Last year around springtime, I was going through what I like to think of as a fallow period. My work-in-progress was writing itself into one dead end after another (at one point I considered killing my main character just out of spite) and my day job was feeling slow and repetitive. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I was inexplicably exhausted, and gaining weight fast—almost half a pound a week. Almost every day I would sit down to work on my laptop, feel my eyes growing heavy, and conk out. When I woke I would eat enormous sandwiches, cookies, and more sandwiches and then feel like taking another nap.
And on top of this Oprah had announced she was ending her show and I was mourning the news in perhaps a slightly exaggerated way. As in, with seven stages of grief. It was a dark time.
Reader, in case it is not perfectly obvious by now, what I am describing was being 45 (or 8) months pregnant. And I knew, based on long family history, that I had at least another month or six to go. My mother had frequently told/warned me that I would be late, very, very late, that I would be a living, breathing, waddling impression of a beached blue whale before this baby came. That was just how it was. I could fight it, or I could accept it. No matter what, this baby was going to be inside me for a good long time.
So I napped and ate and ate and napped and prayed for death, or barring death, at least something decent to watch on TV at 4 pm.
Then one day, just after elevensies and just before lunch, I peed my pants. A lot. It was weird. I didn’t feel like I needed to use the
bathroom, not even slightly, which was odd considering there was a watermelon-sized monkeybaby kicking me in the bladder four thousand times a day. I didn’t feel I could stop the pee once it started, either—also weird considering I had taken a lot of prenatal yoga (for those of you who have taken prenatal yoga, you know what I am talking about). I waddled to the bathroom, peeing all the way, mystified at the whole thing rather than grossed out, because after all, at 45 (or 8) months pregnant, gross takes on a whole new meaning. I got to the toilet and sat down and instantly the pee stopped. Like shutting off a faucet.
Again, I will say it was weird. I cleaned up the floor (the rare occasion where I could justify the use of a disposable pad for my spray mop), took a quick shower, and went back to my jam-packed half-working half-napping schedule.
About twenty minutes later, as I stood up with the intention of fixing myself a midday snack of an entire box of macaroni and cheese, I started to pee again. And this time I noticed another weird attribute of this mysterious body malfunction.
The pee was warm. Like, just got out of the swimming pool warm.
I had not been swimming. I hadn’t even been bathing (the sort of torque you needed to get me in and out of the bathtub at this stage was not easily attainable). And the leakage seemed to be tied somehow to whether I was sitting or standing.
And then it hit me. This wasn’t pee. This was amniotic fluid. My water had broken. I was in labor. Early. Labor. Oh MY GOD I AM IN LABOR.
I was very surprised.
There are probably those of you who wonder why I was so surprised. After all, as I was just starting to remember at this moment, I had been feeling rather intense cramps in my sides and back for about two days, and those cramps had been growing in intensity and frequency. Sort of like, um, labor pains. And I had had the labor flu we’d learned about in birth class, just a few days prior. And I had noted that the baby had been less active than usual over the last 24 hours, switching from full on gymnastics to more mild rhythmic dance.
And, yes, my water had broken. Which, as you may know, often indicates labor.
But still, I was surprised. I called to my husband and said, “I think my water may have broken…”
“Oh wow!” he said, or some varation of oh wow. I mean, what else do you say? He was surprised.
“…A half hour ago.” I added.
And I think, at that moment, he was surprised again. Surprised that he was married to a moron.
Stay tuned on this blog for the next part of the story (which ends with me holding a perfectly healthy little baby boy who is just now munching on a delicious blue crayon a few feet away), just as soon as I can find a way to work it into the weekly topic. Shouldn’t be long, what with my gift for the violent non sequitur.
Now let me turn this around on you, dear Reader, so you can help me feel less like a dimwit. Have you ever been surprised by something that was totally obvious to everyone else?