Monthly Archives: November 2011

On Babies

Dear Annie,

Lately, I have been having some trouble with the idea of where we get the baby. In childbirth class, we watched some videos, and in those videos, the baby slides out of the mother. Last week, Jason and I happened upon the birth scene in Knocked Up, and when the baby slid out, I started crying. Jason was like, “Are you crying because you’re happy? Because you’re scared?” And I was like, “I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M CRYING DON’T YOU JUST PICK UP THE BABY AT THE HOSPITAL?”

I know there is a baby in there. I feel her moving around all the time. Today, for example, I have felt appendages sliding by, I have felt feet in my ribs. What I do not understand is that the baby comes out of me. I feel like, lately, in my mind, childbirth is like this:

  • I get a bad stomachache. I stay at home with the bad stomachache. Jason tries to help me feel better.
  • The stomachache gets worse, so we go to the hospital. It’s the worst stomachache of all time. My midwives are there, and they are being very nice to me. I take a bath. Jason tries to help me feel better.
  • I make some cow sounds and roll around, just for fun. My stomach feels better, and now I’m just clowning for everyone. We’ve been sitting around for hours, so someone’s gotta be the entertainer.
  • We sit around and wait, and then finally someone brings in our baby. I’m not sure where they get our baby — Maybe she comes in on a special helicopter? They have a landing pad on the roof! —  but they get her and bring her to us.
  • We are really excited. The baby fills us with love. I start to breastfeed her and the big belly I’ve gotten the last few months deflates like a balloon (but not all the way).
  • We go home. I have been told we will never sleep again.

Jason keeps saying something about a stork, but I’m not a little kid anymore. I know how babies are made, and I’m not buying the stork thing. I’m not stupid. My friend Rachel is a nurse, and she said you can have FedEx deliver the baby right to your door. I feel like the hospital scenario is more authentic, though, so I think we’ll stick with that.

It’s not that I’m afraid of childbirth. It’s just that…there is some disconnect in my mind to the baby I feel moving around and then the one I get to take home. I feel very connected to the one in my stomach (YES I KNOW IT’S REALLY MY UTERUS), but I can’t imagine that one sliding out of me.

It’s no secret that I don’t really like babies. To me, all babies are the same. When my nephew Max was born and friends wanted to see pictures, I was like, “Google image search ‘caucasian newborn.’ He looks exactly like that.” They look the same, and they cry if you hold them for too long and you are not their mom. But I don’t think that’s it either. I think I will like my baby just fine.

I for one am just excited to find out how the hospital does it.

Annie, do YOU know how it happens?

Love,
Amy

Dear Amy,

I too find it more than a little distressing to ponder this whole “birth” shebang.  One time a few years ago I had trichinosis and I spent a lot of my free hours laying on the cool tile of my bathroom floor and thinking about the little dudes knocking around in my intestines.  I fever-dreamed them into a primitive society, like a kingdom of sea monkeys, and I wondered if they knew that I was out here.  Do they understand that I am their planet?  Do they venerate me as an all-powerful diety?  Do they know that they are making me vomit?  Do you think the baby knows you are out there?  Do you think she feels bad about making you vomit?

For my own part I have been trying really hard to make certain that your baby will know me once she turns from a formless magical lump into a person.  Every time I see you, I first say hello to you (and Jason, sometimes) and then I say hello to the baby.  “HELLO BABY”, I yell into your belly, and then I attempt to coax her out of her amniotic slumber.  For four months I have been doing this, with nary a reply.  Yesterday, after months of fruitless handplacing and gentle pressing and less gentle poking (all borne very patiently by you, Amy), I was delighted to finally have my greeting returned with a tiny, tiny kickpunch.  OMG THERE’S SOMETHING IN THERE.  And it tried to hit me.

Love,
Annie

Dear Annie,

You are very sweet with the baby. You have been that way since you found out, and I hope you know how much that means to me. You talk to her all the time, and not the way most people do, where they’re basically pretending to talk to the baby to entertain ME. You really get in there, and most of the time I can’t even hear what you’re saying to her, but I bet it’s nice. It was a very happy moment for me last night when the baby attacked you.

I don’t think she knows I’m out here, but that’s a really interesting idea. I don’t think she knows much, just movement and noise and quiet and hiccups. I called her dumb the other day (because, you know, in a manner of speaking she is) and my eight-year-old niece got really mad at me for calling my own baby stupid. KIDS ARE THE WORST.

YOU are the best, though.

Love,

Amy

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Annie Won’t Post.

Amy: when are we POSTING — i’m gonna get real annoying about that, btw.
Annie: sorry dude, they just fired someone at my work and now i’m going to be getting trained on his stuff and I don’t have any down time to think up funny things.  😦
Amy: no worries
we just need to post EVERY WEEK
OR THE BABY DIES
AND THEN IT’S A WHOLE DIFFERENT BLOG
Annie: NO IT DOESNT, AMY.
OMG DOES IT??
Amy: YES IT DOES IT’S LIKE WHEN YOU HAVE TO CLAP FOR TINKERBELL
Annie: OMG OMG I’M KILLING THE BABY
—————————————————————————–
Once again proving that Annie knows nothing about pregnancy.

On Carbohydrates

Dear Amy,

As you may know, I have been lately overcome by an all-consuming desire for pizza.  This was brought on mostly by a physician mandated diet revamp, where she was all “maybe stop eating gluten, because I heard all the cool doctors are doing it?  And what the hell, let’s just throw dairy on that list as well, because I know how cheese is your favorite thing ever and also remember that I hate you.”

After two depressingly pizza-less months I am pleased to report that the ban on cheese has lifted.  So yesterday I walked, nay, DANCED over to Aubree’s Pizza and ordered a 12″ spinach, artichoke and olive pizza with cheese and a gluten-free crust.  It was utterly delightful.

Washed it down with a glass of, I kid you not, ED HARDY white wine.  Unsurprisingly, it was kind of gross.  But how could I not order it?  It’s this same kind of pioneering spirit that led me to try Kid Rock’s “American Badass Lager” and Dan Akroyd’s crazy vodka that comes in a glass skull and let me tell you, friend, they completely met my lowered expectations.  It’s too bad you’re incubating that fetus and its parasitic carrot twin or we could share in these booze experiments together.

Love,
Annie

Dear Annie,

Pregnant women are encouraged to eat whatever they want. They are encouraged to indulge their cravings because, you never know, it is PROBABLY because your fetus needs calcium to grow bones and stuff that you are craving pizza. People say, “You’re eating for two.” That’s true, although one of the two is the size of a cabbage, and probably doesn’t need to share an entire pizza with you.

Last week, at my midwife appointment, I saw a new midwife. The place where I’m going has three midwives and two doctors. You see your “main” person — mine is a lovely woman named Elaine who I often feel compelled to hug (but haven’t) — and then as you near your delivery, you get appointments with all the other women at the practice, because, birth plans be damned, the baby makes the birth plan, and you can have a baby on anyone’s watch.

The last time I saw Elaine, I had gained twenty-five pounds, which, she assured me, was “totally normal.” “Totally normal” are two of Elaine’s favorite words. This is probably a big reason why I want to hug her all the time. Hemorrhoids that bleed just because? Totally normal. A feeling that your stomach is going to burst open, Alien-style? Totally normal. Googling “how do you know if the baby’s dead inside you” repeatedly? Totally normal.

So last week, I met with Cheryl. I liked her right away. But then something happened. It didn’t make me not like her, it just made my world crumble a little, no biggie. She told me I had gained thirty pounds. I nodded enthusiastically and said something about that being “totally normal.” She paused, and then said, “Well, to be honest, that’s a totally normal amount of weight to gain over the course of your entire pregnancy, but you’ve still got a little over a month to go.”

I made some comment about how I hadn’t really been “feeling” the veggies too much lately, and that all I was really THAT interested in eating was bread and cheese. She smiled politely and told me that carbs were great, but that carbs make big babies. Veggies make seven or eight pound babies. Carbs make nine or ten pound babies.

This is advice that makes sense in the most unfortunate way possible, by which I mean to say: It makes sense, but it’s not going to change my eating habits all that much. It’s just going to make me really, really mad at myself while I am trying to push that ten pound baby out without drugs. The whole hindsight being 20/20 thing hasn’t changed in my “new” life. In my old life, that translated to a lot of hangovers. In my new one, it translates to a watermelon coming out of a snake hole.

So guess what, Annie? I’m glad you’re having pizza again, I really am!

And I’m glad you are drinking weird alcohols too. I miss that. I don’t miss it half as much as I thought I would (anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy a drink or five), but I miss it. More than that, though, I’m SO TIRED of having to soberly make conversation with people.

I also still miss pooping. At least, pooping the way that regular people poop.

Love,
Amy

On (Not) Being Alone, and Pants

Dear Annie,

You know what’s neat? Being pregnant. I have two hearts, four lungs, twenty toes, four eyes; you get the picture. I have a little girl growing inside me. She moves around in there. Yesterday, I heard a loud noise, and then I actually felt her jump. Also, people are always telling you how great you look. I feel like I am walking around in some sort of a fat suit, but all day people talk about how I’m glowing and looking great. I know that after the baby comes my lustrous and shiny pregnancy hair will fall out and my skin will stop glowing and I’ll have tired eyes and under my clothes my nipples will be bleeding. That’s probably when  you NEED to hear that you’re looking great, but no one says it then. They say it when you’re pregnant, and, in my case at least, feeling pretty awesome. I don’t mind the fat suit. I find my Fred Flintstone feet hilarious. I’m pregnant! I’m making another human being. No big deal.

One thing that I have learned, and did not expect, is how much people hate to hear pregnant women complain. I mean, they HATE it. When someone asks how it’s going and I — god forbid — do not answer THE WORLD IS FULL OF SPARKLING PUPPIES WITH UNICORN HORNS FOR TAILS I AM BRINGING FORTH LIFE! I AM BRINGING FORTH LIFE FROM MINE OWN WOMB!, and instead mention being tired a lot or how hemorrhoids sometimes bleed just because or the flames that come up from my stomach when I eat, they’re all, “Well, it’s all for good reason, though, isn’t it?” or something like that. As though, in mentioning my gas problems, I am implying that, given the choice, I would opt to lose both the gas AND THE BABY because it’s all too much bother.

What I have learned is that the only people you can complain to are people who are your very close friends who have had babies and people who GOT you pregnant. (AND ON YOUR BLOG, dammit.)

What was I talking about? I had a point to this, but I can’t remember what it was. That’s another thing. Pregnancy brain. I forget a lot of stuff. I make a lot of trips up and down stairs at work because I go up there to get something, get distracted, and come back down without said thing BUT ANNIE I AM NOT COMPLAINING IT IS AWESOME TO GET EXERCISE AND TO BE PREGNANT.

Love,
Amy

PS As there is no real point to this letter, I’m not certain how you will respond to it. I’m sure you’ll come up with something, though.

Dear Amy,
That does sound neat, but also exceedingly weird.  Aside from the whole parasitic alien face-hugger vibe, the idea of never being alone (EVER, even when you’re by yourself) is a tad unsettling.  It is the opposite of what my life has become.  I live alone, I spend a lot of my free time alone, I get squirrelly when I have to be social past my predetermined tolerance levels.  I do get lonely from time to time, but really, it isn’t so bad.  It makes for good blogging.  It is also a RELIEF.  I believe that I may have at some point in my social adulthood garnered a reputation for quiet unselfconsciousness.  This reputation is wholly undeserved.  I am, in fact, highly self-conscious, and only achieve this seeming cool reserve by striving mightily to appear as if I do not give a shit.  Oh but I do, Amy, I do.  I expect to be judged every moment I spend in the sight of another human being, and therefore any relief I can get from this constant low-level paranoia is a welcome respite.  So I live alone.  Frequently I am also pantsless.  That’s just an added bonus.  Waistbands are the devil.

 


I’m sure you can relate, being all bulge-y down there.  Any time you’d like to get together and kvetch about the restrictiveness of pants, let me know.  During this time you may also feel free to complain about pregnancy to your heart’s content.  I will gladly listen, as, I’m sure you well know, no one would be more receptive to hearing about how gross it is to be pregnant than me, your happily childless friend.

Love,
Annie

Dear Annie,

Now I know what I’m getting  you for your birthday. Maternity jeans. They are my latest crusade. They are yoga pants on top, and jeans on the bottom. They are the inverse-mullet of the pants world. Also, they are SUPER flattering, because instead of belt loops and buttons around your middle, where you want to APPEAR slim, there is nothing but a thin piece of fabric. You’ll never want to take them off. They’re like wearing your pajamas at work.

The only cure I have found to self-consciousness is pregnancy, I’m sorry to tell you. I honestly just do not care what people think anymore. Pregnancy has made me super selfish. Jason likes to put it more gently, as Jason is wont to do, by saying that pregnancy has “helped [me] separate the wheat from the chaff.”

I used to be shy, and then in my early twenties I determined that being shy SUCKS, and so I worked on overcoming it. In my case, I often went over to a dark side where I felt the need to talk as much as possible when people were quiet. Just, you know, WHATEVER CAME INTO MY HEAD. This does not make for successful conversation, and so I spent a great deal of time after social interactions being convinced that I had offended everyone I’d spoken to in one way or another. This is tiresome and unproductive, and it stayed with me even after I learned to sometimes just be quiet.

Then I got knocked up, and everything changed. I very much doubt this is an exchange that has ANY useful advice for you. Sorry, pal.

Love,
Amy

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