Midwife Clinic Questionnaire
How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
I collapsed on the floor and ugly cried. Full on shoulder-shaking sobs that I’m pretty sure were going to burst out of me no matter what answer that tiny strip held.
I put off taking the test for as long as I could because I wasn’t ready for either answer. In those days of waiting, my mind performed feats worthy of quantum theory, managing to exist in two perfectly equal and opposing states at the same time. Happiness and fear. Wanting and dreading. Relief and worry. Knowledge and denial.
It is still doing that. Perhaps it’s a prelude to parenthood?
Was this pregnancy planned?
We’ve been talking about the kid question for a long time. I’ve personally struggled with the decision practically my whole life. Parenthood has never called to me, despite everyone telling me it eventually would. I still find puppies more appealing than babies, though I assume some sort of exception will apply to our own kid. So without that internal biological clock pushing me, it came down to a logical decision. And as much as the thought of having a child scared the crap out of us, ultimately we couldn’t quite picture our lives without one either.
How have you felt so far with this pregnancy?
Like I was run over by a hormone truck that then backed up over me again a few more times.
It’s been a strange ride so far and I have a feeling it’ll only get stranger, but I am gradually learning to trust my body, mostly because I have no other choice. Like the arrogant human that I am, I have, until now, completely taken for granted the amazing miracles my body performs every moment of every day I’m alive: things like cleaning my blood and delivering oxygen and finely tuning my hormones practically to the molecule. Making new cells to do those things is hardly more miraculous, but any semblance of control or predictability I once held is now gone. My body is rearranging itself to do something totally new and I have no choice but to go along for the ride. It’s a little disconcerting to say the least. Also, the back acne is gross.
Are you going to start writing in your blog again, or can I finally delete it from my reader?*
Maybe. No. I DON’T KNOW.
Seriously guys, I can’t decide what to do with this space. I’m increasingly uncomfortable writing in a public space but am not quite ready to officially call it quits. I’m proud of what I’ve written here and I love that there are a handful of you who read it. I’d like to keep going in some form.
Maybe the answer is a password protected blog. Maybe it’s stripping the blog of more identifiable details (like my face). Or maybe I just need to leave the writing to those who are actually dedicated enough to do it regularly.
I’ll let you know when I know. In the meantime, I understand if grey&shiny gets the boot in your spring cleaning. I do love a good uncluttering.
*This wasn’t actually on the midwife clinic questionnaire (I would have been a little panicked if it had been) but I thought I should attempt to answer it anyway.
I’ve had babies on the brain lately, probably because nearly every conversation with my friends, both in person and online, somehow comes around to babies eventually. And turning thirty was a giant reminder that I can’t keep putting this decision off forever.
On paper, I probably shouldn’t have children. Despite having ovaries, I’m really not the type:
1. I don’t find babies all that cute and I fear that might be essential to being able to put up with their desperate, never-ending needs. In fact, I would rather hold a porcupine than a newborn – those things look like uncooked sausage.
2. As an only child, I grew accustomed to sweet, sweet uninterrupted quiet. For hours – days even! Oh glorious quiet.
3. I am somewhat temperamental. And by ‘somewhat’ I mean ‘really, very.’
4. I don’t do well with sleep deprivation. It seriously amplifies problem #3.
5. I also can’t seem to be able to nap effectively to compensate for sleep deprivation. It takes me forever to fall asleep and I wake up sweaty, disoriented, and you guessed it, with more of problem #3.
6. I don’t like kid things. This includes kid songs, television shows, cheap gigantic plastic toys, gigantic plastic toys that make noise, gigantic plastic toys that were assembled by orphans in China, and gigantic plastic toys that ruin the clean IKEA-like aesthetic of my home. I know what you’re thinking – just don’t buy gigantic plastic toys! Problem solved. Well clearly you haven’t been to a 6-year old’s birthday party lately (lucky you). Turns out this is the opportunity for everyone you have ever wronged (even just by inviting them to this party) to exert their revenge by giving your kid the loudest, biggest, tackiest shit they can find at Toys’R'Us. And all you can do is stand helplessly by while your kid falls in love with their new full-size, pink, plastic Barbie guitar that belts out “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…”
7. I’m really scared of being pregnant. And of giving birth. And of breastfeeding. And of taking care of a TINY HELPLESS HUMAN BEING. Seriously, I hear they let you just walk out of the hospital with the baby! Don’t they realize I don’t know anything?!
So case closed right? Let’s just tie up my tubes and start drawing up plans for the wine cellar that we can build now that we won’t need any room for gigantic plastic toys!
Umm… just one thing though – I think I kind of might want to have a baby.
Ok, I’ll wait till you stop screaming “Nooooooooooooo crazy lady!!! I just read your list up there! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, why would you DO THAT?!?!”
Done now? Ok.
Well, as with most things, you can blame our dog.
Getting a puppy, while not really like having children, introduces you to some of the essential elements: being responsible for another life, doing what is best for them rather than what you might prefer, finding activities that let them come along, and learning to deal with the (usually unwanted) advice and judgement of those around you.
But the most important thing about getting a puppy wasn’t learning that we could rise to the challenge of caring for another being – it was the shocking realization that we might actually want to. That there might be something in it for us.
[This next part is slightly too sentimental for me to admit to for real, so please just let your eyes glance over it, hold back your gavomit, and then let us never speak of it again.]
Our life and the things we do are enriched so much by the shared experience of watching this creature learn, have fun, and experience the world. The thought of that being our child makes me finally realize why someone might be willing to put up with everything that parenting entails.
[Whew, ok done. Sorry about that.]
The concept that children bring joy to your life as well as bodily fluids and gigantic plastic toys probably isn’t new to most of you, but for me, this was an honest-to-goodness, eye-opening realization. Sure I had heard tales of it but I thought it was sort of like wedding Zen – a promise that would never quite deliver for me, even if it does for lots of other people. I had to catch a glimpse of it myself before I believed it.
That being said, I am obviously still scared shitless. I’m scared of not being able to conceive, I’m scared of conceiving and then having a miscarriage, and most of all, I’m scared of conceiving and then being pregnant and then having a baby.
My point is, we’re not quite there yet but we’re starting to think that ‘there’ might be somewhere we want to be.
P.S. The title of this post is a reference to this hilarious book. It makes me cackle in my bed at night.
So I’m 30 today. Yay! Though I have to admit I’m not in my best ‘yay-30’ state of mind.
I’m not having a third-life crisis or anything – the aging part of things is not exactly what has me down. I think I actually hit my noticeable-aging dip back at 25. That’s right around when I stopped being ID’d at the liquor store. Like one day it just stopped – I wondered if my face had actually fallen. It’s also when a slowing metabolism caught up with me and I added a bit of extra padding around the hips and waist, though luckily wedding-induced stress got that totally under control (and only at the price of limiting the enjoyment of my own wedding!). I developed aches where no aches were before and said aches took longer to heal. Dark days they were.
Besides this gradual slide into decrepitude, I’ve managed to keep my body mostly intact. I probably look better now than throughout most of my life, having finally discovered ways to make the best of my flat hair and makeup that doesn’t immediately slick off my face. I’ve also managed to find a pretty good balance of eating well while maintaining my enjoyment of cheese and wine, my face is still more bothered by acne than wrinkles (though having to deal with both absolutely blows), and since I dye my hair, I’m blissfully ignorant of any grey hair.
So aging shmaging I say. Been there done that, ready for more.
It is its closely correlated cousin – the growing up – that has me not quite feeling the ‘yay-30’ at the moment. It reliably causes people to move, build their own families, find busy careers, shift their priorities, and have babies. It’s all just so damn rude.
Last night I found out my two closest friends will not be home for Christmas. It’s the first time in all the years they’ve been living across the country. Even as we all started to drift onto paths that made other visits during the year tougher, I always thought I could count on Christmas as the one time of year we get to cozy up for quality time to reconnect. The realization that this was no longer a given was a real wake-up call.
Things are already changing and we haven’t even introduced the true game-changer into the picture yet. Hint: it poops and screams and leaves your body a fun-house-mirror version of what it used to be. From what I hear at least. And speaking of which, my sister-in-law just announced she’s pregnant (the other already has kids), which just leaves John and I as the targets of all future baby-making questions and rising eyebrows and lets-see-if-she-drinks-wine glances at the dinner table. My response: fingers in ears, la-la-la-la-la-la-la. Oh hand me the wine will you? La-la-la-la-la-la. Yeah, just pass the whole bottle. La-la-la-la-la-la.
All this growing up business means a different landscape on this birthday. My plans to celebrate with my friends, who are spread far and wide living busy lives with their careers and their partners, have thus far not panned out. I am still hoping to head out for a belated dancing night at the end of the month if we can find a weekend that works.
But in the meantime, there was no damn way I was letting this birthday pass by without a party – it’ll just be a very exclusive party of me and John. In Vegas. We’ll be partying it up there by tonight.