As a child, I was totally excited by the prospect of growing up and getting pregnant – and not for the usual motherly reasons. I was a fat kid who, at least once, hid in the bathroom to sneak Reese’s Peanut Butter cups so what I was really excited about in regards to pregnancy was that I could eat whatever I want without being judged. I dreamt of have a freezer filled with coffee-flavored Haagen-Dazs ice cream. And if anyone gave me even a glance while I sat devouring the whole pint in one sitting, I would point to my belly and say something like, “Ah, the demands of the baby.” They would then apologize for even thinking that I was in the wrong and bring me another to make up for it. Sounded like the best thing ever! But then my uncle goes and gets my aunt knocked-up, and I begin to learn the real truth of pregnancy and I freak.
First off, she looks fantastic! Sure, I might have exclaimed when I got to town and saw her belly, but it was a good “Wow!” – I swear. And it’s just the belly that’s grown. She is still tiny everywhere else with just this adorable belly. Seriously, if I ever do get pregnant and can look half as good as she does, I will be SO grateful. However, considering the only reason that I ever really wanted to get pregnant was to shove my face full of bad-for-me food, I doubt I’ll be that lucky.
But beyond giving me an unrealistic hope for a pretty-pregnancy, she has also told me all the great things that come with it all. Not only will I have the inevitably painful part of getting the kid out of me, but also in the process of growing the thing you get perks such as these:
- Not being able to sleep in certain positions lest I squish my bodily organs – because I mean the baby is squishing enough for the both of us.
- 50% more blood in your body.
- 8% less brain!! And considering the fact that I my mind is a sieve now means that this 8% loss will probably mean for me a loss of the ability to remember how to walk.
- You’re not only growing a baby – but also a whole new organ: the placenta!
- Getting up to pee every 30 minutes throughout the night.
- Not being able to take baths over a certain temperature so that you don’t cook the baby!!
- 2 words: mucus plug.
As awful of all of that was I still thought that this was something that I could eventually handle. But then I joined Matt and Alisha to see the movie “Knocked-Up” which happens to feature real images of childbirth. As soon as the characters in the movie entered the birthing room, Alisha closed her eyes. I figured that I was made of stronger stuff and could handle the truth. Then came the close-up of the baby’s head starting to pop out – and I freaked! In fact, I think that “freaked” doesn’t give it emphasis it needs – even italicized. I practically went into a momentary seizure. And poor Matt was left sitting between his weeping wife and convulsing niece. It was a bad time all around.
So, understandably, when I arrived to New York and was asked to fill in for Matt in the birthin’ class, I was hesitant to say the least. But I summoned my strength and said to myself, “Do it for Alisha. And if that’s not enough, do it for the jokes.” Matt and Alisha also tried to calm me by saying that they had watched the videos in the last class so there probably wouldn’t be any of those. They lied.
I met Alisha at the class; we took off our shoes (which I’m convinced they only have you do to keep you from running out in the middle) and headed on in to sit on a mat. They had had a sub for their first class so this teacher didn’t know any of the couples. Let me just say that I would consider Alisha and I close, but as a lesbian couple, we are the worst ever. This was the class when we went through some of the various positions that Matt and Alisha could use to help deal with the contractions. Looking around the room at the other NPP’s affectionately rubbing their partner’s belly and kissing them on the head only to glance back at the two of us truly embodying the awkwardness of the 7th-grade dance position (It was a real position – I swear.) as I whisper to Alisha in my pretend-braces voice, “I’m really glad you came with me to the dance!” I knew that we weren’t passing for “Couple-of-the-Year”. Then came the spooning position and I could sense the sympathy the other class-members felt for “our” child being born into such an affectionless-home.
We are also, apparently some of the worst women ever since when the teacher did make us watch the videos we were the only two staring at the floor and cringing. At some point I’m pretty sure that I even audibly said something like, “Come on!” I mean a video of 30 contractions back-to-back! Are you kidding me?! Why would anyone be okay with watching that? The teacher was good enough to point out that in real life there is a nice slow build to the awful screaming and panic that was displayed on these women’s faces which the sadist editors were kind enough to cut-out for this little gem of cinematography. Because why would I want the reminder that the experience of pushing something with shoulders out of a hole which I was once concerned I would confuse with my pee-hole that it is not a continuous stream of screaming, cursing and yelling at my NPP “Don’t talk!” for 12-36 hours??
And I also don’t understand all of these women who want to touch the baby’s head as it is being squeezed out of their neither-regions. I don’t want anything to do with that baby until it is out of me and gets hosed off. As I told Alisha, “As far as I’m concerned, it is cute in there [indicating the belly] and here [indicated the arms] – but not in between.” Furthermore, at the moment that I’m giving birth, I don’t want any more reminders of what is happening down there – I just want to get it done.
On top of all of this, in the bathroom of this place there is a huge, nicely framed picture of a baby being held next to a tub of bloody placenta. Ahh yes, that is exactly the type of memento that I hope to pass onto my children one day. “Yes, young Sam this is you and this the gory organ that I created at the same time! See, it has your dad’s features.”
In the end, the entire experience did little to shake me from my early stance of being in the waiting room with a cigar and flask of whiskey while Matt and Alisha are in the birthing room. I don’t buy that bullshit that Matt gets to be in that position since he has no chance of ever having to live through it. I’m the one who needs the stiff drinks now if my mom’s wish of having a grandbaby birthed from my womb ever has a chance of coming true.