At 28 weeks pregnant, I flew eleven hours to London, took a three-hour train ride up to the north of England to attend my grandmother's funeral, then roadtripped another eight hours up to Scotland with my dad and sister to drop the latter back at university in time for her final exams. Somebody page Richard Curtis, because this sounds like a Britcom movie I'd pay to see.
To say I was dreading the flight from San Francisco would be an understatement—not least because I was planning to write my Omi's eulogy during it, probably the only thing that could make an unpleasant experience even more unpleasant—but I have to give mad props to the world's kindest flight attendant, who went absolutely out of her way to make sure I was as comfortable as I could be. We're talking frequent and unexpected deliveries of large bottles of water so I didn't get dehydrated. We're talking unobtrusive drop-by visits to ask if there was anything I needed. We're talking blocking off my row so that I had three glorious seats to myself for maximum lie-flat sleeping. I didn't even tell her I was pregnant (although let's be honest, it's not exactly missable at this point); she just noticed during one of my endless treks to the bathroom and decided to make it her mission to help me out. I wish I'd got her name so I could write to United (I know! United!) and thank them for employing such wonderful angels. Thank you, kind flight attendant. Thank you so much for making a dreaded journey a lot more bearable.
The funeral was, you know, a funeral, which is to say it wasn't exactly fun or anything, but it was cathartic and dignified and I'm so glad I went. It was lovely to see family members I hadn't seen in a while—and hadn't really been expecting to see in a while—and the silver lining was the couple of days I spent with my dad and Susie in St Andrew's, Scotland, which is a town I recommend you put on your must-see list if you haven't already.
(Actually, the silver lining to that silver lining was the stop we made at a roadside service station just outside of Newcastle, where my dad tried to pay for our coffees with a ten-pound-note that was summarily rejected because it was too old. The pimply teenager who took it looked at it curiously—as though it were, say, a loom or a quill—then disappeared for five minutes and came back with his manager who told us, somewhat awkwardly, that this particular banknote hadn't been in circulation for more than ten years. My dad, evidently, had taken it out of an envelope of British cash that he probably drew out of the bank the last time we lived there—as in, 1995—without even giving it a second thought. We all had a good laugh about it, paid with some more up-to-date currency, and then spent the next half hour saying things to each other like "Excuse me, my good man, could I pay you for this coffee with some doubloons? Will you accept a ha'penny, perchance, or a farthing? I've come from the past, you see, and I only have this handful of sheckels.")
While I've been enjoying my 28-week belly—which is now (I hope?) just a little less pointy—I have not so much been enjoying my 28-week butt, which I did not expect to grow with such......well, let's just call it exuberance. (When my sister took the picture above at the Scottish border, I said "don't make my butt look too big!" and she said "I'm not a miracle worker, Holly.") What I have really been enjoying, though, is the almost constant jumping around of my midsection, which appears to have taken on a life of its own these days, particularly when I'm lying quiet and still at night after a long day.
Don't be silly, of course not! I meant on LSD.
Hamish turned 29 weeks the day before I left Scotland—and can we all take a moment to remark on the fact that Hamish visited Scotland, which would have meant that if I'd gone into premature labor and given birth while there, I'd have pretty much been nationally obligated to actually name him Hamish—which meant I got to take my 29-week photo on the famed St Andrew's Pier with the ruins of St Andrew's Castle in the background behind me.
Back in the US, I went to my 29-week doctor's appointment, where the excitement I felt upon learning I had passed my gestational diabetes test was second only to the excitement I felt in 1996 upon learning that I had passed my maths GCSE, and my doctor, while measuring my expanding torso, pronounced that she could feel the baby's butt.
The baby's BUTT. Does that not just blow your mind? A BUTT. Growing inside me. THERE IS A BUTT GROWING INSIDE ME THAT IS BIG ENOUGH FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO FEEL. I know this should have dawned on me before—trust me, my sister didn't wait three seconds after finding out we were having a boy to text me "HAHAHAHA, YOU'RE GROWING A TINY WILLY"—but for some reason, the fact that the doctor could feel the baby's butt made everything suddenly seem that much more real. I mean, in eleven weeks, that butt will be here, out in the world, and it will want things. Like wiping and diapering and cute little squeezes on alternating cheeks. And I guess the question that's been running through my mind ever since the doctor put her hands on Hamish's squishy little tushie and said "yep, that feels like a butt" is.....am I ready for this butt? Will I ever be?