Saving the Universe While Waiting for the Baby

The cat says we shouldn’t trust this guy.

I’m 9 1/2 months pregnant and have spent the past week rocking in front of the fire with a fluffy black kitten on my lap, eating rice krispie treats and playing the Mass Effect series. This is probably as good as I can possibly feel right now…

I’ve heard of women who work right up to the day of delivery and have to say, my hat’s off to you. Standing longer than ten minutes feels like getting shanked in the lower spine, so I have no idea how women manage to stay productive this late in the game.

I have tried… oh, how I have tried. Immediately after first seeing the double line on the pregnancy test, I took a three hour walk just to digest the shocking development. I continued walking regularly, month after month, in an attempt to stay flexible and in reasonable shape. But those walks kept getting shorter as every part of my body blew up and became more painful. I started spontaneously falling asleep in random places and finally reached a point where I couldn’t grab my own feet. In these final days, all I can do is read (nothing too heavy) and save our beloved universe from alien invasion. In other words, I’m sitting on my butt playing video games.

I like to pretend that I’m saving the universe while massively pregnant, just because that’s extra badass, with the help of my furry black cat. She likes to sit on my massive belly and purr, like a vibrating heating pad. They say babies can hear what’s happening outside the womb, so I wonder if my daughter will find cats’ purrs intensely comforting someday.

Meanwhile, our other cat likes to sit right in front of the the television, apparently pretending he’s part of the action. I’m too tired and achy to move him, so my inner dialogue runs something like this: “Cerberus has infiltrated this research lab, and our team needs to save the critical intel before they get a hold of it. Ahh! An operative steps out to the left–find cover! Get the sniper rifle! Aim… steady… and then a GIANT GRAY STRIPED CAT WALKS ACROSS THE WORLD.”

I’m partly playing games in order to take my mind of my paralyzing fear of childbirth. At some point, as a little girl, I learned that women have babies and that this process is not only excruciatingly painful, but can last over twenty hours. I don’t think I’ve EVER done anything for twenty hours except breathe. Whenever women in movies have babies, they thrash and scream like they are being tortured, and I would try to imagine this agony going on and on and on and on… I started having recurrent nightmares in which I somehow got pregnant without knowing it (sometimes I sat on a toilet seat or generally in the wrong place) and was about to go into labor.

Oh, they say it’s beautiful, wonderful, amazing… I know the deal. I’ve seen the photos.

As an adult, my fear hardly lessened. Yes, the thought of having a little baby is heartwarming, but it doesn’t make the thought of 20+ hours of agonizing torture sound appealing. As my belly has been growing and growing, I’ve felt the imminent ordeal bearing down on me, and have had fits of crying panic because there is no way I am getting out of this…

It doesn’t help that when you’re obviously pregnant, random women come out of the woodwork to share horrifying birth stories. If I could just get through one week without some woman telling me all about how she ripped straight from her anus to her va-jay-jay, or how someone’s epidural didn’t work or how someone nearly bled out on the table… Surely there is a better time to share these kinds of stories? Like, after the baby is born and I’m not staring down the barrel of this particular gun?

All I can do is reassure myself that we live in modern times with much better pain management methods and means to cope with birth emergencies. As uncomfortable as I’ve become, I’m almost ready to jump at labor just to get my damn body back and be able to move again… almost.

Another good reason to play video games now is that I don’t know what the rules are going to be once the baby is here. Yes, I’m an adult that knows the difference between real life and make-believe, but is it really good for a small child to watch her mother blow cartoon limbs apart? Maybe I shouldn’t be lobbing virtual grenades within sight of the innocent baby. Maybe virtual gun noises and agonized screams aren’t the best environment for developing children… just sayin’.

These are things you have to suddenly think about when rearing offspring. In short, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to play video games again. Once the sleepless nights of newborn care have died down, that child just becomes more and more aware of its environment. I chuckle to think that someday I may be rushing to get in a violent video game once my child has gone off to bed.

And that child is going to be here any day now…

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