Since being pregnant with Spencer, I've maintained that the last few weeks of pregnancy are nature's way of getting a woman ready to do *anything* to get the baby out of her, even go through labor. Last week, if you had

Since being pregnant with Spencer, I've maintained that the last few weeks of pregnancy are nature's way of getting a woman ready to do *anything* to get the baby out of her, even go through labor. Last week, if you had asked me if I was ready to go through labor to get the baby out of me, the answer would have been, "No, not really." But over just the past few days, nature has started to work her magic, and my response has started to change. Nights of good sleep are a thing of the past. The best that I can hope for is a night interrupted by only three trips to the bathroom. However, many nights I wake up with a backache, despite all of my pillows, and often end up relocating to the sofa, which seems to offer more support than our bed.

Leg cramps are another unwelcome nighttime visitor these days. I'm guessing that DH Andrew is as tired of these as I am, since my hauling myself out of bed in the middle of the night to stretch my legs is usually accompanied by a good deal of huffing, puffing, and muttered curse words on my part.

And if it's not needing to go to the bathroom, back pain, or leg cramps waking me up, it's just plain old hunger. While I'm not as hungry as I was in the first trimester and am not eating a 3 a.m. snack every night, I do frequently wake up hungry and if I manage to forego the midnight snack, there's no way I can stay in bed much past 6:00 before I have to get up and eat something.

The baby herself also does a good deal to keep me awake at night now. If it's not hiccups, which she seems to get frequently, including during the night, it's just her usual turning-around-three-times-three-time-three routine which she does before settling in that keep me awake. Some of the movements are quite impressive in their strength -- sometimes they even give me that feeling of your stomach dropping out from underneath you that you get when you are on an elevator that goes down suddenly or on a roller coaster.

Two new pregnancy side effects, shortness of breath and heartburn, have made their debut in the past couple of weeks. The shortness of breath I find particularly annoying, especially when it strikes when I'm not doing anything more strenuous than, say, standing. Or sitting, for that matter. I'm a bit claustrophobic, so the shortness of breath bothers me on this front as well. And the heartburn is just annoying -- luckily I don't have it too badly, and a couple of Tums will generally solve the problem.

Nature's cleverness extends to her starting to psych up the family as well, certainly the father, for the ordeal of labor. The cranky, tired pregnant woman from my first trimester has reappeared in the past week or so, and I seem on some days to have just no energy or patience left in the evening for either Andrew or Spencer. My efforts to make varied meals at night have been reduced to frozen pizzas and take-out rotisserie chicken, and I don't even bother trying for pleasant dinner-table conversation with Andrew most nights -- instead we park ourselves in front of the TV, I eat my dinner in about 20 minutes, and am in bed about 20 minutes later. I truly believe, and try to praactice the belief, that you always need to work at your marriage -- therefore, even though there are many nights even when I'm not pregnant that I come home with little energy left for dinner-table pleasantries, I set the table, make dinner, and talk with Andrew about what happened in our respective days, about Spencer, or about whatever is going on in our lives at the moment. But in the twilight zone that the last weeks of pregnancy are for me, this effort has been abandoned, with all best intentions on my part to resume it as soon as I have the energy.

The one struggle that I continue to devote my energies to every day to the best of my ability (which isn't saying much these days, I'm afraid) is to being a good mother. I'm finding this difficult these days though. Spencer is still two, and I am still pregnant, and these two facts often don't combine to create mother-son bliss. I try so hard to be patient and keep my sense of humor, but it's hard to do when we've just gotten home from work at 7 p.m. we're both hungry, we're both tired, I have to go to the bathroom, and Spencer wants to sit in the car and play with our seatbelts instead of go inside (a completely hypothetical example, of course).

I know -- I'm whining. And I have nothing to whine about, really. I'm pregnant with a child that Andrew and I have wanted so much, we already have a child whom we love so much, and Andrew and I together are very happy. I am so very fortunate.

I'm just looking forward to not always being so very tired, so very sore, and so very large. And I think I'm almost willing to go through labor to get to that


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