I love my wife. She’s cute, fun, and travel-size. That said, life with her requires some…adaptations.
At first pregnancy didn’t seem to bring much in the way of additional changes. Weeks went by, and Unwashed still looked and smelled like herself. She did seem to reluctantly shower more often and grumble about oily skin, but for the longest time she wasn’t sick. In fact, this lead to one confounding conversation at 4 am:
Unwashed, suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed: “Oh, no!”
Tex, concerned: “What is it?”
Unwashed: “I haven’t had any morning sickness yet, none at all!”
Tex, confused: “Um…”
Unwashed, beginning to sob: “There’s an association of morning sickness and higher IQ in children!”
Tex, consolingly: “It’s OK, I’m sure –“
Unwashed, wailing: “No it isn’t, I’m having a dumb baby!”
She began eating those words within the next two weeks, as the history of severe morning sickness that she inherited from her mother finally caught up with her.
It wasn’t long after that that I didn’t seem to see Unwashed much. I wasn’t away, it was that she seemed to sleep the entire day. When she wasn’t asleep, she was complaining about how ravenously hungry she was. Or turning green and running away quickly. Old friends like garlic were suddenly no longer welcome. Worse, she had prepared and frozen many meals worth of lamb stew, which we had both found delicious. Then one day when I heated some up, I discovered that neither it nor I was welcome anymore.
The loaded question “Can you believe how LARGE I am?” began being thrown around. I assured her that she was not changing. She complained that clothes weren’t fitting. I apologized for leaving them too long in the dryer. She was worried her parka wouldn’t fit. I bought her a zip-in expander and carefully explained that it wasn’t for her, it was for the baby. This explanation was reused as necessary. Damn, I’m smooth.
Changes in Unwashed’s abilities preceded her understanding of her new limitations. Hiking ten miles in a day used to be routine. Nearly four months in, stopping after three miles was met with furious resistance on the trail and then exhausted acceptance ten minutes later in the car. More recently, half that distance is a challenge to cover at “top waddle”. Her fighting spirit is undampened, however, and with two weeks to go we are still hiking – at top waddle – and even skating, with the assistance of a walking frame,
as today was a beautiful day for skating here in the frozen North. Unwashed has needed a lot of help with little things later in the pregnancy. Changes in balance meant needing a spotter to climb onto a chair. Not being able to bend over meant needing help to tie her shoes.
If I have learned one thing about pregnancy, it seems they are constantly waking up uncomfortable. Needing the washroom frequently. Nausea. Heartburn. Muscle pains. Too hot. Not enough pillows.
This isn’t all that bad. I’ve become an expert at troubleshooting, quickly able to respond with my arsenal of remedies and massages. Where it becomes frustrating are the times when Unwashed wakes up, kicking the bed and groaning as if she has a hernia and loudly declares “I don’t feel well!”
Tex: “What’s wrong?”
Unwashed: “I – don’t – know!”
Tex: “Are your muscles sore? Did you take magnesium?”
Unwashed: “I took it, it’s not that.”
Tex: “Well then what’s wrong?”
Unwashed: “I don’t know, I have gout!”
This led to me coining the phrase “gestational gout” to refer to her inexplicable grumbles. Having now attended prenatal classes, I have a new theory: this is a baby-cry simulator, where the man has no idea what is wrong and must attempt to soothe his partner without her being able to tell him exactly what is wrong. Women instinctively do this in order to train their mate to effectively care for their offspring. This I call “gestational colic” and hope it is no indication of how much our baby will cry.