Monday, March 20, 2006

first day of spring & countdown to reality

Spring is my favorite. I'll say it. I've said it. I might say something different come the autumn but shut up. It's spring!

When I was a tiny girl in New York state, we had a next-door neighbor named Mrs. Thomas. One day every spring she would let me and my brother come into her yard and pick daffodils. There were rows and rows and rows of them, a little daffodil farm under a giant weeping willow. I loved how tall the daffodils were compared to me -almost up to my waist. Crazy white and yellow and peach and orange trumpets! And I loved how the scent immediately drove springtime home, drove it right up my nose, the imminence of the Easter Bunny and how gorgeous it was to play outside again. I loved how it felt in the shade of the big tree, cool and warm and perfect. We were allowed to pick as many daffodils as we could carry in our arms on that one day. There was the tiny tinge of sadness as we left her yard and hit the unlovely asphalt of the street on our 20 foot walk home, arms full of blooms, fun part over.


Here comes the boy, now, in just a few weeks. Could be 3 weeks. Could be 7 weeks. Could be anywhere in between. As we get closer to the day, the reality of the situation is pushing its head out more and more. We get these vivid moments, where the reality has this strange new texture to it. I can't get it right while I'm writing this, this isn't one of the moments. But last night I had it in rolling waves.


Goodbye, free girl. I can barely buy into the idea that I'm a woman. I feel so young. But somebody in the house is going to be THE YOUNGEST OF ALL and I will need to be OLD and GOOD and ON TOP OF IT. And also, the nice sadness of admitting that I am an actual woman, and I've always wanted to be one, and how sweet it will be to be old and good and on top of it and loving somebody small. That's the sadness of having a dream sort of come true, hitting the asphalt with my arms full. It will have happened. No more wondering what it will look like.


We're parents, we're parents, we're parents, we're parents, we're still parents, we're still parents, we'll never stop until we're dead, nothing else is so certain and so permanent. This is a string which ties us to our mortality more thoroughly than our marriage can, however exactly right our marriage is.

Terrifying love!

Already I love Dave in a way that aches - that, like our baby, holds our deaths in it. There's no time to appreciate him, I can't drink him in enough in any given moment. And here comes somebody else, who is going to drag this aching love out of me and be horribly central and precious to my life.


Dave and Finn, here they are. They're hired. They are the most extremely essential personnel that will be traveling with me through this life. So, it's you! You and you. Me, you and you. Of course, there are others, lots of other essential personnel, but these two - I will see them just about every day of my life. My life looks, will look - among other things - like their faces.


This large, lumpy baby is seriously coming out from between my legs. Seriously. You mean it. In a matter of weeks. And in the meanwhile, he's getting larger, you say. Well. Well, well. And if I try to make a break for it, the baby is coming with me anyway and will come out from in between my legs in Puerto Vallarta or southern Oregon or wherever it is I'm hiding. So, I am, as they say, fucked. Every night I'm online googling "good birth stories", "wonderful first-time births", "idyllic home births". I'm trying to re-establish connections with Ganesha, the excellent Hindu god who is responsible for the placing and removal of obstacles.

Hey, you great big good old elephant head! Remember me? Say, so, what...what do you think about removing some obstacles for this birth here? Hey, um, if you don't have anything else to do, you could remove some obstacles, maybe hook us up with one of those super-smooth births that I've read about? I just, you know, love your work, man, and just....keep us in mind! Oh - Om Gum Ganapatayai Namaha. Yes. Straight up to you.

Like many people, I become a total kiss-ass when I'm in need.

Tomorrow is our last childbirth class. Roll it out, lady. Break out the Ark of the Childbirth Covenant and open that mofo for us. Shine that face-melting light of knowledge right in my face. ANY FINAL TIPS YOU HAVE, I'M LISTENING.

P.S. The Beatles were right that happiness is a warm gun, only the gun is a bra that just came out of the dryer. Hold 'em up, y'old warm horse.


la Ketch said...

i love that idea of running away but the baby still being there, "surprise!" ha haha. that's funny. i also still want you to scan in those drawings you did for the birth class. for some reason those make me laugh hysterically, which shows you how sick in the head i am. oooohhh we're all getting so excited for finn to arrive!! it's goood and vvvveeerryyy ggoooohhd. Ganesha is your dude. he will fan you with his floppy ears. big elephant kisses.

hpmelon said...

Alright, here goes. I don't talk baby stories much because every woman is different and has their own way, but you get this because your summation of all the emotions that collide with the time before having a baby is so accurate it brought back phantom baby kicks.

I found with my first that, even though I had thought I was prepared, I was so bewildered by the entire experience that I did not know how to be in charge of it. It was still beautiful and all that jazz, but my big lesson from that one was...know your birthing plan with airtight clarity.

The second and third were better. With all three I was completely fine until it was time to push. Then I became terrified and distinctly remember saying to my husband "I cannot and will not do this. I am too scared." To which he always had wise and comforting words. But the mantra that actually stayed with me during that part of labor was one of my OB's gently saying "Push past the pain." This thought more than anything helped me. It made me relax and focus and gave me clarity. All things that shoved away my fear and brought back control.

The pain is so fleeting and the reward is what is past the pain.

Last tip - if you are nursing - do it as soon as you have that baby in your arms.

I hope these were helpful, and here is wishing you an easy and peaceful birth.

l. said...

this is so great.

laura said...

All I can say is yes. You've put everything I've been thinking and feeling out there.

Anonymous said...

Tina! I SO remember all those feelings before my first daughter was born. There was no way I could have articulated them like you have, though. Thanks for taking me back!

Eve said...

Man- I really missed reading your thoughts! Since I always think I am 16 in a way, I remember thinking, before Piper was born, "OH MY GOD. I am doing something here that I can NEVER TAKE BACK. This is FOREVER and EVER and EVER. I am responsible for this little human's life." Overwhelming doesn't begin to describe it.

Now, I am still the same person, more or less, but the biggest fear I have is the thought of going through the rest of my life without my daughter. Crazy how that happens...

We are counting down the weeks together now! :)

Oh yes! A girlfriend of mine just had a FABULOUS home birth! I will email you about it! You can do it!


Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law said, "you know, I'll have a f-ing epidural if I want one; it's not like the baby comes out with an "organic" stamp". Just give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do to get through it!

Tina Rowley said...

Hil: Big elephant flap kiss to you, honeyhead.

HP: Wow, thanks for that. That was really kind of you to bend that rule for me. Very helpful!

Louella: Thanks, you.

Laura: Right there with you, babe. We're getting so close, now. Goddamnit, we'll do great.

Momster: Thanks, lady! It's so nice to hear how normal all these feelings are.

Eve: YOU have been missed, you reassuring sweetheart person. I love reading your accounts of motherhood - makes it look so joyful.

Sandra: I totally dig what your sister's saying, and I shall indeed do whatever I need to do. For me it's less about the organic stamp-i-ness of the natural birth than it is my hope to stay out of hospitals if possible, as they oog me out. But if it comes down to it, then off to the hospital I will gladly go. Thanks for the good word.

Anonymous said...

I know I recommended this to Jennifer (and please pardon the stranger butting in, btw!), but I think it went the way of the raspberry tea---Ina May Gaskin's "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth." It is SO incredibly helpful and wonderful, and it has amazing information about the birthing process that you just won't find elsewhere.

Also "Birthing from Within" by Pam England, for just dealing with the whole experience.

Wishing you the best!