It's quarter to 2 in the morning, and I'm sitting up here with an enormous bottle of water that I have to finish. I have my first prenatal appointment tomorrow morning, and I have to get blood drawn.
I HATE GETTING BLOOD DRAWN.
No, I HATE GETTING BLOOD DRAWN.
I have teeny tiny veins buried somewhere in my bone marrow, and it's always a horrible production number trying to find an in. A friend of mine told me that if you drink a lot of water beforehand, the veins make themselves friendlier and suppler, less psychotically evasive. So, I have a few bottles of water and I am going to stay up drinking them until they are gone.
I always weep when I go to the doctor and have to get this done. (More Gallivanting Monkey weeping...allright! Who's this Gallivanting Monkey?? She sounds like a giant pussy!! Yeah!)
It's always been this way. When I was 19 and home from college with mono, I had to get blood drawn each week, and I'd be near hyperventilation, tearing up in that six-year-old, I-can't-breathe way. In the car on the way back home, I'd always be staring out of the window but actually looking at my reflection in said window, picturing the movie-of-the-week chronicling one young woman's bravery, a woman with a tiny little bandage on her arm, a tiny little bandage in the same spot every week. That car reflection window shot seemed like a great opener.
There she goes.....brave little thing.
Might as well also talk about The Motherhood Fears.
First of all, I want to say that I'm not feeling, and am in fact totally opposed to, paranoia. Paranoia is for babies. Paranoia is a halfway, polluted thing. It gets in the way of your joy
And, oddly enough, gets in the way of your fear.
No, I'm full-on glowingly joyful, and full-on fucking totally afraid.
I'm afraid for this tiny little growing pea. Is it getting what it needs from me? Will it make it? Is it possible? Am I healthy enough to do this? Am I too old?
I'm afraid the baby won't make it.
I'm afraid that it will.
What if it does? What if it keeps getting bigger and bigger here inside my body? Ho-lee Shit. I can't really feel the little Rowley right now, and that's freaky enough. But what about when I can feel it? What the fuck is that like?
What if it gets big and gets a foot caught between my ribs? That can happen! Holy fuck, that's creepy!
What if it's a footling? Okay, a footling - I read about this in What to Expect When You're Expecting - a footling is a baby in a kind of breech position where it's like the baby is standing up, with one foot sticking out of your uterus like it fell through a tiny manhole cover.
Here's a bastardized drawing of the drawing in the book:
I know there's more to the woman's body that's not shown, but it looked in the picture like you could see the foot sticking out of the lady. Like, hey, oh, never mind, that's just my baby's foot sticking out beneath my mini skirt, ha ha. She's a footling. Ho ho. Yeah.
Apparently, many of my fears are foot-based.
And then there's the retardo fear that goes something like, but I'm the baby! Seriously, I'm the baby, everybody. I have not previously been displaced from my spot as the baby. I have no younger siblings. I have no little nieces or nephews. I don't have a pet. I'm it, mofos! The baby, c'est moi! Dave is humoring me, as I've shared this fear with him. Every now and then I present him with myself, like, check me out! Have you SEEN a more adorable baby than I am? LOOK AT ME! Hello! And yes, he has, all right, he has seen babies way far so more legit and adorable than I. But he gives it up for me, God love him.
Whatever, because THEN, there's the, yeah, that's it, GIVING BIRTH. Jesus Frankenstein Guggenheim, that is going to happen to me. If I'm lucky!! I can't even go there, now. It's so early. But it's there, up ahead, the giving birth, waiting for me just like death is. Yes, mmm hmm, those are the facts, but I can't do anything about them, so I'm just going to read this magazine and put it out of my mind. La la la. Hoo hoo hoo.
So, let's say that that all goes well, the rib, the footling, the birth.
After that, we have a child! Yes, that's great! Beautiful, unspeakably delightful. Our very own child. Our very own child. Our child. We have it. It's ours. We have one. It's coming home with us. To live. To live, to yell, to freak out, to shit itself, to make urgent, indecipherable demands that we are absolutely beholden to fulfill if at all possible.
What is happening?? What is going on?? This is happening. It's happening, we're underway. We're off. No going back.
And I don't want to go back. I walk down the street now by myself and I just feel how empty my left hand is, and I just go ahead and pretend there's a small hand in it. I can't wait for that. I can't wait for the small person to come home from school with a problem, and to sit down with my little person and help figure it all out, to listen. I'll have a baby child person, with thoughts in its head, ideas about this whole place so far, and I'm going to be like a junkie, just dying to hear anything the little person will tell me. I'll have a little fatty in a terrycloth suit curled up on my shoulder, all small and fat and diapered and puffy, and I predict that I'll go mad with joy. Dave is over the moon, waiting for his child to arrive, and he's going to be an unspeakably beautiful father. I've seen him with children, and it turns me into a puddle. I can't imagine what will be left of me when I see him with our own.
I want this, I've always wanted it, it always seemed like some part of my destiny, somehow, to be a mother. I want it. I'm in. I'm stunned.
On my 19th birthday, I sat in a room full of friends, drinking wine, and we all talked about the lives we want to lead. Someone posed the question, "Would you rather live a life of great joy and great sorrow, or a life somewhere in the middle that - though it misses the great joy - spares you the great pain?" To my shock, everyone but me and my oldest friend, Kris, chose the middle one. I was blown away. It seemed to me like a no-brainer. And it still is a no-brainer.
Screw it. I'm terrified, elated, sad to be saying goodbye to my own childhood, and at least I'm totally alive.