A skype date at 37 weeks pregnant

“How are you?” Mike asked me last night via skype.

“I’m grumpy,” I said.

“Why are you grumpy?” Mike said.

“I don’t know. Why are you in Laos?” I said.

Mike stops to puzzle this over for a few seconds, then decides not to engage on that front.

“Well, tell me about today,” he said.

“I talked to Jenn and Robin by skype. I lay down for a while. I read. I went to the chiropractor. I made an apple and rhubarb crumble. We had pizza for dinner. We watched TV,” I said, outlining a day most people might consider nearly perfect in its restfulness.

The problem, as I went on to explain to Mike, was that it was the third nearly perfectly restful day I’d had in a row and I was starting to get restless. It’s the first time in a year I haven’t had either consulting work or the memoir to occupy me during the day. I’m grateful for this extra mental space, but it’s making the days long. I’m at that stage where I can’t spend more than a couple of hours out and about without returning exhausted. My feet, after weeks of doing so well in the cold weather here, are swollen. Whoever the doctor was who claimed Braxton Hicks contractions are painless must have been an unmarried man. My back hurts, and I’ve even been banned from walking 2km in one go and doing all but the most gentle of yoga poses.

“The baby could come any moment,” I finished. “Or it could be five more weeks. And I hate these in-between stages.”

Mike listened to this litany of woes and, thankfully, didn’t remind me that many women manage to soldier through pregnancy while also caring for other children, or working full time, or alone, or while fleeing the latest horrible conflict or deadly famine in Africa. I know all of that, and on days like yesterday having someone else dish out some version of the “lots of other people have it worse than you do” perspective check usually doesn’t help in the moment. It just makes me even grumpier, because I end up feeling like a pathetic, complaining weakling on top of everything else.

Instead, Mike asked me how I’d been dealing with the grumps.

“Oh, really productively,” I said. “For example, I skulked about the kitchen while Mum was making dinner and complained that she’d bought the wrong type of pizza bases, that we didn’t have enough pizza sauce or the right type of trays for cooking pizza, that she’d set the temperature wrong on the oven, and that I wanted to fix my half just the way I liked it. I think she wanted to banish me to the living room. Or maybe back to Laos.”

“What’d she do?” Mike asked, possibly looking for tips on how to handle this scenario during those times I know that he wants to ban me from offering commentary in the kitchen while he’s cooking.

“Not much,” I said. “She pretty much patiently ignored me the same way she ignores Dad when he’s being unreasonably grumpy.”

At this point we managed to segue away from my grumpiness and talk for an hour about family dynamics, this article on the Harvard Grant study and happiness, the true meaning of church, and whether, when, and how we should venture opinions when people seem set on doing things that appear way less than wise because they “made a promise to God” or feel that “God told them to.”

You would think that an hour of talking with my distant beloved would have completely shifted my mood. Alas, no. This is how the conversation ended at 10pm.

“I’m going to let you go so that you can take your yawning self to bed,” Mike said.

“I don’t want to go and go to bed,” I whined, somehow instantly transformed back into a petulant five year-old. “I want a cuddle.”

“Well, even if I were there I’m not sure you’d be getting one from me. I might be telling you to go sort yourself out. In bed,” Mike said.

“If you were here I’d bite you,” I said.

“I know.” Mike smiled the smile of someone who was safely out of biting range. “I love you.”

P.S. If you followed that link on the current food crises in Somalia and Kenya and are wondering how to help, here are some more links to World Vision and Oxfam.

P.P.S. Since my parents were mentioned, I ran this past one of them before publishing it. Mum laughed and said maybe Dad should be vetting it instead of her. She suggested that I include the fact that Dad is not often unreasonably grumpy, but I said that such a caveat would spoil the punchiness of the line. Then she suggested I maybe could include the fact that Dad has been massaging my swollen feet for me many nights. I pointed out that, while true, that fact is a narrative tangent irrelevant to this tale. Sorry Dad, maybe next time.

18 responses to “A skype date at 37 weeks pregnant

  1. Lisa, You are simply tooooooo much! XO, Donna

    • Yeah, that’s what my mum wants to say half the time at the moment – though maybe in a different tone of voice than the one I suspect you’d use :). Hope you’re well.

  2. Lisa…your honesty blows me away! Wish I would have known this same freedom to express how I truly felt emotionally while in the last trimester.

  3. Praying the next few weeks pass quickly and the time until Mike arrives goes even faster. I love you Lisa!

    • Thanks Bobbie, so good to see happy snaps of you all plus Michelle and Tahli in the pool recently. And good to know that wonderful porch is being well used by you and Bob.

  4. Braxton Hicks are definatley painful. if you are having back pain now then beware my darling cousin that you are going to be in back labor and outright unmanagable during labor. had it with all four of mine. although i guarentee that once that beautiful new life is placed in yours arms you will forget all the pain and suffering until the teen years when you can delightedly throw it back in it’s face! i wish you well and also mike as he may need medical attention himself after you deliver…ha ha ha. ( i bit my ex-husband during the first birth for making the comment after a particularly nasty contration” now see that wasn’t that bad was it?” he did not need stiches, but had to be cleaned up and bandaged. tell my cousin if he needs any advice on not what to say during labor i will gladly give it to him.

    • Yeah, a couple of people have warned him to keep his hands out of reach, so apparently biting is a real possibility in labour (though, honestly, anyone who is dumb enough to say “see now, that wasn’t so bad, was it” right after a contraction really does deserve to be bitten).

      • Your eldest McKay cousin imparted the following advice on my best-friends husband before they had their first baby: Keep your hands away from her mouth 🙂

        Mental note – don’t bite Jeff next time! And he didn’t even say anything to deserve it!

        • Jeff did write to me about “an incident involving teeth” – and, yes, it sounds like he wasn’t even dumb enough to say “there now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

  5. Dear Lisa,
    I have found your blog, googling your name. I have just read your book (in Dutch) and loved it. The characters and the dynamics in the group are so recognizable. The storyline unique. Will be lending it now to all book-loving girls in our church youth group (I am their leader and librarian, they come every sunday to check my book shelves for new books ;)…

    Looking forward for your next book!

    • Hello Veerle! Thanks for your lovely comment, you made my morning. I’m so glad to know that “Hands” is being read and enjoyed in Dutch and that you’ll be passing it on. I hope you’re having a great week and do come back to visit the blog anytime. Cheers, Lisa

  6. Honestly, I don’t know how women who care for other children, work full time,are alone, or face life-threatening situations, do it. They must have some superwoman power I don’t know about. I can’t imagine how I would have made it through this pregnancy without a lot of help from my dear husband and other friends and relatives. You deserve a certain level of grumpiness 🙂

    • I’m with you on that one (the “how do they do it?”). My mind boggles, it really does. Hope you’re staying well and have lots of lovely people surrounding you.

  7. Hee hee. “The grumps”. That makes me giggle. Which may not be an appropriate response but, as I am also out of biting range, I’m going to go with it. 🙂

  8. Ah Lisa, 37 weeks is a tough time when your husband is the one rubbing your feet! I think your parents sound delightful. (Please tell them that so far, to this reader/stranger, they come across as sympathetic. 😉 You are going to do great, mostly because you don’t really have a choice once this ball is rolling, as you have mentioned in previous posts, but also because your body is ready for this and your mind will quickly catch up! I do hope Mike arrives before the baby. Best wishes to you all!

    • I’ll tell them Rachel, thanks. And, yeah, my body is getting increasingly ready for this. Starting to realize what people mean when they talk about just getting so uncomfortable that you’ll endure anything to have pregnancy end. I couldn’t really fathom that before!

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