Remember the scene in Alien when Sigourney Weaver had the alien break out of her stomach? I have two aliens in mine, but they are the least of my problems. Not problems, I guess, but changes. Let's discuss my boobies. They used to be modest and completely manageable. That is no longer true. The day after I bought 38C and D bras (my normal was 36B) -- and noted that I was now up in the "full figured" area of lingerie -- I had to buy two bra extenders. Even adding the extra two inches in the back still makes me feel like a sausage when I sit down. My rib cage is just huge now. And the two half-nerf balls hanging off my front settle down against my growing belly. There is about 2 inches under each breast where it touches my stomach. Really? My breasts used to stay up by themselves, and it took a lot of work to get them to touch the rest of my front. The breast tissue definitely has stuff growing under it. I noticed what I thought looked like healed stretch marks on the bottom of the breasts, but I think it was the stripey texture of all the milk ducts and stuff under the skin. The nipples have gone from pink to a nice purplish, let's say "aubergine," color. And polka-dotted. I noticed with intrigue and a little bewilderment that I had three new dots on the underside of one areola. They looked like someone had dipped a toothpick in purple paint, then stuck it in 1/8 inch into my play-doh breast. Three little inverted dots in a row. A perfect line. So strange. I flashed my OB yesterday and she said that was normal. I think that's a stretch. "Normal" during pregnancy should have a different word. It's far from normal. Speaking of areolas and nipples, they are now the size of Chicago. Shit. That's all I can say about that. And pain. I thought the breast soreness would go away after a while. But nope. It's been a long time since I have been able to fearlessly face the shower spigot. I spend most of the shower with my back to the water. It's safer that way. And the last thing. It used to be that when my breasts got cold, the nipples would shrink into a tight and wrinkly nipple shape. No longer. There are so many new ducts and other stuff under the skin that the shrunk areolas look like I stuffed portions of them with oatmeal. Some areas are shrunk and tight; some are puffy and lopsided. "Normal." For the moment, that is all I have to say about the boobies. Let's discuss my hips. I started getting stretch marks on my hips when I moved in with my then-fiance, who ate a whole lot more and more often than I was used to. Too much bliss, and there I went. Since I had recent stretch-marks on the sides of my hips, my body has taken advantage of those weak spots to start the pregnancy stretching early. Those stretch marks have now extended up to my waist. I showed my mom and she said it looked like a cat scratched me with her whole paw. Yes, a cat whose claws are one inch apart. I also noticed that the fleshy areas on the insides of my thighs right at the top of my knees also have the beginnings of stretch marks. What the... I remember a friend of mine saying she was carrying her new pregnancy in her boobs and hips. I didn't realize it went all the way to one's knees. I also have something special happening on the back of my hips and butt. I have little red splotches. I would assume they were the beginnings of stretch marks, but they don't seem to all have the same orientation. It's more like stretch mark splatter paint. That makes me think that maybe this is more like veins coming to the surface. My sister-in-law has vericose veins on her transparent white skin, and it looks like someone has smeared charcoal up and down them. The purplish splotches on my butt don't look like that. Maybe my blood is redder than hers. Not sure. I have also noticed some definite veiny action on the sides of my butt. That's more linear and more purple. By the way, while I'm in the region, let me point out that the right side of my butt is still alternately numb and painful. That's from the IVF shots, from the first time around. What else? My chin. I mean chins. Nuff said. My belly is the last stop on my list today. Obviously it is getting bigger. Although it is the universal sign of pregnancy success, it has not made much of an impact on me emotionally. For so long I suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, which made it impossible for me to eat even trace amounts of lactose or fructose without ballooning out with a very bloated abdomen. My belly would puff out as far as my skin would stretch, which was always way beyond how far my waistband would stretch. It was extremely uncomfortable. And it made me look pregnant, which was just disasterously depressing. So when I see a very puffy belly sticking out, I just think I look bloated. But the other day my body proved that I wasn't just bloated. Because I got bloated. James came home from the grocery store with a lot of dairy products, and out of extreme hunger I chowed down on a big bowl of cottage cheese, washed down with a big glass of milk. In normal portions that wouldn't bother me any more. But whew. This time I got to feel like to be both bloated with air and bloated with babies at the same time. It was excruciating. I could barely move. I lay on my back and arched my back backwards to make as much belly space as possible. Even then I begged James to pop me, but he declined. Yesterday I went to the OB and finally had my belly measured, from pubic bone to the top of the uterus, like I'd seen on TV. My TV experience tells me that the number of weeks should roughly match the number of inches of this measurement. Well, I have twins, so this will be different, obviously. But suffice it to say that at 18 weeks, I measure 24 inches. If I were able to get to 40 weeks, would I still fit in the car? And that is the happy state of my body. I have never felt so good about my body, or loved it so much.