16 Weeks.

Thursday morning was the first time I put on a pair of jeans and thought, “Oh God, no.” I thought that overnight, I’d totally outgrown all of my normal person clothing. Luckily, Thursday morning was just a particularly giant day, and I am still happily shoving myself into pre-pregnancy pants four days later. I have the incredible good fortune of owning a ton of baggy sweaters (for once in my life, I can thank the Gap for only selling shapeless sacks), and these are definitely helping keep me in my old clothes. If anyone was able to take a close look at what was happening at my waistband, I would probably never leave my house.

I think last year, I mentioned that I was venturing into Total Mess territory before my trip home in September, because I was too cheap to buy new clothes right before I went to back to the US, where everything costs half as much money. I am currently battling this same desire to spend as little money as possible. I have this delusion that if I can just make it five more weeks, I can buy a whole new maternity wardrobe in California for the price of one pair of maternity leggings here. In the meantime, I am just going to charge ahead, wearing various increasingly uncomfortable skinny jeans with oversize pillowcases as tops.

On a related, but even more embarrassing, note, I’ve started the requisite collection of belly photos. I’ve been taking photos occasionally and sending them to Fertile Myrtle, who is the only person in the world who cares (so therefore I am inspired to share them on the internet). I made the artistic decision to expose my belly in these photos, mostly because I would like to remember what my skin looked like when it wasn’t covered in stretch marks.

I would like to state for the record that I have very mixed feelings about bare belly pictures. On one hand, I find them a bit weird and invasive on social media. Like, does everyone I know need to see what my fat, bloated midsection looks like? On the other, I have an obsession with keeping track of things, which was basically the point of this blog in the first place, so they are happening and I am posting them (but only here. Sorry, high school acquaintance. You’ll have to get your disembodied torso photos from someone else.).

photo 1That week 6 photo was taken in my Birmingham hotel room the night I discovered I was pregnant. I had no ass. The week 14 picture was taken the day I crossed over into the second trimester, when I felt particularly enormous. I had no ass then either.

photo 2I took the week 16 photo right before I put the pair of jeans on that made me instantly nervous. I was admittedly totally pushing my stomach out and showing off in this photo. When it’s not insanely uncomfortable, it’s totally amazing to be what is essentially the most bloated you’ve ever been and to just be able to own it. I AM HUGE AND IT IS IMPORTANT. LOOK AT THESE PICTURES OF IT ALL. As ever, I still had no ass.

Most of the time, during the day, I hover right around that 14 week size. At night, after I’ve eaten and once my body is officially done with the day, I can look upwards of 1,000 years pregnant. So basically, my pregnancy experience has been a Groundhog’s Day of Thanksgiving Day for weeks. Each morning begins with the expectation that by evening, I will feel disgusting and sick, and that prophecy is fulfilled, every day. It’s exactly Thanksgiving, except with a little less pie.

I’ve also starting experiencing round ligament pain, which is effectively the fruitless screaming of the muscles attaching my pelvis to my torso. The other night, while lying in bed, I sneezed and then felt like my guts were exploding from my abdomen. Today, sitting at my desk, walking around, and stretching were all triggers. Basically, having muscles and being awake are both risk factors for shooting pains these days.

Finally, at the risk of sounding really vain, I am attempting not to gain a ton of weight and am therefore trying hard not to eat any differently than I would normally. I’ve read that you only need to increase your daily caloric intake by 300 more calories – in the third trimester. However, the important exception to not changing my eating habits is that I am trying to eat better than I usually do. As a vegetarian, I am eating more green, iron-rich vegetables and 100% more dairy. My appetite has been increasing in the last few weeks, so I’m trying to carry good snacks like cashews and blueberries, so I don’t feel like I’m just pumping my avocado-sized child full of mint chip ice cream and Frosted Flakes. (Full disclosure: I sometimes do that. And also, as I wrote this, I was eating a personal-sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.)

I’m not frightened by the idea of being bigger, because that will happen (hopefully on a small scale) regardless. I’m also obviously not restricting my eating in any way. I’ve never been someone who denied myself food and I’m certainly not doing that, especially now, when I am finally interested in food again after my pitiful Dry Toast December. I’m simply trying to reign in any intense weight gain because it’s not healthy (I’ve had my nose buried in articles about maternal obesity and adverse birth outcomes for weeks), and because I like my clothes and would like to fit into them again at some point.

And also because: stretchmarks.