I am more than 31 weeks pregnant with twins.
People like to talk about this because it's hard to ignore. I have a bowling ball protruding from my core that steers conversation in her giant direction. My breathing is labored and sometimes my heartburn transforms me into a fire-breathing dragon. My skin is running out of stretch. My belly button is flat and bruised. Sometimes I wear slippers out of the house in the morning since I can't see my feet…and then the texture on the sidewalk reminds me to turn around and wrestle on some boots instead.
They each measure the size of a pineapple and weigh a little over three pounds. Baby A sits on my bladder and Baby B lives up in my rib cage. Sometimes I can see elbows and knees popping out on completely opposite sides of my body - feet apart! - in the same moment.
Usually someone is awake in there and they're both strong enough to jab me from deep sleep into restless wakefulness. I can feel them wrestling with each other, even though they have their own sacks and space. They poke and prod at the thin membrane that divides "my side" from "your side". Perhaps they already know one another better than I know them.
I have done a poor job keeping notes and taking pictures of my growing bump for their baby books. But this week I finally have words for how they are changing me. This week I look in the mirror and I see a thick tree. There is something beautiful about pregnant women who get a little thicker during gestation. We are hydrated and strong and durable. Our hips and thighs morph to handle the great change at our center. There is grace and balance beyond the waddle and grunts.
I get up several times each night to stretch and use the bathroom and walk around a bit. The house is quiet while I roam and breath deeply. The house is dark while I feel their kicks and wiggles beneath my skin. I am easily overwhelmed by my size and lack of energy during the day, but in these still hours of solitude - just the three of us - I feel vibrant and calm.
People say all kinds of annoying and intrusive things when you're putting on a pound or two every week. But people also say lovely and supportive and terribly funny things, like, "There's literally a party in your pants" or, "When I saw you in your alb this morning I thought, 'Hey, Meta. The Metrodome needs it's roof back.'" There's nothing better than when Matt cracks a good one about my size and then offers up a foot rub to affirm this good work of being like a tree.
I have been working from home more often and saying NO with greater ease. I am living in the unknown spaces of Advent. I do not know when maternity leave will begin or what I'll be able to finish at work before they arrive. I do not know when they will plan their escape or if they'll be able to come home with us right away. And so I wait. I long. I grow and stretch and agree to be changed.
I don't know much about these girls yet, but I do know that they are making me stronger and slower. I am already more vulnerable and grateful than I was last Christmas. I am thicker and softer and rooted in the beginning of a fascinating relationship with two people who live inside me.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to pop some Tums and stretch until Baby B's dance party powers down.