The Art of Scaring People and the Nine-and-a-Half-Months Pregnant Woman

February 8, 2012 § 10 Comments

As my pregnancy goes on and on, I have become quite adept at scaring the crap out of people.

Scenario One: Waddling through the Grocery Store
On February 3, Robert and I found ourselves hungry and in need of food. He hadn’t slept more than three hours the night before, and I was having a sudden burst of energy, so I volunteered to dash down to the store to grab some foodstuffs. Bringing my goodies to the cash register, I caught the attention of four teenaged employees. Three girls and one boy stared at my burgeoning belly as it swelled through my shirt. “Do you know what you’re having?” one girl ventured shyly. I smiled and told her we were having a girl. “When are you due?” another girl asked. “In ten days,” I said cheerfully. The boy turned gray. “What if you go into labor right now??” he demanded. I laughed. The girls laughed. “Then you’ll have to deliver the baby!” snorted the cashier. His eyes bulged out of their sockets. “No, seriously. What happens if your water breaks right here??” I laughed and said, “Then we call my husband, I go sit on that bench over there, and one of you gets a mop.” He didn’t look convinced. He had the terrified look of a teenager who believes the movies: when a woman’s water breaks, the baby pops out. Ah, if only it were that easy! If he ever decides to reproduce, he’ll learn the truth that membranes breaking doesn’t always mean an immediate delivery. I walked out of the store with a big grin on my face, fully confident that my waters wouldn’t break. They didn’t.

Scenario Two: Relaxing with a Mani/Pedi
On February 5, my sister and I went out for a girl’s day, complete with a mani/pedi! It was heavenly, simply divine. I nearly fell asleep in the pedicurist’s chair while he massaged my feet and legs. All women within ten days of their due dates should get a pedicure, plain and simple. Of course, as soon as the employees discovered that my due date was, well, pressing, they started looking at me differently. All of a sudden, chairs were pulled out of the way for me and held in place as I sat down. They asked me over and over if I was okay and if I needed anything. As we were leaving my sister could only point out that, “when you’re eight days away from your due date, people just look at you like you’re a ticking time bomb!” Truer words have never been spoken.

You see, the beauty of being so close to your due date is that the fear and anxiety you instill in those around you comes with absolutely no effort at all. Others seem to be hard-wired, somewhere deep down in that common human DNA we all share, to cast a wary glance at a particularly pregnant woman. They watch her closely, as if ready to pounce into action the first moment she cringes or leans against a wall. On the one hand, I appreciate the humanness of those looks. They themselves may not even be conscious that they’re doing it, but I see them. On the other hand, sometimes the stares can feel, well, a bit invasive. I may be close to my due date, but I’m not past my due date. (Of course, there’s no way for the general observer to know that without asking.) There’s a small amount of forgiveness I must (and do, happily) extend to my attentive onlookers. They mean well. And if I really were to suddenly go into labor while running errands, at least I know that I’m not on my own island.

Even if I do feel like a human island.

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§ 10 Responses to The Art of Scaring People and the Nine-and-a-Half-Months Pregnant Woman

  • I know I’m really ignorant about these things, but if you are 9 and a half months pregnant, that doesn’t put you past your due date?

    Can’t wait to hear the sweet girl has arrived!


    • Mrs. H. says:

      No worries Kathy! I was ignorant, too, until I got pregnant. Turns out that a woman’s due date is determined on the 40th week…which makes pregnancy a 10 month process and not a 9 month one! We’ve been lied to all along! 😉 (Actually, though, the fetus is technically two weeks “younger” than the pregnancy…so a woman who is, like me, 39 weeks pregnant, is actually pregnant with a 37-week fetus. It has to do with a two-week window of error for conception and implantation of the fertilized egg.) Now, if I go into week 41 or 42, then I am definitely way past my due date and we’d be talking about induction or a C-section. Here’s hoping she comes right on time!

      Her due date is the 13th (next Monday), but I’m secretly hoping for a Valentine’s Day baby. 🙂 I’ve never much liked the holiday myself, so it’d be nice to have a really beautiful reason to celebrate Feb. 14th. 🙂

  • vdubimhaus says:

    Kathryn, I remember thinking the same thing when I took sex ed in school! I couldn’t figure out why women, who were “supposed to be” pregnant for 9 months, would have their babies at 9 1/2 months. But 9 1/2 months is not past your due date because a pregnancy lasts for 9 FULL months (or 40 weeks). Anything beyond those 40 weeks is considered being past your due date. And having been through a pregnancy just last year, anything beyond week 36 is very uncomfortable (I made it to 38 and had my labor induced)! I can’t imagine going past 40. I hope Amanda won’t have to go beyond 40, either!
    V. Dub

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Haha, thanks Vik! I hope I don’t go past 40 either! I’d probably not be a very nice person by that point. Of course…40 is Monday…so…here’s hoping for Monday night with a birthday on Tuesday! 😉

  • I am still hoping for a February 15th delivery as that is my Sarah’s birthday, but if you want the 14th I can settle for that. 😉 This post brought so many flashbacks to me, all good ones. The best was that I didn’t really waddle until the 14th when my students looked at me and said, you really look pregnant today! I was in labor that night (a week early)

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Hehe, I have so many friends and family who have February birthdays, and they’re all hoping to share theirs with Melanie. It’s really sweet! 🙂 Except for those folks who have birthdays at the end of February. I give them a fairly sour look when they tell me they hope she has their birthday. Hehehe.

  • Tina says:

    I worked the week past my due date, and my boss practically walked behind me the entire time with his hands out to ‘catch’ Josh…just in case!!
    I went into active labor – at Cracker Barrel : ) But I don’t think any of the employees knew. I actually texted Jonathan the information so we could politely excuse ourselves from our guests.
    It is entertaining seeing looks on people’s face as the estimated due date draws near. Just wait if you get to experience life after you “due” date!!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Haha, Tina that’s funny! I didn’t want to experience life after the “due” date, but I’ve officially made it to the day after, lol. We’ll see how long this will go on!

  • Tori Nelson says:

    Oh God! I read a book about elephants being pregnant for 24 months. I remember those last few days, worrying that I might be part elephant and this might just be the one bun that stays in the oven until he’s 18. We actually went shopping when I was in labor. The pain wasn’t that bad and I knew I’d be stuck in the hospital forever if we went early, so we shopped. I remember that look of horror when a sales girl asked when I was due and I calmly answered, “Oh, I’m in labor right now. Sooo, give or take a couple hours?”

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Dude…I am so with you with that elephantine feeling. I mentioned it to Robert the night before my due date, and he just shook his head at me. But it’s true! What if she decides to hang out for another couple of years?? Lol.

      I’m kind of tempted to go shopping while I’m in labor…it seems if your water hasn’t broken yet, it’s a great way to keep labor going and to alleviate stress. Not to mention that it keeps you out of the hospital for just a little bit longer. Wonder how Robert would feel about that. 😉

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