Labour of Love

This is a serious one.

For the first time in my pregnancy I’m scared. Scratch that – I’m petrified. Up until now my emotions have been even-keeled, and I’ve managed to maintain my sense of humour, but something’s switched around and I’m all over the place. I think I’ve just been on a preggy hormone high, but what goes up must come down – right?

We’ve been going to antenatal classes, and the first one was awesome. We learnt so much cool stuff, like what my pelvis is capable of, and how lying on your back makes it pretty difficult to give birth. The process is by no means graceful; it’s primal. And I’m OK with that. My hubby’s eyes were like saucers at the end and I thought that was hilarious.

This week though, we went to our second class, and it was my turn to be all wide-eyed. The midwife discussed the various stages of labour, using very tasteful visual aids to show what happens to your body as you progress. And cartoons that show what your facial expression looks like: from smiley, to serious, to grim, to dying a thousand deaths at once, to peaceful. No gory stuff, which I was grateful for.

Only thing is, she threw around words like “thrashing contractions”.

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Let me give you some time to process that.

Thrashing. Contractions.

Thrashing.

It was at that point that something in my mind switched. All the images I had of a peaceful labour just vanished, and I began to seriously doubt my ability to give birth naturally, without the assistance of drugs.

I react badly to pain and helplessness. For example, I remember needing to be held down to get an injection when I was about 10-years old. And then, on my 22nd birthday, I apparently attacked some helpful paramedics who were trying to get me out of my car after I’d had an accident.

Somehow I hadn’t considered this aspect of my personality in relation to childbirth. Then when she said “thrashing”, it all came crashing in.

So now, I have 9 weeks to get my head together and stop freaking out. In my mind I know that the baby has to come out, and that logistically this can be tricky, but I also know that us women have been doing this for years.

Unfortunately, this rationale is all only in my mind. In my heart I’m unsettled. I’m not proud to admit it, but every time I hear something dumb like “Save the beaver; have a Caesar” or “Why go through the basement if you can go through the penthouse?” I recoil inside and question my decision to go natural.

I think what I’m really afraid of is being in the moment, and not being able to cope. If I’m 100% honest with myself, I’m not 100% sure I can do this.

A001211-Brain Heart Stamp

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Fear and Loathing in the Layette Aisle

I’ve been off the radar for a few days. My dad turned 70 and our family got together for the first time in nearly six years. I guess our time in Dullstroom is worth a blogpost in itself, what with veld fires, five children and an impressive array of whiskey (none of which are related). BUT, there’s something more pressing on my mind.

Preparing a gift registry for our baby shower. Egad.

When the hub and I got married, we went to a home store and zapped a bunch of cool stuff with those scanner guns. We didn’t really have a plan, just tagged things we thought were rad. Like a shiny red toaster, martini glasses, and three different sets of measuring spoons. These ‘essential’ items are now respectively broken, broken and passed on (because I don’t bake).

Point being that for the baby registry, I’d be damned before I went in blind. So I spoke to my mum, took an inventory of what we have already, and read some enlightening blogs. Armed with lists and recommendations, hubby and I sauntered into Baby City ready to breeze through without any issues. After five minutes, and some heavy breathing of the very unsexy kind, we had to get an assistant to help us.

While my hub compared the specs of three identical-but-completely-different colic drops, muttering: “This place is getting to me. I think I’m getting the Fear” I had to ask some fascinating questions:

  • Ummm bottle teats come in different girths…?
  • So do you need to measure my nipples?
  • Which bum cream is the right bum cream?
  • What do you mean some kids don’t take to pacifiers?
  • How can we tell which of these nasal aspirators is a good one?
  • What’s a nasal aspirator?
  • Will this sippy cup really ‘stimulate and assist’ our child’s development? Really?
  • Can we get one of these in anything other than cheerleader pink or jock-strap blue?
  • What do you mean cracked nipples???

After 45 minutes of barely contained panic we called it quits, my precious list long forgotten. We had a good look at the other baby registry trolleys on our way out, and to our despair they were filled with carefully considered combinations of very important-looking baby things.

What if we chose the wrong feeding mat? What if our child develops a speech impediment because of a hastily chosen spoon? What if our lack of infant merchandise savvy causes us to raise a morally defunct human? It seems that we might already have failed as parents before we’ve even had our first intoxicating whiff of baby smell.

I still don’t know what half those very important things in our trolley are for, but hopefully once we have the little one our instincts will kick in and all will be clear.

On the upside, apart from the placatory post-registry ice cream, the day’s saving grace was that my hub found a gigantic carabiner (he really likes carabiners), and a baby sun hat that reminds him of Raoul Duke.

Baby stores, no thanks? Impossible to walk in this muck; no footing at all.

Pregnancy: The Fine Print

When I fell pregnant I was looking forward to 9 months of glowing bliss. I was all set for a juicy bust line, and at the worst, an adorkably cute bout of preggy brain.

Hah!

This is what I got instead:

All the gas

If you watch Rick and Morty you’ll understand how distracting it is when someone’s every second word is a burp. My husband thinks it’s hilarious. I think it’s ridiculous. The worst thing is getting so comfortable with it at home that I forget to censor myself in polite company, like when I’m at the shops, or talking to our landlady, or in meetings with clients.

Apparently when I wake up I sound like a herd of gremlins having an argument. Honesty’s so important in a marriage.

Shrinking boobs

I know right? Clearly I have no manner of luck when it comes to the genetic lottery. A colleague, whose French ballerina wife is pregnant, says that for the first 6 months her boobs kept growing, then her tummy popped… For me, not so much. There was one heady month when I needed to buy new bras, (oh what a month that was!) then, as if to mock me, the girls receded to pre-preggie size, and dug their heels in.

Unbelievable.

Feeling like a haggis

So it makes sense that growing a baby makes you heavy, but when you experience it that’s another story. At the moment, I feel like I’m full of cement. I try to get off the couch and it’s not graceful. When I ask the hub for a hand he pulls me halfway up, then gently drops me back down, sniggering. He says I’m like a tortoise on my back.

While we’re talking about ungainly, there’s no point in even attempting lace up shoes after 6 months. Imagine a T-Rex trying to pick a blade of grass. Look past the poor T-Rex and you’ll see my husband doubled up with laughter. That guy.

Thinking about food all the time

On the up side, I’ve searched my heart and found that I do have a valid reason to motorboat my way through more food than other people. I’m like a magician. You see that croissant? Hehe, not for long. Fortunately I’ve hade more aversions than cravings, and the food I do want is mostly all good. Carrot cake is good – right?

So yep. What with ensmallening boobs, awkward clumsiness, and a general sense of ‘everything’s about to fall out’ I don’t always feel that glow. I do get a shine though, when my oh-so-tactful man bends down and talks to the belly. Nothing beats that feeling.

 

Nothing.

Ground Zero

I never expected to be 33, bulbous with child and happy about it. But here I am, glowing and gassy, due Jan 3 2015.

Bump

By trade, I’m a writer – if you can even call that a trade – but in my heart I’m still a reckless 20-year old looking for animals in the clouds. Sound familiar? Meh, we’re legion.

Thing is, I somehow survived my 20s, and now that I’m all high on pregnancy hormones, I’m looking forward to a new adventure that I never thought would be part of my plan.

It’s not that I never wanted to have children, it’s just that I wasn’t particularly broody. When people went nuts over baby photos I wasn’t interested. But then slowly, and completely without my permission, by body started to soften me up to the idea. It wasn’t so much an upholstery-clad Marissa Tomei stamping her foot at Vinny, but more of a gradual realigning to all things maternal.

I’m still not much of a baby cooer, but I’m so excited to meet this little one I get all teared up sometimes. I mean look: it’s a real human. Fist bumping even!

Thumper

I guess this blog will be a place for me to talk about my feels, and the stuff that goes through my mind. Like dogs, and beards, and food.