I spent this past Sunday away from my computer in hometown Wisconsin for my future sister-in-law’s wedding shower. The whole family was there, which is always nice. I have a family of compassionate, generous, kind and wonderful souls, and most of these souls hadn’t seen me since I announced the news around Christmas time. Four months may not seem long in “normal” time, but in gut-growing baby-making time, four months can mean the difference between a Kate Moss and a Kathy Bates. In four months, your chin can triple, your ankles can inflate, and your boobs command the stage. So, to hear these kind souls tell me I “looked beautiful” shocked me. The cynic in me knew they were just saying it to keep me from crying. But, the optimist in me thought maybe they really DID see something I didn’t. Who knows anymore…I’ve lost control of all rational reasoning, so I just went with how I felt at that moment, which was: “I feel good.”
The shower went off without a hitch. It was lovely and girly and purple – everything a wedding shower should be. I’m not going to hold anything back in my writing, since that would just be dishonest, so I will list off my wedding shower food consumption list, down to the final sausage. I had: 2 pancakes (with syrup), a heapingly overwhelming pile of eggs, 2 (and a half) biscuits with gravy, 3 sausage links, and a glass of orange juice. This may not sound too bad just yet (insert consoling “you’re eating for two” line here), but I haven’t even gotten to the cupcakes. I ate the cupcake at my original seat. I ate the one at the bride-to-be’s seat. And, oh yeah, I ate the one at my mother-in-law’s seat (she left early – hers was free game)! The fascinating part is, I didn’t even feel full. But, the “I feel good” was still going strong. I was mentally powering through another day.
After the shower, all the bridesmaids went to see the seamstress to get fitted. This was an event I have been dreading since the dresses were ordered pre-knockup. I had already arranged to swap with the bride’s sister (who lost weight), so I figured I should be able to squeeze into a dress two sizes bigger than my original order. Oh, Lord Almighty! How wrong I was! We got it zipped, but to do so comfortably, I had to pull the halter up so high that it appeared I had grown two extra breasts. Nope, this was NOT happening. I must admit, the look of the dress dolled up the bump to red carpet status…if only it FIT the way it was MEANT to. The worst part was knowing that, even if she could get me into it for now, the wedding isn’t for another month, and I haven’t read any baby book chapters about dropping weight in the final trimester.
You could say I was feeling a little emotionally “large” on the drive home after the fitting. I got to wondering how hard it will be to take the pounds off post-baby. What if I can’t do it? What if I’ll always need my seamstress to add stretchy inserts to the sides of my dresses? Thankfully, my foul mood didn’t last long. We arrived back at my parents house and it was filled with favorite aunts and cousins and siblings and dogs. There is no way you can feel down around these people – I’m telling you. I vowed not to lie about my diet to you all, so when I got home, I ate 2 plates of my mom’s spaghetti bake, a slice of key lime pie, and a Dilly Bar (timed it at probably 8 minutes for total intake). I sat down on the loveseat with my cousin Greg.
Oh, my dear Greg…he requires a mini introduction so you can get the full picture. Greg is my 30-year old cousin with Downs Syndrome. He is hilarious and loving and easily one of my favorite people on this earth. He is also a big boy, probably weighing in around 275 pounds – mostly belly. He says what he wants when he wants to whoever he wants, and it usually ends with an innocent “should I really be laughing” laugh from whomever he just accidentally insulted. Today was no different. My dear favorite cousin plopped his heavy butt down next to mine and we literally covered the entire loveseat, just the two of us. The whole family was sitting around us in various chairs, and Greg looked down at my stomach. I could see his mind working as he looked at his stomach, then back at mine, then back at his. He put his stocky arm around my neck and pointed at both of our stomachs, back and forth…back and forth…and said, “WE SAME WEIGHT.”
Well, boys and girls, this about did it for me. Immediately I felt the tears well up in the corners of my eyes as I tried with all my pregnant might to suck in whatever I could from my bulging babyland. I looked up around the room – complete silence. My eyes immediately met my dad’s, who was SO obviously trying to hold in his laughter as he waited…juuuust waited…to see what my final reaction would be before belly-laughing himself to death. I did what I could. I forced those tears back in, reminded myself to consider the source (hey, I would’ve laughed if he had said it to someone else), and laughed and laughed and laughed. I even quipped back at him with, “Mine’s building a human and will be gone in 3 months. What’s your excuse?” Greg, of course, chuckles his rough chuckle, snorted in my face, messed up my hair, and moved on. No tears from him. No tears from me. And, hey, it was inspiration for a great blog post.
I also convinced myself that the Internet lies, because after the comment, I googled “expected pregnancy weight” and found 25-30 pounds as their final answer. I wanted to throw my computer against the wall. Then, if you kept reading, it told me 35-40 pounds is average if you are expecting TWINS. I decided then and there that I am never WebMD-ing again. I don’t care if I have a pussing fungal foot disorder eating my toenails little by little with no insurance coverage and zero cash. Never…again. How is a first-time pregnant woman supposed to react to this uncontrollable, yet oh-so-obvious, physical change?
My Medication: Laughter. And I’d prescribe it to anyone.
I am not going to let it bother me anymore, the whole weight thing. This morning at the doctors office, the nurse told me to hop on the scale whenever I was ready. I stood there for a minute and eventually told her I’d hop on in four months. I figured, if I’m going to see that number on the scale, I’m going to have to combat it with a sense of humor. I make light of my ever-showing buttcrack, joke about the one lonely functioning button on my winter jacket, and intentionally dodge photographs stating I don’t want to block all of the natural sunlight. Yup. It’s my way of getting through it all with an ounce of sanity and pride. To each their own. It works for me.
Little Baby Brunner will never know the mental struggles I went through as a first-timer, nor do I want him to. I would like him to think that I enjoyed every second he grew inside of me and the bigger he got, the happier it made me. I AM happy he is developing at a healthy rate and I KNOW it’s all natural and worth it and will go back to normal, but when you’re living it day by day, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ll be very ready to drop those 10 immediate pounds, and hope to stroller the heck out of my neighborhood in the following three months.
But, my secret hope is that one year from now, when we’re sitting around after another family function, Greg will plop down next to me on the loveseat and I can say to him, “Me lose weight.” He won’t care then either – he’ll chuckle his rough chuckle, snort in my face, mess up my hair, and move on…again. And, the best part of it all will be that I will have gotten a beautiful baby boy out of the deal – which, I must admit, will have been well worth the WEIGHT!