well, i do what i can to pretend like the later stages of pregnancy and labor are not lingering not too far off in the foreseeable future. what’s this big round thing? i ate too many slices of pizza. maybe it’s a tumor. yes, a tumor that moves. what’s so weird about that? all that baby stuff? must be for someone else’s baby. yes, someone other than me is going to get really uncomfortably pregnant soon and then have to give birth. shudder. my prenatal appointments have, up to this point, been four weeks apart. long enough to not think too much about them in between visits. coming up in march, though, i start going biweekly. that’s an unpleasant wake up call. to what? exactly. like i said, i do what i can to avoid thinking about it. this usually means living more than usual in the present. it has actually helped me to enjoy this winter in a way i usually don’t get the opportunity to do. however, there are some things i can’t put off forever. like hospital tours, birth and breast feeding classes (you wouldn’t think i’d need this, but i’ve totally forgotten what it is to breast feed a newborn. also, the last time i took a childbirth class, it was downtown and i was in with all of the teen moms snacking on cheetos, the main topic of conversation was pain relief. don’t get me wrong, an important topic, to be sure). and prenatal yoga.
i took some yoga, as some of you may remember, back in the fall, during the early stages of my pregnancy, but it was yoga for regular people. now i’m not so regular. i’m much more awkward and off balance. now, if any of you live in the metro detroit area, i know you’ll believe me when i say that it was nearly impossible to find a place anywhere nearby that offers prenatal yoga. i love my city and my region, but we’re not what you’d call “super hip”. i mean, i think there is one tai restaurant somewhere along telegraph and we have a panera cares. that’s about as down as we get. anyways, i finally found a place downriver that offers it on saturday mornings. perfect.
i left greg and ruth and drove on down, knowing full well that when ruth woke up and found i was gone, she was not going to be happy. i felt bad for greg, but tried to put the thought out of my mind. this is about me and joel, i thought, and tried to enjoy the ride. the place was small, but brightly painted and smelled of incense. when i got inside, the receptionist asked if i would like to make a donation. i guess each class is donation based, which is awesome, but leaves too much room for feeling like a cheap ass. i wanted to only give five, but all i had was a ten, and i felt like a loser to ask for change, so i let go the bill and used the restroom, which, as a pregnant woman, i do upon first arriving anywhere and right before i leave, and usually at least once more sometime during my stay (the amount of water and toilet paper i waste being pregnant is a hidden cost).
the room was dim and there were a bunch of contraptions set up that looked like torture devices. must be for a different class, i hoped. i lay my mat down next to another lady sitting peacefully. “is this the prenatal yoga class?” i asked. she nodded. she was twelve weeks along, she said. an early stager, i thought to myself. she’s getting a jump on it. the one other lady was an elderly woman who was not pregnant, but talked at length about her grandkids.
as the teacher walked in, we began some slow stretches and exercises, a few postures, nothing too strenuous, all with the help of padding and props. opening the hips up is a big focus. ’cause we all know what’s comin’ on down through those. i asked joel silently to be born a couple weeks early and to be like six and a half pounds. i dunno if he was listening. he seems pretty preoccupied in there usually with his own postures and stretches. i dunno why, but it seems like everyone’s babies get progressively bigger the more babies they have. so, i guess it’s good that ruth started out 7 lbs. 2 oz. we could go up a couple ounces from there, i guess. a couple, joel, you hear me?
i’m always looking to have silent moments to really think about and focus on joel, which are usually few and far between, but i found myself having one in that room. i started to look up at the water stained ceiling tiles, the bulging places here and there, and smelling the faint unmistakable odor of mold and mildew in the air, and i decided that i didn’t really know this place’s story, but i liked it. the walls were painted a sort of moss green, perhaps to cover up the actual presence of mold, i dunno. the floor squeaked and was put together shoddily, which further endeared the room to me. someone painted some tropical murals on the walls, trying to make us feel like we had transcended michigan’s winter into some paradise, no doubt. it sort of worked. a little. my thoughts didn’t really take on a concrete quality, but i just felt myself focused on joel in there floating around, and i felt very special to be carrying him, which is nice when a lot of the time, the last thing you feel when new stretch marks start appearing daily and none of your clothes fit is “special”. cumbersome would be a better word. but in that room, for a moment, i felt special, and i just enjoyed the awareness of joel in my belly, growing, so full of potential.
the class ended and i drove home, walked in the door to find greg in a sort of sour mood and ruth ecstatic to see me. “did she cry?” i asked. he nodded. back to reality, i thought. and to living very much in the moment and avoiding, as i have become so good at, thoughts of spring, and any time past march.