Yes, being pregnant is wonderful. But for a woman who is 5’2, there’s something about being pregnant with an approximately 16-20 inch kid that defies physics. The innie bellybutton is now an outie – I’m talking mine, not the baby’s. When I drop something on the floor, I chalk it up as a loss – how important could it be?Credit card, schmedit card. And I really can’t remember the last time I tied my shoelaces.
Basically, I’m uncomfortable. Apparently, I was somewhat vocal about this ninth-month-of-pregnancy development, as my husband, aka The Best Husband In The Universe, called and booked me a pregnancy massage.
Now, the last time I had a pregnancy massage was in my last pregnancy, six years ago. In full disclosure, I actually had a ton of pregnancy massages during that pregnancy. The overindulgence had nothing to do with my then-husband, but rather with my having successfully pitched a “Best Pregnancy Massages In Philadelphia” idea to a magazine, which necessitated me trying all of them. (My “Best Gelato in Italy” idea, sadly, has yet to find a home.)
By the end of my massage journey, my cellulite was the consistency of Kobe beef and, I’m fairly sure, would have tasted absolutely succulent. Of course, on the down side, these professional employees were the only people touching me at the time. But enough about my first marriage.
My favorite pregnancy massage in that round was the time I was shown to the ritzy room and introduced to Paul, my masseur. Note: I’d specifically requested women masseuses, as I was self-conscious enough about my physical state.
“It’s okay,” the girl from the front desk said. “Paul’s blind.”
“Do I look stupid?” I asked. Paul couldn’t answer that question. Because he was blind. Of course, it doesn’t really matter – once you have your hands all over my body, who cares if the proverbial lights are out or not? Paul read my spine like Braille. And it was amazing.
Anyway, back to the present. After expressing tremendous gratitude to my husband, I set off for the pregnancy spa, where the hallways and chairs are extra-wide and no one makes “beep…beep…beep” noises when you back up.
After signing the waiver, I changed into my empire waist bathrobe and got on the table with help of footstool. That was no mean feat, and deserves its own paragraph.
The table has a pit in the middle, meant for a burgeoning belly, as well as a similar little towel-lined sinkhole for the face that reminds me of a toilet seat. I try not to think about that when I’m having a massage. It had been a while. The last time I’d had a massage at all had been the day after my wedding, when I’d bought massages for the new husband and I. I remember watching him walk away from me, in a bathrobe, accompanied by his masseuse, Greta, the tall voluptuous Swede. I remember thinking, “I PAID for this to happen. I’m an idiot,” as Bertha, the large Belgian woman, pushed me into my own separate room.
Again, back to the present. In case you can’t tell, we have a deeper problem here in that I generally have an aversion to paying people to touch me. Or people I love, for that matter. Sad but true – paying someone to massage me makes me wonder: Am I really that hideous? In this particular situation, and at this particular point in time, perhaps yes. And if there is a person on earth who can make me feel as though I’m not a sausage squeezed into a way-too-tight casing, then I will pay that person in Krugerrands.
And I found that person, dear reader. And after she put up with my hyperventilating, changing positions, and sweating, she managed to lull me into a state akin to an induced coma, but accompanied by Muzak and eucalyptus-smells. This woman, who looks like a normal person, somehow caused the earth to spin in a different direction, altered time and space and managed to make me feel like a normal person myself.