As my pregnancy lurches on and I pass the 31-week mark, more of my dignity falls by the wayside. 

There are the loud hiccups.  There are never more than ten of them at a time, but some days it seems they come once an hour.  If I keep my mouth closed they hurt, and are possibly some kind of reflux delivery system.  If I let the evil hiccups out, I sound drunk or, as my husband said in the middle of the night, "you sound like you're dying."  Yeah, I feel like that too.

There was a constipation-related incident this week known only as The Terrible Poop.  We will speak of it no more, except that it drove me to tears… which is not a very long trip.

I don't know what happened to my abdominal muscles but they are useless or gone; they must have that shoved-to-the-side thing that I forget the name of.  I am now adopting almost every stereotypical Pregnant Move you've ever seen, like the ponderous roll-to-the-side to get out of a chair or out of bed.  Rolling over in bed is now a complicated 27-point maneuver after which I must, yes, catch my breath.

Speaking of catching my breath, I now get out of breath from 1) half a flight of stairs 2) putting on shoes and socks, or 3) picking up anything from the floor.

Sobbing is frequent.  Triggers include: 1) that was so sad 2) that was about a baby 3) that was so happy it made me sad 4) I'm just sobbing 5) I'm tired 6) I'll be tired soon 7) that was a cute bunny 8) I'm afraid there is something wrong with the baby 9) I'm afraid of taking care of a baby FOREVER AND EVER WITH NO HOPE OF ESCAPE and 10) I'm just happy.

Belly bra
On the advice of friends, I got the Belly Bra.  I confidently ordered what I thought was a huge, "that can't possibly be my size" size, only to have it fit perfectly.  The bra part is a joke but the belly part is serious business.  The package assures me that it is "nonconstrictive" – a lie; and that it "lifts weight off the pelvis," and that is true.  It also claims "Intelligent, pantiless design" and my husband certainly agrees that anything "pantiless" could only be pure genius.  The package then says "Best of all, it makes you feel attractive!"

Um, not so much.  For one thing, pants worn over the BB want to roll or slide themselves down to where its bottom elastic is, thereby exposing a vast expanse of buff-colored, power-mesh- encased, scarily firm belly.  And the bottom elastic cuts a deep groove across the fat at the top of my butt, which the four pairs of stretchy pants now in my rotation cannot hide, and which the woman in this photo doesn't have.

But: I'll take it, because wearing this thing helps me not to feel that weasels are gnawing at my groin ligaments and it helps my uterus not to get all irritable and crampy just because I went to two stores and then came home and made soup.  I know that the crampy, irritable uterus is not pre-term labor, but that doesn't make it feel any better when I'm standing in line at Kroger imagining that my baby is in there hollering "Shut down all the trash mashers on the detention level!" a la Luke Skywalker because he's being squished.

Of course there is the bladder thing, which isn't just about frequently going to pee, but that when I do, hardly anything comes out.  The bladder cries wolf, all day and all night.  This isn't too much of an inconvenience, because at this point everyone expects me to need to pee and practically shoves me in the direction of the ladies room, so I might as well go.

At night I must choose which part of my body to serve.  If the pillows are okay for my neck, then I can't breathe and the reflux gets worse.  If I prop myself up on enough pillows to prevent the reflux – HHA haaa hHAAAAA there aren't enough pillows in this WORLD to prevent the reflux, that was a joke – to allow me to breathe, then my neck and shoulders are completely screwed up.  I am sacrificing neck and shoulders since breathing seems to matter a LOT.  I had a few bad, bad, bad nights of figuring this out and finally have the right pillow combo, at least for the moment. 

I am usually some kind of awake for some portion of 3am- 5am anyway, and judging by how wiggly the baby is during this time, I figure I will continue to be awake with him for many months to come.  As far as I'm concerned, him waking up when I'm ALREADY awake is a bonus. Maybe I should plan to wake him up during that time anyway, so as not to waste my insomnia.

There are many indignities that I don't have, so I'm grateful.  I'm not hairy, zitty or sweaty – sounds like three dwarves Normal Rockwell forgot to paint, doesn't it? – and while the nausea sucks, I'm not nearly as huge as I could be because of it.  I'm only a teensy bit puffy with water retention but not like I've heard from other preggos. 

I'm sure there will be more indignities to come.