the homestretch

PSA: don't forget your birth control 
Are you out of breath after tying your shoes? Have you ever gotten a side ache from eating your lunch too fast? Does the urge to pee again hit as soon as you pull your pants up? Congratulations! You might be almost 8 months pregnant.

I get such mixed reactions when people ask how far along I am. Sometimes they say "oh, you're getting so close!" and I scream "I KNOW! PLEASE HELP!" And then there are those who judgingly eye my midsection while saying "2 months left? You've still got quite awhile!" I'm zero percent offended at the inference that I'm overly large and in charge and fully offended over the statement that two months is a lot of time. TWO MONTHS IS BASICALLY  TOMORROW. Can't you see the panic in my eyes? Please look at the room that is supposed to be the nursery and tell me two months is a lot of time. I DARE YOU. 

Am I ready to be a mother? My living room is decorated with concert posters. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with Ms. New Booty stuck in my head. I still think your mom jokes are hilarious, even though I'm about to become the butt of one. Early in the summer I was bopping around concerts in my jorts and ironic t-shirts, and now I'm wearing jeans with a band that covers my entire midsection and a bra that could hold next summer's watermelon harvest. My Amazon wishlist has gone from books and music to nursing pads and burp cloths. I have more fun shopping for this little peanut than I ever did shopping for myself. I ain't the woman I once was!

Can I confess something to you? I think I may be gestating a feline.  It doesn't help that I keep dreaming about giving birth to a cat. The baby makes movements that give me no other choice but to assume she's chasing a laser pointer up the walls of my womb. She wiggles and squirms like an angry cat trapped in a paper bag. I can see her wriggle around and stretch and kick. It's completely weird and I couldn't love it more. There have been several nights where I've swatted at my midsection, thinking the cat was standing on me when really the baby (the kitten?) was just pushing against my stomach. I will take this opportunity to not tell you that when I was talking to the baby a few nights ago, I accidentally called her by the cat's name instead of her name. Maybe it's no coincidence half her wardrobe has cats on it...

Let me just say the obvious here and what we're all waiting for me to say: pregnancy is uncomfortable. At least when I'm anywhere but home. The back aches? I do my Hunchback of Notre Damn impression every time I stand up. Sciatica is no longer just an uncomfortable symptom; it has become a way of life. If you saw me stand up out of my desk chair at work, you'd think I was just learning how to walk. And my hips! One of these days they're going to just crack open like a pistachio. I moan and groan and howl whenever I move. Do I dare mention what it's like to roll over in bed? Traumatizing. I've frequently found myself yowling in the middle of the night while trying to change positions. Oh, and sleep! I don't sleep anymore. I can't. Doesn't happen. My body forgot how. Ask me how much I love this!

I used to not understand why the pregnant women at work turned into angry, scary versions of themselves in the third trimester, but I get it now. I so get it. I walk around the office looking for someone to hurl a rock at just because my body hurts that much and I have no energy. No energy. I knew pregnancy would be uncomfortable and tiring, but nobody told my body would give up on life. Those women who say they feel great in their third trimester are almost as dead to me as the women who don't get morning sickness. Thought let me be straight: achey hips > 24/7 puking any day of the week forever and ever.

Other things I was not prepared for (are you ready for this? buckle up):

+ My tastes have changed. I have hated sausage my entire life, but lately? It's delicious. And ham! All I want is 7 Honeybaked Hams. I'm slowly coming around to coffee again. I drank a little on Christmas and it was sort of okay, and sometimes I almost kind of want some. A big improvement.

+ My non-food tastes have changed, too. I've always been ambivalent toward the color red, but now? I want to paint my whole life red. Football? Sure! Hot pink bows? I will buy them for my child, maybe. I listened to a Taylor Swift song last month and accidentally liked it. I am not who I once was.

+ My ribs. THEY ACHE. Whenever I sit too long, it feels like someone is cracking my ribcage open. If I'm going to get what feels like a side ache during a run while sitting on the couch, I would at least like to burn some calories for my trouble.

+ Pregnancy glow? What is that? A lie from the Russians. My skin has never been drier or more itchy. Ever since the minute I got pregnant, my lips have been chapped as though I've been standing atop a windy mountain, and no amount of chapstick or lip balm has made a difference. I have been reacquainted with my teenage acne issues. I think the pregnancy hair thing might be real, though. But mostly on my legs, if you catch my drift.

+ I'm starting to think food cravings are mostly a myth. The only real food craving I've had is red meat. I require a cheeseburger for every single meal. I'm having Ron Swanon-level feelings toward beef.

+ Food aversions, though? Let's talk. I fell hard and fast into the comforting arms of Wendy's French Fries during the first trimester, and now I dry heave whenever I drive past a Wendy's. But nothing is as bad as my aversion to Tim Hortons. I had one week where all I could stomach was one of their grilled cheeses. Whenever I drive past one now (which is every 300 feet in Ohio), the smell of the cursed grilled cheese hits me and I turn green. I just had to stick my head in a trash can to write that. Any food that was within 300 feet of me during the first 5 months of pregnancy is dead to me.

+ I have developed a medical need for the smell of rubber. Specifically, car tires. I want to walk into a store and smash my nose all up in those tires' faces. Just writing that makes me feel weak with passion. Any kind of car smell is getting me riled up. A car dealership? I can't. I crave new car scent more than I've ever craved chocolate. I got a whiff of eau de tire the other day and it smelled so good it knocked me off my feet. I haven't sent James running out the door for ice cream and pickles, but I've nearly sent him out for new tires.

+ Forgetfulness. Listen, I know this is completely eye-roll-worthy, but it's LEGIT. And that's big coming from me, the cynical girl who eye-rolls everything. I've heard about pregnancy brain. I've read about it. I guffawed, and I have since eaten those guffaws.
     -Let me just give you a few examples: When Sarah came to visit, she texted me a street name to see if it's near the one I live on. I told her I had no idea where that street is. 5 minutes later I realized it's the street I've lived off of for over three years now.
     -Exhibit B: I made scrambled eggs the other day. After I started cooking them, my brain shut down and I walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. Several minutes went by before I realized I had eggs on the stove. I ran back into the kitchen just in time and then dry-heaved from the smell of the eggs I had wanted 10 minutes earlier.

+Clumsiness. It's a fact. I drop everything I pick up. If I'm holding something, there's a 60% chance I'll drop it every time. Which is great, because bending over has never been easier!

+Since we're here, I might as well mention the kinship I am starting to feel toward certain farm animals. I know it will only get worse, but nothing quite prepared me for that first night of waking up with a half-soaked shirt. Oh, is that too TMI for you? Try experiencing it. 

This will all be over in 2 months. I have so many feelings about that. Some days I feel as excited as a 5 year old at Disneyland, and other days I crawl under the sheets and sob from the sheer terror of it all. My emotions are on a pendulum constantly swinging between those two extremes. It's getting so real! There are bottles on the dining room table and teeny onesies in the nursery and a breast pump tucked back into a box that I've hidden from myself because I'm too scared to look at it again. The nursery is still a disaster and I still don't have the slightest clue what goes into a hospital bag and I'm not ready to think about it yet. I'm convinced pregnancy exists solely to torture women like me, but I also don't want it to end. I don't want to be pregnant anymore, but I don't want to not be pregnant. I've become extremely attached to the torpedo sticking out of my abdomen, and even though I'll be holding my baby (which I am dying for), I'm not sure I want to look down and not see a squirmy bowling ball under my shirt. What's that syndrome where women become attached to their attackers? It's sort of like that. I've been pushed to my breaking point physically, emotionally, and mentally, but I am so not ready for it to end (dramatic!). But to eat and drink whatever I want again? Such luxury! I was living a charmed, caffeinated life pre-pregnancy, and I had no clue.

I used to be so scared to have kids because I didn't want to give up my freedom. I had a long list of things I wanted to do first. I've done almost none of those things, and my life is about to not be my own anymore. And you know what? I'm so happy about that. Really! All those things and ideas I had been clinging have completely lost their appeal. I worry here and there about not having time to myself anymore, but I have never felt more ready to dive into this. My priorities have completely shifted. This is all so good. And so hard. And so scary. And I'm so ready. But so not ready.

Ugh, these emotions. They're exhausting.


  1. If anyone is making you feel like you're big for 8 months just punch them in the face! You look 100x's better than I did at 8 months with either of my children, granted gestational diabetes leads to excess water weight which could have been my problem. Still I am sort of hating how cute you look at 8 months.

    I don't think the pregnancy glow exists if your having a girl. All that excess estrogen pumping through your system decks havoc on not only your emotions, but also your skin. I had the skin of a greasy pimply 14 year old with my daughter, it was terrible. Unfortunately it doesn't get much better right after you give birth, but eventually your hormones level out. Honestley the hormones when pregnant with a girl are crazy & make you feel like you're insane. I just feel bad for our poor husbands who have to deal with us!

    1. I would love to see pregnant Michelle punch something. This sounds very satisfying on so many levels!

  2. As always- beautifully written. Made me laugh, made me think about things and I think you have the glow, FYI! Even if you don't feel like it, you look great, seriously! I hope these last weeks (months... idk which i'm supposed to say!) go as smoothly as possible and I'm honestly so excited for you! You're going to be an awesome mom :)

  3. I love gigging and grinning and thinking of you and praying while reading your posts. And remembering that this will be me soon enough. I'm not ready. I'm enjoying (yes ENJOYING) the second trimester. Minimal nausea (like only 1-2 hours a day, if at all) and a lot less pain for some reason. In my head the third trimester is never coming. I think I'm going to just skip it. Help.

    1. The third trimester is so still so much better than the first. I promise!

  4. I like how you keep wearing black in all these photos. And by like I mean it's hard to see what you look like. But black is slimming and I get it. You look good, though.

    True story. Two months is going to happen so fast and then the next thing you know BAM grade five. I assume. That's how I feel anyway.

    My body's just started feeling pregnant. I'm so much more aware when I roll over in bed now. I can't even imagine how you feel.

    My sister in law hated meat when she was pregnant. I think she was an anomaly because MORE MEAT ALL THE TIME, PLEASE. I know you feel me.'

    I feel like Shake It Off is kind of a mom anthem. I don't mind it. I don't get the Starbucks lovers song though. It doesn't make sense.

    Your rubber obsession could probably land on you TLC if tried hard enough. "My Strange Pregnancy Addiction."

    Whenever I lay down my skin suddenly starts to feel like fire it's so itchy. And sometimes in meetings, when it's really awkward to start scratching my belly like I have flees.

    I can't believe the farm animal kinship has started. I was hoping that was just a rumour. It's not going to happen to me, I swear. I swear! The smell of sour milk really disturbs me. I don't think I'll be able to handle it in my BED.

    Everything about being ready but not ready that you said. Amen. A thousand times.

  5. Cracking. Up. I personally have LOVED the smell of laundry pods...and bleach. I walked into my mom's & she was doing laundry & I was all like, Oh my gosh, I smell bleach...are you washing whites?? And this whole "being ready" thing is a myth. Fact: You get pregnant, you have a baby, you figure it out as you go. There's no magic formula, book, or best time to do it. Ya just do it. And it's hard. And amazing. And I completely feel like I've grown up WITH my kids, which is kind of awesome. And I still watch cartoons & eat cereal for dinner & wonder who let me become a parent. You will do amazing things, momma.

  6. Girl pregnancies are worse than boy ones. I know this, because now I'm pregnant with a boy and it's going swimmingly, whereas everything hurt and was gross with my daughter.

    And are you ready to be a mom? Probably not. I'm not even, and my kid is three. I have time to figure it out still right?

  7. Motherhood is terrifying, wonderful, and crazy. I'm 16 months into it and I'm still figuring things out. And we haven't even gotten into playdates and all that yet!!

    Isn't it the weirdest and coolest thing to see your baby move from the outside?! Nick freaked out and said it was like a scene from Alien. Which, I've heard, you shouldn't watch while pregnant. I don't blame anyone. No one wants to birth an alien baby.

    You look awesome.

  8. I keep refreshing your blog. I need some Michelle in my life.

  9. The raw meat counter at the grocery store used to make me salivate. I had a hard time explaining that one to my husband. And Chinese food made me so nauseous. Thomas ate some in the house while I was gone overnight and my bloodhound nose picked it up- it was disgusting and I was so ticked!
    As for the hospital bag - button up (and very loose) pjs - maybe a nicer pair for when people come visit, Depends (splurge on the fancy kind), face wipes, camera, and some clothes for your nugget (and your husband!). If you're planning on trying to nurse, the 2 pack Gilligan O Malley nursing sleep bras from Target are amazing.

  10. My hips are already hurting and I'm only in the second trimester. I don't know why it's comforting that yours are too. I also have an aversion to In N Out fries now after a bad experience during my first trimester and I hear you on the tastes changing and wanting to shop all the time now. What the heckkk? I love reading your blog. It's like a good book I don't want to put down.


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