Now that I’m six months pregnant, I can’t continue to live in denial about the fact that this kiddo of ours will be coming out — one way or another — in about three months. Much as I’d prefer to avoid planning, preparations must ensue.
The one I’m struggling with the most is who should (and shouldn’t) be around while the birthing process is going on. My husband and I had a brief (uncomfortable) discussion where he (as expected) assumed his parents would be right there, I mean, c’mon, this is their grandchild.
Right. And that’s my hoo-ha.
I’m hippie enough to believe that if I’m going to succeed at producing this kid sans drugs, the environment around me will have to be damned near perfect for birthing a kid. This is me. I get distracted by my to-do list during Twister; “put it all out of your head and don’t worry about the people around you” isn’t something I can do.
So I take a trip down memory lane for comparison.
The day before we got married was rough. Rough. Too many decisions, too many people I cared about, too many opportunities to be the shitty version of myself… and my stress was infecting the people around me. My almost-husband, best friend and I hatched a plan late that night: I spent the next morning (pre-wedding) holed up in my bedroom putting on make-up, getting my hair done, and drinking. Yup, I had a drinky drink to artificially cause the Laid Back Me to appear.
Also, Twister, which is the only other deeply intimate (yet shared with another person) experience I can conjure up, generally requires me to be in the right frame of mind. I don’t go from off to on in a second… it’s a process, and one wholly dependent on feeling comfortable and mentally into it.
Added together, I’m feeling like I’ll be okay if I’m very clear – very. clear. – ahead of time on what is okay with me and what’s not. While my husband’s feelings certainly get considered, I get an extra vote since it’s my hoo-ha… and body, and pain, and mental toughness upon which we’ll be relying.
But the other lesson I learned during wedding planning was that it’s much easier to include people than to exclude them. Given the chance, most people will have personal boundaries that limit their overstepping.
I’m conflicted. I want the space to do (and say and feel and experience) whatever it takes to get this kid outta me successfully, but I’d like to find a way to do so without firm do’s and don’t’s. The biggest challenge is that my husband is also easily stressed by other people. Are they okay? Will they be okay? What are they thinking? Are their feelings hurt? He’ll tend to worry about them more overtly than me, so part of the debate in my head is whether to try to control his response so I don’t end up angry that (once again) he was worried about the people in the waiting room while I was just trying to get through. Or whether I accept that and have someone else there for me… but then, that feels like giving up, like not believing in the man with whom I created this kid to be amazing when necessary.
In my darker moments, I have visions of him suggesting I be a little quieter because I’m freaking people out. (What? I said they were my darker moments.)
I think I’ll want a moment (or two, or five) to get myself together, to recover just a bit, to hang out with my child and my husband and maybe even try to breastfeed without an audience. Hell, maybe even to put on a bit of lip gloss for the inevitable picture extravaganza that will ensue.
And I wonder how much of my reticence would go away if we were talking about my people and my hometown.
So I’m conflicted.
This post gives me pause:
By 2:00, my water had been broken and my contractions were in full force. The room was full of excitement and laughter. I chatted with my girlfriends until a contraction came on where I shifted gears, “ow-ow-ow-ow-ow’d” my way through it (and cursed), and came out of it as fast as I went in, picking up the conversation where we left off. I checked to make sure Brett was okay. Several of my girlfriends were headed out for a birthday party but, with news of my status, they all huddled into the room, dressed to the nines, before their night out to check on me. I liked the commotion…I loved the anticipation. I loved the feeling of people waiting anxiously for our baby. It felt special. …and we were so ready.
I couldn’t grasp it even then. It was all just happening so fast and I wanted to savor it. I looked around the room and tried to take it in…the candles, the music, the lavender oil I brought that wafted through the room and calmed the tension. And then I remember just speaking to myself. You are about to meet your daughter. You are about to be changed for good.
At this moment, I heard the sounds of our birth song begin to fill the room…When You Love Someone.
And I began to cry.
My husband, my friends, my dad, my nurses…all of them smiling…cameras flashing…
One more push.
Oh, this is so hard…
I pushed. I pushed and watched as the tiniest little body came out of me, arms flailing, lungs wailing…and then, they put her in my arms.
A birth day party! (Note: there’s more to the story than just this excerpt suggests, so if you have a few moments and a box of tissues, do follow the link. It’s a beautiful post for so many reasons.)
And then I remember how much fun it was the morning of our wedding to get ready with my favorite women. I have proof:
But I got to choose those people. That said, I recognize the importance of family stuff and I “get” my husband wanting to share a moment with his parents.