Saturday, February 07, 2009

Warm and fuzzy squishy

Last night, as I lay waiting for sleep to finally relieve my mind and body from the day's worries and weariness, I felt my belly. I was surprised how soft my skin is there. I gave myself a little pinchy-squeeze and thought about how squishy it is now. I wondered if it would ever be firm again. It has been firm most of my life.

For many years, I exercised and enjoyed having firm muscles in my stomach from that insanity. I don't know if I'll ever have firmness in m stomach like I did then. And that is ok.

When I was pregnant with Sissy, I thought I had never seen a harder stomach. This tummy was rounded and taut in a completely different way than it had ever been before. It was not flat and firm like it used to be, but very full and unbelievably large. There were strange and mysterious bulges that had the distinct feeling of toes trying to poke their way through their hiding place. Rounded, sometimes pointy bumps would glide from one spot to another. The large, roundness was often lop-sided. She clearly preferred lying on one side of my tummy more than the other. Which side she preferred, I forget. And just when it couldn't get any larger and I could no longer see my toes, Sissy was born, and the soft squishiness came.

I tried. to some degree. to exercise and get my tummy firm and flat again. I have to confess that any firmness or degree of flatness was the result of God's pity on me and not my vanity. I wasn't totally committed to the crunches anymore. I'd rather play with Sissy, and they just plain hurt. I tried to devote myself to recovering my flat tummy again. Billy Blanks and his back-in-the-day-of-VHS-tapes Tae Bo kicked my tail. It also kicked The Mighty Hunter's tail one night as I defended Sissy from some threatening strangers in my sleep. He wasn't terribly surprised when we put two and two together about his sore shins and ribs and my bad dream. Early in our marriage, I had elbowed my way through a crowd in my sleep, giving him very sore ribs for days afterward.

A few years later, we decided that it was time to grow our family - and my tummy again. Interestingly, it happened in April, just like with Sissy. Knowing that Sissy was a fairly large first baby, 8.5 lbs, I was prepared for another large baby and the stretched-taut tummy that carried it. I wasn't disappointed.

Sissy was amused with my growth. Everyday, she would "measure" me with a hug. Near the end of the pregnancy, she gave up tryiing to reach around me. I was just too big. When Lucky began to move and wiggle and kick and probe, she would hold her hand on top of the bulges, giggling with delight.

The Mighty Hunter never liked to feel either baby move. He can be quite a wussy. Yet, he would humor me, only to yank his hand away and shiver and shake and make me laugh at his wimpiness. He's the perfect example of how men can be weaker than their wives, yet totally still be dudes.

The day Lucky was born, was hard on my tummy. I was pretty sick: fainting and puking way too much for everyone's nerves. I had the nurses on their toes and my family on the edge of their chairs. The little nurse's aid, training to work on the labor and delivery floor, was sent in to massage my tummy, to help me complete my delivery. I was terribly sore. I had bled a lot and was very weak and not very cooperative with her efforts. She quit, and only one of us was crying - me. I simply couldn't stand to feel anyone touching my tummy at all. Why couldn't they have done this massage thing while I still had the epidural?

When I went back in the hospital a week later for a d&c due to "retained matter" (sorry, gross, I know), I wasn't surprised and knew that the off-the-scale sensitivity of my tummy after delivery had contributed to the situation. My post-partum contractions had intensified after weakening, and I was running a high fever. I was very sick. I have a great OB, who spoke to me from his home and told me to come on in, he'd take care of everything and not to worry and I'd get a really good nap the next morning and would be feeling much better in 48 hours. He was right. Poor thing, though. I had been contracting so much and so feverish, I was unshowered and sticky from sweat and probably very smelly. The Mighty Hunter stayed in my hospital room with Lucky and cried, scared of the dreaded General Anesthesia and its calculable risks of death and the prospect of raising a newborn and a 6 year-old alone. (Yes, he can spread the drama quite heavy sometimes.) It all went well, though, and after leaving recovery and returning to my room for an hour or so, we went home to sleep away the fear and worry.

(Why did I feel compelled to share that?)

So, now, two years later - 2 YEARS LATER! how can that be?? - I feel the squishiness of my tummy and love it. I love that when Lucky is very tired, he will pull my shirt-tail up and gently pinch my squishy belly-button. I love that when I look in the mirror, I look like a woman and not a girl who has never experienced the love and heartbreak and joy and abundance of pride that resulted from my once-firm, then-taut-and-round, now-squishy belly.

It's all good. Soft, squishy good.


triste said...

I love the way you share. It melts my heart (& as you know, that's hard to do)...THANK YOU.

HomeSpun Threads said...

I'm right there with you...I wouldn't trade a firmer body for any of my babies. They are SO worth every awful moment of childbirth and there after.

Super B's Mom said...

Thank the Lord for wonderful, squishy, fun-lovin' mamas. :)

Kaye said...

What a great perspective! I need some of that!

Don Mills Diva said...

Wonderful post - I wish al women felt this way!