EXCERPT: 'Don't Say I Didn't Warn You'

These weigh-ins don't seem too bad the first couple of visits because the other person you are carrying inside of you is about the size of a pea. Peas don't weigh that much. In fact, for my first few prenatal visits, I weighed a little less than I ever had, from all the retching. I distinctly recall looking around at the eight- or nine-monthers sitting around the waiting room and thinking, I'll never get that big.

I could not have been more wrong. By the time I got to my eighth month, my weight had far sur-passed the magic number my doctor had recommended I gain, so I would dress in the lightest thing I could find, wear two-ounce flip-flops in the freezing weather, and ask to go to the bathroom twice before I went on the scale. However, there was no denying the number of butter beans and Fudgsicles I was downing. The nurse would slide the metal weight on the balance beam farther to the right, farther to the right, farther to the right until I knew that I had reached the edge of I-Won't-Ever-Get-in-Those-Prepregnancy-Jeans-Again Zone and then loudly pronounced that weight as she wrote it on my permanent record.

Once they've elevated your blood pressure by giving you a number higher than you ever im-agined for your weight in your LIFETIME, then they take your blood pressure. I don't know how they expect it to be normal when you have just come to the realization that you are really, really B-I-G, but if you use your Lamaze breathing techniques (more about that later), you can pant and blow yourself down to a medium-range systolic. This is the real reason why you should pay attention in Lamaze class.

Then they asked me to give a sample. Now, when I am discussing a "sample" at the obstetrics office, I am not talking about a trial-size cosmetic. They want something called a "clean catch." It sounds like a term you would hear in circus training school trapeze class—"Great job, Mr. Wallenda! That was a clean catch!"—but this clean catch entails precise stream-to-cup timing, which is difficult when your reach is hampered by the watermelon in your middle by month number eight. Plus they give you the smallest-size Dixie cup known to mankind, and they expect you to stream into that cup in an efficient manner. There are multiple problems here, one being that, if you did excuse yourself twice in preparation for the weigh-in, you are basically in a Number One deficient status. And there is no more pee being made right now, as all available liquids are being marshaled in support of the other little person you are growing. The second problem is that the term "clean catch" will never be an accurate description, as you will need to use multiple antiseptic wipes and paper towels in order to accomplish this (not so clean) catch. It's actually quite un-clean. I don't know if other people did this part better than I did, but the clean catch drama every month left me feeling like there must be a better technique than the one I used. And I really would have had a better chance of hitting that cup if they'd given me a thirty-two-ounce Big Gulp cup from the 7-Eleven.

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