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Oh, the horror

October 21, 2011

Apparently, 24 is the week of unbridled anxiety. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m experiencing the inevitable letdown of ending a huge work project on Monday (successfully, thankfully), or the crappiness that was three days of digestion-related distress followed by going on five days of feeling under the weather, but whatever it is, the demons are out in force. I had my first official flash of feeling utterly horrified about the prospect of becoming a parent. You know: “What have I done?!?!” It passed quickly, followed by more moments of doubt and confusion, but the horror factor was greatly diminished.

Being sick has really put a damper on things. Everything feels so hard right now. It is overwhelming to think about caring for a little human while also doing all the other things that must be done. My body feels like it is changing more rapidly now. Even just this past week, I can tell Cletus is much bigger and stronger. There is more movement at all times of the day. While I still get a kick out of feeling those little bumps and twitches, this week they have become more insistent and hard to ignore. My belly is starting to get in the way. My lap is getting smaller. I keep finding food stains on my shirts. I had my first excruciating leg cramp. As if sleeping wasn’t hard enough, it’s become even more annoying with a stuffy nose. I really hope there isn’t a correlation between insomnia and difficulty birthing. I wonder if the relaxation required to sleep is the same as is required to dilate.

I should steer clear of TV births. I thought I could handle watching two this week because I felt armed with the Truth. But I admit to feeling a little shaken. Annoyed and sort of angry, but also shaken. On Parenthood, Christina’s water breaks, and it immediately turns into an emergency. Adam doesn’t make it to the hospital in time for the birth. Then, Adam and Crosby have to spend two days working 24/7 to get their business up and running for an important first client, leaving Christina alone to care for their new infant. While the birth was blown way out of proportion, what really bothered me about this scenario was that their entire, giant extended family practically attacked the the newly expanded family when they arrived home from the hospital, but not one person stayed to help after the lame and overwhelming photo-op. Christina was doing stairs and falling asleep on random surfaces, and neither of her retired in-laws could come hold the baby so she could take a freaking shower. The timing of the new business situation was also horrible, and I cringe at the thought of Darien having to put in similar long hours soon after the birth without the benefit of paternity leave. Owning our own business has its drawbacks, and keeping the doors open falls to the people in charge, regardless of what’s going on, personally. Yahtzee.

The second birth was on Up All Night, which I have really been enjoying since I laughed out loud all through the pilot. However, they made the birth into a typical hospital cascade of interventions, ending with a c-section. She goes in unprepared, unable to watch a video of a birth, but armed with an 18-page birth plan. Her doctor is not on call, so she gets a stranger. Her husband keeps asking if she wants an epidural, which she eventually agrees to and thinks is fantastic. The doctor tells her she has pushed too long, the head is too big, and she has to get a c-section. Then they have their baby and the dad decides that he will buck the trend at his law firm and take his full paternity leave, after all, because he is so in love with his new baby girl. Aaand scene. I don’t think the show needed the back story of how the baby arrived. It was doing great hitting all the right notes about negotiating ridiculous new parent situations. The whole episode felt like filler. TV births are inherently dramatic because they are written to be. Isn’t normal birth dramatic enough, on its own?

Back in reality, our childbirth class is going well. I like our teacher, and the other couples seem nice. We had to miss this week because of a work event, so I am looking forward to our next class on Monday. Although we have a binder and there is a syllabus, it feels pretty informal in a good way. Tanya has plenty of stories to tell, and although she is clearly an advocate for natural childbirth, she doesn’t come across as judgmental. She is pretty supportive of finding what works for you. Interestingly, she dispelled some fear of pitocin at our last class. She gave an example where using it (in a hospital setting where you’re on the clock from the minute you get there) could be exactly the right thing to do in order to prevent a c-section and get a vaginal birth if that’s what you want. A lot of the information is stuff I already know from my reading, but there is enough that is new to make it feel worth it. Plus, it is helpful to sit in a room with other pregnant couples who are going through the same thing you are. I am realizing what an incredible blessing it is that Brooke and I are pregnant at the same time. There really is no substitute for having someone to compare fresh notes with. I am starting to understand why mommy groups exist, even though I am loath to go out and actively find one.

I went to a book event the other day that was a complete disaster. I thought it was going to be more of a talk about the book, which is basically how to do small things to live greener without going completely insane with guilt and information overload. It turned out to be a chat-fest for the author and her friends. I ended up taking a free cupcake and leaving as soon as I could. I was not in the mood to schmooze, and I didn’t feel like buying the book right then and there. It was totally awkward, not least because I’m not a mom yet, and most of the women there had at least one kid already. It was at one of my new favorite stores, so I hope the people who work there don’t remember that I didn’t buy anything when we go back this weekend for their babywearing workshop. They specialize in baby wraps, slings, and carriers, as well as cloth diapers, and I really love their little store. Even though the staff seems nice, I feel a little on the outside, like I’m not a fully qualified member because my baby is still breathing amniotic fluid. I hope it will pass.

My last appointment with Kimm also went well. I always feel better after we see her. She has a calming, reassuring presence. She is going on vacation, so my next check-up won’t be until the middle of November, and I’ll have my glucose test after Thanksgiving. By the time I see her next, Cletus will have a 90% chance of surviving if born early!

Darien had an “it’s a boy” moment this week. I am still completely unconvinced by every prediction, even my own. I am mulling our names over. They are good names, but I’m trying to get used to the idea of how the three of our names would look together on, say, a Christmas card. This vision of becoming a family is starting to crystalize for me. We are going to work on our registry this weekend. While I still don’t think we need much of what the baby industry is selling, the baby in a drawer idea is quickly losing its charm. And, it turns out there is a crib that I can actually imagine having in our tiny apartment. Win.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    October 26, 2011 7:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing your dreams and imaginings! Helps a grandmother to be!

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