My physical build has always been about the same, which, after 25 years of living in this body, has been both good and frustrating. My scrawniness has allowed me to squeeze past chairs that weren’t quite tucked in, slide between cars that were too close together and fit into clothes that I’ve had since the 9th grade (though that’s more embarrassing than it is good). My shortness in stature has allowed me to pass under low-hanging fixtures or door beams with ease that would otherwise hit a normal sized person in the head as well as win a gold medal in snuggling. Not that I’ve ever won a gold medal in snuggling, I just imagine that, if a gold medal could be given in such a category, I’m certain I would be awarded one because of the high degree of coziness involved in my snuggles.
On the more frustrating side of being short and scrawny, I don’t especially enjoy swimming in pools anymore because one too many pool partiers in my childhood looked at me and thought, “I wonder how far I can throw her across the pool…” I can’t reach most things in kitchen cabinets or find jeans that fit a person who has short stick legs with no hips. It’s only been within recent years that restaurant hosts and hostesses stopped giving me the Child’s Menu, and it’s only been within recent months that I’m legally allowed to sit in the front seat of a car now that my pregnancy weight sets off the “Passenger Air Bag: ON” light.
With my stomach and the numbers on the scale growing by the day, I’ve been increasingly curious to see how my build would handle these dramatic changes. So far, teetering and tottering from one side to the next have definitely posed some challenges, but I have yet to fall completely over mainly thanks to my husband who has to steady me everywhere we go. Once I got stuck in the middle of an air mattress that deflated overnight but stayed inflated on all 4 sides, leaving me in a mattress bowl of pity and with a husband who laughed so hard he cried. That was a low point. I most certainly can’t squeeze past anything or anyone (including bottoms) and have to be helped up off chairs and couches. And, as of last week, I can feel every single thing Elliott does.
He let me know about his existence and gaining strength since Week 18 of my pregnancy. He punched, he kicked, he somersaulted. Around Week 27, I experienced my first foot-in-ribs pain. In the weeks following, I started to feel him in the early, early hours of the morning, and during this time of us apparently not sleeping, I spent a lot of time wondering how he managed to put a foot in my ribs, a hand (I’m assuming) by my hip, and get the hiccups all at the same time. Then last week, for his grandest trick yet, he took a nose dive, and I went to the hospital.
I try not to overreact to every little pinch or pain I feel even though my mind’s tendency is to overreact and silently yells, “WHAT WAS THAT?!” each time. My books and apps generally do a great job at explaining what’s going on and why, but last week, they didn’t really have an answer for me but did suggest that maybe, possibly I should call a doctor. The issue at hand was persistent pain. It hurt to walk, it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand up straight. This had never happened before and I was trying to not totally freak out. Plus I was already on high alert after one of my good friends went into labor the week before – 6 weeks early. Part of me feared Elliott had gotten the same idea, but 10 weeks early, and that was extremely concerning. I laid down for a long time and after hours of no relief, I called the nurse who told me it would be a good idea to make a cautionary trip to the hospital.
Don’t panic. We’re all good! For a moment, we were afraid Elliott was trying to make a break for it, but those fears were laid to rest and our confidence restored. After a few tests and napping to the sweet sound of the rain and Elliott’s healthy heartbeat, we were told all that had had happened was Elliott flipped over for his future (and much later) departure, and in doing so, dropped a little further compared to most babies in Week 31. The doctor assured us he won’t be arriving until he’s needed, adding that due to my size and stature, I’ll feel absolutely everything he does from here on out.
In this particular case, I guess being scrawny and short is neither good or frustrating. It’s painful, uncomfortable, occasionally embarrassing, and altogether 100% incredibly wonderful.