe there’s a tiny human INSIDE of this ambiguous belly pooch. That it can move, grimace, and detect light. That in the past week it grew half an inch, which is an eighth of its entire body size! My belly extending half an inch (or so) makes more sense when I think about it that way.
This is fifteen weeks.
Energy and eats returning to “normal.” Drinks very few and far between. (Do summer ales last in the fridge until January?) Belly out. Daily life moving on.