Attention, pregnant women and new moms. I have fabulous news for you. For the next 10 minutes, you have nothing, absolutely nothing, that you need to learn or decide about. Forget about breast versus bottle, epidural, hypnosis, home births, circumcision, VBAC, bonding methods, or the latest birthing choices of celebrities, ranging from water birth (sounds dreamy) to “silent birth” (oh, please). It amazes me that, after decades of fighting so hard to keep birthing relatively simple and natural, things have gotten quite complicated. Now, there are all kinds of decisions to make. I studied the latest birth trends, but when I got to the literature on placental choices, I started to feel a little queasy. And I’m not even pregnant.
Instead, I’m going to tell you my weird pregnancy stories from years ago, which have absolutely no redeeming value. You’re welcome.
I was quite young with my first pregnancy. I loved that baby long before I laid eyes on her. I didn’t “show” very much through most of the pregnancy, and one day, while I was waiting for the bus en route to my cashier’s job in Bridgeport, Conn., a guy in a passing car whistled and called out to me. You see why this is so wrong? Exactly. No one should ever live in Bridgeport, Conn. Anyway, for some reason, I felt like the Madonna (religious figure, not the singer with the pointy, metal boob costume) and was insulted that a stranger would view me as sexy in my sixth month. I took it as a personal assault on my admittedly shaky virtue.
I got over it, kept growing a baby, and gave birth via Lamaze and God, no thanks to the kind staff who asked me what I was doing as I pant-blowed my way through transition. I loved and held tightly to that baby girl and believe me, I would do that today if it weren’t for the fact that she and her husband and kids live in North Carolina and I’d need exceptionally long arms to hold her.
With my second baby, I had back labor. The baby was facing the wrong way, so her adorable, little tiny spine was pressing against mine for most of the labor, causing many nasty words to come from my mouth toward anyone who came within a couple of miles of me. This child of mine, now grown and whose most frequently uttered phrase is “Mom-I-Think-I’m-Lost,” finally straightened herself around during hard labor. She must have read the sign in there that said, “Turn here,” and in two good contractions, she shot right out. No “Please,” no “May I?” – just boom, like a trucker making up time after a traffic tie-up. We chatted about it afterward, in gleeful nonverbal communication, and she let me know she’d meant no harm, so all was forgiven and she and I had a great time in the hospital, having milk and cookies and playing Scrabble.
During my third pregnancy, I had a vivid dream one night that I gave birth to a sausage, and not just any old sausage. This one was the kind you see in Italian markets of Boston’s North End, wrapped in whitish gauzy cloth and twine. This dream was particularly disturbing because 1., I’m not even Italian, and although I like good pizza, I’m not big into sausage because of those occasional little grizzly pieces that are just disgusting; and 2., when I awoke from the dream, in the middle of the night, I had a huge craving for beef. I pulled a steak from the freezer, and in the morning, cooked it up for breakfast (apologies to vegetarians). I felt like I was on the set of “Rosemary’s Baby.” This sausage-dream child turned out to be, in fact, a boy who likes hamburgers. So draw your own conclusions. I mean about the whole Italian thing. Which he is not. My labor with him was induced, which is just no fun at all, but after he came out, we snuggled a lot and discussed politics.
Well, time’s up. I hope you enjoyed your break. And I hope you end up with awesome little humans, as I did, and give them lots of hugs and kisses. That’s one choice you can cross off your list.
That part will be simple.
P.S. Silent birth??