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January 19, 2011 - "Yay for babies."

That's what my mom says if I complain about pregnancy symptoms and side effects. Yes, pregnancy is nothing short of a miracle, but know what else is a miracle? Women are actually willing to go through it more than once.

Forgive my cynicism, but I've been pregnant for 34 weeks, so I feel I have some authority to grumble. Not only am I ready to be done with pregnancy discomforts, but I want to meet the boy who's been baking in there so badly I could burst. Indeed, yay for babies. Not, yay for pregnancy.

Before I got pregnant, I was in love with those beach ball bellies and women walking around with their hands on their middles like they were communing with the little people inside, Kurt Vonnegut a la "Cat's Cradle" style.

Now, having one of those beach balls of my own, the love turned into something more like awe and respect. Pregnancy does crazy things to your body that no one warns you about! Not all of the symptoms are bad. Some are weird and some are just plain cool, like feeling the baby roll around in there.

I imagined symptoms were limited to a few days of morning sickness, heartburn, back ache and a little water retention. Was I ever wrong.

Did you know your belly button could hurt? I didn't, but it sure can. The stretching around week 20 made my belly button feel as if something were poking it with pins from the inside. And did you know that you could develop restless leg syndrome? As if falling asleep isn't hard enough with a bowling ball strapped to your middle. Then there's morning sickness. The term is a joke. I had it 24 hours a day for five months and some women have it for all 40 weeks.

The list goes on: Stuffy nose, different hair texture and color, loose and stretchy ligaments, leg cramps, for getfulness, breathlessness, insomnia, blotchy skin and darker freckles and birth marks. I'm sure there are weirder symptoms out there – this is just my own list.

Here's something I learned from all those pregnancy books: by midway through the pregnancy, your body has 40 to 50 percent more blood surging through it and you've gained between 25 and 35 pounds, on average. That means your heart and lungs have to work super hard to keep up. How exhausting!

But here's the best part: Selective memory. It's not a pregnancy symptom so much as a postpartum occurrence. Every mother I've talked to says they simply forget unhappy pregnancy symptoms once the baby comes. Or at least minimize them. "Five months of throwing up? That wasn't so bad." "Not being able to breathe? I don't remember that at all."

So, for the next four or five weeks, I'll lament the miracle that is pregnancy and then celebrate the wonderful part of my brain that lets me forget.

Yay for babies.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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