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.