Monday, January 9, 2012

Reality, or something like that.

We're seventeen days from your intended arrival, and depending on the minute, I either feel completely, serenely prepared, or quietly but hysterically panicked. I have a suspicion that this is a lot of what being a parent will feel like, at least for the first few dozen years. More of the details of your birth are coming together, and I'm feeling a little like a Viking for having everything so crazily organized...despite knowing that we have zero control past a certain point. At the same time, my ability to focus

Yipes. Okay. So, here's the plan. On the evening of Wednesday, January 25th, I check in with my OB/GYNs to see what we need to do to make sure I can be induced the next morning. Maybe they do anything, maybe they don't. Thursday, January 26th, we show up at the hospital and start to try to get you out with as little intervention as possible, as quickly and safely as possible. I'm reasonably anxious about the whole labor and delivery process, given that a 6+ pound living thing has to make his way out of my body somehow (and that is B-A-N-A-N-A-S bananas), but even more than that, I'm weirded out that so many people need to be involved. There are liable to be at least nine other people in the room when you're born, not counting your Dad and me, most of whom I'll have met a matter of minutes before you pop out. All of them are necessary, ranging from my doctors to NICU nurses and specialists, but at this point I can only hope and assume that I'll be preoccupied enough not to be uncomfortable about all the people hovering around the room.

Your Dad and I are ultimately very private people, to a point that I know often frustrates others. He is far more inclined than I am to be politik, sharing whatever other people need to hear to have peace of mind, but if I had it my way, I would fairly literally crawl into a cave the second I go into labor and only crawl out after you've successfully figured out breast-feeding...or maybe when you turn three or so. Clearly, that's not an option, but the fact that I will have a hefty audience while giving birth - and that we will inevitably be swarmed with both more medical staff and by our families within minutes of your arrival - actually makes me more anxious than the idea of, say, shit-tons of needles. The more I've thought about it, the more I'm thinking that even having other people waiting IN the hospital might be a source of too much anxiety for me to handle. I will be constantly eyeing the door, and your Dad will feel like he has to go and placate, reassure, or otherwise communicate with other people while I decidedly need his full attention.

We may need to make some demands that a lot of family members won't like. Historically, I have sort of a crappy track record for communication about things that I NEED (not things that I want). Either I come across as too brash and cold, or I don't actually say what I mean and end up resenting actions that other people never would have known I didn't appreciate. This is a crappy problem to have, and it's something I've been working on, but can I play the pregnancy/new mother card here and just demand what I need? I think I've been underutilizing that excuse quite a bit (mostly out of stubbornness), but this may be the time to milk it.

I have started putting my foot down more when people start telling me "how things are going to go." Really, Batman, I thought the onslaught of advice and cautionary tales was bad enough when your Dad and I got married, but that was nothing. Even the most balanced and typically respectful people have started spouting not just warnings, but certainties: "THIS WILL GO THIS UNPLEASANT WAY." "YOU WILL DO THIS MISERABLE, OUT-OF-CHARACTER THING." "THIS DISGUSTING THING WILL HAPPEN." Okay, yeah, I get it. Childbirth can be a messy, sometimes even violent process, but does that mean that it will absolutely, unconditionally suck for me? Hells no! Does it really help me - someone about to go through this experience - to hear all the worst possible scenarios? This is like telling an 80+ year old woman how she WILL DIE HORRIBLY IN A FIERY WRECK AFTER BEING TORN ASUNDER BY AN ONCOMING FORD F-150...before sitting her behind the wheel to try to renew her driver's license. Let's leave the doom, gloom, misery, and suffering for another time and place, please. I don't think that's an irrational pregnancy demand.

On the other hand, I've hardly heard a lot of the crappy, negative stuff, or the flat-out demands that we get ourselves informed, educated, exposed to some technique or strategy, or whatever. Plenty of well-intentioned folks have been trying to share entirely sane, friendly, and helpful advice, but my focus is just not there. Maybe it should be. I spent something like two weeks of sleepless nights panicking over the fact that I didn't think we had enough teensy socks and hats for you, and tonight is the first time that your Dad or I are going to an actual "class" about anything birth or baby-related. (It's a breastfeeding workshop, which promises to evoke a great deal of snickering from us both.) I don't think our priorities are out of order...I just don't see any way to focus what little bit of focus I have left. You are it now, buddy. Wow, those last few paragraphs were majorly tangential...right?

Can I focus at work? Oh, good heavens no. I've been entirely tuned out since sometime roughly midway through last week, which really does not bode well for the rest of this week and all of next, during which times I am still expected to both show up for work and actually do my job. I had an especially choice moment today when a phone call interrupted me giving directions. My kids, who have mostly been adorably compliant with and accommodating of my spazziness, politely looked slightly concerned as I stared blankly off into space for ten seconds after hanging up the phone. I had no damn clue what I had been saying, what activity I had them doing (and NOTHING on their desks or my whiteboard gave a clue, darn it), or...yeah. Nothing. Total blank. One very sweet boy prompted me, and I was able to get at least passably back on track, but that was a rough moment. Funny thing, though? While I was flummoxing to get my brain back in any sort of order, I was completely preoccupied with where one of your feet was. 99% of my attention was on that foot, and that poor 1% of my functioning brain cells just didn't stand a chance on their own.

Hell, I just realized this afternoon that I had several incomplete posts going. I'm so damn focused on you that I can't even write for or about you with any regularity! What the hell is up with this?!? I can only hope that when you show up, my ability to multi-task (or, y'know...task) at least partially returns. Your Dad and I spent a nice fifteen minutes reading silly stuff friends had linked off Facebook this afternoon, and that held my attention better than almost any other single thing but you has in days. Silly internet stuff is not, however, well-known for improving or remediating focus and efficiency. Batman, I sure don't blame you for this, but...ooh, is that something shiny over there?

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