Luckily, my tangled history of autoimmune disease has really primed my entire family for this journey into gestation. When your husband has seen you heal from having fourteen inches of your intestine removed he tends not to flinch when you describe what a c-section entails or panic when you call from the OBGYN’s office to relay the painful news that yes, apparently you can develop mastitis before giving birth.
Still, there are times I find myself so stereotypically pregnant that it’s almost embarrassing. I’ve thrown a small, private fit after finding out the sandwich shop was out of meatballs with which to make me a meatball sub. I’ve teared up while John Legend’s “All of Me” played gently at dusk as I navigated the aisles of Walgreens on a Tuesday night. I’ve had the sudden urge to drink vinegar straight from the bottle.
All of my deep thoughts as of late are true stoner revelations. “Man,” I say to Jacob as we watch hours of talking heads on cable news, “all of these people came out of women whose bodies told them to grow their bones and joints and eyeballs and lungs and now they’re all shouting at each other on TV.” I think about our baby, currently the size of a baseball mitt, listening to the muffled TV voices. She flips and kicks as if to have an opinion about the world around her. I am forever thankful that my body took the wheel on growing her as it would be a nearly impossible task for me to remember to multiply all of those cells. She has a tibia, for Christ’s sake. Two of them! I forgot what a tibia was until the ultrasound technician began measuring the baby’s tiny bones on screen.
We’ve officially been living in our house for three years today, during which time we’ve managed to thoroughly futz with its interior, build an entire cottage for my mothers in the backyard, and a little fence out front. If I said this was all part of some master parenting plan I would be giving myself far too much credit. But I will note that while worrying things into being is not a technique I’d recommend for anyone’s mental health, it has worked for me so far. Let’s call it creative visualization driven by my very own personal brand of anxiety. At least I’m not in charge of remembering all of those bones.