Kick me baby, one more time

My coworker Stephanie was one of the first people I told I was pregnant. We were in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the midst of a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow. We were eating Chinese takeout and getting ready for an intense schedule of training for our new jobs. We’d just met.

“Can you keep a secret?”

No one else at work knew at that point, and I couldn’t bear to go another week and a half with my news kept entirely under wrap. I needed someone to empathize with me when morning sickness made me almost faint and when I was simply too tired to go to a Friday night party.

Since then, Stef and I have worked together closely, at first being one of two employees tucked into a back room of a school district office while our start-up installed cubes and phones in our permanent address, so she’s had a front-row seat to the ups and downs of my pregnancy.

As she’s said to me, with more than a hint of sarcasm, “You’re really selling this whole pregnancy thing.”

There’s plenty we don’t typically hear about growing a baby: Backne. Third trimester nausea. Inexplicable 4am wake-up calls. Fingernails that grow really, really fast. No wonder she’s grown more skeptical of the whole pregnancy thing.

But of course this isn’t a 40-week reason to complain–at least not exclusively. There are plenty of upsides, too.

Another bonus to being pregnant: People, like Stef, make you cupcakes!
Another bonus to being pregnant: People, like Stef, make you cupcakes!

My absolute favorite part about being pregnant is feeling Peeper move inside me.

The first time I felt it, I thought it was gas. (Seriously. Pregnancy is glamorous, what can I say?) The next night I sat on the couch and felt it again. I was about 17 weeks pregnant, and it felt like an eye twitch, except in my belly. It was a tiny tickle, Peeper’s way of saying hello.

Since then, of course, Peeper has gotten bigger and stronger, as have his or her movements. The common exclamation “Baby’s going to be a soccer player!” seemed inadequate to describe the baby’s kicks, jabs and twists, so I thought of other sports Peeper might be practicing: Judo. Synchronized swimming. Tai chi. Gymnastics. Cage fighting.

Only recently has Peeper gotten those tiny feet lodged under my ribcage–a benefit of having a long torso, I suppose. Even when the practice moves are painful, though, I can’t help but rest my hand on the action to feel Peeper move from the inside and outside. So I end up with the classic preggers pose–one hand on the belly–while waiting in line at the grocery store, driving home from work and talking to friends in the park.

In these last weeks (or days?!), as I grow more impatient to meet Peeper, friends have encouraged me to enjoy myself. The part of me that’s hot and sore and uncomfortable and huge and antsy rolls its eyes, but the more reasonable, less pregnant part knows they’re right. I’ll do my best to enjoy these last Peeper kicks and back flips and wiggles while they last–even the ones that find their mark under my ribs.

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