Me and My 47-Inch Waist

At 36½ weeks of pregnancy, including 10 weeks of varying levels of bed rest, I’ve gained 60 pounds, and my stomach is so big that it’s soliciting stares, smirks and comments.

Last Friday I was released from complete bed rest for the second time, so, after my 36-week appointment, my son and I went to a local pancake house for breakfast. After eating, we made a trip to the ladies’ room—my second home due to “pregnancy bladder”—and a woman who’d just come out of one of the stalls asked, “When are you due?”

“I have four more weeks,” I sighed. “I’m just huge.”

“I knew it,” she laughed. “My boyfriend and I saw you walk in, and he was sure you were going to have your baby right in the restaurant, but I told him that Americans get big, and I said, ‘I bet she’s eight months,’ and you are.”

This morning, I drove downtown to my in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic to donate my leftover medications, and, as I got out of my car, I announced to the parking attendant, who remembered me, “I’m a success story.”

Taking a look, he asked, “Twins?”

But tonight my bulging belly was invisible.

My husband got great news today, so he took our son and me out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Because there weren’t any close parking spots, he dropped us off in front of the restaurant.

“We’ll sit on the bench and wait for you,” I said.

“No, honey, you go up.”

Of course, due to my overactive bladder, I needed to use the ladies’ room as soon as I’d given the hostess our last name. A few minutes later, when my son and I walked back into the lobby, my husband was waiting.

He said, “You know, I asked the hostess if she’d seated you two by asking if she remembered a little boy with white hair. And she said, ‘Is your wife pregnant?’ It never even occurred to me to describe you as pregnant, when it’s the most obvious way to identify you. Isn’t that weird?”

Weird? I’m going with flattering. Because it means that regardless of how much I have physically changed in the past year—due to two rounds of IVF medications, followed by months of progesterone suppositories and progesterone-oil injections; emotional eating because I lost one of the twins I was carrying; pregnancy weight gain; and the loss of muscle tone associated with bed rest—my husband still sees ME, inside of this increasingly alien body.

I measured my waist tonight, and, at belly button level, it’s expanded to 47 inches. But my husband doesn’t always notice it, because when he looks at me, he still sees ME.

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