As the belly broadens, so does the complaining. She’s itchy. She’s tired. She’s hungry. She’s sick. She’s all of the above, or some combination thereof. I’m trying my best to empathize with every single complaint, but it’s hard when they’re coming one on top of the other. I was working on my laptop last night when Sarah started mumbling something about how these hiccups were driving her crazy.
I didn’t see why it was such a big deal. “You’ve got the hiccups?”
“No,” she said firmly. “Babu has the hiccups.”
“What does it feel like?”
“It’s just like having the hiccups, only it’s not in my lungs. It’s in my stomach.”
“Well, then, how do you stop it? Pour water in your belly button?”
“I can’t stop it. It just stops when it stops.”
“How long has this been going on?”
I went back to my laptop. “Let me know when it’s over.”
The hiccups are small-time, compared to the newest ailment in the Continuing Pregnancy Freakshow: constipation.
Sarah has grown tired of drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, and, as a result, she’s pretty far from regular. This is a common problem for pregnant women. You’re not interested, but: the pressure of her uterus on the rectum decelerates the movement of food through her digestive tract. The usual solutions could help—fiber, prune juice, and over-the-counter laxatives—but so far Sarah hasn’t gone for any of it. I moved to plan B: placing the best reading material around the toilet.
At some point during the pregnancy, every woman discovers the joys of eBay. This can be alarming. If you click on “baby” on eBay, you’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 62,000 items to choose from. Ebay is addictive enough when you’re not pregnant; now that her brain is fuzzy and there are infinite numbers of baby-related things out there just waiting to be purchased, it’s downright dangerous.
Every time I get the mail there’s some big package from Paducah or Flagstaff or Hartford containing some baby bling-bling. (So much for avoiding mass consumerism.) Now Sarah is buying things I didn’t even know existed. I was watching TV the other day when she came in and opened up something from Boca Raton called “My Breast Friend,” a large foam breastfeeding pillow for which she’d paid 9 bucks (retail $35.99).
Worse, she’s using my e-mail address to buy things. Every time I log on, I have a notification from PayPal that I’ve spent $21.99 on something called a Pottery Barn Kids Billowy Clouds Crib Bumper & Sheets. I would have put a stop to this a long time ago if she wasn’t simultaneously showing some amazing brainpower. Just when I think her cerebellum has folded up shop and gone home, she shows glimpses of the steel-trap memory had before all this started. One rainy morning as I was getting out of the shower, she called me from work.
“It’s raining pretty hard out there,” she said.
“Yeah, I saw that.”
“Well, I just wanted to tell you not to forget the umbrella.”
We have an umbrella?
“Thanks. That’s really nice of you. Where is it?”
“In the kitchen, on the radiator, behind the boxes of pasta. Next to the dustbuster.”
We have a dustbuster?
Sure enough, when I’m about to walk out the door 15 minutes later and it’s still raining like a mother, I head over to the radiator—an area I haven’t paid attention to since we moved in two years ago. There, waiting for me, is an umbrella. And a dustbuster.