It's time to get this show on the road. Penny is five days past her due date and if she doesn't go into to labor in the next few days, she's going to have to be induced and she really, really doesn't want that.
She's tried everything. Gallons upon gallons of raspberry leaf tea, which tastes like ass dried into a tea-like consistency. She's walked until she developed blisters and aggravated the sciatica she's developed in the last month since clearly their kid is going to be some kind of freaky giant. There's been lots of nipple stimulation, which Sheldon is happy to help with. He's selfless like that. She's eaten every kind of spicy food imaginable (tandoori chicken, extra-hot green curry, this really weird Ethiopian stew that looked like diarrhea, dan dan noodles, and all manner of burritos). They even drove out to Caioti Pizza Café for the salad that has supposedly jumpstarted labor for hundreds of women, but it did nothing for her but give her a wicked case of heartburn that kept her up all night. She's eaten pineapple for breakfast every day for a week. She spent three miserable hours on the toilet after the Great Castor Oil Disaster of 2014.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The kid isn't budging. At her appointment today, her doctor told Penny that her cervix was only dilated one centimeter. She cried all the way home. Fucking hormones.
Maybe she's destined to be pregnant forever, she thinks, staring at her ginormous abdomen in the bathroom mirror.
"Come on, baby," she says. "Don't you want to come out? We're nice people. I mean, yeah, your father is a little odd but he'll grow on you. I promise."
The baby has nothing to say on the subject.
There's only one thing left on her list and she really, really doesn't want to do it.
It's not that she doesn't like sex. God knows, she loves sex. And sex with Sheldon is...let's just say it's usually fantastic, occasionally crossing the line into mindblowing territory. If she'd known how good he'd turn out to be in bed, she would have gleefully jumped his bones the day she moved into his building.
During her first trimester she was often too exhausted and nauseous ("Nauseated," Sheldon corrects her in her mind) for sex but they still managed a couple of times a week. During the second, Penny was insatiable. Some kind of hormone surge made her want to jump his bones twenty-four hours a day. Sometimes she waited by the front door to tackle him the second he got home from work.
"I'm more than a bit concerned that you've turned into some sort of succubus," he said once, after they'd collapsed together, flushed and sweaty. "You're trying to steal my life energy, aren't you?"
That blissful period lasted only a few months, though, and soon she was gigantic with child. Forty pounds worth of gigantic, something her doctor never fails to scold her about, although Sheldon has wisely kept his counsel on the subject. She fondly remembers the days when she had cut abs, when she was a size two, when her inner thighs never, ever touched. Good times.
She can't remember the last time they had sex. It's not that Sheldon's repulsed by her, he just seems immune to her charms and she hasn't felt like being charming in ages.
But sex is their last, best hope. She's dutifully done her reading and knows that the prostaglandins in semen can help the cervix to ripen and that the oxytocin produced with orgasm can cause contractions.
Pregnancy has turned her into a female Sheldon, she realizes with equal parts amusement and horror. She's read at least a hundred pregnancy and baby books, has taken three separate childbirth courses, spends every spare moment reading and posting to an online pregnancy forum. It's taken over her life. She remembers when she was interested in all sorts of things—her job, celebrity gossip, the complicated love lives of her girlfriends, politics, movies, the state of global warming. Now her focus has reduced to the approximately eight pounds of baby residing in her uterus and how to effectively evict said baby.
Whatever. Even though she's roughly the size and shape of a baby grand piano and her feet are swollen and she needs to pee every thirty seconds, she's going to have to seduce her husband.
God help her.
She considers lingerie. Or, more specifically, that she doesn't have any that have fit her in months and months and it's not very sexy to attack her husband in the nursing bra with five hooks and the granny panties that bag at the ass. In fact, the only thing she really sleeps in anymore is an enormous t-shirt that says DEER HUNTERS DO IT FOR A BUCK. It once belonged to her brother and he weighs almost three hundred pounds.
Fine, then. She'll come to bed naked and see where it goes.
She waddles into the bedroom. Sheldon is sitting up in bed, reading The American Journal of Physics and chuckling to himself. "Oh, how wrong you are, Joseph Polchinski," he mutters.
She slides into bed, careful not to lie on her back, since it might compress a vein or something. Either way, it's bad and she's not supposed to do it. She nuzzles Sheldon with her nose.
"Your nose is cold, Penny," he says, not taking his eyes from the journal.
"Maybe you should warm it up."
"A hot shower would accomplish that feat more effectively than my hands." He glances over at her. "Why aren't you wearing your supposedly humorous deer hunting sleepwear?"
She traces his bicep with her fingernails. "Because I'm feeling sexy tonight?" She doesn't sound very convincing.
He sets the journal down on the bedside table. "Are you trying to insinuate that you'd like to have sexual intercourse this evening?"
"It really turns me on when you put it like that, Sheldon."
"Do you really want to have sex or are you attempting something more goal-oriented in order to precipitate labor?"
Damn him, he's read all the books, too.
"Does it really matter?" She kisses him at the hairline. One whiff of his skin and she's starting to get into the idea.
"I suppose not," he says, rolling over onto his side to face her. "Although I do wonder about the logistical issues your advanced pregnancy presents."
She struggles to sit up. "Hold that thought. I have to pee."
Sitting on the toilet, she looks down at her stomach and her mutant popped belly button. "Can't you just come out and spare us this agony?" she begs the baby.
She heaves herself back in bed. "Now, where were we?"
"You were attempting to convince me that we should have sex."
"I know, Sheldon," she sighs. "I may be pregnant but I'm not stupid."
"And we were about to discuss how we could accomplish such a feat."
"Couldn't we just improvise? I know it's not one of your strengths, but you seem to be able to do it when we're in bed."
"All right then." Sheldon turns off the lamp.
Kissing is good. It's something that she can still do and do well and Sheldon really excels in the kissing arena. He tastes pleasantly of Crest Tartar Control and his lips are nice and warm. Yeah, she might be able to do this after all.
Sheldon's hands find her breasts and at first it feels good, like it always does when he touches her. But then it's too much, it almost hurts to have her nipples to be touched. They're really sensitive now, filling with milk for the baby, no doubt. "Stop," she gasps. "That hurts."
"I'm attempting to be gentle," he says, sounding a bit offended.
"I know, I know, it's just that they're kind of sensitive right now."
"Fine," he huffs. "I'll try something else."
Stroking her clit is another thing Sheldon is a genius at doing and this is nice, she thinks, although she's surprised he can even find it under her belly. "Oh yeah," she sighs. "Keep going."
But instead of keeping going, he stops. "Oh, bizarre," he announces.
"The baby kicked, no doubt in response to the stimulus your body is currently experiencing."
She didn't even notice the kick. The baby kicks so much, even now when it's so large, that she barely even registers the kicks anymore.
"Just keep going," she says, almost begging.
"I don't find this particularly stimulating," he says. "I apologize. You know that I, in normal circumstances, find you to be arousing in the extreme, but..."
"I know," she says. She finds tears filling her eyes. "I'm huge and unsexy and the baby's kicking and I'm never, ever going to go into labor and I'll have to be induced, which will probably lead to a c-section and I'll have to be gutted open like a deer to get this damn baby out!"
To his credit, Sheldon gathers her in his arms. "Shh," he soothes in a way that she would never have believed possible years ago. "The baby will come, Penny. It's physically impossible to remain pregnant forever."
"I need your prostaglandins," she mutters. "Otherwise I will be pregnant forever. I'll be the first case. Maybe this is what happens when homo sapiens breeds with homo novus."
Sheldon has the good grace to laugh and kiss her on her forehead. "The baby will come in due time," he says. He shifts around in bed and bends his face to her belly. "Come on out, baby. Your mother's sanity demands it. And mine."
The baby kicks at the sound of his voice.
"When you come out your mother will sing to you and I'll introduce you to the many joys of the original series of Star Trek and you'll never miss a single Comic-Con."
She shuts her eyes, picturing the two of them pushing a stroller through the San Diego Convention Center, the baby in a tiny Starfleet uniform.
She wakes in the middle of the night. Sheldon is snoring, just a little, a whistling sound coming from his nose. She has to pee, again. And her back is hurting something awful.
While she's sitting on the toilet, the pain in her lower back spreads to her stomach and squeezes. She swears under her breath. It's probably indigestion from the enchiladas for dinner.
Two hours later, she shakes Sheldon awake. "Is the house on fire?" he mumbles.
"No," she says, doubling over with another contraction. "I'm in labor. It could be the real thing."
He sits up in bed, fully awake now. "Do we need to go to the hospital? Where did we place the bags? Did you leave the car keys in the bowl by the door?"
She laughs, the contraction finally subsiding. "Relax, Sheldon. It's probably going to be hours before we need to leave. If we need to leave at all. This could be false labor."
"Perhaps it would be safer if you were under constant medical monitoring."
"Women have been having babies since the dawn of time. I'll be fine." She's surprised at how calm she feels.
"What do we do now, then?" he asks.
"We could go downstairs, maybe burn some bagels, sit on the porch and watch the sun rise," she says. "And when it gets really bad, we go to the hospital."
"We could watch Star Trek," he says. "As positive reinforcement for the baby to emerge."
"That sounds like a plan," she says, looking for her slippers.
After all, this is Sheldon's child. It might actually work.