I was reminded of this story the other night while hanging out with some friends. One of them was complaining about how big she gets when she is pregnant. I listened to her for a few minutes and then asked her four simple questions.
- Could you reach the kitchen faucet? — Yes
- Could you cross your ankles? — Yes
- Did you need your child to line up your shoes with your feet? — No
- Could you still drive your car? — Yes
You may feel that these are ridiculous questions, but to me they are very relevant. I try really hard not to laugh when pregnant women complain about being “HUGE”. I know they feel like a beached whale, but they are only “BIG”. How do I measure? By me, of course. I could not do any of the above during the last two months of my pregnancy.
My oldest daughter was reading in a magazine at the dentist office about a lady who had septuplets. About half way through the article she asks, “Mom how big were you when you were pregnant?”
“About 54″ around,” I answered. “Why?”
“That is only one inch smaller than this lady who had septuplets and you only had one!”
Enough said. Now, about that baby in the steering wheel. Here is the story that has become a family favorite. It is also becoming somewhat of a legend.
I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my fifth child. It was a beautiful, warm summer day and my children were going stir crazy in the house. My sister, who had come to help for the summer, suggested we drive down to the park. I could sit in the shade and read or nap. She would watch the children. There was excited agreement from the children. I consented thinking the I could probably drive the car that far. We got the children buckled into the car and then it happened.
While attempting to get into the car I became stuck between the steering wheel and the seat. I have one cheek on the seat and one foot on the ground. The seat is back as far as it can go. I call my sister but all I here is gut busting laughter. I look over and she is rolling on the grass laughing. I remember thinking, “This is NOT funny!” The children are starting to whine about why my sister and I are not getting into the car.
I am wedged tightly. I cannot get in or out of the car. The baby is kicking against the steering wheel in the hopes that whatever it is will stop pushing on him. My sister stops laughing long enough to ask if I wanted her to call my husband at work. I close my eyes and sigh. He works for the sheriff’s department as a deputy sheriff. They gossip worse than old women. I start to giggle. I can just see the headlines now, “Jaws of life used to extract pregnant woman stuck getting into her car!” “Deputy’s wife gets baby stuck in steering wheel!” He would never live it down. My sister then offers to take pictures and send them to the news. She also offers to get some butter or grease in the hopes of getting me unstuck. Neither would work at this point because the baby’s foot is now unstuck and resting on the steering wheel. I look down at my poor abused tummy and see the feet. In my mind’s eye I see a picture of this fetus laying back with his hands behind his head while resting his feet on my steering wheel. I start to really laugh.
It has been 15 minutes now and the kids have climbed out of the car. They observe me with disgusted curiosity. Obviously we are not going to the park and it is all the baby’s fault. The one leg that is taking most of my weight is getting tired and shaky. The leg that is in the car is quickly going to sleep. Now I am laughing so hard I would have fallen down had I not been stuck. That knowledge makes me laugh even harder. (My sister is still on the grass gasping for breath because she hasn’t stopped laughing in all this time.) Suddenly (because of the laughter wiggling my belly) I pop free of the steering wheel and am able to get out of the car. I do not try to get back in. We do not go to the park. The kids get ice cream for being understanding. I do not get off the couch for the rest of the day.
That evening when my husband gets home my sister proceeds to tell him what happened. He laughs and shakes his head. He then says that is couldn’t happen because there is plenty of room between the steering wheel and the front seat. All the children then chime in and start complaining because they could not go to the park because “Mommy got really stuck.” My husband was very glad that I had not needed to call him at work. He couldn’t even think about what his boss would have said if he had tried to explain the problem that required his immediate attention.
This is when I decided it was time to measure my circumference. When the tape measure hit 54″ (almost the very end) I started to laugh. I’m only 64″ tall! No wonder I had been having so much difficulty! My arms couldn’t be more than 26″ maximum. I couldn’t even touch my fingers together around my belly.
I would give just about anything to have had a picture of that moment. It makes me chuckle thinking about it 18 years later. So now when pregnant women complain, I smile and chuckle to myself. Most of them have no idea what it means to be “HUGELY” pregnant.