Lately, my belly button has been bothering me. Kind of weird, right? You don't normally think of the belly button as a sensitive area. It's just this little hole in your middle that kind of hangs out collecting lint. That is, until you start closing in on the end of your second trimester. At which time, apparently, this previously subtle body part begins to make its presence known.
It may or may not be attempting to turn itself inside out. Pervious to experiencing this phenomena first hand, I thought of this process as kind of neat. I always wanted an outie when I was a kid. Here's my big chance, right? What I didn't consider was how this special little transformation would feel. I guess I imagined it would just pop out one day like a sprout. I would just wake up, hop in the shower and discover a cute little outie where my innie used to be.
Yeah. Not so much like that. The process is, it turns out, is quite slow and moderately painful. The area is subject to a constant, maddening itch, which as you might imagine, is impossible to scratch, being mostly inside my belly. At times, the skin around the button becomes red and crazy, furious at being exposed. This week, I finally got a glimpse at what I think is the actual button itself. It's super sore, so I try not to mess with it, but despite my discomfort I am really and truly mystified by the sight. It's the end of the tunnel, a part of myself I never thought I'd see.
Last night, I hopped out of bed for one of my many nocturnal potty parades. When my feet hit the floor I was shocked by a sudden burst of pain. I could feel my hips shifting and settling into a new shape. They'd been creaky and wiggly for days, but clearly they had stopped messing around. This morning I discovered red lines carved into my hips from where my pajama pants were hugging me as I slept. It's really something to find yourself suddenly wider than you were the day before.
Which leads me to wonder: does it hurt when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly? I feel like I've always somehow taken nature's transformations for granted. Now that I'm experiencing one for myself, I look at them quite differently. Is baby hurting too? She's hurtling from a cluster of cells to a squalling bundle of belly and limbs, all in just forty weeks.
My body might be changing, but it remains in more or less the same form from beginning to end. A catterpillar changes bodies almost completely in a matter of weeks. What must it be like to lose legs, grow spindly antennae, and sprout wings?
After having my organs displaced, my bones shifted apart, and my blood double in volume, I have a whole new respect for butterflies.
They must be some tough mothers.