I’ll be the first to tell you that the last month or so of pregnancy is not easy. I mean, duh. The weight of Zoe in my belly was taxing on my back and legs. I waddled like a duck with a limp. I could not put my feet up on the couch without grabbing on to my pant leg and pulling my leg up or having Daniel assist. Speaking of pants: it was difficult for me to pull mine up on my own and I was always grateful to get help from the husband in doing so. Since Zoe never dropped, my belly stayed high and made it difficult for me to breathe and to sit up straight. It took energy I didn’t have to be able to turn over in bed. My belly threw my entire body off balance. Sometimes I’d compare my pregnant self to Humpty Dumpty or a member of the Lollipop Guild (a munchkin). I’d put my hands on either side of my belly and do a little shuffle dance similar to what the munchkins did and sing “We welcome you to munchkin land.” While doing so, I'd squint one eye and I even had the voice down. Seriously.
In those last few weeks I wanted my body back, but I loved being pregnant. I loved feeling Zoe’s kicks, nudges, somersaults and hiccups. I loved the sudden jabs where my skin would bounce and it looked like Zoe was trying to bust out. I loved getting to share those moments with Daniel – his hands on my belly. I think I kept at least one of my own hands on my belly the entire 40 weeks, surveying her movements and letting her know I was there for her. Daniel and I would go hear our friends Near Miss Mallet play live and I would move my belly to the music and tap my hand lightly like a drum. I loved feeling her dance around with me. I loved being Zoe’s shelter. I loved being photographed so that we could chronicle our progress. I wanted my belly to be huge. I wanted the belly button to pop (mine never did). All the changes to my body were things I’d dreamed about. I embraced it all even if I did complain every once in a while. I felt beautiful and found joy even in my most uncomfortable moments. I miss that feeling sometimes.
My body is healing now. The gestational diabetes is gone and so is the belly for the most part. The hard round belly has been replaced with soft skin, slightly swollen and almost pillow-like. The water weight is almost gone and I have full movement of my legs back. The waddle has disappeared, but I do still limp a bit because of the C-Section (I’ll blog about that later). I still get tired easily and I feel tender, but I am almost back to the old me again. My favorite part of not having the preggo belly (besides finally having our daughter) is hugging Daniel. Now, when we hug I feel like my entire body is being embraced again. I didn’t realize how much I missed that feeling of having him hold all of me close to him. Now, in order to make a “Zoe Sandwich” one of us will have to hold her in our arms.
I will always look back at this pregnancy with fondness. Even when I was complaining about how huge or miserable I felt I always followed up my words with how worth it the entire experience was. Even during Braxton Hicks and labor contractions I was telling Daniel I would do this all over again… in a couple years, maybe. For now, I'll give my body some more time to heal and then I'm going to work on getting my body in better shape than it was pre-pregnancy. I learned a lot while managing the diabetes, so I think I'm already off to a good start.