Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I’VE had a very easy pregnancy thus far. No morning sickness, no cravings, no sleeplessness, no stretchmarks, and, as far as anyone can tell, a perfectly happy and healthy baby. In fact, apart from the bump itself, I’d hardly even know I was pregnant at all. So, with the bump being the defining feature, I guess it’s no surprise that it’s so incredibly ginormous.

Most women can hide their bumps for the first three or four months. Hell, there are some women who give birth without even knowing they were pregnant in the first place! Me? I announced the news to my parents when I was just six weeks gone… and already showing. In fact, one of the first things my mother noticed was that I’d put on weight, much to her delight. Apart from the obvious joy at finding out she was going to have a grandchild, I can only imagine part of her was slightly disappointed that the bulging belly was made up of baby, and not burgers.

Needless to say, we didn’t want to share the good news with the world at large until after the 12-week scan, but it became almost impossible to keep it a secret. I was already showing so visibly that we were convinced it would be twins. (Did you know that there’s such thing as twin insurance? You pay a premium before your scan and, if it turns out that it’s twins, they pay out double.) Personally, I was convinced it wasn’t just a bun but a whole baker’s dozen in my oven.

When the scan eventually rolled around and the baby’s head was pointed out, we asked for confirmation that it was, in fact, just the one head. Luckily, but also bafflingly, it was. But we weren’t at all surprised when told the baby was measuring a bit bigger than usual. It also came as no surprise when, the next time my mother saw me, her first words were, “Jaysus, you’re big alright.” Cheers, ma.

So by the time it was publicly announced, most people had already sussed. In fact, some people had even outright asked. And you don’t ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless that bump is very clearly defined. Or you want a smack in the mouth.

As the months have passed, the bump has grown exponentially. At my first ante-natal class, the midwife told us we could expect to gain 10 to 12 kilos throughout the entire pregnancy. I was only three months gone… and already 10 kilos heavier. Now, at seven months, that figure has increased to 20. My appetite has barely changed at all, so the only conclusion I can draw is that I’ll give birth to a toddler. (Hubby, being a huge American football fan, is all excited at the prospect of having a little quarterback. The fact that the baby’s a girl doesn’t seem to have damped his spirits one bit.)

You may think I’m paranoid, but there’s barely a week that goes by that a stranger doesn’t state that I must be due any day now. When I say I’ve still got two months to go, they nod sagely and ask, “Twins?” And then they all get that same look on their face when I tell them there’s only one baby in there – that look of absolute terror while they gape at my belly, expecting it to burst open at any second and a whole litter to just come crawling right out.

Even my own husband thought I was only being paranoid when I mentioned that I was much bigger than the lady in my pregnancy yoga class who was a whole 10 weeks more pregnant than me. He gave me the stereotypical male “you’re not fat” response. ‘Not fat, just big-bumped’, I thought. But then he accompanied me to an ante-natal class where all the women were at the same stage – all more or less at the 31 week mark. Just before the class began, he turned to me and whispered, “All these women have much smaller bumps than you”. Vindicated! “Even the woman expecting twins!” Slightly vexed!

And I’ve still got two months to go! My doctor says it’s mostly fluid which, apparently, is a good thing. It means that my little girl has an Olympic-sized swimming pool to splash around in, while most babies only have a paddling puddle. Nonetheless, the baby itself still has more growing to do. According to my pregnancy book, she’s currently weighing in at about 4lbs, which means she’s still only about half the weight she’ll be by the time she decides to make her big entrance.

In the meantime, I’m clearly going to have to fashion some form of sling to keep my belly from succumbing to gravity and knocking against my knees.

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By Laura Hutchinson
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