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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What You Will Miss

I won't be telling this baby's birth story here, mostly because I'm lazy, but also because I have C-sections and so the story is quite short: and then I got sliced open and the doctor pulled the baby out and set him on my chest with a warning not to touch him until . . .

But also, birth stories are slightly disturbing to me. I'm not opposed to other people sharing their birth stories, they are often touching, and lovely, and precious. But I do worry that all this introspection and fascination with how we give birth maybe overshadows the simple miracle of the fact that we do.

Ivy's was a normal birth (do you want to hear the story?), but Spencer's descended so quickly into chaos and birthing anarchy that ever after, I don't really mind that my birthing stories are short: the stitching up took longer than the birth. Because in my head, I'm just so grateful that this baby isn't dangerously quiet or blue in the face, or rushed immediately to NICU with talk of Flight for Life coming in to move him to a more advanced facility. I'm just so glad that Rhett is peering over the surgical drape saying inane things like, "Heids, your guts are all pushed up on to your belly right now!" or "This is awesome. I can totally see your fibroid cyst!" instead of being too late (I had sent him to dinner when I was in labor because there was plenty of time still, plenty!) to be there at all. I'm just so grateful that when they wheel me out of surgery, it's not into an empty recovery room with no husband and no baby.

I'm just so grateful to have a baby who breathes and eats and cries, that I can't be bothered to think to myself, this would have been much more poignant in a birthing tub. Maybe it would, I don't know.

I have a friend who also has C-sections for medical reasons, but every birth is like a big tragedy--like her body has failed her and she mourns the loss of the midwife and doula who could have attended her birth and hypnotized her into only half-feeling the pain. She feels cheated by her own body, like she's lost the opportunity to truly be a mother because the baby doesn't travel the birthing canal in the prescribed, traditional fashion. I don't have this kind of introspection in me--to worry about whether this is the right way to give birth--I'm just so damn grateful to have a baby. Because if there is one thing that Spencer's birth story taught me, it was that none of that is guaranteed. No one guarantees you that when you get to the end of the ten month pregnancy, there will be a cozy, bubbling birthing tub, a brush with the kind of pain that makes you more self-reflective and less selfish for the next three months, a final gasp and push and flash of joy. No one guarantees that there will even be a baby there to hold.

So, my point here, is that you won't get all the details of the slice and dice that is my birth story. (Do you really want those details? Because I fear I'm often too drugged up to actually get them right anyway.) I'll be too busy (hopefully! God willing!) being grateful for the miracle of birth. Even when it happens the wrong way.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Two Weeks There Will Be So Many Children Here They Will Surely Be Neglected

I am not a good blogger. Let us establish that immediately, and then please feel free to leave comments to the effect of how much you've missed me. Those kind of things do wonders for my sense of self-importance. (Rhett will wonder how much more self-importance I could possibly acquire, but I think we have also established that Rhett is not a reliable source for insight into my character. Except one time he did say to me that even though we have always maintained that we could split amicably for the children's sake if the need ever arose, he personally believed I would maliciously key his car and destroy his reputation, which quite frankly, was very astute of him. Because in the recesses of my soul, I think I might be pretty vindictive. Especially if our split were due to cheating on his part. I'm just saying.)

Anyway. I am having this fifth baby in two weeks. Did I mention it is a boy? Another boy? Like, my fourth boy? At first this was a source of bitterness for me, but then I remembered how I did this to myself by claiming repeatedly during childhood that I wanted to open a school for boys just like Jo March in Little Women (and sequels, of course). And so, here I am--living my childhood dreams. Lucky, lucky, lucky me.

But honestly, I just found out that my insurance here gives me FIVE days in the hospital for a C-section instead of the standard four I usually get. Quite frankly, I'd give birth to an elephant calf for that extra day.

Also on the bright side, (I'm trying to avoid complaining, as Rhett prefers me to save all my complaints for his ears only) the kids and I saved the life of a loon the other day, that had become entangled in mesh landscaping netting. Actually, I'm not sure if we saved it or not, since we free released it into the pond behind our house and hoped for the best, but I did cut off all the mesh stuff before we did that. I was going to take it to the Alabama Bird Sanctuary (or something like that) but that was an hour and a half drive away, and I'm not that committed to loon preservation. I'm not even sure they are endangered, actually. Probably they are super common.

If there were a topic to this post, this paragraph would be off-topic, but it's been making me smile for weeks now, and should really be documented somewhere. Spencer has been receiving love letters from a girl we know through school and church. He told me he wanted to write her one back. I glanced at it after he was finished and it read like this: "Audre--please don't try to ciss me. Also you should know that my name is spelled SPENCER--not SPINSER!" He looked at me knowingly and explained, "I think she spells it Southern." If you have ever heard his very Alabamian teacher say his name, I think you would have to agree.

I have so many more BRIGHT SPOTS in this pregnancy to document for you, but alas, it is time for school pick up. Just living my childhood dreams over here. You understand.