Wednesday, March 03, 2010

No Way Out But Through

I don't plan to have any more babies and I feel really, really good about it. I like my kids and I feel stretched just beyond what I can comfortably handle (just about two kids, two cats, and a dog beyond what I can comfortably handle). I have older children who surprise me by being capable, nice, and funny. And I still have a two-year-old which lets me keep my aging foot in the door of being a "cute young mom." In a few years when I am 40 and Ellen is in grade school I'll be ready to shut the door on cute young momhood forever. Then, I assume, I will become the harried, unappreciated mother of teenagers. That will be fun because 1) cooler movies 2) less buckling but nerve wracking because 3) more serious problems. I guess I will embrace this because, what else am I going to do?

Maybe that approach is too passive, but it has served me well the last 12 years I have been parenting. When it seems too hard, too infuriating, too stinky to proceed I just think, "what else am I going to do? " and I wipe up the poop. When I was pregnant with Sam 12 years ago I was very afraid of labor and how much it would hurt and also the compromising nudity of it all. My mom told me that labor lasts about a day in the grand scheme of things. "You can do anything for a day."

I tried to be very proactive about choosing a good doctor but when I went into labor the freaky doctor I had once visited who had pictures of Tom Cruise on the ceiling of his exam room was the on-call doctor. He made me have an enema and I felt like I was being abused and I cried. I really hated that guy but in retrospect I think I was kind of a baby. There's really no way out of labor--or parenting--but through.

In the wee hours of the morning before my baby was born a new doctor came on call--a wonderful, warm, helpful, perfect doctor who I would never have met had things gone according to my "plan." He delivered Sam and all the rest of them. I was never interested in trying a water birth or a home birth or a natural birth or anything different. Thinking back, I could have done without the enema but everything else worked out fine. It's not that I'm uninformed about things like doualas and vbacs--I do watch TLC. I just don't understand making such a big deal out if it because it's already like the hugest deal. I can't relate to--but I respect and I'm interested by--people who agonize over all the details of their birth plans. I feel the same way about weddings. You think you deserve a perfect day that's all about you? Good luck, and enjoy. I'm kind of austere in both these respects. It's a little weird, I guess.

I was thinking about all of this the other day when I drove past the doctor's office I went to when I was pregnant with Sam--the guy who was on vacation for the big event. I would read two chapters ahead in What to Expect When You are Expecting and then I would force myself to wait so I wouldn't read the whole book in a night. (Reading a whole book in a night, ah me--no kids yet, see.) I would write down all my questions for the doctor in my Franklin Planner. I remember one time I wrote down this question: "Can a baby sleep in a stroller?" I just laugh to think of it now. I don't know why it strikes me as so funny. I also don't know why it seemed so urgent that I ask a doctor that question.

"Excuse me, Doctor? Ahem. Can a baby sleep in a stroller?"

Here are some interesting tidbits about my babies' births:

  • When I had Sam, the nurses and doctor all complimented me on my amazing and effective pushing. I thought to myself, "I'm not even pushing as hard as I could." Easily impressed, I guess.
  • When I was in my room holding Maggie, they wheeled in another baby to me and said, "Here's your baby!"
  • Ben had light red hair when he was born and looked completely foreign to me. (Foreshadowing.)
  • I had to share a room (including a bathroom) with another lady after I had Ben. In my emotional, recovering state this seemed to be about the most unjust and hideous arrangement since the invention of giving birth. I went home immediately.
  • When I had Ellen, at the exact moment the epidural was going into my back I went completely blind. It was one of my migraines, but I took some pleasure in the fear on my anesthesiologists face--because doctors are always so smug, you know? Turns out, the joke was on me: pushing with a migraine.

Lately I've been fantasizing about being hospitalized. I love the food and the caring nurses and the pain killers. I know I should be thankful for my good health-and I am. But still. I pine for it a little. Oh you cute young moms, I wish you would just enjoy it.

53 comments:

  1. I fantasize about being hospitalized too, maybe because it seems like a fantasy to be somewhere where people take care of you, make you feel better, feed you food, and your bed moves in crazy contortions.

    I think we need to take better vacations.

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  2. I love hospitalization AND blood drives chiefly for the Lorna Doones. All the Lorna Doones I can eat. Which is a lot.

    And labor is merely the largest of many indignities suffered in the interests of having healthy bidness.

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  3. that settles it, i'm calling you when we start having kids.

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  4. i feel exactly the same way. all of it.

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  5. Brilliant entry! Thank you - I too agree with every word of this. You are so fun to read!

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  6. The reason I love going into labor and hospital stays is that it's all about me! Well, me and that baby over there at the end of it all. Who doesn't love attention right?

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  7. If you like the food you should really consider having another baby. We are just starting a new thing where someone comes to your room and takes your order and brings it to you (pretty much) when you want it. The food choices are fancier.

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  8. Even though you don't know me (and I don't usually comment on blogs of people I don't know), I think you wrote this for me- I'm 18 weeks pregnant with #5 (in 6 1/2 years- crazy!) and NOT looking forward to the whole labor/delivery stuff again. Thanks for a new perspective. :)

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  9. Reading your blog is the best thing in my day today and I wanted to say thanks. I'm sort of studying for my insurance exam which takes place tomorrow mornig at 8am.

    Since Monday I have skipped work and farmed my kids away to friend's homes so I can just study. But of course I can't just study. It's so boring! And I can't blog either because people, like my Dad who I work for, will read my blog and correctly concluded that I am not studying.

    Which kind of sucks because I NEVER have this much alone time...the perfect blogging time. But I shouldn't use your comments section to blog. That's rude. I'm sorry. But really, thank you, I just found your blog and it is keeping me going. If I pass you can feel proud.

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  10. I love this post, and also Azúcar's last sentence.

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  11. I feel the same way. I can't get all worked up about birth plans and drug-free labor (though my last baby was natural-ouch!). I just want the baby healthy. We have a new hospital where I'm having this one: supposed to have great TV and wifi and fancy food whenenver I want it. Then I found out it is going to cost me: my husband is self-employed so we have PPO insurance but no maternity. 4 grand for the standard, but $1500 extra for the epi and $1000 per day after the first 24 hours! So I guess I'm going home asap. Too bad cause I really like it there.

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  12. The wedding observation is perfect, and I'm totally calling out Abby for her comment because I think she feels exactly the same way about all of it except the wedding part.

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  13. So do you ever wonder if Ben was perhaps switched at birth?

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  14. It's a wonderful thing knowing you are done.
    For me it felt like I could finally move on from that stage of my life.
    And yes, be VERY afraid of parenting teenagers.

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  15. Um, can a baby sleep in their highchair? On the stairs? "a stroller?!" You were so funny and you didn't know it. You were such a cute, young mom!

    Um, can teenagers sleep during class? On the bus?

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  16. I don't know why I can't seem to remember to NOT eat while reading your posts.

    The bullet about Ben made me nearly choke. Again.

    There should be a law against sharing a room after you've had a child. It just ain't right.

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  17. Heather A2:12 PM

    Sorry I'm a lurker, but thanks for entertaining me. I definitely love you waaay more than the "professional" bloggers. You're hilarious. And spot on.

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  18. So this is my first time commenting...I usually lurk. But I had to chime in with my experience. 9 months ago I gave birth to my first here in London, not ever having had anything to compare it to, I wasn't sure what to expect.

    The giving birth part wasn't too bad, but the post natal care was traumatic enough to make me reconsider ever giving birth in England again. After the main event, I was taken upstairs where I was placed in a curtained area in the corner of a large room. There were three other women in my room. There were probably 15 rooms like this on the floor. Every 'section' had a TV (you had to pay for it) so there was conflicting noise. They also don't take your baby away even if you need to sleep. There's no such thing as a nursery in London, they stayed in a cot right next to you the entire time.

    The husbands/partners had to leave at 8pm, and couldn't come back until 9am. So after having gone through one of the most exhausting days of my life, I was stuck there, with a brand new baby, no idea what to do with her and no husband. I'm not kidding when I say I didn't sleep more than 30 minutes that night. Every time my daughter fell asleep, someone else's baby would wake up, or someone had their TV on all night, or someone was brought in at 2am...you name it, it happened.

    When they told me I had to stay another day, I broke down in tears. Especially when my husband was kicked out. It was seriously one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

    Since we're here through at least the next kid, I know I'll have to do it again. So my plan is to walk out as soon as possible, there is no respite in the hospitals here!

    Sorry this is so long, it just seemed like an experience you might appreciate. Back to lurkerdom...

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  19. I remember when I had my first baby, nobody had cell phones. You had to call everyone long distance with a calling card from the hospital room. I also brought about 30 CDs because I didn't know what mood I would be in for music and it was a decade before ipods.

    I completely scoffed (and still do) about the idea of not eating while in labor. Obviously those doctors have seen what a witch I turn into when I'm hungry. I just ate whatever I wanted and when I barfed up chocolate pudding all over my hospital gown, I just shrugged. What are they going to do? Kick you out if you have a cheeseburger? Jerks.

    The saddest moment for me is when they push me out the hospital door. I turn around mouthing the words "don't leave me" to all the nurses. After I had my third I had to go back when he was a few days old to turn in his papers once we'd decided on a name (yes, you can leave if you haven't picked out a name. ) I started crying and I was like, "please let me come back". They probably thought I had PPD.

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  20. I personally hated being in the hospital after my 4 kids' births. My postpartums were always a nightmare w/massive bleeding and the dreadful breastfeeding. The pain of that was worse for me than contractions.

    My MIL had 7 kids, and used to tell me that the 3 days she had in the hospital after each birth was her only vacation, some kind of dream. Because then she said had to go "back to work." I think it is very telling of what kind of guy she is married to (e.i. she had to do everything).

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  21. So are you still writing things in your Franklin Planner? I could never get into that. I kind of miss those prenatal appointments! I totally used to make fun on those ladies on A Baby Story who were giving birth naturally and totally screaming--that is until I had my last one naturally (since I didn't get my epidural in time). I was totally yelling and vaguely remember hearing the anesthesiologist saying "you can do it!".

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  22. Wait, you were completely blind, but you liked the look of fear on the anesthesiologist's face?

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  23. My blindness was temporary.

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  24. Halle-freakin'-lujah. I'm so glad you wrote this. Lately I feel like the last female alive who doesn't view labor as some sort of cosmic event. It's just labor. I haven't yet (3 of 'em) felt any sort of spiritual awakening during it - it's just a necessary evil to get the baby out of my poor, broken body (I don't relish being pregnant, either). Weddings: about the same. To me, they are just the toll one must pay to be married.

    I do, however, LOVE my stays in the hospital. Everyone I know leaves in 24 hours or less. I don't understand. It's the only time of each baby's life when I don't need to worry - cause I am paying a bunch of medical professionals to do the worrying for me.

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  25. Two years ago, my sister emailed to say she was going to the hospital to be induced. My first thought was "I want to have a baby so I can stay for 3 days in the hospital". I wanted it for all the same reasons as you!

    Thanks for helping me realize I'm not totally crazy for thinking that!

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  26. I was first pregnant in the late 60's and last pregnant in the late 80's. To say that I saw the "spectrum"is an understatement.

    Labor wasn't a cosmic event - but I think the moment of birth is - and it was for me.

    I won't even apologize for thinking that!

    Your mom is right too - in the grand scheme of things, it's like a day.

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  27. You are the ONLY other person I know who has loved being in the hospital. With Owen it was the most delightful thing ever. Even when I was stark naked in the shower and the nurse was hosing blood off me. (it was like a scene from MASH and so... I could like it.)

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  28. I can't stand being in the hospital after I have a baby, because, DUH, the baby is there - and how am I gonna sleep?

    But I dream of the mental hospital. I imagine fluffy pillows and stacks of books and lots of naps.

    And I'm totally with you on the wedding and the birthing plan thing.

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  29. What hospital made you share a room? That's horrifying.

    When I had the twins, it was awesome because I had my room ALL to myself. And I mean, myself, because my babies couldn't leave the nursery--I had to go to them. So I would go visit, then come back 50 steps to my pad with my flat screen tv and my awesome food--I never wanted to leave, and I bawled when they kicked me out. I love hospitals.

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  30. I would give my right arm for an epidural this very moment.

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  31. Do you honestly watch TLC? I would never have guessed.

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  32. P.S. You're not the only one who feels that way about weddings. Last month the last of my husband's 8 brothers got married, and his father commented,"I think weddings are depressing. They {bride & groom} have no clue what they're getting themselves into."

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  33. WAIT!!! You mean because I am over 40 I am no longer a cute young mom??!! Really??? Come on, 40 is the new 30! Please!!

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  34. When I had my second child, I was induced early in the morning and distinctly remember telling my husband how excited I was because I got to lay in bed and watch the Today Show.
    Up until that point, I had spent my mornings watching Blue's Clues and having my toddler throw Cheerios at me.
    I didn't want to go home, either.

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  35. (found you thru LRS)I'm expecting my first child and the whole bare and share my body with everyone and their mother has had me a bit on edge. Your comment that "you can do anything for a day" just dialed it down a notch-so true! Thanks!

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  36. Well said.
    Someone asked if I had birth plan when i went n for my 3rd scheduled C-section (not that I wanted C-sections, it's just the way it is). I kept trying to visualize a birth plan for a c-section. First, I want to be really, really numb. Second, please don't let me see any of my own organs outside of my body. Third, please do not cut my baby...

    I can't wait to have my next baby since our hospital has an all night menu you can order from a "restaurant" downstairs. Chocolate shakes at 2 a.m.= AWESOME

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  37. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Now I have to know, was the baby you were holding actually Maggie?

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  38. The baby I was holding was Maggie--or so we have always believed.

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  39. Lorna Doones. Best. Cookie. Ever. I got them in unlimited supply after Boy #2. Had to have them on hand for nursing. With Boy #3 I just got graham crackers. Gack.

    I've told many that the chicken sandwich I had after Boy #3 was the BEST sandwich I've ever had. I must have been starving because I recently went to the hospital cafeteria just to order that sandwich. It wasn't nearly as good as I remembered it. Dang.

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  40. You are so right: The hospital ROCKS. I got home from the hospital four days ago with baby #4. The doctors tried to get me to go home early, but I'm no idiot. I told them my AFLAC didn't kick in until I hit four full days (c-section). Maybe true, I never checked.

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  41. I realize that this is akin to asking the doctor about the baby sleeping in the stroller, but Kacy! You're the expert opinion I've been looking for: we named #4 Christian Henry Clarke. I also like Henry Christian Clarke. Any downfalls with the name Christian? Will you rate it out of ten? Not the person (your husband, or my baby), the name?

    Thanks,
    "All strung out on painkillers in Orem."

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  42. I love the name Christian, and so does my husband. People will occasionally shorten it to Chris, which is a different flavor than Christian--but certainly not the worst nickname in the world.

    Incidentally, Henry is one of favorite boy names.

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  43. I like this post.

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  44. Hey Rebecca, this is Christian and I have always liked my name. No downfalls.

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  45. Unless your son converts to Islam.

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  46. things that last9:19 PM

    HAHA! I thought the blog was good, but the comments are even funnier! Birth plan for a C-sction? Ohhh, all of you just made my day! We're expecting #6 in a few months and the birth part is the shortest ordeal by far, and hospital food can be really yummy, but those nurses are in every five minutes to poke and prod. Whenever I finally get the lights turned down, somebody opens the door and comes in at 3AM to check my blood pressure and temp. Leave me alone! I just get an IV medicine during labor, but 3 births ago the gave me darvocet. I told my nurse sister that I would be arrested if I had to work anywhere that was available. It was THAT good.

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  47. I completely relate to not gettting all crazy about birth plans. I never understood women that got all wrapped up in making sure their doctor was in town and on call to deliver their child. If you can advocate for what you need at the time, you'll do OK. I like surgery myself- favoriate part is waking up from anesthesia- I love those warm blankets. I wish I could get one daily. I also love going to sleep with Versed ( sad, I actually know the name of the drug) Its a great feeling.
    Love your blog, and your humor.

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  48. Thanks, Christian. That there is good testimony. And now that you and Kacy are officially Christian's god-parents, I think it's time you got to know him . . . in the form of babysitting him overnight. Pleeeeeeeeaaaaazzzzzzzzze.

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  49. It's funny how obsessed we get over planning something we have pretty much no control over, isn't it? My friend who is a L&D nurse says most nurses just roll their eyes at birth plans, especially from first time moms.

    And um, there's no way that Ellen got switched at the hospital (not that you're saying she was!). She looks way too much like the rest of your family. =)

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  50. You know, if I leave one more comment, then you'll be at 50 comments for this post. I've never gotten 50 comments.

    Have I mentioned to you that we've decided to name our baby Katherine and that you were the first one to suggest it? Maybe you should go into the business of naming babies.

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  51. Um, I am with you. And that Layne lady. Yup.

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  52. i love reading your posts, and this one in particular made me smile in so many ways. thanks!!

    www.pdxritchie.com

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  53. Here's something weird: I just left a comment on my sister's blog that contained the phrase (one my mantras) "There's no way out but through" TWICE! I said it to her twice, and then clicked over to read some more Kacy, and voila! You're starting to freak me out.

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