Wednesday, September 20, 2006

how two became three

We were on a road trip in Oregon over the holidays and decided to drive along the coast on the way to meet our friends in Bend. We stopped in this little town and went to a bar. The place was filled w/ old folks - 70's was the median age I think - and they were GETTING DOWN to the live jazz band in a way that I've never gotten down on any dance floor. I was riveted, romanced, idealistic and a bit drunk. Went back to our little hotel and made sweet love. I vaguely remember martinis and a white garter belt. Woke up in the AM and paused to tell J-Dog about a quaint little dream I'd had involving fireflies and one landing on my belly. Then hit the road for a week of yuletide debauchery.

3 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I was on the pill. That fucking firefly dream rattling in my head. It had to have been that night. M was announcing her arrival even then.

Every wall I have ever built, leaned on, or tore down came crashing down around me while going up in front of me in industrial weight steel. I was NOT AT ALL PREPARED FOR THIS. I had just lost 15 pounds from some weird virus after our Asia trip. I was thin, dammit. I was getting a promotion, and we are heading to Cambodia in what would now be my 8th month of pregnancy.

And the truth behind the wall of bullshit was: I was paralyzed with terror at the thought of being fundamentally responsible for another human being. For the rest of my life.

After spending a decade around homeless families and their kids, I had all the ammo a woman needs to NEVER GIVE BIRTH. I've seen every shit situation, every screaming kid, every juvenile probation officer, and every worn out angry frustrated freaked out scared exhausted mom. I wanted no part of that. Not me. Nope. I am cool-i-o, people. Cool-i-o. My motto had always been there was no trouble I could get into that 12 hours and a UHaul couldn't fix.

Every time I saw a baby I cried. But being the guilt ridden girl I am, I had my mental breakdown while taking prenatal vitamins, while going to birthing class, while finding a doula, while singing to M (I knew she was M from the beginning, it's weird how such good stuff was mixed up in all the rest), while drinking milk and while not drinking beer. I did everything right, except honor the place I was in and allow myself to feel joy instead of fear.

There were magical moments, but honestly, I had a hell of a time, and all inside my own head. Well, except for the part about testing positive for Down's Syndrome. That part rocked. Free torment folks. Step right up. And all this meant J-Dog and I had a hell of a time too. He could not stand that I was so unhappy, so governed by fear. He was not used to this, he hadn't met this girl before. This ungrateful girl who could not see how goddamn lucky she was.

Then I kicked some primal earth mother ASS at the birth.

But afterwards, I struggled some more.

Pt. 3 coming soon.


crazymumma said...

Another incredible journey. And one you will be on forever. The firefly dream and your subseqent pregnany gave me shivers (good ones).

I was terrified as well, my first was a total surprise, and we were completely unprepared.

Now, may I be so bold? Does your sweet M have Down Syndrome?

And thank you for the compliment over at my place. I keep coming back to you as well because, well, you are complex and a good writer. I like complex people.

Mom / Ma'am / Me said...

This story has been fascinating to read. It's interesting to you that even through your emotional rebellion against the pregnancy you did all the right things for M -- I know I would have done that, too.

And you know, even when we've gotten lucky enough to get pregnant when it's planned, everyone has those moments of guilt and doubt and "oh my what have I done?" Pregnancy will do that to you. Hormones on top of all the other stuff.

acumamakiki said...

I so love hearing how couples get together, how babies are conceived and your writing is compelling reading.
I was always certain I'd never have kids. Our daughter wasn't unplanned, but we weren't really planning. If I got pregnant fine, if not fine. I had a rough end to my pregnancy and after my girl was born, I struggled to get my head around being a mama. I would wheel the stroller with my preemie baby across Central Park so I could get to therapy.

QT said...

I just read everything on here - we may have been separated at birth. Love Belize and would move there in a heartbeat, would feel exactly the same should I find myself with child anytime soon...too bad we don't live closer so we could have a beer and really chat. Sounds like you have some stories that could compete with mine, honeychild!

Lora said...

i found your blog through cheeseparty and i love it. I recently shared my story on my blog about finding out I was pregnant too- it was every bit as maddening and terrifying as it sounds like you felt. i'm looking forward to part 3!

Deezee said...

Amazing story. I love the dream and love that it was a firefly! Something so magical there. (uh, you just happened to be toting a while garter belt around with you?? ;)

jen said...

it might sound funny, but yes, i'd pack all that stuff on our road trips. past tense. ick. should definitely look into that.

Penny said...

That was a great post! I'll be back.

My motto had always been there was no trouble I could get into that 12 hours and a UHaul couldn't fix. - I can relate.

And, I love this: Then I kicked some primal earth mother ASS at the birth.

cinnamon gurl said...

"Kicked some primal earth mother ass at the birth."


Thanks for the comment on my blog.

Look forward to reading more of yours...

Caloden said...

The surprise of conceiving is just that, a surprise. No matter if you're preparing to have a baby or having a snog before your physics midterm, the responsibility of making a child is mind boggling. And it is always a struggle. A beautiful, daily struggle.