Monday, September 9, 2013

Kate Miller 41: Practice Contractions

Never pay attention when someone says you'll "just know" when something happens...

41. Practice Contractions (July 2013)
on top of the ridge
            Over the three (plus) weeks that Kate and Mister were in Alaska, they went on several hikes, and Kate got all the pregnant pictures she could want in her natural habitat. The hike at Hatcher Pass was one of her favorites. For one, she was able to go even farther than she had gone a couple years ago on the same hike. They reached the peak of the ridge, the highest point, not a huge point, but they were able to look down all around them. It was cold though, and rainy, with a fierce wind blowing at the top. Kate was wearing shorts and a tank top, and the wind chill probably put the temperature under forty degrees! Kate grinned as Mister put on her sweatshirt. “Handy that I have this extra little heater to keep me warm!” she patted her tummy.
            And even though she did feel cold on the way down, with the wind blowing and the cold misty rain clinging to her skin and clothes; it was a beautiful hike. It was just the right sort, where she could climb and work, and feel like she was conquering the mountain. To stand at the top, surveying the vast wilderness beyond the first peak and on to the next and the next, feeling so big and so small at the same time—that is what Kate had wanted. So big and so small, she wrote in her journal later, just like how a baby can feel so big, taking up all that room inside me, and yet he’s so small that he fits inside me! It all depends on your point of view…
Resurrection Bay, Seward
            After Hatcher Pass, Mister took Kate up the Mile-Hi saddle, partway up Mt. Marathon in Seward, for a long walk along Eklutna Lake, and up the diminutive but steep Mt. Baldy. Baldy was the last, and it was difficult because Kate had climbed it many times and was only too aware of her increasing awkwardness and decreasing speed. Occasionally, she would pause and feel her side or the front of her belly.
On the Mile-Hi trail
            “I think he wants to go hiking too,” she declared to Mister. “He’s pushing awfully hard!”
            At the top (as she had many times along the way), she rested for a bit, giving her aching calves a break and catching her breath. She and Mister decided to take a slightly longer but less steep route back down the side of the mountain. Kate tried to walk quickly, sometimes trotting, holding her hands under her belly to keep it from bouncing too much. At the steep parts, she clung to Mister’s hand as if it was a third leg to balance on, and they would trot down together, sometimes sliding, to the next level area where they could rest and Mister would dump surprising bursts of cold water over Kate’s head.
            After a long walk back to the car (Mister having gone ahead to pull it up to the trailhead), Kate collapsed into her seat and gratefully downed half the remaining water bottle. She gingerly lifted her aching feet. “I think that’s my last hike,” she said regretfully. “But it was a good one,” she grinned. “I’m glad we did it.”
At Eklutna Lake
            “It certainly was the perfect day to do it,” Mister agreed, “We could see clear to Mt. McKinley and beyond. Those mountains behind The Sleeping Lady are really amazing.”
            Kate nodded, but said only, “Oof. He’s really pushing a lot.”
            Mister felt her belly. “Wow. That definitely feels really hard…what do you think that is?”
            “I don’t know. Maybe a leg, or his bottom?”
            Back at the house, Mrs. Laurie Wills, listened to their adventure and shooed them off to the bathroom to get cleaned up. When Kate returned she sat next to her mother and said, “Here, feel this. Feel him pushing?”
            Mrs. Wills felt around, a delighted smile growing across her face. “I can finally feel him! Hurray!” Then she paused and felt around a little more. “Are you sure that’s just him pushing?”
            “I think so,” Kate replied, “What else would it be?”
            “I think it’s a practice contraction. You know, when it’s hard all over like that.”
            “Seriously? Why did no one ever explain that? People are always asking me if I’m having practice contractions, and I always say no… but that’s been happening for a while!” 

1 comment:

  1. I remember doing a little hike while very pregnant to watch my husband and sister cliff jump into a river. :) Exercise when pregnant made me feel so much more mighty. :)