Friday, November 6, 2009

Two columns for the price of one!

*Author's note: I'm officially on vacation (no staycations for me!) today, so instead of writing up a new column, which would be work, I'm treating you all to two of my old favorites. The first is the column that got me the job, the first edition of Mother Load published in the St. George Spectrum. The second is the third edition, published a month later. It's one of my all time favorites. Enjoy!

Mom Looking for Replacement Parts
Published December 9, 2000
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

I recently heard of a couple who gave birth to a child conceived to provide a bone marrow transplant for a sibling. Apparently, the parents were able to test several embryos until they found the embryo with the winning genetic material. This, of course, immediately gave rise to discussions of the ethics of so-called "designer babies," as well as humans being manufactured to provide needed replacement parts.

Now, I don't know about you; but I just don't see what the big deal is. Being the mother of three children under the age of four, I'd love to make a wish list of replacement parts. I'd even like a few additions!

I think the first thing I'd have to replace would be my mind. Nearly four long years of baby talk, silly songs, and Nick Jr. have, unfortunately, left me a babbling idiot when it comes to adult conversation. A friend asked the other day if I was following the current debate on the floor of the House, and I blurted out that if the Bear wants to live in a Big Blue House, it ought to have a big blue floor.

Sanity aside, I don't know what I would love more than a new tummy, since I seem to have misplaced the old one. My greatest joy in life has become making it through a day without someone asking me when I'm due. On the other hand, I can't discredit the advantages of people thinking I'm expecting. I always get a seat in a crowded room.

Also up for replacement would have to be my chest. Now, every true blue La Leche leaguer can extol the virtues of nursing your babies and give you every scientific reason it's the best thing going. But how many actually let eager moms-to-be know that once the nursing stops...the chest drops? It's a secret no one wants to tell you, although I'm quite sure the formula manufacturers could double their annual profits by adding that little tidbit to their commercials.

As for parts I'd like to just add to my body, I'd put a special valve for my nostrils at the top of my list. You know, one that opens up for good smells such as home-baked bread and chocolate chip cookies, and locks down tight against the bad ones such as dirty diapers. Let's face it, folks; that wonderful new baby smell quickly gives way to something akin to rancid refried beans.

And what busy mom wouldn't love an extra pair of arms? Okay, it's cliche, but can you blame me? Two arms...three do the math.

And I don't think I'm alone when I express my feelings of utter betrayal that becoming a mom did not automatically equip me with eyes in the back of my head, as my mother so convincingly lead me to believe. What a farce! I wonder how many women have become grandmothers by promoting this myth.

Perusing my wish list has lead me to one obvious conclusion. Forget replacement parts! I need a clone! Unfortunately, the U.S. government, among others, is still under the twisted opinion that human cloning is unethical and should be banned. I don't think I have to tell you the ratio of men to women in the House and Senate.

In light of this pertinent information, I suppose it's time to admit that I dream in vain. The ethicists will, undoubtedly, prevail. They usually do. I'll have to settle for what the good Lord has seen fit to provide me.

And I guess there's always my sweetheart to consider: my darling husband. He's good for an arm or two...on occasion. And when he's actually got his eyes off the TV or out of a book, they can be quite useful. On the average, husbands are as good as any clone, despite their lack of mammary glands.

Mammary glands! Now, there's a replacement part HE could use...

Published January 6, 2001
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

My husband and I recently attended a holiday dinner at our church. We shared our table with three other married couple in various stages of matrimony. From newlyweds expecting their first child to a couple married for more than 20 years, we were certainly a diverse group.

We had an enjoyable evening with no lack of good conversation. The men compared jobs and talked sports while the women of the group stayed to the usual topic: childbirth.

Thinking back, I had to ponder...Why does every group of women I am in inevitably land on the same topic of conversation? Do we really have nothing better to chat about? No matter how the conversation begins, the flow of words almost always heads in the same direction. At some point, the baby battle stories will begin.

For most veteran moms, this is neither a surprise nor a problem. But first timers beware! I can't imagine how normally thoughtful women can drag a newly pregnant and completely unsuspecting mom-to-be through such a terror fest. And young first timers are veritable magnets for women with the absolute worst childbirth tales.

"Oh me? I was in labor for three solid days! They finally had to just cut me open and rip that kid right out of my abdomen!"

"You think that was bad! I had to have over 75 stitches and couldn't sit down for a month!"

"Well, my anesthesiologist was out of town, so no epidural for me. I think they could hear me screaming all the way to X-ray."

Of course, there's one obvious reason for all this mommy one-upmanship. This was battle! I want you to see my scars...metaphorically speaking, of course. But the version of any childbirth tale you might hear will, invariably, differ from any other, because among these war-torn troops, there are three distinct subgroups.

My personal favorite group, of which I am a card-carrying member, are the "holier than thous." We're those natural childbirth advocates, those firm believers that drugs and doctors have their places...far away. We can't get enough of telling our stories to our wimpy sisters in trial. And the stories get better with every telling. Really, what's the point of going through natural childbirth if you can't feel superior about it?!

In direct contrast to my high and mighty comrades are the "interventionists." They're the ones most likely to say, "Are you NUTS?!" when you tell them you're even considering a drug free birth. I have a good friend in this group. I think she gets the epidural hooked up at about 8 months into her pregnancy. These women have an inherent trust in their doctors' advice and never question their orders...except when it comes to turning off the numbing juice. I pity any MD who tries to encourage anything but a drug-induced paralysis.

Finally, there are those women riding the philosophical fence between the "crazies" and the "dazies." I like to call them the "wait and sees." They may attend childbirth classes, but they never really make that decision. Some of the most graphic stories come from this group. They just don't believe it can be that bad, but once they experience it, get out of the way! These women need very little encouragement to head over to the interventionist side for subsequent births, if any.

I guess as long as there are babies being born, there will be mothers recounting all the gory details to mesmerized groups. Wherever a captive audience is found, you're more than likely to hear words like catheter, episiotomy, meconium, and abstinence. We just can't help ourselves. I spent the past weekend determined NOT to do this and ended up talking baby five times in one day!

With that in mind, and knowing that anyone reading this column is, undoubtedly, mesmerized...

Let me tell you a little bit about my 28-hour first labor...


Millionaira said...

1 hr and 57 min baby ;)

but the 9 months leading up to it were hell LOL

Millionaira said...

oh, and at home, al-natural ;-)