I love a good foot rub. Â Always have. Â But when you’re pregnant, a foot rub becomes better than anything else in the entire world. Â I’ve become like a crack addict. Â I’ll give anything for a foot rub. Â I’ll do anything. Â I need them. Â NEED THEM.
Chris, however, is not as keen on them as I am. Â Could be that I usually make him rub them after they’ve been in ballet flats all day and we all know that this makes feet smell like roses. Â And fish. Â Or it could be that I want my feet rubbed for hours at a time and he doesn’t have that kind of time to give. Â But more likely, its my method of asking him to rub my feet.
I’m not subtle.
I’m not patient.
I’m a bit dramatic.
What’s a girl gotta do to get a little foot lovin’?
Before I was pregnant, I didn’t pay much attention to my body. Â I didn’t own a scale. Â I couldn’t tell you anything about my metabolism. Â I didn’t even know when I was hungry and when I was full. Â I just didn’t pay much attention to the things my body was telling me. Â When I became pregnant, I started to pay more attention, more out of necessity than anything else. Â There is a person living inside me. Â I should probably be a good landlord and keep the grounds clean, you know?
I got pretty comfortable with myself. Â I started to be able to tell things just from the way that my body felt. Â For example, I knew before any of the testing that we were having a boy. Â I just knew it. Â And all those months my doctor tried to tell me that the baby was head down, I just knew that he wasn’t. Â Sure enough, last week when I was at the doctor’s office for my ultrasound, they discovered that the Bean is, in fact, breech. Â And not just breech. Â But footling breech. Â Basically, he’s standing up straight in there. Â And he’s facing the wrong direction. Â He seems pretty cool with this. Â My doctors do not. Â I tend to err on the side of the Bean. Â Even though he isn’t, like, born yet, I still feel like he has excellent judgment and if he doesn’t want to tuck and roll yet, then that’s his call.
Anyway, back to my body. Â As my due date looms closer (4 weeks!!), I am on the look out for any kind of sign that I may be in labor. Â The problem is that I’ve never been in labor before, so I’m not really sure what signs I’m looking for. Â This means that any little uncomfortable feeling, any odd sensation, any strange movement from within sends me into a momentary state of excitement as I wonder if this is truly it – am I really about to have this baby?
And then I fart.
Chris is driving me crazy. Â Freaking crazy. Â Like if he hadn’t knocked me up, I’d probably kill him right now. Â The thing is, its not all his fault. Â Its not actually his fault at all. Â For one thing, the things he is driving me crazy about are things we should be able to have adult conversations to discuss. Â But I can’t seem to function as an adult because my hormones are raging like a teenager. Â Conversations using non-four-letter words are hard for me to manage lately. Â The slightest remark from Chris can send me over the edge. Â The other night I was yelling so loudly at him that I knocked myself off of the step I was standing on. Â Danger! Â Anger!
The bigger issue is that I’m discovering Chris knows nothing about the birthing process. Â Absolutely nothing. Â But why should he? Â He’s never done any of this before. Â Throughout the entire process, he’s certainly been involved, but more from the sidelines. Â I read the baby books and then tell him what is going to happen. Â I go to the doctor and then tell him what they said. Â I pick out the baby equipment and then show him when it arrives. Â And I’m not complaining about any of this. Â To be honest, Chris would be miserable trying to figure some of this stuff out, and we would have started fighting long before now if he had been super involved. Â He’s been interested, supportive, and encouraging. Â Just from a certain distance.
I’m starting to think that has been a mistake. Â Maybe I should have nagged him to be involved a little more. Â Maybe I should have thrown baby books at him and filled his head with words like “epidural” and “swaddling.” Â Maybe I shouldn’t have let us drop out of our birthing class. Â Because as we get closer to the Great Arrival, it has become apparent that Chris knows absolutely nothing about the birthing process.
Why else would he have said to me in the middle of Target this past weekend that he doesn’t think he needs to stay with me at the hospital when I’m GIVING BIRTH TO OUR SON? Â Why else would he have declared that there is no need to stay at the hospital after I have the baby for more than a few hours and that I shouldn’t expect to just “lay around” at the hospital? Â Why else would he make stupid statements like this? Â He’s a smart guy. Â He’s a good husband. Â He’s got a big heart. Â He’s a decent human being. Â Why else would someone like Chris make absurd comments like this unless he genuinely just didn’t know any better?
The problem is that I’m so darn hormonal, I can’t seem to just have a normal conversation with him about the delivery and the hospital and things like that. Â My raging, inner lunatic is right at the surface and whenever Chris spouts off some kind of ignorant comment, I go into this blind rage and words fail me. Â Well, all words except those my Grandmother would not approve of.
So, how have we combatted this? Â We instant message. Â That’s right. Â I’ve resorted to instant messaging my husband about birthing details in an effort to save my marriage and his life. Â When you are typing to someone, its hard to get uncontrollably mad (well, you can get that mad, but they don’t really know it). Â Its been a great way for me to talk to him about these stupid comments. Â For example, I learned today that the reason Chris said he wasn’t going to be staying at the hospital is because he didn’t know that fathers stayed there. Â ”I didn’t know where I would sleep or where I would go,” he wrote during our online chat. Â Well, that makes a lot more sense. Â I can understand his reasoning now. Â So, I explained that they have cots and fold out beds for the dad. Â To which he responded, “Great!” Â Now, he could really have been cussing and pumping his fists in the air at the idea that he now was not off the hook. Â But for my purposes, all he said was “Great” and so things really were great.
I think having a baby for the first time is, obviously, hard on the mother. Â She’s dealing with the physical aspects of her body on top of working full-time, trying to pick pediatricians and daycares, working out insurance issues, figuring out how she’s going to handle maternity leave, etc. Â There’s just a lot of obvious issues for the mom to work through. Â But I think I have been so focused on that part, that I haven’t stopped to think about what Chris is going through. Â He’s trying to be supportive and encouraging. Â He’s doing more around the house and taking on responsibilities he’s never had before. Â Sure, I can see all of that. Â But what I haven’t noticed or thought much about is the emotional and mental toll this is all taking on him, too. Â I have at least been forced to confront all these things over the past nine months because it is physically a part of me. Â But for Chris, he’s just now getting down to the details and information that he’s going to need. Â I’m sure he feels rushed, overwhelmed, lost, and confused. Â But at the same time, he’s trying to stay strong so that I have someone to lean on. Â There are a lot of things that I know naturally just because I’m a woman that he doesn’t know about. Â Thanks to baby showers, OB/GYN appointments, A Baby Story, girlfriends, my mom, etc., I’ve been slightly and slowly exposed to the childbirth process my entire life. Â Chris has a lot of catching up to do.
The hardest part is trying to talk him through all this while keeping my temper and patience in check. Â But I’m going to start making more of an effort on that. Â Because this isn’t just MY birth experience. Â Its for Chris, too. Â I want him to be excited, not scared. Â I want him to look forward to talking to me about this, and not worried that I’m going to pop his head like a pimple when he tries to talk to me.
Tonight we have our hospital tour. Â I’m hoping this will help answer a lot of both our questions, and will make Chris feel more comfortable and give him more information so he’s Â not in the dark.
I’m also hoping they’ll take one look at me and admit me when I walk in the doors. Â Maybe some nice nurse will just take pity on me and my huge belly and say, “Here, honey. Â Let’s just get this over with, okay?” And that’s when I’ll finally relax and smile and say, “That sounds lovely. Â Could you please pick my husband up off the floor and tell us which room we will be in?”
Last night Chris and I went on the hospital tour. We were supposed to do this weeks ago as part of our childbirth class, but since we are childbirth drop outs, we signed up for an independent tour. I was pretty excited. I am a visual person. I need to see where I’m going to be. To see where the baby will be taken. To see the waiting room that will theoretically contain my parents (and as there were no bars and/or locks on the waiting room door, I am convinced they will be totally uncontainable…). And I loved everything I saw.
They showed us where we will park and where we will check in. They showed us the labor and delivery rooms, which were just beautiful! And the lighting in there was better than candlelight at an Italian restaurant. I’m totally going to look hot and glowing-y in all my pictures thanks to their strategically placed recessed lighting and 25 watt light bulbs. Clearly, this room was designed by some poor woman who has pictures of herself after her delivery all sweaty and sticky under fluorescent lighting. She came out of the ordeal and announced that she would change the world by changing the lighting in delivery rooms. Props to that Saint of a Woman.
After labor and delivery, they showed us up to the maternity floor where the rooms are all private and they all have windows and they all smell good. Again, there are no locks or bars on this floor and so there is nothing to contain my parents, but that’s the hospital’s fault and the nurse staff will just have to deal.
The whole time we were on the tour, I really kept my eye mostly on Chris. I wanted to see how he reacted and what he thought about everything. He was pretty funny actually. I wish I’d had my camera. I could tell he was really concentrating and processing things because he was walking about four feet in front of me, and he only remembered I was there when either a) a door he was holding hit me in the face or b) the tour guide mentioned there was Wifi in the hospital. Both of these times, he sheepishly turned back and gave me a thumbs up. Other than that, the kid could have been on the tour by himself. He just kind of looked around, poked at things, peeked in doors. He reminded me of our black lab, Molly, when she doesn’t think anyone is watching her. She just meanders until someone calls her name. That’s how Chris was. He just floated through the rooms, checking everything out, not saying too much.
When the tour was finished and we were walking back to our car, I waited for him to speak first. Just to hear what he had to say.
“That was pretty cool,” he said. And then he grinned and took my hand. “And we’re gonna have a baby.”
For the rest of the ride home, he talked 90 miles an hour about people that would be visiting us, where we would park the car, who would let out the dogs, where the baby would be, how we got the baby home. It was like someone just flipped on a light switch inside him and suddenly he understood everything.
This caused me to say the following prayer before I went to bed last night:
“Dear Lord, thank you for my husband. And thank you for the patience it takes every day to not kill him because sometimes its really nice to have him around. Amen.”