Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Of bedrest, labor, and white doves

Here's a collage of pregnant Katie (who is due a few weeks after Leigh), pregnant Leigh, and unpregnant Erica today right before they took off for Katie's (low-key, compared to ours) baby shower:

I'll start with the news and then backtrack to provide an explanation - Leigh is on bedrest starting immediately, and Friday was her last day before her leave. So now, instead of overachieving and pushing herself too hard at work, she can do the same at home. Evidently she hasn't taken enough notice of my example in how to properly relax and not push oneself hard at all.

Now for the backtracking.

Society as a whole has an image of carrying and birthing a child that is so heavily weighted with sentimentality that one could easily imagine a birth in which the mother (in sepia-toned soft focus) lays tired but triumphant, her hand resting lightly on her swollen belly, smiling as the final stage of labor plays out; a flock of white doves fly through the room at the triumphant moment as the baby arrives, who is cooing happily. All is bliss.

I'm not wholly innocent of this charge. I'm a sentimental sort of guy, and there is magic to the process - the slow maturation of the parents as they realize the extent of their impending responsibility, the wonder that is inspired when they feel their child kicking and moving around, the excitement of seeing the kid in ultrasound.

But nowhere is it written that carrying or birthing a child is much fun. Just think about the grace and beauty with which the human body carries out its other natural functions.

So far, Leigh has dealt with hives over half her body; painfully swollen feet and ankes (as she calls them, her "bloody stumps"); acid reflux and a variety of other strange and unprecedented digestive issues; a massive spike in hormone level; engorged breasts that have rapidly outgrown all of her bras, and the bras she bought to replace them; and now, a blotchy right arm. The right arm is what prompted the bedrest - the blotches are spasming veins due to elevated blood pressure.

Like everything else, this isn't a serious medical problem - at least, if addressed and maintained at its current level. Hence the bedrest, and cheery advice from our doctor that if Leigh had a feeling of "impending doom," she needed to report to the hospital right away.

Yes, "impending doom." If she starts speaking in tongues, I'm really going to be freaking out.

To be honest, Leigh would be a bit nuts to not have a sense of "impending doom" after the childbirth class we took at Swedish.

Here's the happy-go-lucky condensed version: "Labor is going to hurt. It's going to hurt bad. Actually, it's going to hurt worse than anything you've ever felt in your life. You're going to feel like you're going to die. You can try some mental exercises that may or may not help with the pain. Now, to lighten the mood, we're going to show you video of women convulsing, screaming, in cold sweat. That's before they even arrive at the hospital. Oh, and we encourage you to not take pain medication."

Not that I helped much. At lunch, I began musing about the mental exercises meant to help distract from the pain, and the breathing patterns that give the mother the oxygen she needs - it all sounded vaguely reminiscent of strategies that helped me when I was hiking and climbing a great deal, especially at high altitudes, such as on Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

Husbands, take note - don't even take the first tiny step towards comparing childbirth to hiking, unless you're eager to hear about it for many weeks (or longer).

Leigh, to publicly answer your seemingly rhetorical question after I made the comparison - no, I've never had any part of my body dilate to 10 centimeters or pop out something the size and shape of a watermelon while hiking. Glad I could clear that up.


Blogger mrclm said...

If she starts speaking in tongues, I'm really going to be freaking out.

Well, then you could join an Assemblies of God church...

Big Chris
Because I said so blog - http://mrclm.blogspot.com

10:51 PM

Anonymous Karen Evans said...


Really, Chris, I thought I'd taught you better. I'm just a little less in love with you now.

Leigh, still hopelessly in love with you, honey!!!


7:30 AM

Blogger Chris Hafner said...

Not one of my shining moments, for sure, Karen!

11:15 AM


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