It's in this spirit I share a story I had the pleasure of telling at Milwaukee's fourth annual Listen To Your Mother Show.
Because it's all about the journey; and sometimes, despite all the preparation we think we've done, we find out that getting to the destination we call Motherhood is half the fun...depending on your definition of fun.
Expecting A Baby
13 years ago, my husband and I found out we were going to have a baby. Actually, we were expecting a baby. I was going to have the baby. I’d be a first time mom; and my body - this baby’s first home.
When the doctor gave us the news, I thought to myself:
There’s a tiny human inside of me.
Can it hear me?
Is it bored?
Do I tiptoe while it’s napping or sit perfectly still?
How do I even know when it’s napping?
CLEARLY, I was clueless.
So this clueless mother-to-be began reading the Rosetta Stone of pregnancy otherwise known as What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
I was like a college student cramming for finals. I read that book first thing in the morning, during my lunch break, before dinner, after dinner, memorized passages and highlighted paragraphs.
And soon, I was thee subject matter expert on all things pregnancy. And like a schoolgirl who makes everything about her latest crush, I could turn any topic of conversation into a pregnancy factoid:
Sorry about your headache. You know…headache discomfort reminds me of the tightening of the abdomen that happens as pregnant women approach their delivery date…
But there are things What To Expect When You’re Expecting doesn’t to tell you to expect.
Like labor. It says you should expect pain. Like it’ll just be good old generic pain. It doesn’t tell you this pain feels like the tiny yet-to-be born person is twisting on your innards.
It also says you should expect pain will increasingly make it hard to carry on conversations. Like you’ll be chatting it up with Jimmy Fallon while you’re in labor. The fact is you won’t want to carry on conversations because the tiny yet-to-be born person is twisting on your innards.
It tells you to pack a bag for the hospital in advance to make check-in easier. Packing was easy, but the hospital check-in was another thing not covered in the book.
We arrived at the emergency room, and soon, I was in a backless hospital gown reclining on a labor and delivery room bed. An admitting nurse came in to gather information.
Name? Rochelle Fritsch
Address? I gave her our address.
And you are? . . . Tired of this tiny yet-to-be-born-person twisting on my innards?
What was she getting at, anyway? She went on…
You’re black...right? Uh yeah…last time I checked.
Now on to my husband.
You’re the baby’s father? Yes.
Same address? Yes.
And you are?...Seriously wondering if we’re being punk’d right now.
My husband responded: white.
And the baby will be?
Now, what I really wanted to say was:
Someone who will make the world a better place.
Instead I said “We’re starting this and the baby isn’t even here yet?”
I’ll just say both black and white.
The tiny human twisting on my innards didn’t get here by immaculate conception. My husband didn’t click his heels together and magically make a baby for me to birth. We both were…involved in making the baby, so yes the baby is both!
Soon, I was pushing. As suggested in Chapter 9 “Labor and Delivery” my husband was my coach. With the final push, there was another thing the book didn’t cover.
What To Expect When You’re Expecting says nothing about this – the announcement your husband makes, as if by surprise, when he witnesses the very moment your child is born.
He’ll say IT’S…IT’S A…BABY!!!”Which is all we wanted our admitting nurse to understand in the first place.