Reader, I Took a Bath
April 22, 2009

The day it hit 102 on the Peninsula in April was the day I did something I haven't been able to do in 6 months of pregnancy: I took a bath.

I love baths. They're calming and luxurious. They're the antidote to limbs and muscles that ache with illness or athletics, but when you're pregnant, they're verboten. At least, the ones above 90 are, and when you're sick or aching, you're not really into taking tepid baths.

Oh, but the tepid bath is the antidote to wretched, restless nights filled with sweat-soaked tossing and turning, sliding hot limbs off of hotter torsos, chasing elusive cool patches on the microwaved sheets.

Getting into the bath is the hardest part. It may only be tepid, but it's still colder than body temp, so your skin wants to crawl higher than the water level the more you inch yourself down. My slow progress into the tub reminded me of how my sister and I would deal with Lake Michigan in the summer.

It would be blazing hot outside, but the Great Lake was still icy, so we'd walk in slowly, allowing inches of our body numb up before going deeper. Feet, ankles, calves, knees, and thighs were all fine, it's when the water reached our waists that it got more ticklish. We'd stand there with our arms raised as the crashing waves threatened to get us more wet than we wanted.

I floated in the cool, salty bath, reading Sarah Vowell and occasionally stroking Poppadum, who was serenely perched and purring on the edge of the tub. (She loves baths as much as I do, and while she always acts like she wants to, she never gets in with me.)

In the tepid bath, my swollen calves loosened and retreated, my jaw unclenched, my brain cleared, and my mood improved to such a degree I was drugged with bliss.

I'd sleep tonight.

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