Technically speaking (which is probably the best kind of speaking), we’ve reached the halfway point.
Today, I am 20 weeks pregnant. In theory, I have 20 more weeks to go.
My uterus has reached my belly button, my belly button has reached the point perpendicular to my body that it was when I was 30 lbs. overweight, and I’ve reached for the carton of ice cream twice tonight – just for a taste, of course. All signs point to this pregnancy being in full swing.
“You’re halfway there, mama!” says one website.
“Congrats!” cheers another.
So why doesn’t this feel like the halfway point?
Well, for one thing, two of the weeks contributing to the first 20 aren’t really pregnant weeks. Although the deed that causes the pregnancy doesn’t happen until about two weeks after, pregnancy officially starts at the first day of the last menstrual period before conception. And even then, it’s not reliably detected until week four, and that’s just if you’re trying to detect it. (We were.)
That means when I peed on a stick and found out I was pregnant, I was already four weeks in. That’s 20 per cent of the first 20 weeks! We kept it a secret – and probably forgot ourselves, on occasion – for the next six to nine weeks, depending on whether we shared 50 per cent of our genetic make up with the people in question.
So there we were at about 13 weeks along, finally telling people that there is a baby growing in my depths.
It was another couple weeks after that when I had to finally give in to full-time maternity pants, and three weeks after that when someone noticed that I wasn’t just getting lumpy, but that my belly was growing in a very specific (round) manner. Although, at the dentist this past week, my dental hygienist told me she wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t said anything.
Plus, I’ve had next to no symptoms. I’m not complaining about this – in fact, I’d like to celebrate it, although I think that would come across as cruel, and then karma would probably reward me with the most harrowing third trimester in the history of wombs. To this point, I have experienced next to no morning sickness. My taste buds were opposed only to green beans and snap peas. I haven’t been getting overly emotional (well, nothing over what’s typical for me), my body seems to be functioning at capacity, and I haven’t really had any of the bizarre dreams I’ve heard so much about.
What has changed?
Well, once a week, I read a chapter in a book about what’s happening inside me, and then I usually look more information up online to see if I can find a comparison between our Little Parasite and a piece of produce for this week. (Week 20: Banana.) I wake up at least once a night to pee. I go see an obstetrician every four weeks. I am tired from about noon onward everyday, and napping – a pursuit I had not engaged in frequently since my toddler years – has become a mainstay in my life. Really, that’s about it.
And if that was all it was going to be for the next 20 weeks, I’d be prepared to announce that this whole pregnancy thing is a breeze.
But from here on out, things get more complicated.
For one thing, I expect the aches and pains to start any day now. Sure, I was 100 lbs. heavier once, but it wasn’t all concentrated between my boobs and my pelvis, and my bones and intestines and organs weren’t being physically shoved out of the way by a growing being. I expect to start not being able to reach things – be it because I can’t get close enough to the counter or I can’t get close enough to my toes, I expect socks and ingredients on the top shelf to be a challenge in the near future.
I’ve heard words like “heartburn” and “round ligament pain” and “Braxton Hicks contractions” and “mucus plug” thrown about, and I’m fairly sure that while most of those things are unavoidable, I’d like to avoid them all.
And sure, I feel much bigger now, but once I really pop, I expect strangers to want to touch me (and to occasionally do so without my permission) and tell me how big I am and share all their horror stories about babies. I expect to hear “Get all the sleep you can now!” and “You must be having twins!” and “Get the drugs. Trust me!” in the next four-and-a-half months.
Oh, and “Your life is over.” I can’t wait for that one.
Starting next month, prenatal classes start. I have to start going to the obstetrician every two weeks. We’re going to have to figure out how car seats and strollers and cribs and bottles work. And babies – we’re going to have to figure out how they work, too.
Is this the mid-way point? I think not. I think this is, really, just the beginning. No, naysayers, not the beginning of the end – just the beginning.
Let’s get this show on the road.