I know what you’re thinking. Third time gestator, editor at a prenatal magazine, short stint in medical school (P.S. I did a short stint in medical school)—Rachel’s totally going to own this pregnancy. The doctors probably have her on speed dial. I bet she already has the nursery fully stocked with every possible item the baby might need, zero nausea (thanks to knowing all the remedies, ever), is maintaining the physique of a runway model, and has (male) (attractive) aides hired specifically to lift anything heavier than a water bottle and feed her nutritionist-approved, pre-peeled organic grapes and almond slivers.
But that’s ridiculous. I would never make anyone peel my grapes—everyone knows that’s where all the vitamins are!
In all seriousness, though, I will admit that I did go into this third pregnancy with a little bit of a swagger. I kind of thought, “Pssshhht—growing a human. DONE IT. I got this.” And so the first day that I felt a little off, I nibbled on crackers (remedy!), smug in my “I don’t get very sick during the first trimester” sureness, and waited serenely for the tiny bout of silliness to move right along.
Pros. Straight up.
Except then one morning I woke up, turned to flip from my right side to my left and suddenly felt like the whole world was a merry go round, and I was not buckled into any safety, carnival-approved harness. I was dizzy like whoa. Closing my eyes did not help. Opening my eyes did not help. Clutching the bed did not help, though it did make me feel much less like I was going to careen off into open space, so I did that. It took a few minutes for the sensation to go away, and afterward I shakily thought, “Well! That was unpleasant! Glad that’s over!” This is how I try to trick my body into thinking things are completely fine when in fact I know in my gut that another quarter had already been inserted into the baby-on-board Tilt-o-whirl.
Sure enough, five minutes later I turned my head over again and wheeeeeeeeeeeee I was back to spinnin’. Still, because I follow the stringent practice of willing myself to do things even when they are kind of stupid, I stood up. I did a few morning-type tasks like getting the kids breakfast and throwing on some less pajama-like clothing, and then settled myself down on the couch with the computer to do some work. It took only an hour before I realized I had slid almost to horizontal on the couch and was peering at the screen with one eye squinted open a slit. But I convinced myself that it was only a temporary moment of funkiness and that I would be just fine in a minute, right after I went to the bathroom and stretched and maybe also just threw up a little tiny bit. I have problems.
It was kind of like this, only waaaaaay (way) less fun.
So I did what any self-respecting pregnancy expert/editor/pro would do. I Googled. Turns out that in the earlier weeks of pregnancy you get this nice internal bath of hormones that make you 1. go crazy 2. cry at all the commercials 3. want to urp when thinking of your most favorite food of all time (et tu, burritos?) and 4.(bingo!) relax your blood vessels in preparation for the 40 to 50 percent increase in blood volume that happens during your nine-plus months of pregnancy. Only the relaxing happens before the increasing, which can equal Dizzy City. That’s science! And sometimes, science sucks.
This whole episode has me feeling less like the valedictorian of pregnancy and a little more middle of the class. Or more accurately, I’m remembering that every pregnancy can (literally) rock your world in a completely different way. My pregnancy with Rosie wasn’t exactly like my pregnancy with Noah. (For one thing, he was 11 days early, and she was five days late. But that’s a whole other story.)
Me, 4,875 weeks pregnant with Rosie, eclipsing the sun.
And frankly, I’m not exactly a spring chicken like I was when I was a spry 26-year-old first-timer. I have two other children whose needs and energy fill my time, a full-time job, and bones and muscles that have a few more miles on them than before. It's just gonna happen it's own way, this third go-around. And there's not really anything Ican do to prepare for that, except maybe to beef up my water-hefting, grape-peeling personal assistant staff.
So I guess I’ll ratchet back my swagger a tad. But only just a tad. Because I gotta be honest, I have a competitive streak, and I'm still gunning for that salutatorian spot.