This past week hasn’t been much of a picnic. I’ve managed to get the all-day sickness under control with some medication, but the muscle strain in my rib cage has only gotten worse, and I’m beginning to wonder if I didn’t actually crack a rib. I’ve been very careful this past week not to strain it further, but there are hundreds of moments in a day with tweaks and twinges as I try to do the normal daily actions in slow motion. It’s my right side, and I’m right handed, so just brushing my teeth or putting on socks is uncomfortable. By the end of the work day I’m in quite a bit of pain; by dinnertime I’m a mess of stabbing pain and despair and I head up to the couch on the third floor that provides the right kind of support that my aching body needs. I alternate positions every hour or so during the night, trying to get comfortable, stay comfortable, and avoiding twisting and re-tearing. Each morning I wake up a bit worse off than the day before, and I live in fear of a surprise sneeze or a tickle in the throat that will start the spasms up again. My doctors haven’t been a lot of help – the pain medication that I’m allowed to take with pregnancy doesn’t cut it, and I can’t get x-rays or relax in a hot bath. I’m feeling the limits, and the sense of panic that hits most pregnant women at some point during the pregnancy – what if something really bad happens to me? This is a giant nuisance, a painful nuisance, and it’s keeping me from doing anything that I want or need to do. But it’s not life-threatening, it’s not like receiving a diagnosis for something more severe and having to make the difficult, impossible choices of how to treat yourself and tread lightly on that fragile life developing inside you. There is a buoyancy that comes with finding out that you are expecting, an extra spring in your step as you house that initial secret from the rest of the world that you are not the only person standing in that elevator. But there is also that weighty sense of purpose and obligation – no choices you make are truly your own again. Your own pain and inconvenience may take center stage in your own home for a short while amongst the oxygen breathing ones, but it is a far distant second to the one who is depending on you, and you alone, for their own source of breath. It is nearly too much to think about in the silence of the house as the rest of the family moves about in the routines and requirements of the weekend without you. Because I finally gave in and decided to stop moving. I may not be violently heaving any more, but those hundreds of little tweaks and twinges are obviously adding up and are preventing me from moving forward. I’m ready to move back into my own bed, to be able to yawn without tears, to shave my legs and scratch that itch on my back, to buckle my seat belt in without pain. I’m not sure how long I’ll have to sit here to get to that place, but sit here I will. The days are long, and mostly quiet, but the rewards are sweet, like that warm little body cuddled up next to me while we ate dinner from a tray, the flowers that showed up on my doorstep and recovered quickly from their time out in the cold, the piece of cake that was brought home from a birthday party, and last night, the first definitive movements from that new little one inside me.