Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just over 24 hours to go.

Birth is supposed to be this beautiful, random event that happens how, when, and sometimes even where nature intends it to. The supporting cast should be a deliberately chosen ensemble of loved and trusted people whose presence makes the introduction of a new life to the world all the richer. The mother should let her body take control, and should both trust her instincts and release herself to an experience that countless others have surrendered to successfully over eons past. In other words, there shouldn't be nine extra strangers in the room, and no one should set a timer for when all this shit is supposed to go down.

I'm not going to sugar-coat, and I certainly won't ascribe blame (although I'm feeling especially shitty towards a lot of completely innocent doctors), but this whole situation is making me feel really robbed of a lot of what makes childbirth what it is. My soft-focus ideal of a birth is definitely not the mainstream, much like my dream wedding was really nothing like the standard that little girls grow up expecting, but it sure as hell was never anything like this. Last night I slept pretty horribly (and not just because you kept kicking my ribs, which was admittedly cool), and I woke up feeling hazy and depressed. I should be nesting, basking, and glowing in maternal joy, damn it! I shouldn't be panicking about the IV I know I'll need to get, the escalating interventions that seem inevitable because your birth is being forced before you're ready to make it happen on your own, and the pain that I know will be worse and harder to manage because of the dual factors of unwanted chemicals and my own stubbornness. We're both being robbed of the chance to let nature do it's thing, and I'm frankly really pissed off.

Sure, I'm upset at all the people around me who have overshared their opinions about how this experience should be (whether that be telling me how sad it is that things have to go this way, jumping to the conclusion that I'll end up with a C-section just because this is a planned birth, or openly lamenting the interventions that I literally have no control over), and sure I'm devastated that you are going to be born right into some crappy episode of a medical drama, but damn it...there's no surprise. I will need an IV for antibiotics, will almost definitely received synthetic hormones to accelerate or start labor, and having that IV present means I will almost definitely end up with some kind of pain medication (both because pitocin just makes for shittier contractions, and because if there is a needle already there, there is no excuse of trying to avoid another needle to stop me from getting some pain relief that I might otherwise justify avoiding). You will be born either Thursday, January 26th or Friday, January 27th (which would mean well over 24 hours in labor, so let's aim for NOT that). You will be taken by neonatal and cardiac specialists for a slew of tests pretty much immediately after you pop out. Your Dad will leave me in the delivery room to go off with you, which is why we have a doula so I'm not left alone. I may get as much as a few minutes of contact with you immediately after you are born, but only if you are conspicuously in really good shape right off the bat.

For someone who generally hates surprises and loves anal-retentive plans, I'm having a really damn hard time with this. I'm losing days, if not weeks of having you safely wriggling around inside me. It's really hard to remove myself from the fact that medical science is ultimately depriving me of a good chunk of time when my body can keep you safe, growing, and (I can only assume from all the swirling around) happy. You may never be safer than you are right now; I will never be able to protect you so completely. I spent most of the day feeling sort of numb, not because I'm scared (which I am, but so abstractly that it really doesn't count) but because I can't bring myself to accept that your birth is going down this way.

What do we do to cope? Your Dad is taking tomorrow off so we can just take things slow, tie up loose ends, print out what plans we hope we can have any control over once we get to the hospital, and enjoy some last quiet moments together. Control freaks don't let go easily, and this is just about all we can do. What have we retained? Well, we've kept your name (which will only legally be Batman if our pretty much set in stone name just isn't right - but I'm almost positive it will be, so hopefully that much is moot) a secret from just about everyone. That's our one last bastion of personal retention. I'm kind of ticked off that your Dad's parents actually guessed the name (his mother thinks she came up with it, but she totally didn't), but they don't know that. We did a good job covering up and saying "hmm, yeah, we thought about that..." when she mentioned it initially, but I know there will be some smugness when we announce it.

I'll tell you where the name REALLY came from soon. For now, I'm going to let myself be reassured by the really nice conversation/planning session I just had with our doula, and we're getting Chinese food for dinner. There is just about nothing as comforting as take-out from a long-time favorite local dive. It's really damn weird knowing pretty much exactly when you'll be showing up, but at least it's letting us plan out meals and activities so we strategically spend our last baby-free moments doing things we love.

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