Thursday, August 25, 2011

Extranjera's guide to being pregnant: How to have a proper meltdown.

As I tweeted and Facebooked earlier today (yesterday really, but who gives a flying fuck?), late last night a thought hit me.

Like a ton of bricks. Or like that pretend (I hope) shit they discreetly (also not really, but again, who really cares?) squirt on your leather shoes on the streets of Rio de Janeiro about 20 seconds before offering you a very expensive shoe shine. Smooth.

It hit me that once this baby is born (this is the part everyone's supposed to care about), they'll probably let me take her home with me (not the same people who, as part of their clever business plan squirt shit, but the army of doctors and nurses, who inhabit our chosen hospital in Mexico City). It is looking very likely indeed that in not so long I will be coming home with a tiny person who will, at that point, no longer be inside my belly.



See. That part really gets to me all of a sudden.

Unlike many of the tiger mothers-to-be I've encountered on the interwebz, I haven't really given a thought to things like the birthing experience (I thought about taking a class or maybe ordering a DVD, but then decided, by spacing it out subconsciously, that years of pushing on the toilet were training enough), the birthing environment (I'll intend to battle traffic to get to the hospital my OB/GYN's practice is, as well as the best NICU in the city [which boils down to me possibly giving birth in a Mexico City taxi], which I'm still counting on will admit me regardless of them having absolutely no record of me on account of me never touring their vast facilities, just as long as there's amniotic fluid/ bloody mucus leaking down onto the floor), or the pregnancy plan (I haven't given a leaping anything about weight gain, the minimization of stretch marks, lubing up the va-jay-jay and performing some sort of massage to avoid tearing [?!?!], and all that fizzy jazz).

I have been laboring on (obviously meaning watching bad television and knitting) under the assumption that unless I suddenly feel a tiny head between my thighs and as long as there are tiny kicks aimed at my ribs every now and then things are more or less under control.

But now I'm freaking out about the 'WHAT THEN?'

I'm plenty prepared as far as Down syndrome goes. We have therapists and specialists lined up. We know all about the potential health issues as well as the early intervention stimulation programs. We are looking into nutritional information regarding the syndrome. We have read and memorized, and met with children with Down syndrome and their parents. We got it. We've done the research. And then some.

But that's only a tiny part of it all. It's just one chromosome. She'll be a baby first. A tiny little life, who'll need to be fed, bathed, changed, not dropped, played with, talked to, rocked to sleep, clothed, and all kinds of stuff I'm completely oblivious to.

She'll need stuff.

Someone told me that they'll scratch their own eyes out if you don't cut their nails all the time!

And who knew you can't give honey to a baby? (I know chocolate will kill a dog though. Does that earn me some points at least?)

There's so much.

And I don't know any of it.

At least my hair color will stimulate her vision:

Please leave me lots of comments regarding how I'm a natural parent and how my daughter will never go eye-less even if I can't find the tiniest nail clippers on earth in time for her impending arrival. Thanks.


jane said...

congratulations!!! i´m so happy for you! and yes, you´ll be a natural! all you need is a good sense of humor- and you´ve got plenty. happy days!
big hugs!

Sarah said...

i've never actually had a baby, but i've grown up around them my whole life, and let me tell you, you really have nothing to worry about. baby's nails are really soft in the beginning, and my mom used to bite them off instead of using nail clippers. i've heard it was easier. and for the first few months, all she'll want to do is sleep anyway. they can get a little boring if you don't find staring at a sleeping baby entertaining. i'm pretty sure they teach you how to nurse a baby and/or bottle feed it at the hospital. and as for bathing, most babies i know just scream and cry the whole way through that - something about being naked and cold. so you just have to keep your head and tune out the crying. sponge baths? but really, a lot of it is instinctual and you'll be fine!

Lindsay Schultz @sayschu said...

It's probably better not to think about the birthing experience. No one can really prepare for that, so why give it more thought than you have to?

As for the "stuff" she needs, it's mostly for the parents. All a newborn needs is you and diapers. And a carseat.

You'll be a natural. Unlike your awesome hair. ;)

Robin said...

Come on. Here's the god honest truth from a mother of 3, almost 4. It's "natural" to need sleep and be annoyed by your significant other due to this deprivation. You will love the way she feels while she sleeps on your shoulder, adore the new baby smell, and question what the balck tar is that just shot up her backside. If you don't automatically feel like a natural, that's natural. Give it a little time and you will be able to identify the sound of small hands splashing in the toilet from a mile away. So yes, you should be very good at this. I think that small bit of insecurity is what keeps the first one alive when you bring her home.

--r said...

if there's actually anyone out there who knows exactly what they're doing in the first few weeks or months (or in my case, years) of having a kid, i don't know them. i also hate them.
and you'll be better than fine. you'll be fantastic.

Indiri said...

If her fingernails are out of control and you can't find the nail clippers you can always put a pair of her tiny socks on her hands for a little while till you can find or get new clippers. :) Seriously, I did that once for an afternoon.

Don't worry too much. You'll do great!

julochka said...

i wondered about that too...i didn't think it was very wise of them just let me take the child like that. all unsupervised and stuff. it seemed like something bordering on criminal madness on their part. but it ended up ok. babies are resilient and they have this way of communicating their dissatisfaction (crying, screaming, something like that it's called...i've blocked it out). but the truth is, you will be fine.

Tonia said...

You will be an amazing mother whose daughter will always, thanks to the miracles of hair colour, be able to find her when momentarily lost in a crowd. You will cry, laugh, be bone-achingly tired, cry some more, scream when you forget where you put your keys for the 19th time that day, shout at your Viking because he doesn't have rampaging hormones, and then cry because he's been nice to you.
That is, in short, the first few weeks of motherhood and it will all come naturally to you.
Somewhere in that mess of snot and emotions will be a baby who, as long as she has you close by, will be absolutely fine as she'll clearly have inherited your awesome gene.

Winterswan said...

I'm laughing right now, behind the keyboard, because I can relate. I took the birthing classes, though, only to discover upon actual childbirth that all of the techniques they taught us only served to make me more naseaus and uncomfortable. So, I went with what felt right at the time, which worked pretty well. Early parenting (and current parenting) is pretty much like that, at least it has been for us. I read books, ask advice from other parents, ingnore lots of what I'm told that doesn't make sense, and somehow it all works out. And what works at one stage seems to change when moving to the next. It's not always "hearts and flowers" and it's not always calmness and serenity in our house, but it's always worth it. I love the color of your hair-my daughter saw a similar color at the beauty supply store recently and tried to get me to do mine a gorgeous shade of magenta-I'm still thinking about it. Maybe a streak??? Congrats on the little one soon to be here. You'll do great!

Anonymous said...

Muru, sähän oot koko ikäs pistänyt kulmakunnan kakarat ojennukseen ja nyt vanhempana pidät huolta, ettei kukaan tee väärin tai syö tyhmästi ainakaan kuulematta ensin mikä olis viisaampaa yms. yms. :-) Paljon paljon voimia! Haleja täältä multa! You are my superwoman!