I was under the impression, in my younger years, that getting pregnant was as easy as cooking a hot dog. Anyone could do it, and if you weren’t cautious, it would happen to you! That hot dog would be cooked unless you religiously took a birth control pill, used any and all additional contraception, and worried yourself sick every 27.5 days. When I felt I had matured a bit, at age 29, I began trying. Month after month I would get my period. Cramps are even worse when you want to get pregnant. I kept a fairly healthy attitude though, and thought, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, I’ll get me another doggie! Same thing… right?
My husband was working and living an opposite shift as me. He would come home in the morning and sleep all day. I would be at work all day, and sleep at night. “Making a baby” was not as much fun as you would think it would be. We tried almost every day. Suffice it to say, there was no spontaneity. We did what we had to in order to continue to over populate our tender earth with humans.
Just when I had given up, after over a year of “trying,” it happened. Probably because my parents were visiting and I was drinking too much. My guard was down. I’m NOT condoning the use of alcohol to get pregnant. That’s dumb. I am condoning the use of alcohol to survive parental visits. Fortunately for me, my version of drinking too much is probably Mel Gibson’s version of cough syrup. I told my husband on New Year’s Eve. I had half of a beer, and thought… wait a second here. It’s past my 27.5 day freak out. Maybe I should pee on a stick before I drink the rest of this beer. The stick (which I has started buying in bulk) had a little plus sign on it and I happily poured that beer down the drain.
Pregnancy was great. Especially if you like waking up every two hours to pee. And chronic heart burn that makes your esophagus just give up and crawl right out of your throat. Otherwise, pregnancy really was great. I thought I’d gain the 26 pounds that the doctors said was healthy. Sure. I worked out daily. I swam and did flip-turns even past my due date. I ate Dairy Queen at least once a week. I stopped looking at the scale after I had gained 40 pounds. Good lord. I was a whale!
Something I never spent too much time considering was labor. Ignoring the obvious is not a healthy coping mechanism when having a baby. Remind yourself, at least in the third trimester, that this is NOT just about Dairy Queen Blizzards. Somehow this sucker is going to have to exit your body. And it’s probably not going to be pleasant. A miracle? Sure! Pleasant? You’ve got to be kidding me.
I had a prenatal massage instructor who told us that through the labor of each of her two children, she was in a constant state of orgasm. Hmmmm. I kept hoping that might be a possibility. Once I was in labor I wanted to grab that woman, wrap my hands around her throat, and ask her if that felt good, too. I’m sorry. Labor may be great fun for some people. For me, labor was hell. Forget the orgasm, give me a spinal!!!
I survived, and I’m fortunate that my baby was healthy, and though I was more tired than I had been when I ran out of water climbing a Colorado fourteener, I was healthy, too. They ripped my baby from my belly, showed her too me, and I cried. I still can’t tell you if I cried out of happiness and joy, or out of complete fatigue. I do remember thinking, Oh yes! I get to take a nap now!
My beautiful daughter came out with a jet black mullet. My husband looked at me (both of us being blonde).
“What? ” I asked. ” Johnny Depp has dark hair!”
Then I slipped back into my shivering shocked state of new mommy bliss.
I knew I would never be the Martha Stewart of everything baby, but I had no idea just how bad I would be at it! I could NOT figure out that whole nursing thing. I talked to my sister,
“I never had a problem.”
I talked to my mother,
“I could have fed a village there was so much milk was coming out of those things.”
Really, you couldn’t have kept that to yourself, mom? Already feeling bad. Don’t need to hear that you were the equivalent of a breast milk food bank. Plus, now I am picturing a fountain of milk spewing from your chest. Erase image. Erase!
I was struggling with this whole concept of behaving like a cow while simultaneously inducing pain (if you’ve never done this, breast-feeding hurts at first). I could hear my prenatal massage teacher moaning somewhere, in the far reaches of my memory banks. Taunting me with her perfect orgasmic mommy image. My husband took pity on me and actually taught me how to have my baby “latch on.” Oooh, that lactation nazis LOVED him. In his wildest dreams, he never imagined that childbirth would make him a breast-feeding expert. I think he should get a second job as a lactation consultant.
Somehow I managed to keep my baby alive and healthy, with a great deal of help from my husband. He did the baths. He changed the diapers. He latched her on to my boob.
Life is funny. You’d think certain things would be instinctual. Then again, you’d also think that hamsters wouldn’t eat their babies. In my bubble, if I could have had it my way, my husband would have the boobs for the breast-feeding. They would have to go away soon after, or I have to admit I’d have trouble finding him sexy. He could have birthed her, too. I think he may have more mommy instincts than I do.