Side splitter

In pregnancy literature, there’s a well-worn truism that “every pregnancy is different.” However, one symptom I vividly recall from all three of my kids’ pregnancies is this horrifying sensation reminiscent of having one’s ribs retracted without the benefit of anesthesia. Thing is, I remember having that feeling at 27 weeks — not 14 weeks. I guess there really is something to that other old truism that “your body remembers what to do,” because the last week or so, my ribcage has felt like one of those little gel capsules that contains a dehydrated foam toy. You know, the kind that — when exposed to water — expands to 100 times its original size and bursts forth from said capsule, obliterating it in the process.

That’s me: the human Magic Cap. And, just because I decided to tempt fate and birth myself an entire curling team, I now get to enjoy not one but two trimesters of this miracle of nature.

Technically, my ribs probably aren’t spreading yet. But the rib that Maddux used to use as her personal in-utero park bench is apparently very sensitive to relaxin and has decided to break free of the others at every possible opportunity.

Feel like rolling over in bed? Out goes a rib. Time to unload the dishwasher? Why no. Actually, it’s time to throw that rib out again. Sometimes I’m just sitting there reading an e-book and when I press the page-forward button on my Kindle, the exertion is simply too much for my ultra-relaxed spine. Sprooooiinnggggg! What are we doing for dinner? Heck if I know, but I do have the tenderest ribs this side of Kansas City.

The only thing that fixes my back and rib problems is a vigorous 30+ minute cardio session, followed by the unglamorous spectacle of a pregnant woman using the pec fly machine at the gym to crack her spine back into alignment. (Well, I suppose there is also the chiropractor, but that would involve appointment-setting, and also losing my phobia of arterial dissection.)

And so it has come to pass that I have been at the gym at 6:30 on many mornings, getting in that all-important workout before the kids start running around destroying things. I suppose it’s not such a very bad thing to be working out when one is pregnant, especially if one has gained 10 pounds in the first trimester from subsisting on a diet that places Campbell’s chicken noodle at the bottom of the food pyramid, with crackers in the middle and buttered toast at the top. (OK, OK, there are some Nanaimo bars in there, too. For the baby.)

But all is not doom and gloom. With the nausea and vomiting gone, I’ve been able to eat what I want. And what I want lately is to not gain any more weight for awhile, so there have been a lot of strawberries, blueberries and grapes. Hooray for in-season fruit! This would be a pretty expensive habit were it, say, February.

Another expensive habit in pregnancy is clothing oneself. It has recently come to my attention that my favorite place to buy maternity clothes, The Bay, no longer sells maternity clothes (at least not in our town). So I am left with our mall’s lone maternity store, which marks up cheaply-made garments to prices you’d only pay if you were guaranteed the item would survive more than one wash cycle, and only puts things on clearance when nobody has decided to buy that XXS or XXL gingham-and-lace maternity bustier after 10 years of full retail price.

So now I am stuck driving two hours to buy shirts that I can sweat in without the underarm areas immediately losing all traces of pigment.

That little road trip should be fun for my ribs.

And here I am, hoping my camera smile doesn’t dislocate that rib, at 14 weeks pregnant:

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