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Cletus in concert

December 5, 2011

I am writing this on a train heading back to New York after an all-too-brief visit in Maryland. [Incidentally, if you haven’t ridden Amtrak’s business class, it’s totally worth the upgrade. I splurged on train tickets so I wouldn’t have to endure five hours on a bus both ways, and it was definitely worth it. Bucket seats are not a pregant lady’s friend. I opted for the regional v. the Acela, but upgraded to business, and it is just lovely. Fortunately, the train down was running exactly on schedule, and the train back was just three minutes late departing. All in all, a pretty delightful way to get from here to there.] I arrived on Friday afternoon in advance of a rehearsal that evening. There was another rehearsal at 9 a.m. the next morning, and finally the concert on Sunday afternoon. The church is a large, vibrant, and busy one, thus the insane singer un-friendly morning slot. However, I survived with my vocal chords intact. I haven’t been singing much throughout my pregnancy since I left my church job, so I was a little worried my voice would be gone and not up to the hours of singing I put it through. Luckily, I was phonating comfortably on Friday, and capably on Saturday. Sunday was more of a challenge because the venue was so dry, but I opened my mouth and sound came out. People seemed to like what they heard, so I guess it was all good.

Like all live performances, there were a few things I wish had gone better, but it was a really lovely experience. It’s always nice coming home to the church where I grew up. The people are so welcoming, and it feels comfortable and safe. There was much talk of how appropriate it was that a pregnant woman sang the “Ave Maria” during Advent, the season of anticipation of the birth of Christ. Honestly, the symbolism, however blatant, was mostly lost on me until afterwards because I was struggling simply to breathe and not be toppled by the tension in my back.

Interestingly, Cletus was actively kicking me during rehearsals, but was pleasantly well-behaved in concert. I had visions of my belly bulging wildly during my solo, but I guess Cletus is getting a head start on music appreciation. Maybe by the third day he was just used to all the ruckus and the abdominal movement created by my breathing and diaphragmatic support.

Since the smorgasbord that was Thanksgiving, there have been a few physical developments. Aside from my ever-growing belly, my stomach has simply run out of room. I ate too much over the holiday, as one is wont to do, and upon returning home, I found that I could no longer eat normal sized meals. If I overdo it, I get a major case of heartburn. Additionally, it seems the word on the street about how your rib cage expands is a truism. I tried on the dress that we bought back in October, hoping it would work as my concert attire, and found that I wasn’t even close to getting it zipped. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, considering I’m now wearing my bras on the loosest clasp settings and still sometimes feel like I’m being constricted. Good thing I brought back-up options. I ended up wearing a simple black dress that was plenty stretchy. I also discovered maternity hose, which I am vowing to wear forever more. Not that I typically wear hose, but when I do, I am totally wearing the maternity variety. They don’t pinch in your skin at the top, making you all gross and bulgy and ruining the line of your clothing. Everything maternity is so comfy!

I am also forever parched. I am sucking down water constantly, but my lips are always chapped. I’m not sure if this is because it’s getting drier as it gets colder and the radiators are notorious for making excessively dry heat, or if my body is kicking into high gear making more blood and all those extra fluids I’ll supposedly have by the time Cletus is fully cooked. Either way, I can’t seem to get hydrated.

My friend had her baby on Saturday. (I get to meet her tonight!) There’s this whole new human being now, and she is not pregnant any more. It makes my baby seem more real somehow. This is happening. There will be a little person at the end of this swelling and stretching and waddling. I can count the weeks left on two hands. I’m already struggling not to fixate on my due date, and having a hard time accepting that Cletus might decide to camp out until well past it. The weeks that once passed so slowly, then seemed to fly by, are starting again to feel cumbersome and drawn out. I think December will pass quickly because of the holidays, but I fear January will crawl by. Yet, there is still plenty to be done. There are things to buy, and a pediatrician to find. There is a business to run, and a few precious months of coupledom to cherish. There are beagles to walk and feed and cuddle, and an apartment to clean and organize. There are taxes to be paid. There are gifts to make or buy and send. There are muscles to be strengthened and exercised. There is calcium and iron and protein to consume. There are decisions to be made, and plans to assess. There is life and life and life to keep living.

I vacillate between the awe and beauty of what’s happening inside me, and crashing down to earth when confronted by the realities of building a tine human. I visited the chiropractor last week, and he asked me when I am due. I told him, and he said, “You’re going to get huge!” Yes, sir, yes, I am. Ten more weeks, ten more pounds. More or less.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    December 5, 2011 1:38 pm

    I love the way you smile at the audience when you sing! Adds tremendous meaning to the words, especially the Ave and the Italian carol you sang! The other soprano had a furrowed brow.

  2. Julie Hudson permalink
    December 6, 2011 10:11 pm

    Betsy- you did a lovely job. Noone could tell if there was any tension, or more need of hydration- your “Ave Maria” was lovely- I saw two people wiping their eyes as you finished, and I know it was in a good way! Glad you had a safe trip home, and hope to sing with you again soon!

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