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Last night I dreamed about elephants. A herd was slowly tromping along—their large back ends swaying back and forth, back and forth. Baby elephants trotted ahead at a quicker, more effortless pace. But the mothers kept heaving along, barely keeping up with their young. Finally, the herd arrived at a watering hole and the huge mamas slowly bent to their knees, grunting and puffing, and then rolled with relief onto the muddy wet clay at the shore's edge.
After the dream, I woke to use the bathroom. I had to rock onto my side and then kick my feet off the edge of the bed before my thick, swollen feet touched the ground. As I shuffled to the bathroom and recalled the dream, I realized the meaning. I was the elephant! At least that's how I feel, and I can hardly believe that I still have five more weeks to go.
At my last appointment, the doctor remarked that this baby was "good-sized." She doesn't anticipate that I'll deliver a seven pound baby this time around. It certainly feels like a bigger baby is incubating inside. I've basically stopped leaving the house because I get so winded anytime I walk for long periods of time. Even when I'm at rest, I get breathless with the weight of the baby pressing on my diaphragm. Sitting straight in a chair seems to be the worst position for me.
Sleeping is another problem. After a few hours of lying on my side, my hip and shoulder joints start to burn with pain. By the morning, I'm so stiff and uncomfortable I have to get up even though I still crave another hour or so of rest.
Along with all the discomfort, I've sadly outgrown many of my favorite maternity clothes. Items that lasted me right up to the end with the girls are now too tight around my bursting breasts and exploding tummy.
Yes, I feel as big as an elephant. Not that I'm complaining (strike those last four paragraphs). For the most part though, I'm trying to cope the best I can. Even though I was smaller the last two times around, I nevertheless recall feeling large and uncomfortable back then too. It certainly is Mother Nature's way of easing us towards the finish line. For months you enjoy the experience of pregnancy and try to ignore the inevitable scariness that comes with labor, until, that is, you're so large and desperate for relief that suddenly ten hours of intense pain doesn't sound so bad. For now though, I'm going to shuffle myself over to the beach and slowly lay down in the cool wet sand while my own little elephants trot ahead into the water and enjoy the last sweet days of summer.