Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Better Birth Story

This is the best birth story because it doesn't involve dilation or needles or any of the unpleasant part -- basically, any of the business that happens while one is half-naked. You all know that that happens in birth, and we don't need another retelling of it.

This is the best birth story because that stuff is left out. Instead, this is the story of my last day as a mother of three. Would it shock you to know I didn't pass it in an orderly fashion?

I was 37 weeks and 6 days in gestation, and I lay down next to my husband (mysteriously there were no children between us) and told him, you know what dear? I've decided I'm not ready to have a baby. I have too much going on right now. Maybe in six months, we'll have this baby. But definitely not now.

That should have been the first sign.

The next day I decided to do all of the laundry. There was plenty, since I appear to have gone on something of a laundry strike during the last three months of pregnancy. My husband had run out of socks, so I bought more. This was an intense desire not to do laundry that I had been nurturing. So I decided to wash every fabric item in our house -- probably some ten loads -- on this particular Sunday.

Sunday is my slow cooking day. Because I am, well, a touch flaky, I try to set up my life so that it requires as little planning as possible. One way I do this is by cooking the same way every week -- chicken on Tuesday, etc.

I can become very upset if I don't cook chicken on Tuesday.

On Sundays I slow-cook. Not using a slow cooker though, because I've never figured out how to use those without turning the contents to brown mush. I decided to make a complicated sauce for the first time -- coda alla vaccinara. Of course, it required a myriad of substitutions, since oxtail cannot be had kosher in most of the world, and pancetta is never kosher.

From first thing in the morning I was having contractions. I didn't, of course, take this as a sign to stop doing laundry. But I had a vague intention to pack my baby bag.

The last three times I had given birth, I'd neglected to bring spare underwear. They're very stingy with the disposable underwear at the hospital where I give birth. I'm not sure why I can use up some half million dollars of medical technology and expertise and they're going to start nickel-and-diming me over ten cents worth of pretend underwear, but they do. They also don't allow the purchase of pacifiers, which must be sneaked in. So every half hour or so I'd move haphazardly in the direction of my baby things (I keep them under the bed).

They don't allow pacifiers because the nurses believe that pacifiers interfere with successful breastfeeding. Silly hospital! I have no problem with breastfeeding. It's weaning I'm terrible at.

Around noon a friend called and asked whether our kids and her kids wanted a playdate. She had to be at an event, so she'd leave two of her children with three of my children. I thought this sounded like a great idea.

At some point around about now, my husband pulled a muscle in his back and landed himself flat on his back for the rest of the day.

Mysteriously, five kids was easier than three kids, because they formed some sort of child-critical-mass and became a completely independent entity relying on me only for snacks.

By evening I was starting to get somewhat uncomfortable. I decided to call my mother to get a ride to the hospital. I elected, apparently, to just ask for a ride -- without specifying that I wanted to go to the hospital, or that I was in labour. Then I stood on the porch wondering why my mother was being so goshdarn pokey. My mother was probably wondering why I didn't just drive myself wherever I wanted to go. When I'm not in labour, I do actually manage to drive.

A few hours later I had a baby girl. She's cute. We call her Lollipop. She's five weeks old.