A few weeks ago, at the start of our childbirth class, our instructor asked all of the couples, “Ok, so who’s still wearing their wedding rings?”. We all laughed, and I proudly raised my hand, one of the only people still able to keep their wedding rings on their expanding fingers. Not that it means anything at all, but I was proud to be in that camp.
“Well, I was one of those lucky few also” she continued. “Around 36 weeks into my first pregnancy, in the summer, same as you guys, I started to feel that my hands were a little sore and puffy when I woke up each morning, even after sleeping in air conditioning.” I nodded enthusiastically — the same thing had been happening to me recently. The swelling always went back down if I stayed cool throughout the day, and it was never so much that I felt like my rings were stuck on, but I knew exactly that puffed up feeling she was describing. “And then one day, I woke up and my ring finger was completely blue. Swollen so much I could not pry my rings off. We tried lotion, olive oil, cold water, ice… you name it, we tried it. When it still wouldn’t come off and my poor finger still looked like it was going to fall off, we went to the emergency room where they had to CUT THE RINGS OFF.”
Umm, excuse me?! Benjamin and I exchanged a look of sheer terror. Call me materialistic, but my engagement ring is one of my most prized possessions. I still stare at it almost every day, over five years since the first day Benjamin put it on my finger and asked me to marry him. His proposal was a huge surprise, as was the ring (we’d never even discussed what kind of ring I wanted, and he proposed so early I’m not sure I had even though about it much). It is a constant reminder of how well Benjamin knows me, because I could not have picked out a more perfect ring for myself if I tried. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes.
So, sniff sniff, as of a few days ago, my rings are off for the rest of the summer. It’s not that I’ve gained too much weight (which is why I always thought pregnant women took their rings off), or even because my swelling was getting out of control and they almost got stuck, but more as a precautionary measure so that I don’t end up in the emergency room watching one of my most loved belongings be cut off of my puffy hand.
It feels weird to not feel the rings on my finger, and I’ve had a few moments of panic that I left them somewhere I shouldn’t have. I’ve also considered that now it looks like I am an unwed mother. But you know what? I don’t really care. My fingers can get as puffy as they want and I know I won’t have to cut my beautiful engagement ring in half!