Friday, January 31, 2014


There's this medical condition that 50% of the population is susceptible to at some point in their lives.  The symptoms are quite varied.  They include everything from minor hip discomfort, to nausea, to weight gain, to random tingling hands, to TOTAL INSANITY, to HORRIBLE PAIN, to BEAUTIFUL GLOWING SKIN (which my doctor says is just minor heat rash).

It used to be highly life-threatening, but now, not so much.   Not everyone gets it, lots of people try really hard not to get it, and some people don't try to avoid it at all.  It tends to resolve itself in ten months or so (that whole nine month thing...where did they come up with that? 40 weeks divided by 4 weeks to a month = 10 months give or take).  How it resolves itself is this adorable process in which a strange foreign body makes its way out of the patient while she nakedly screams (unless she's a Scientologist--they believe in peaceful, silent births).  Let the record show that google doesn't think Scientologist is a word and has red underlined it.  In Scientology's defense, google seems to think google isn't a word either.

This medical condition, of course, is pregnancy.  And, yes, it is sexually transmitted.

DISCLAIMER: This is gonna get a little ranty.  Feel free to have your own opinion about things.  Ladies, do whatever the F YOU WANT about your lady regions.  If you want to boil water and stay at home, okay fine, you'll probably live.  Fine by me and power to you--you are a glorious Katniss of pain management and personal self control.  Or if you want to schedule a surgery to have the adorable growth removed via elective C-section, fine.  Yay for you and can I have some of your money, please?  But what I'm feeling a little punchy about is the notion that my choice is wrong and the "new evidence suggests" that I should be totally fine with "natural" childbirth.

DISCLAIMER #2: I totally did this whole pregnancy thing on purpose and I'M TOTALLY THRILLED ABOUT IT.  But, come on, people.  IT'S PRETTY WEIRD.

Here goes.

I MAY be in a facebok fight with a stranger.  I generally try to avoid showing emotions other than mordant sarcasm or "look at my adorable cat or couch" joy (couches and cats are things that are really important to me), on facebook because, honestly, I feel like facebook is a glorious and silly place where we show only our best selves.  It is my preferred method for keeping track of birthdays and alerting people to my personal news (I HAVE A COUCH).  I try to keep it light.

But I'm in some kind of mood today.  It might have something to do with my "momsomnia" which has spread to keeping everyone in my bed awake (even Catdome doesn't try to snuggle my face anymore) all night every night.  I'm sorry, dear husband, for keeping you up.  You are the CAUSE of it, though.  Thanks for the patience.

It's not so much that I miss sleep.  Really, I'm functioning adequately without it.  It's just that I never got to say goodbye.  My whole life, I've been a pretty decent sleeper, often the first to doze off at slumber parties and the one who got made fun of for a self-imposed bedtime in college.  I just love sleeping!  I wrote a poem, an ode to a nap, which my professor said was too sarcastic to be an ode but my college literary magazine published.  Sleep is an old buddy. 

First trimester I slept like a cat...constantly.  Second trimester, no problems...peaceful, normal slumber.   THEN BAM!  Third trimester, I'm up every two hours to pee or walk off a charlie horse and then spend an indeterminate amount of time just chilling in bed, thinking my thoughts.  If I do sleep, I have intensely graphic nightmares.  The most strangely symbolic one was that I had to rip apart a crow and fish out a tiny kitten that I was not at all surprised looked like baby Catdome.  People have joked to me that waking up every two hours is training for the child, which is right, fine, yeah, except I don't have one of those yet and I was hoping to seize it were and enjoy my childless existence for as long as possible.  Oh well.  So it goes.

Goodbye, my love.  May we meet again in ten years or so when my child is a tween and starts doing that thing where they sleep all the time.  Please let my kid eventually sleep like I did.  It was grand. 

So, I'm a little wired. And I started responding to a thread a friend posted about how "homebirths" are really quite safe and more people should do them because midwives are less likely to use "interventions" such as foreceps, C-sections, and epidurals.

My response: "No, thank you.  I would like an 'intervention' please.  In my spine.  With a giant needle.  As soon as medically possible.  With no other medical procedure do they so casually let patients choose to go without pain management."

Several people had weighed in at this point, some saying they were thankful for their hospital births because of complications and some touting how wonderful it was to be at home.  One person (who'd had a midwife and natural birth) responded to me directly, saying that she sees it differently because for her it was not a medical procedure to give birth because she was not sick. 

YES IT IS and YES YOU ARE (Ahem.  Respectfully and in my opinion....)

 Some Possible Symptoms of Labor:
- horrible abdominal, back, and who knows where else pain (my doctor says it's time to come to the hospital when you have contractions "too painful to talk through" every five minutes for an hour)
- sweating
- vomiting
- uncontrollable shivering
- strange liquid seeping out of your genital region
- pooping yourself
- exhaustion
- multiple foreign bodies forcibly wanting to eject themselves from your genital region, sometimes ripping your flesh.

Yeah....that's normal.  A dude would get to an ER as fast as possible if he had even one of those...

Just because you know the name of your disease doesn't mean you don't have one.  

She also said something to the extent of, "you just have to be informed about the benefits and risks of an epidural."

I had to respond to this.  I have impulse control issues nowadays.

I said, "Yes.  Of course there are risks with any medical intervention.  I'm thankful I have a medically trained doctor who can explain those to me.  Because I may be a great reader, but I went to college for English, not medicine."

When I recounted this entire conversation in great, fervent detail to The Doctor over google chat, he said, "Lol.  Calm down sparky."

Valid.  But now I'm all WORKED UP.

People have been having babies for centuries.  And women also used to stay home all day.  And while I COULD raise, kill, pluck, skin, cook, and then boil down a chicken to make broth, I am pretty glad I just had to pour the broth out of a cardboard container into the crock pot and turn it on low so I could leave the house today...(we're having soup for dinner, by the way...soup is my favorite).

Why can't the magic of technology and modern medicine be applied to childbirth when we apply it to EVERYTHING ELSE?!

Need your appendix out?  Let's have REALLY COOL ROBOT do it so you have minimal scarring.
Want food?  Go to a store or restaurant and they will give it to you for money.  OR have a neat drone deliver it at your door (anyone tried Amazon suscribe and save?  Thoughts?)
Want to contact someone?  Pull out your personal phone and use one of a million methods for connecting with the world to get your message across.
Want to remember a moment?  Photograph or video it with your personal phone.
Want to hear a song?  Just look it up...again...on your phone.

FAST.  Easy.  Totally socially acceptable.

Ok, I'm not gonna lie.  If babies could be born like in the Matrix where we all kinda just grow in pink gooey pods, I'd probably embrace it.  I SEE THE FUTURE, PEOPLE.

The magic and intimacy of childbirth is still something I have not experienced and, who knows, maybe I'll totally change my tune and be like, "Oh yes.  The exquisite pain made me love my child.  Without the horrible ripping that I experienced for two straight days, I would not feel love for my child and would likely eat it and its placenta for nutrients to make me stronger."

But I'm pretty sure instead I'm just gonna get the epidural, still complain about it, and then be super happy to have the birth part over with so I can get on with obsessing about the tiny person I purposely forced to exist and making sure that she has as painless and wonderful a life as possible.  And I'm pretty sure that when she has children, if she so chooses, in the glorious future in which childbirth is as clinical and painless as buying a couch (wonderful couch), she will still love her child with as much passion as the cave women who suffered before her.  


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