what else to expect when you're expecting (the lessons learned)

So, it was on. We’d told most everybody close to us, so that I now felt like I had a nation of millions holding me up during the end of the rough patch. Then came the business of childbirth. First up, I had to make the difficult decision to change Doctors. This swap was purely because of distance - and the last time I had seen my MD in Delta, my transmission blew. I know this probably only happens once in a car’s lifetime (cue a quick pan down to my parking garage, under the engine of the car, where the new transmission slowly starts to leak and unscrewing something of its own accord, like a shitty Transformer), but living an hour away from your MD, if not necessary, begins to get silly and complicated when you’ve got a fetus in the mix. So, I was now the patient of an MD downtown. And the difference between a suburban family practice and a bustling one in the heart of downtown is ridiculous. Best example: in Delta, parking is free and easy in a dedicated lot. In Vancouver, parking is 4$ per 30 minutes. Unreal. So, the transition between MD’s happened right as the nausea filled days were slowly, blessedly, gapping apart, and it was then I was told that I could have been taking a high potency Vitamin B6 dosage that would have probably decreased said nausea and made the previous months kind of worth living. Lesson 75 of this pregnancy I did not know and now spread to you. Lesson 76 courtesy of the new MD – Pregnancy lasts longer than 9 months. Something I consider VITALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE. It’s 39 weeks, one week shy of TEN months. (I stand corrected by my mean nurse friend Heather, it IS 40 weeks. Awesome.) Seriously, here. I know how I got to be my age without knowing the 12 times tables, or all the Canadian provinces and their capitals, but as a girl, this I should have known.

So, as the gut started to pout and pooch, I needed some new clothes. Lesson 77 – Do not waste your time and money buying specifically designated “maternity clothing.” Otherwise, be prepared to be a) horrified at the prices and b) equally horrified at the thoughtlessness of the design and cut (wide and short), and patterns used (1982 Denny’s wallpaper). After being crushed by the selection at H & M (disgusting stuff – really low cut wrap dresses, blouses a dental hygienist would have worn in 1993, and those jeans with the crazy elastic cuff waist that really weirds me out), I went down to Target with some good girlfriends. Lesson 78 – Previously cold and crusty Border Guards adore pregnant chicks, especially when you’re sprawled in the back seat and call yourself the “fat one in the back.” *Addendum - I forgot to note once you tell women who have children under 5 that you are expecting, they all raise their faces to the sun and their stomachs slowly warm while "The Circle of Life" softly starts to play and they all think the exact same thought - What can I Give You? So, if you are lucky enough, you will get FREE maternity clothes, and a whole bunch of other kid detritus. Bonus!*

Knowing the brunt of this gut was going to be hauled around in the hottest months, I went to town with: black leggings, empire-waisted cotton summer dresses and tops, a few pieces from Liz Lange’s maternity collection (excellent long ass tank tops and a pair of exercise pants with a rollable waist), some thin cardigans and a pair of grey capris with pockets. Along with some fun USA candy, the bill was under $180 and this stuff has lasted me through till the day I write this at 26 weeks. I just really really wanted stuff that I could wear afterwards and was cute and me, and not already evoking the dowdy Mom I will fight hard and dirty every day to not be.

And the weird thing about leggings – I had not worn a pair in years. Like eons. And they became my best freaking friends. Pulled up and over the belly – I was wearing a pant that was skin tight and unforgiving, and that was entirely ok, bringing us to Lesson 79. Being pregnant not only made it cool for me to not half-heartedly suck my stomach in 17 hours of the day, but also, I was just suddenly way more comfortable with my body. There really was no rational reason for this – it’s not like my legs became less stump-like, or my upper arms were instantly sinewy and brown. Nope, I still looked the same - in truth, lumpier and spottier - but carrying around a special package inside somehow made it ok for me to look how I looked, and not wage a bitchy self-war with my reflection everyday. This was definitely my favourite lesson so far.

Next instalment: Is it normal to feel this normal?