Posted by: emjb | November 26, 2005


Many thanks to Doctormama, who has been so quick with the comforting on my more sad and pitiful posts. She’s right, of course, it isn’t my fault, baby having is dangerous and has always been, etc. You read enough Ina May Gaskin, you think surely there is some midwife trick to get out those problem babies that we could have tried. And maybe there was (the pelvic press? (see lower right part of page)) but my midwives didn’t know it. Or had restrictions on trying it. Or, maybe that wouldn’t help either. Some of Gaskin’s patients did have to have c-sections, too, after all.

It doesn’t really matter at this point; it happened how it happened. If I tried again, it might happen again. It might not. Maybe I’d go out to Gaskin’s farm if I tried again and let her work her hippie voodoo, with the premise that if she can’t help me have a natural birth, the universe is just against the idea in general. It’s pretty chilling to think that if I had lived 100 years ago, I would have been doomed to die in childbirth, though. Not the kind of thing you want to believe about yourself, or your body. You want to believe it can do what it’s supposed to do, not that some genetic hitch would mean trying to reproduce would, without people like Dr. Slicehappy at the hospital, take you out of the gene pool permanently.


Being home is strange. Texas is so familiar, but after 3 years in New York, alien too. So big, so full of white people, who say things like “she married a black man, you know,” as though this were something of importance. But also quiet, also a place where the baby and I can take breaks from one another and he can cuddle with Mamaw while I catch up on sleep from the night before. I felt like shit yesterday after the flight, although Nathan did great, once I figured out how to work the effing sling. I’m still not entirely sure I got it right, he seemed to be wrapped up like a piece of toffee and that looked uncomfortable, but he slept through almost the whole thing. He’s still too small for his Snugli just yet.

Actually, with all the talk of him being a big baby, he’s really just a tiny thing still; my mom has to take back some of the clothes she bought him, they’re just way too big. Today he wore a little blue outfit his daddy bought him that snaps diagonally in the front, like a kimono, making him look like a miniature Chinese emperor.

Mom is teaching me How Not to Be Hostage to Your Baby; she got me to get him out of the bassinet while he was sleeping and go to the grocery store with her. You mean, you can do that? Move them around while they sleep? Somewhere in my head this just something Not Done. “What if he has to eat or is wet while we’re out?” I asked my mom, slightly panicked, and she said, “Take a bottle, and being wet for a few minutes won’t kill him.”

Oh yeah. That would work, wouldn’t it? Huh. And he was fine, slept most of the time, fussed till he got his bottle, and went a little longer without a diaper change than normal. No biggie.

My mom keeps telling me more and more about what it was like when we were small. When my oldest brother was born she was 18, and it was 3 days before she saw him after the birth (they kept you in the hospital longer then)–and she didn’t know she could ask for him before that. She went home and fed my poor brother cow’s milk and nothing but until he was constipated. And then she was told to feed him a mixture of condensed milk, water and Karo syrup(!) to take care of the problem. She would use receiving blankets as diapers at night because they were so much thicker than actual diapers; she never used a disposable until I came along, and they apparently didn’t work all that well. Everything was supposed to be sterilized, and now nothing is; you just crack open the Enfamil and get pouring. Car seats were pretty much optional if you even had one; hell, no one wore seatbelts anyway. We rode around in the back of pickup trucks, played on rusty swingsets with projecting bolts, jumped on trampolines, and generally were lucky to make it to adulthood.

He’s asleep now, we’re about to begin the Night Watch of 3 hour naps interrupted by feedings. I figure about 3 shifts between now and when I can hand him off to Mom in the morning for a nap of my own. Thanks to her, I feel up to it, for the first time since we got him home. Moms rock.



  1. Sometimes I’m amazed at what people felt comfortable doing with kids even when I was young. I rode with my friends like sausages in the way back of a station wagon, played with lawn darts, carried a lit kerosene lantern upstairs…

    My current perspective on these things makes me feel old.

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