Saturday, July 21, 2012

Light at the end of the Tunnel...

I'll have to make this short and sweet. I can't type for long because now I have CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME to add to my list of discomforts!!!

I awoke yesterday morning with numbness and tingling in my left hand, particularly my middle finger (and no it wasn't from giving too many people the finger!) I had pins and needles. I tried to shake it off. My fingers did look a bit swollen. Nothing compared to my feet. Then I noticed that even my face was a little puffy and my lips were a bit swollen. Great. So I'm actually blowing up. My feet are the worst. They have become so big they're almost black and blue.

I mentioned to the doctor that (on top of everything else I'm going through) my left hand felt weird, numb, swollen. She tapped on my left wrist to see if it hurt and I yelped in pain. She wasn't expecting such a strong reaction. She told me I have carpal tunnel and that's it's common late in pregnancy. Great. Each fresh hell that I've experienced lately is apparently "common." I guess that's somewhat comforting. So she gave me a prescription for a wrist brace (isn't it enchanting? So lovely with my fuchsia dress.) I thought at first that I might have brought this affliction on with my overzealous nesting/cleaning frenzy (organizing and clearing out my cold cellar and garage, making a trek to the thrift store with my monster haul, cleaning the house more thoroughly than I ever had etc). Maybe I overdid it. Lifted too much, scrubbed too much. Then I realized that if that were the case I would have injured my right hand more because I'm right-handed and no doubt use it more. Suddenly I remembered that on one of my umpteen trips to the bathroom through the night I had bent my wrist back once while trying to lift my enormous carcass off the bed. It is very difficult getting my big belly up off the bed now. Unfortunately I have to do it at least once an hour to go to the washroom. Each time rolling back and forth helplessly like a beached whale until trying to catapult myself up on my spindly wrists (my wrists are about the only thing that hasn't gained weight. I think they're the same size they were when I was a child.) So it makes sense that I would have strained myself lifting all that weight off the bed. I'm sure that if I tried to bench press 200 lbs I'd hurt my wrist too.

200 lbs actually isn't far off. When I stepped on the scale in the doctor's office I just about fainted. I have now gained close to 70 lbs. I can't believe it. My niece weighs 70 lbs. She's 10. So I could have a baby the size of my niece walking out! Of course a lot of it is water weight and blood judging by my massive legs and feet. And now even my bloated lips. I feel like a freak. I'm huge and ungainly and stumbling around like Frankenstein's monster. You could tell me to stop pouting but I can't help it, that's just how my lips are now! I could console myself that some women, mostly celebrities, pay for collagen injections to make their lips more plump. Somehow that doesn't help. This wrist thing is the last straw. I picked up my brace from the pharmacy and started to cry. Enough is enough. This is too much.

It is so uncomfortable and so difficult moving around. My belly is so big that it hurts to sit, hurts to walk, hurts to lie down, to get up, to be in a car (the seatbelt around the stomach is a killer. Strangles me), to be anywhere, to do anything. Now I have to try to push myself up with only one functioning hand. I am so ready for this to be over. Unfortunately the doctor said there is absolutely no sign of my going into labour anytime soon. I asked about going to the beach, taking a road trip etc. She said go for it. Might as well. My next appointment is on Tuesday (the day AFTER my due date.) She says if I don't have the baby this week then she will induce me the following Monday, if I wish. "Oh, I WISH!" I said. I am done with this! Done. So at least I know if worse comes to worst, I will have my baby by the end of the month. July 30th at the latest. Light at the end of the (carpal) tunnel.

So we went to the beach. It seemed like a nice day. I was surprised how cool it was by the water with the wind. I had some fries and an ice cream (might as well. When you're getting close to 200 lbs, what's the difference?) It was nice putting my big ole feet in the soft warm sand, listening to and watching the waves. The breeze was pretty cool by the lake so I chickened out of actually swimming but I did dip my feet in at least. It's a far cry from last summer when I was living in bikinis and at the beach just about every day. I found a men's swimsuit that was comfy as a bathing suit bottom. Unfortunately even the XL tankini wasn't enough to cover the belly now so I just put a black tank over it. I feel like a tank at this point.

As we were leaving the beach we ran into an old friend. I couldn't believe it. Seems a lifetime since I've seen him. Of course he looks amazing and I look like a giant bag of hell. I said I couldn't believe the coincidence of us being there at the same time. He said there are no coincidences. Sadly his kids didn't even recognize me. Of course the last time they saw me I was 125 lbs in a bikini. I barely recognize myself these days. I am hoping I will get back in shape after the baby. Eventually. Right now I'd be happy just to be able to walk without waddling. To be able to breathe properly. To be able to get up from a seated or reclined position without breaking my wrist. To not have balloon feet and trunk legs, a puffy face and big lips.

I shouldn't be complaining. Some wonderful things have happened recently and I am grateful. I was feeling so full of energy and excitement. There are going to be some rough days, of course. I'm going through a lot. My body is stretched beyond its limits. I'm on very little sleep. It's a lot to handle. Not to mention all the hormones. I have to cut myself some slack. It's hard to feel positive spiritually when you feel so rough physically. In the end it's all worth it. I love this baby. She is an incredible blessing. Even if I miss my due date on Monday (and everything seems to indicate that I will) at least I know the end is in sight and I will meet her the following Monday for sure, if not sooner.

Life is strange. It's not always easy. That's part of the adventure. And when you look back, sometimes it is the struggles that you look on fondly. You realize how much you've been through and it makes you stronger. I will get through this.

My sister suggested that maybe it gets so difficult toward the end (just about every woman late in pregnancy experiences the frustration of "Let's get this over with already!") to make us brave enough to face labour. We want it to be over so badly that we are relieved to go into labour. We embrace the pain because at least it is the end, it is the way out, the way through. We are done with being pregnant. We are ready to meet our babies and begin the exciting new phase of our lives. The frustration trumps the fear. I was so afraid before. I didn't feel ready, wondered if I was strong enough, worried about the pain. Now I'm like, OK let's get this show on the road! I just want to have this baby! I want my belly back. And my legs and feet and wrists and lips. I want to be able to walk again. I want to feel normal again. I don't want to go another week. If I get any bigger I may explode!

Just one more week and I will begin to feel like me again, hopefully. I will get her back -- the girl I used to be. She will be a little different. She'll be a Mommy. But when I get the OK from the doctor (likely a couple of months after delivery) I am working out hardcore. And come next summer, I will wear my bikinis again. Baby and me will hit the beach in style. I have a little pop up tent so baby will be safe in the shade while Mama tans her legs. And I will look back at photos from this summer and think, Wow, was I really that BIG?!

The end is in sight. One woman I spoke to who said that she was bloated and swollen everywhere while she was pregnant also assured me that the swelling went down almost instantly after she had the baby. All that extra blood and water weight just disappeared. Something to hope for! Then again another friend told me that she knew someone who went into the hospital hoping for a miracle after delivery. She brought her skinny jeans to go home in and was shocked that they didn't fit. I won't go quite that far. I'm assuming my extra large comfy drawstring pants and loose dresses will serve me well for a while after I give birth. But I am motivated to get back in shape. I got there once. I can get there again. Just caring for the baby will be a workout in itself. It will feel good to get back into yoga again too. I've missed it.

Hopefully the sore wrist thing won't last either. I'll need my wrists to cradle my baby most of the time! I saw someone at the beach today carrying their baby in one of those Snugli kangaroo pouch things. That can be me next year! I'd rather be carrying her on the outside than the inside. This belly is ready to bust!

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