Pregnancy as Crappy Air Travel (Extended Metaphor)

To me, being pregnant feels like being stuck on a commercial airline, on an 40-week one-way flight, in coach, in the middle seat, sitting between my partner and a very large person. Damn, this ride is uncomfortable.

For one, there’s that fog of fatigue that set in as soon as the hum of the jet engine started, back in December. No matter how much caffeine I ingest (and I’m only allowed up to 200 mg per day!), every time I lift my head off the headrest, it feels like it weighs 30 pounds. I’ve brought my computer, hopeful to get some work done, but I can barely hold my eyes open. I stow my computer under the seat and berate myself about the to-do list I’ve abandoned.

All I want to do is sleep. The problem is, I can’t for longer than an hour. There’s no leg room. And this fat man to my right is crowding me. I fall asleep in one contorted position until my neck aches and I wake up and have to readjust. I try again and wake up because my butt’s asleep. I lean forward and put my head on the tray table, but after an hour of that, my back is killing me. I’m trapped and growing increasingly cranky.

Also, it doesn’t help that I need to pee every 45 minutes. I have to squeeze past my zaftig neighbor and do the whole bladder-emptying routine so many times that I’m considering just peeing my pants. And when I arrive at the toilet, it turns out to be only about two tablespoons of urine that was making me so uncomfortable.

It’s getting difficult to remember what it was like to enjoy life as I knew it, to run around free in the sunshine, in total control. I hate the feeling of being a passenger, having to play by rules that aren’t mine. On this flight, I am allowed no wine or champagne, no fine cheese or sushi or even deli meat (though I see others around me enjoying all of the above). The flight attendants tell me I can eat as much as I want barring those items, but I don’t want anything. It’s a constant state of yuck in my tummy, like a bad hangover. I’ve opened my barf bag so many times, but I never manage to vomit. I’m starving, but all the options sound disgusting. I only munch on the carbohydrate-laden snacks to settle my poor stomach.

Since I’ve lost all my joy in food and drink and work and activities, since I can’t sleep and I can’t stay awake even long enough to enjoy the in-flight TV, I am losing touch with reality. The recycled air is pumping a certain amount of negativity into my brain, and because of where I sit, I can’t even look out the window to remind myself the sky exists. Luckily, my partner is sitting by the window and is willing to describe to me what he sees from there: a clear sky, a sunset, stars, a moon, pink and purple clouds. But sometimes even his descriptions aren’t enough for me. I want to see it too.

Because of my fragile mental state, I worry about every single bump or patch of turbulence. I sit and fret and ask the people around me if it’s going to be okay, if I’m still going to get there, and some tell me it’s fine. Others try to scare me.

All I have to keep me going is the promise of the destination. My groom-to-be and I are going to live here forever. Where are we headed anyway? Well, I don’t even know its name. All I know is that people who have been there tell me it’s the most rewarding place to live. Which is weird, because the brochures I’ve seen show mostly bleak areas. I realize this is an insane decision to have made, to commit to someplace sight-unseen, and I’m scared, but also excited…because why else would so many people never want to come back?

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I Shall Overcome

Dear First Trimester,

Today marked the start of a new week and a new philosophy for me. It’s taken me two months, but I’ve decided I am done playing victim to your terrorism. You can try all you want to destroy me, but it ain’t gonna work anymore. Because I have armed myself with the tools to combat whatever you’ve got to throw at me.

You tried today. You hit me with the nausea first thing, but I ignored you and ate an egg and some toast. And no, I didn’t scramble the fucking egg like some overzealous American pregnancy books said to. I ate it RUNNY! You know why? ‘Cause I like it that way. And yeah, you tried to punish me, bringing the nausea back around on multiple occasions, before lunch, after lunch, in the evening. It’s so clever how you’ve never actually made me vomit, you passive-aggressive minx. You keep the nausea at such a low level that I swear sometimes it could be in my head, but something in my body feels so unsettled and nasty, like a fading hangover, that if I don’t eat some sort of carbohydrate every two hours, I fear death. runny-egg-yolks

But it’s my mind that is strong. You can do me dirty all day, First Trimester, because the only bad things that can truly happen to me are my own thoughts. So starting this week, I choose to think something new. I choose to fill my days with productive plans. (Yeah, I even bought a new planner!) And these plans are going to be things I enjoy, things that enrich me, things that connect me to others. So far, I’ve scheduled some volunteering, lunch with a friend, some pregilates (that’s pregnant pilates), and a date with my man. I also found some new opportunities for work.

I dare you try to foil my plans like you did with that headache when I was seeing a movie with my friend this evening! Because I have H20 and I’m not afraid to drink it! And remember when you hit me so bad with fatigue midday that I couldn’t stand up straight? You had claimed victory when I skipped yoga to take a nap, but guess what? I did my own yoga session when I woke up. Not only that, but I also got to cuddle with my hot man, who took a nap with me!

I’ll admit, you went hard. You took control of my mind and body to an extent that PMS had never been able to achieve, and I know she’s and you are business rivals, so good on ya. I spent stretches of time so depressed that I hardly recognized myself. But I’ve had it with that. I am back from the dead like Michael Myers.
And guess what, First Trimester? You are about to be history. You have one more week before there’s a new sheriff in town, and I hear Second Trimester is much fairer and less dramatic. I sincerely hope it’s a few years before we meet again.

Sincerely,
Crazy Pregnant Lady