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Being Preggo

  • The Mystery Of Miscarriages

    A week ago, one of my closest friends found out she was pregnant. She took the test and her life was changed forever in a moment, punctuated by a blue plus sign. She came to visit me so we could share in this miraculous moment together. We hugged and right away felt I was embracing two beautiful souls. She was happy, scared, nervous, nauseous, tired, and joyous – with her tummy full of a baby. We talked about the future, planned how I was going to be at the birth and just as fast as it all started, the fear of it all ending began.

    At first there was light bleeding. Nothing to be nervous about, as we assumed it was a good sign of the baby getting comfy in its new home as the egg emplanted itself on the uterine wall. Then the bleeding got heavier and we realized that there is such a fine line between “healthy” bleeding and “scary” bleeding. It was hard to know what side we were on, so we searched the Internet for answers.

    There were so many possibilities. Women saying they bled their entire pregnancy yet had a healthy baby, others who had lost a twin but the other baby survived, some who experienced chemical pregnancies, and then of course those mourning the loss of spirit that never came to be. Nothing was clear. The cramping was mild, but who can really tell one person’s pain compared to another? It was hard to self-diagnose and the more we read the more stressed we became.

    The waiting was agony. I sat and watched her curled up in a spiraled fetal position, terrified for the fate of this little being inside her. While a woman gets to experience the great gift of a life growing inside her, she also may sometimes feel a life ending as well. All I wanted to do was cry. Even though we can always look at the metaphysical and biological reasoning for such events, that doesn’t dissolve the pain.

    I felt like we had to do something proactive. We went to the hospital for a blood test hoping to at least learn for sure what was going on. Miscarriages are surprisingly common – a staggering 25% of all pregnancies end that way – yet there is so little we really know about them. The doctor told us it could be a miscarriage, or it could be bleeding, and that there is no way to know unless blood is taken today, and then again in two days to compare the hormone levels. She took another pregnancy test which came up positive, but pregnancy hormones can be present in the body for up to a week after a miscarriage. Everything felt so inconclusive.

    Listening to the uncertainty made me feel outraged. Considering miscarriages are such a huge part of women’s health, why isn’t it a bigger priority in the medical community to understand and preventing? There is a blue pill that wakes up a man’s dead penis, and there is nothing we can do for a baby trying to hold onto life?

    When we got home, The Munch was concerned and wanted to know what was going on.

    Munch: Why did you go to the hospital?
    Toni: Because your Auntie isn’t feeling good, and we needed to make sure she was okay.
    Munch: Why isn’t she feeling good?
    Toni: We are not sure, but something might be wrong with the tiny baby inside her.
    Munch: Is the baby sick?
    Toni: That is what we are trying to find out.
    Munch: Why is the baby sick?
    Toni: Well, sometimes babies get made, but they don’t get to be born.
    Munch: You mean I am never going to get to meet the baby in my Auntie’s tummy?
    Toni: I am not sure yet. We’ll find out on Tuesday. But maybe no, you won’t.
    Munch: Will the baby just stay in her tummy and live there forever?
    Toni: Sort of yes. Part of the baby will live with her forever.
    Munch: That’s good. The baby will be so happy in there.


    August 11, 2014 • Being Preggo, Mommyhood, Musings, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 1219

  • Birth As Performance Art

    A Brooklyn woman is turning her birth into performance art by putting herself and her last weeks of pregnancy on display at a gallery. When she goes into labor Marni Kotak will squeeze that puppy out in front of a live audience. Part of me feels like this is major exploitation, but another part of me feels she is brilliant.

    There is a fine line between exploitation and inspiration, which I feel I straddle everyday. I write about The Munch because she ignites ideas I feel compelled to share and it keeps me from boring my friends by talking about her all day. After all, she consumes so much of what I think about I have to get it out somehow. I tell myself that she is more than a worthy subject because observing a child grow is relatable to all humans who have ever been a baby. And then I tell myself to get a cute pair of flared corduroy pants and eat less sugar.

    I feel like raising a baby is an art form worth sharing in the same way that writing, painting or dancing is… so maybe birthing a baby is too?

    My initial conviction was that birth should be an intimate experience, and to have a bunch of strangers watching this magical moment would cheapen it. Yet obviously this woman sees birth as part of her own artistic self and sharing it with the world is maybe the her own living personal manifestation of the art inside of her. And besides, hospital births often have people in the room who you don’t know and will never see again. Who was that guy with the camera anyway? Maybe birth isn’t about privacy because creating a child is actually a very public act? You are creating another human for society after all….

    We also have to think of how birth is viewed in today’s society and why transforming it into art might be very meaningful. For modern western women there is also a lot of psychological and emotional confusion around birth. The way it is represented in the media perpetuates a fear culture that is completely inaccurate. Women are often made to feel out of control and like they don’t know what they are doing. There is so much anxiety attached to the birthing experience that women often lose trust in themselves and their connection to their bodies.

    So maybe this birth as art will be very empowering to not only the artist performing, but the people watching as well?

    But what this experiment isn’t seemingly taking into consideration is how the baby is going to feel coming into the world as a piece of art. Is little baby X going to feel objectified that their vaginal entrance into the world is like their debut curtain call even though they didn’t know they made it through the second round of auditions? Maybe the baby will be an exhibitionist for the rest of their lives because of the quantum energy surrounding their first breath? Or maybe everyone will be in such awe that it will experience a massive injection of collective love? Or maybe if this woman was a real edgy artist she would give birth to soldier carrying a white flag in its teeth because that would really make a political statement.

    October 10, 2011 • 1 year old, Being Preggo, Birth, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 715

  • “We Are Trying ;)”

    The other day I am at a dinner party talking to a newly married couple and a few members of their family. I guess because I was holding a baby, the topic of when this couple was going to start having children came up. Under normal circumstances, it is not common to hear about the sex lives of other humans in a public setting. Sure, you can picture it all you want, but on average, people keep that stuff private. That is unless you are talking about making babies.

    “Oh we are trying…” The wife gave her husband a coy smile, and suddenly I dry heaved with dread remembering that I had just shook this guys hand and was currently licking shrimp sauce off my fingers.

    The whole family smiled, even the grandmother, and all I could think about is how they just told us they were screwing a lot.

    Setting the mood….

    Ohhhhhh yeahhhhhh…

    May 11, 2011 • 9-12 months, Being Preggo, Musings • Views: 780

  • The language around birth is scary as f*ck!

    So what is with the language around birth?  Do you not find it a bit intimidating?

    1)    Labor: So the only words that I know associated with labor are “hard” labor and “manual” labor.  YIKES!  That is not exactly the peaceful image I want when I think about bringing a bebe into the world.  Also…why are women always “going into” labor, like it is some dark cavernous abyss?  And if you are going into labor, that means you somehow have to get out of it right?  How do I get out of labor?  Maybe we could call it “birthing moment” instead.  Like “Ohhhh…. No big deal everyone.  I am just having my birthing moment.”

    2)    Contractions: Okay… so that reminds me of math equations and grammar.  I don’t want to be thinking about school subjects I was only quasi good at during my birthing moment!  How about instead of contractions we said “birthing wave,” like “I am just riding this birthing wave, and when the waves get closer together my bebe will surf onto the shore.”  Doesn’t that sound nice?

    3)    Pushing: If the baby were to be coming out of my asshole, I would understand this idea of pushing.  I have pushed things out of my ass before.  In fact I am quite used to it.  But “pushing” something out of my vagina?  Nope.  That makes no sense to me.  My vagina is used to things coming in… not things coming out.  How about “exhaling” the baby out.  Yes… that sounds plausible… just a series of downward exhales.

    4)    Due Date: This makes me think of a deadline… and that makes me think of work… and work is not magical.  Besides… it is not like humans that are out of the womb develop at the exact same rate… why should we predict or expect baby fetuses to be any different?  Then you get fixated on this one day like it’s God’s truth, when really, only 5% of babies ever come on that day.  Why not a “bebe birthday month?”  Like “Eh… you will have the baby sometime in July.”

    5)    Water breaking/bloody show/mucus plug: Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Makes me think of a horror movie!  Seriously?  A bloody show?  Am I going to an avant garde Broadway horror musical?  Can’t those just be “signs the baby is coming soon?”

    I am just saying, that language can scare you! Especially because if you have never had a baby, birth is such an unknown experience. You can ask 100 women about their birth and you will get 100 different descriptions of what they went through.  If this is your first time in such foreign territory, don’t you at least want to talk and hear about birth with softer language?  I am not saying that I think birthing is going to be a walk in the park, but I do think the “common” medical words could have more positive imagery.

    June 29, 2010 • Being Preggo • Views: 692

  • “But Officer… I am wicked pregnant and super have to pee!”

    “But Officer… I am wicked pregnant and I super have to pee!” Who would have known that the above words would get me out of being arrested? But they did. Okay… so maybe I was driving 20 miles over the speed limit… and definitely deserved getting pulled over. But c’mon! Nature calls! Did I mention I was also late to meet the baby’s new potential pediatrician… and get to yoga on time? I had things to do!

    Under normal circumstances, I would have gotten a speeding ticket and been on my way, but unbeknownst to me, my license was suspended!?

    “Well Ma’am… your license is suspended and I am going to have to arrest you.”
    “Ummmmm seriously??” But officer… how can a practice my preggo headstands in jail??

    Looking at my big preggo belly and my legs crossed, the officer took pity. He talked to his supervisor, and rather than arresting me, followed me to the hospital so I could go pee, and still make the tail end of the doctors appointment. Meeting the pediatrician with a police escort I am sure gave juuuuuuuust the right impression of what kind of mom I am going to be, as I asked about getting vitamin K as an oral supplement rather than having baby get the shot. Yeesh.

    So mom fails… but baby totally wins, as without that big pregnant belly, I am sure I would be writing this from my jail cell right now. You know, before this happened, I thought there was a possibility that I wasn’t totally prepared for the responsibility ahead. Starting with the fact that without my mom having purchased all the goods for the baby’s needs, I would have brought baby home wrapped in paper towels and duck taped to my chest. Another warning signal for me might have been when I got an email forwarded to me with all these “fail” pictures of bad parenting, (my favorites being below) and I was totally inspired about all the funny pictures I could take with my baby!

    I am thinking the fact that I am already exploiting baby in utero to get out of jail sentences, imagining all hysterical predicaments to put baby and take pictures for my own amusement, as well as speeding 20 miles over the speed means, means I still got a lot of work to do.

    At least, after spending 3 hours on the phone with DMV, I cleared my name of my suspended license, because it was not my fault. I actually paid that ticket of talking on my cell phone while driving… to my defense, though, I wasn’t preggo then. But yes, I totally told the guy on the phone my pregnancy woes to make sure he sent the fax TODAY so I could get my license re-instated. Hey… who knows how much longer I will have the DMV and the police on my side, and if a baby in my belly is the ticket, then baby, you can stay in there until college.

    June 25, 2010 • Being Preggo • Views: 2884

  • I Am Special Because I am Pregnant

    I am special because I am pregnant…

    Being preggo is probably the only time in a chick’s life where random people will shamelessly put their hands on you, and ask intimate questions about your health.  Usually, people don’t give a care if you are sleeping, or having regular bowel movements… but when you have baby in there, suddenly you are a magnet for attention and concern.

    Some women hate to have their personal space violated in this manner, but I for one, think it is awesome.  Just by being in a public space, people want to talk to me, or give me affection by rubbing my belly.  In my book… that is pretty freaking fantastic. Yes, it may be strange to be in a grocery store while receiving unsolicited advice on hemorrhoids, but when else will complete strangers relate to you with this same level of intimacy?

    We are such a guarded culture, avoiding all eye contact or potential interaction with the humans around us.  Most of us live our lives on the defense, doing whatever we can, not to interact with our fellow species… unless, of course, there is the social lubricant of alcohol/substances to coat the moment with a heightened sense of self-confidence.  It is a rare occasion that we interact with others in a way that breaks down the barriers of social norms, and actually acknowledges the insanity that is humanity.

    The fact that a baby, a miniature human, ignites an abandonment of social convention makes me think the human trepidation about other humans is just that… our conditioning.  That maybe, we are actually hyper social beings that crave the energetic exchange that can only be acquired through another person?  Maybe being a super preggo chick reminds people of their own vulnerability of wanting to be loved and that is why they are so quick to share a piece of themselves with me?

    Although it may get old telling people when I am due, or that I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, I will never tire of being appreciated and acknowledged.  It is not like I am doing anything but walking around with my big pregnant belly, but I have gotten more positive attention than I ever have on my 30 years on this planet.  And believe you me, that has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with this creature that kicks my ribs when I am trying to eat an organic turkey burger and then punches my bladder with little demonic hands just to make sure I am paying attention.  Once I squeeze this puppy out, I am sorely going to miss hearing stories about nipple infections and stuffing bra’s with cabbage as I get my Star Magazine.

    June 12, 2010 • Being Preggo • Views: 1470