Practically everyone, I’m sure, has heard of Kelly Bottom, the 32-year-old Harrodsburg, Kentucky woman who last month gave birth in her home not knowing she was pregnant. I repeat: NOT KNOWING SHE WAS PREGNANT. For the life of me, I cannot imagine her surprise. Nor can I wrap my mind around the absurdity of such a notion. Translation: I am incapable of envisioning any living creature—save a house plant—claiming to be genuinely unaware of the presence of a 19-inch, 6-pound 15-ounce writhing entity wedged anywhere within. Truly, how does one miss that kind of memo?
Admittedly, I have frequented the Land of Oblivion on numerous occasions, but apparently this woman receives her mail there. Looking back on both of my pregnancies and considering the great multitude of words I could choose to describe them, I’d have to say they were memorable if nothing else. Granted, my most recent one—having resulted in twins with a combined weight of nearly 10 pounds—was perhaps BEYOND MEMORABLE; however I very seriously doubt I could ever fail to notice I was expecting.
More specifically, from Day One every fiber of my being felt pregnant. From my nose to my toes, from my fickle mood to my muddled thoughts, something was decidedly different. Maybe it was my voracious appetite and the fact that I made impossible demands of my husband—for black raspberry milkshakes and filet mignon mostly. In addition, I devoured cottage cheese by the tubful and drove the poor man to distraction with my incessant (and sometimes hostile) pleas for the curdy wonder. “Pull the van over NOW!” I once insisted in a sleepy little town that thankfully had a mom and pop grocery store, wedged amid a cluster of row homes. “GET ME SOME COTTAGE CHEESE BEFORE I DIE!” I ordered. The weirdish cravings alone (and especially when they were coupled with bouts of belligerence) would have served as a little red flag regarding the very real possibility of pregnancy, methinks.
Another obvious sign had to have been my intolerably acute sense of smell which caused me to retch if I happened to breeze by anyone who had given up deodorant for Lent (read: pretty much anything off the Putrid Scale made me retch). Moreover, my body was a raging inferno day and night—even in the dead of winter. Furthermore, I spent an inordinate amount of time and energy dwelling on this fact, not to mention my aching feet, breasts and back—wishing like crazy said horribleness would leave me and instead torment some other wretched soul on the planet. Worse yet, I couldn’t sleep comfortably no matter how many pillows I jammed beneath my ever-expanding belly—the unwieldy mass of flesh I clutched and cradled with every toss and turn as if it were some sort of monstrous growth, separate from myself, that I had to hoist with my hands in order to move anywhere. Perhaps this was an even MORE apparent sign of impending parenthood.
Indeed, in the nothing-will-fit-me-but-a-circus-tent stage of my pregnancy, my enormity became difficult to ignore. It was as if I had swallowed the Dominican Republic whole, but only because the panhandle of Texas was unavailable. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t tie my own shoes nor could I see my feet, which I found profoundly disturbing and yet, strangely amusing. Then I happened upon the day (which will forever live in infamy) during which I couldn’t fasten my seatbelt had I been convinced that the fate of the entire world hinged upon my success. My belly was simply too large. As I recall, it was a moot point because I couldn’t reach the pedals anyway, having been forced to move the seat back in order to stuff my sorry self between the seat and the steering wheel. At that juncture in time, driving became something I used to do. Yet another sign, I’d surmise.
Apparently I wasn’t the only individual who took note of my newly adopted Behemoth-like qualities. It’s rumored there was a twisted little pool at work in which people bought chances on my final weigh-in, although I suspect that guessing my girth would have been more of a challenge. At any rate, it’s likely the pool-at-work thing would have led me to question thoughts I might have previously dismissed about unexplained weight gain and/or a sudden proclivity toward rotundness. Or at least I would hope so.
Another not-so-subtle indicator, for me anyway, would have been the impossible-to-ignore, round-the-clock, profusion of activity taking place within the swell of my belly. That said, waves of movement were evident throughout the latter part of my pregnancy, ranging from tiny flutters here and there to giant undulations rippling across my entire midsection. More specifically, when Thing One or Thing Two shifted position, it was as if the earth had moved. Of course, it was insanely fascinating to watch, too, and I recall parking myself on the couch so that the peanut gallery that had gathered could witness my freakish sideshow firsthand. Elbows distinctly flashed, as did knees and a flurry of tiny feet. “Kewl,” my oldest daughter mouthed again and again, struck by the wondrous stirrings within.
All things considered, I still struggle mightily with the Kentucky woman’s pregnancy-related oblivion. Translation: I’m beyond skeptical and fast approaching contemptuous.
A bit envious, too. There, I said it.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live (remembering well the days of being as big as a house).
Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel