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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4 thoughts on “On Babies

  1. Maria says:

    I haven’t the foggiest what really happens in any of my lady parts, EVER. That being said, I just hope you don’t have an experience like Judith in “The Kingdom”.

  2. Maria says:

    Uhhh, yep.

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