I remember the first time I had to give birth after waking up at 3 in the morning with contractions, I was bristling with excitement because FUN! Something new to do! And I was also actually relieved for the burning baseball-sized cramps in my lower spine because my fear was that I would skip the labour part somehow beyond my control, slip a baby out sneezing at Loblaws or some other public place. Yes, I have a tendency to over-share about things in my life but this is my idea of mortifying. I’d be too late to get to the hospital just like the recurring dreams I STILL have where I’m in school and I miss an exam. But no worries with this first baby, I had the unmistakable warning and it was right on my due date! The pain was perfectly localized and concise and came in exact 5 minute waves, not like some misinterpreted vague fried chicken indigestion, which is what I had that night, or a cramping falafel fart fest, which is what I also had that night. Yay! It was text book, just like everything they said would happen in an ideal world according “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” By the way, my sweet peeps, this was November 1993 and the Blue Jays had just won the second in a row World Series that year so I wore my Jays socks and some army green Cotton Ginny sweat ensemble and headed to the hospital that morning to spew one out. Me so brave. And oh, so naive.
Then hours later that burning baseball sized contraction sequence turned into the worst searing pain in the whole universe according to me. 12 hours into it, I wanted to be anywhere but there. Just forget the whole thing. There’s no fucking way I wanted to give birth, I could go home, watch “Roseanne” and promise to come back tomorrow. I clenched and puckered up my southern holes, especially the sphincter because the b-hole wasn’t an in-style glorious orifice back then. Even though the nurses said it’s okay to poop on the bed, there was no way I would let that happen (spoiler alert: I pooped on the bed). I squeezed my downstairs bits shut in with all my might. And by the way, I’m looking at you authors of “What to Expect, etc,” I did not have the “overwhelming urge to push” like they said would happen in that goddamned birth bible. There was a glitch in my labour experience and I wanted to stay pregnant forever. With my head buried deeply in the sand, thank you very much.
But! I did it like a champ, I gave birth that day even though I didn’t want to. At one point I had enough and just said fuck it, whatevs, and randomly pushed. I faked the whole thing and it all worked out. The baby was Apgar score perfection and had an exquisite round head which I attribute to all my previous clenching, my cervix acted like a ceramics kiln, and kept her from having that cone shape bullet look some newborns have when they shoot out too fast. My now ex-husband was a great coach, shout out, fed me ice chips and towelled my forehead while I whimpered, curling my Blue Jay sock feet in the stirrups on the birthing bed. He did not crack open the six-pack he brought or open up the Scrabble board JUST IN CASE WE GOT BORED, LOL! Give me boredom or give me death, was all I could think. Also to his credit, he watched the whole thing without passing out or changing his mind midway like I did or worst of all, developing a Madonna-Whore complex later on like Elvis Presley did with Priscilla! What the fuck, according to lore he never boned her again once her got her pregnant with Lisa Marie! Men’s libidos can be tricky like that. This was not my finest hour(s), and I would not have blamed him.
Anyway I’m thinking now, who we are giving birth, is who we are in life, in my case especially. That was 22 years ago and I’m still pulling moves like that. I don’t wanna! is my mantra as I curl into a ball. But! I need to tell you before we move on to the present, 2 years after that first birth I ended up having another baby. That time of my life was a blur but I wanted another baby but knew I didn’t want to go into labour again? Was I high? Did I believe in storks? I know I hadn’t forgotten the wretched pain but this time I would demand an epidural, it would be different. Things were definitely jollier in the birthing room this time round, however, and instead of clenching and holding it in for literally hours on end, I went on all fours like a dog…. to beg for painkillers maybe? And also because the nurse told me it would help with the pain. Who knew? I flipped over and the next contraction later, Rocket Baby shot out IN TIME FOR LUNCH, the doctor LOL’d, barely managing to catch that slippery toad. The hardest part of this birth was untangling my legs from the umbilical cord while I awkwardly turned back over avoiding slipping my knees into the goopy birth byproduct that nobody tells you about. Also by the way, I was wearing the same lucky Blue Jays socks as the first birth because I’m hopelessly superstitious and I didn’t want to get them gunked up. If I learned anything that day, it was this nugget of wisdom: If you submit to change, things will unfurl naturally and easily. By the way, I didn’t really worry about pooping because I didn’t think it could happen in that position (yes, it can!) and letting gravity do the work was key. And although this baby looked like a giant bruised frog, I loved him for his sublime efficiency.
Okay, now I’m going to tell you something and don’t judge. You know how when I was about to give birth that first time 22 years ago, I wanted to bail midway to go back into my own mother’s womb and stay there and never come out? Well I still to this day have issues with head in sand burial plots. Have I not learnt anything from giving birth to Rocket Boy that facing one’s fears upside down is the way to go and let gravity’s intelligence show you the way? And do not hold your poop in, proverbially speaking. Well, I just had another life lesson. Don’t be so self-contained!
I have like 3 or maybe 4 problems at any one given time. Sometimes they keep me up at night and sometimes the main problem takes a short nap and the other basic bitch sub-problems decide to play with my mind. These include: Leaky kitchen roof, electrical system in my car out of whack, enamel on front tooth chipped, crevice on forehead needs immobilizing with botulism product, getting old, tired, going to die alone, boo hoo. I toss and turn all night and everything becomes so overwhelming I can’t even get it together to change a burnt out lightbulb the next day.
My main problem these days is I’ve been fiscally irresponsible for the last few months. It went like like this, its textbook like in “What to Expect When You Don’t Pay Your Credit Card Bills.” Goes like this: Let the mail pile up in the mailbox, then one day have the guts to peak inside, bring the long white envelopes inside and stash them in a shoe box and get to them later. Bury head in sand. Another month goes by, lather rinse repeat. Then come the synchronized phone calls. At one point you will experience the overwhelming urge to push. Or not….like me, guess wot, bury head in sand some more.
Then a few weeks ago, I got one of those registered letters you have to sign for and shit got real. I was going to have to take some action because court order. Shoulda-woulda-coulda dealt with this sooner bit didn’t. I told one of my best friends my woe and she suggested I call one of those scary ass debt management lawyers. Oddly enough, there’s this one random dude who actually posts his services on my Facebook wall. At first I thought he was an emotionally intuitive internet genie but he’s most likely an opportunist who just sprays his jizz everywhere and hopes for business. Do you think he actually goes through his friends’ list and checks their credit scores? I would not be surprised. The paranoia was enough to cause more inertia. Anyway, I told her I needed her to nag me about this constantly as what I really need in my life is a domineering but coddling wife who would make me accountable for all the horrible things in life I keep putting off doing. She said okay and in exchange I can ride her about going to the gym. No probs, we went spinning the next day and she was fish to water! It was like she never took a gym sabbatical! I didn’t have to nag her at all! She started going on her own with her Fit Bit and new outfit. And then the Blue Jays started that winning streak and she kind of got distracted with that and I need a village to raise me, no person with a full-time job should be expected to take me on. Which turned out to be good because that Facebook lawyer seemed a little sketchy. Sometimes you have to listen to your intuition.
But! The good thing is once I opened up the first time, I began to feel less shame. I told another friend, and he had been through the exact same thing. I was floored, why did I not know this? I know his passwords and the smell of his farts, yet I did not know this. Well, because they don’t make t-shirts saying “Collection Agency Deadbeat”written on the front. Or do they?
And I realized everyone has their head in the sand somewhere about something. Yet another friend told me his estranged father let his diabetes go and both his legs got riddled with gangrene, the neighbours complained about the smell called the superintendent and he wouldn’t let anyone in his apartment. Talk about having your head buried in the sand and the rest of your body god knows what….there’s just no good metaphor for maggot infested legs because that takes the cake. He laughed and said my problems were nothing. Normal even. So yeah, I’m not the only one who let things slide a little too long. Then finally another friend I told actually raised the bar of friendship and kicked my arse into gear, googled up some non-profit debt management agencies, and made me go and open up the envelopes. OMG. Once I did it, it was cathartic, and almost empowering. And! It wasn’t even half as bad as I thought. Once I got that worked out, I changed a burnt out lightbulb, got my roof fixed, made a dentist appointment (ugh), and fucking wrote this blog post. Tomorrow, the world is mine.
SIGH, but those Blue Jays, man, I wish I still had those lucky birthing socks, for next year.