Next week I enter "the home stretch." For those of you who have not been 36 weeks pregnant before, the "home stretch" is the time when kind, nurturing mothers turn into sadists.
At 36 weeks, it is not enough for my husband to be kind to me. It is not enough for him to be patient and "understanding." It is not even enough for him to bring me dinner and rub my back. No,
I want him to KNOW.
When Dan tells me that I'm awesome for carrying this baby, I want him to know just exactly how right he is.
It would bring me great, immeasurable joy for Dan to feel my pain.
(Did you think I was kidding? Because I'm talking about actual sadism here.)
Now - I don't want him to experience the home stretch symptoms all at once - that's too easy, like diving into the deep end of a cold pool. I want to introduce each malady separately, to give him a minute to "appreciate" each one.
I would start with fatigue. Third trimester fatigue. A fatigue that no long day at work, no string of sleepless nights could ever match. A fatigue that clouds your head and your eyes so thickly that you have to lean on the walls to remain upright - flopping back and forth between furniture and major appliances just to keep from breaking your nose when you do a narcoleptic face-plant into the living room floor. And mid-yawn, just when he's thinking, "Sweet Lord, I've never been this tired in my life...," BAM! I'm going to hit him with the pelvic pressure.
You know, the hip-widening. When you feel like your hip bones are grinding against each other as if they are being forced apart by an unyielding foreign object - which they are. When his hazy brain wraps itself around the sensation of grinding bones and the suspicion that all his organs are about to fall out of his pelvic floor, I'll add the back pain.
The lower back pain that aches whether you sit, stand, squat, lie down, or hang by your toes. The kind that is only alleviated by floating in a large body of water, because that is the only way to lighten the 30lb load hanging off the front of your torso, dangling by your back muscles all day long.
Once he's wrapped his mind around the fatigue, the hip-widening, and the lower back ache, I would like for his sciatic nerve to shoot a lightning bolt down his leg once every hour or so - just to keep him on his toes. I would also introduce intermittent punches to his bladder and imaginary cervix at this time. I would be even happier if he peed himself a little bit.
Now that all of that is going on, I would like for the lower right quadrant of his abdomen to become completely numb, like a dead foot that won't wake up no matter how creatively he tries to contort himself to restore circulation. This way his entire torso, back-to-front, top-to-bottom, would be in a total state of disaster.
You see how much he would miss if I just flipped a "symptoms on" switch? He would just think his abdomen was wigging out. Yes, it is much better this way.
Next, I would like for him to experience one minute of false labor. I think a single, 60-second contraction should do it. I want him to feel like everything from his ribs down to his man-parts is seizing up. A strange sensation at first, then uncomfortable, then worrisome, then "WHAT THE...I CAN'T WALK!"
At this point he's probably forgotten about the fatigue, but is very confused about what is happening to his body. With all the leg/pelvic/lower back/abdominal pain he probably suspects he has a large tumor growing right between his hips (interestingly, right about where a uterus would be).
Next I would like to introduce swelling. I would like for his hands and feet to become white-hot and itchy, and for his skin to feel so tight that he is actually afraid that it might split open - like in that disturbing scene from Seven.
After the swelling, I would introduce the heartburn. It should be incessant, as if his stomach were being forced back up his esophagus by an unyielding foreign object, which it is. I would like for a little bit of lunch/gastric acid to make it all the way into his mouth every time he leans forward or bends over, angering the foreign object.
Okay, so we have fatigue, hip-widening, lower back pain, shooting sciatic nerve, bladder punches, numb torso, a mild contraction, swelling in the extremities, and persistent heartburn. I think all we're missing is a wicked, wicked Charlie Horse.
One so fierce that he can SEE THE MUSCLE crumpling up underneath his skin like a fleshy sink hole. I would like for him to claw the sheets and scream a little bit, and I would like his calf to be sore for at least 3 days. It should be the worst muscle contraction ever - except for uterine contractions, which won't arrive for another 4 weeks.
At this point I'd like for him to be crying, and when he tries to explain his frustration to someone, I hope they tell him,
"Poor thing, you're so emotional right now."
I hope this ENRAGES HIM. Unfortunately he'll be so emotional that he won't be able to punch them, he'll just burst into tears afresh.
I think that should about cover it!
Pregnant women in the home stretch, does that not sound like your wildest dream come true?!?
Here's the best part. Right as he's maneuvering himself onto the couch to turn on ESPN - as he's trying to figure out a way to lie on his left side and simultaneously prop up his heartburn-y chest and his swollen feet - right as he's beginning to close his exhausted eyes, wishing he could take something stronger than a Tylenol, I would like to come into the room and say,
"Hey, honey! Here are the kids! They're really excited to play with you ALL DAY LONG. Madeline wants you to get out her play-doh, but you have to make sure Sam doesn't get it and carry it into the living room because that will make Madeline scream, plus the play-doh will get smushed into the carpet and won't ever come out. They're both a little grumpy because they need to eat, but there's plenty of stuff in the fridge for lunch! You'll figure something out! There's a load of laundry that needs to move from the washer to the dryer, but you'll have to fold the stuff in the dryer first. Welp, I'm off to work! Oh, and don't forget to make tea for our small group tonight!
I am smiling a big Grinch-smile just thinking about it.
You all pray for my husband over the next 4 weeks, he's living with a pregnant sadist.
**I would like to be clear: Dan has never spoken the above paragraph to me. In fact, he LEFT DURING THE SUPERBOWL to go bring me a milkshake. This post isn't about a state of affairs, it's about the crazy sadism that sneaks into every single mother in the history of ever at 36 weeks pregnant. It's about the common experience - the phenomenon. Also, my husband rocks. Thanks, Mgmt.**