The Final Stretch

A few weeks ago, I cleaned my house like a champ. It felt good to tell my body, “I knew ya could.”
Soon after that, I took the picture on the left. A few DAYS after I took the picture on the left, I took the picture on the right. These both show my belly at 30 weeks:

I woke up Sunday morning and couldn’t get out of bed like I usually did. I couldn’t sit up, swing my legs over and hop up. I had to prop up on my elbows, grunt, scoot, grunt scoot… and eventually sort of dump myself out of bed. I walked into the bathroom to put my contacts in and stopped to look at myself in the mirror.
My belly was HUGE.
It hadn’t been so big the day before…

I blew my nose and held my head, willing my cold to go away. I had to go to church on Sunday -I didn’t have a choice. We’re preparing for the Primary Program and I needed to be there. I also had a meeting I had to be at. I bathed and got ready. I ate breakfast. I got my kids up and bathed. I fed them breakfast.
I went to my meeting.
It had been cancelled.
I came home. My husband told me he’d been called into work. I grabbed all of my Primary stuff, my scriptures, my FAT binder, my FAT bag and my two kids and we made it to church.
The Primary Program Practice was a little chaotic, but of course it was. I didn’t expect to be a reverent day at the spa. I had several people ask me when I was going to pop…
Not for a few months, but thank you for validating what I thought this morning, ‘I LOOK 40 WEEKS PREGNANT!’
I hated saying, “At Christmastime” because their eyes would boggle out of their heads.

My son fell asleep during church. I couldn’t take him to the truck -luckily my brother was nearby and helped me out. I loaded everything into the truck after two hours of Primary Practicing and I drove home. We all stumbled in the door.
I turned Netflix on and told the kids to sit. stay. watch.
I sat down at my computer with a brownie and took a deep breath.

And then they hit. Contractions. Not the Braxton Hicks kind -the real deal kind. They stung. They hurt.
I had to make it back to my bed -had to lie down. I slowly stood up, clutching the bottom of my belly. I couldn’t stand up straight. Tears began falling, and the second my bed was close enough, I collapsed into it.
I laid on my right side, a big pillow between my legs, and I took deep breaths.

The contractions came every three minutes -each one a little less intense than the last. For twenty minutes, they were so painful that I cried. I called my husband -who had called earlier from work to tell me he wouldn’t be home until close to midnight and that he would be miles away -and just hearing his voice made me cry more.
Because they were getting less intense, I knew I would be okay. But I still wanted him there -I still wanted his arms and his big hands and his presence.
Finally, the contractions -though never varying in their constancy -waned in strength and I was able to rest.

I overdid it on Sunday.

I’ve never overdone it in a pregnancy before. Then again: I’ve never been pregnant while I’ve had two kids before. It’s easy to forget that I have a growing baby inside because there’s so much going on that I can’t focus on what my body is telling me. It probably was giving me “slow down” cues and I couldn’t hear them.

For the rest of Sunday, I had Braxton Hicks contractions.
Since then, the REAL contractions have been coming around. They aren’t constant -they don’t come every three minutes, but they do come. I’ll be sitting down, minding my own business and
It hurts.

And I start to wonder what the deal is. WHY I’m so big and WHY I’m getting these awful contractions and WHY I can’t stay on my feet for longer than a few hours at a time before I’m back in bed or on the couch…
and then I remember: oh yeah.
I’m 31 weeks pregnant. I once birthed a baby at 36 weeks. I’m WEEKS away from holding a fully-formed teeny PERSON!
I’ve grown a heart, a brain, a set of legs, a set of arms, a liver, some kidneys, layers of skin… it’s all been forming inside of me. It’s the reason I’ve been hit with a slew of cavities and back aches. It’s the reason I can’t fully kick this cold.
It’s the reason I spend every waking hour and step feeling like I just unsaddled from a week-long round up on a rough horse. My thighs! Someone rescue them, please!
It’s all normal -it’s all very normal. It’s all The New Normal.

It will all be worth it when I hold my bright-eyed little person for the first time -when I feel her little fingers wrap around my thumb… when she cries for me and licks her brand new perfect lips.
And it will all be worth it when she calls me one day and says, “Mom, can you come over? I laid down on the couch and I’m having trouble getting up. This baby is HUGE.”
She’s so strong that I want her to have a name RIGHT NOW. It seems so strange that someone I can feel so strongly isn’t named. She’s very PRESENT in our lives, and we have no idea what to call her.
Little No Name is a favorite with my husband.
Little Sister is a favorite with the kids.
I prefer Tyler Jane.
There’s no meaning behind it or significance. It’s not old fashioned -the way I usually like names. It’s not a family name. What’s more: it’s a boy name.
But there’s something about it that just… feels right. It seems to fit this Little No Name. It’s still up to my husband to come up with a finalized name.
And today it’s up to me to get some nesting done. I can not bring a baby home to THIS!
I’ve already mucked out the cupboards under the bathroom sink. Today it’s the fridge and the kid’s room… unless my body tells me not to.
I’ve learned my lesson. And I don’t want to contract unless it’s going to count toward a birthing experience. Otherwise it’s just a really painful lecture from my baby about how I need to pay more attention to her.
Lesson learned, Little No Name Sister Tyler Jane.
Lesson learned.


  1. Cindy Layton says:

    Hey Alicia,
    I don’t know if you remeber me (no need to) but we went to EAC together and you were my VT for a short time. Anyway I wanted to let you know (in a non-creepy sort of way) that I love your blog. I have been faithfully reading it for years. I don’t do a lot of blogs but yours always puts a smile on my face and even brought me to tears a time or two. Thank you for being so open and real and plain funny. Since I check your site daily and find you haven’t posted in a while I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you and your family and sincerely hope that all is well. I really, really do. Thank you again for being an amazing writer. I’ll definitely be buying your book someday ;)

    • Of COURSE I remember you, Cindy!!! You were the one who recommended Dr. Laura’s “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” to me, and I just love you for it :) I was moving my bookcase last night and found my copy of that book and thought of you. I’m glad you left a comment! You’re really great.

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