Did you know that a woman's brain cell volume actually shrinks while she's pregnant? I am well aware of that fact. I thought I was forgetful and easily confused earlier in my pregnancy, but woah, this is a whole new level. I'm shocked I can still write an entire blog post in full sentences, because it sometimes feels impossible to communicate my ideas aloud. Words escape me, ideas escape me, what I did 5 minutes ago escapes me. This is particularly frustrating for a woman who, previously, had an iron clad memory. I will normally remember conversations and events in their entirety, even 10 years after-the-fact. I remember faces forever and what you wore last Monday. And because of this, I am the one in charge of being on top of important household information—when the bills need to be paid, birthdays, appointments, when my husband's clothes last made it to the dry cleaner, finding all missing items, scheduling maintenance. Now, I cannot even be trusted with the grocery shopping. I go in with a list in hand, which seems like it'd be enough given everything we need is written out right in front of my face. But, no. So, I took to circling, starring and underlining critical items or items that I'd forgotten to pick up last time. But, no. I black out halfway through the aisles. I go back because I know I forgot something on the absolute opposite side of the store. I don't know why I've gone back. I waddle, holding my heavy baby belly, to the other side…..damn it…..what am I doing? And then I give up and leave with whatever made it into the cart. I love this baby, and want her to cook as long as she needs to, but damn, I cannot wait to have my brain back (amongst other things)!
I've been in bed for the majority of the last week. I am also someone who, previously, detested naps. Seriously. I would not take them, even if I was exhausted. I had all the time in the world to take naps then—no one was dancing on my bladder to wake me up, my aching body didn't get in the way of falling asleep, I didn't have a million things on my brain that needed to get done in what felt like a ticking-time-bomb-of-a-situation. But, I hated to sleep, refused to waste my daytime, found it pointless. Now, I live to sleep. My previous self is unfortunately still tucked away somewhere inside me, screaming and flailing her arms, appalled at all this sleep going on, but she is no match for a pregnant woman in her third trimester. So, I pull on my sleep mask, pretend it's a reasonable time of day to sleep, and hug my body pillow more than I hug my husband. The real problem is my boom and bust way of life. I need to sleep for an entire week because the week prior I barely let myself sit down. I've noticed I need a solid 2.5 days to recover after one day of activity. Oh, pregnancy.
Time is certainly starting to pass by at an alarming rate. I had to check my own blog last night to confirm that I was, in fact, 33 weeks, because it felt impossible to be that far along. I am now just 3 weeks away from what my midwives consider "safe to deliver" with them. It's not technically full-term in the medical world, but it does mark the beginning of the window in which I may deliver normally (and the way I want to: with my midwives). Meanwhile, that thought is frightening. There is still so much to do and my mind needs a little bit more time to prepare. My body, on the other hand, is plenty ready to get this baby OUT.
It's strange being so far into pregnancy that it feels like it's become the new "normal," as if this is the way I'll always feel and function. One would think those other 30 years of my life would outweigh these 10 months, but at this point I honestly forget what it's like to be inside that non-pregnant body. I forget what it's like to be able to run down the stairs, skipping every step but 3, not holding onto the railing. I forget what it's like to sleep through the night….an entire night, from the time I hit the sheets until it's time to get up, never opening my eyes in between, never wincing in pain in the wee hours, never wondering if I just peed myself. I forget what it's like to pack my days with as much activity as possible instead of trying to schedule what used to be one day's worth of activities over the course of an ENTIRE month, because that's all I can physically handle before my feet give out, my uterus tightens in one Braxton Hicks after the other, my back feels like someone's shoving knives down my spine and I will just fall asleep wherever I am. I forget what it feels like to be skinny, to wear bikinis, to not need a bra, to be the big spoon while spooning with my husband, to have abdominal muscles. I forget what it's like to be wild, to stay up all night doing things I'd probably be better off not doing, to dance until I am dripping in sweat, to wear mini skirts and backless halter tops, to not have a 5-year plan.
I can't believe in a matter of weeks I will begin my journey back to my former body….well, a slightly altered version of it at least. But, my life, will be forever altered and those other some-odd 30 years will remain a distant memory that no longer feel real.