FRESH YARN presents:
am Coated with Feces (and Loving it!)
I had a baby twenty-three days ago. No doubt my son will one day walk on the moon while curing cancer with one hand and hitting the game-winning World Series home run with the other. He will be the Grammy Award-winning President of the United States but not before deflowering Julia Roberts' brand new daughter.
But right now, it's hard. I have to type this with one hand because in the other is my son, his blue-grey-green-brown eyes covered with gluey sleep cack, his chiseled jaw riddled with baby acne. I can't put him down because he complains when I do. His complaints are never subtle. They're a staple gun to my skull.
And so these words are as hard to push out as he was. Typing this up feels like the first non-lactating, non-rocking, non-swaddling, non-burping, non-poop scooping event I've participated in, in over three weeks.
So I want to tell you what they don't tell you. They who had plenty of advice for me when I was determined to become pregnant, when I was pregnant and even now in the sleep deprivation zone. But they didn't disclose everything to me before sperm met egg. These moms, so anxious for me to join their club, what they never mentioned (a giant club secret no doubt) was that while raving about motherhood, they were coated in some place or another with remnants of their children. I, for sure, have my son, your future president's urine, spit-up or dump somewhere on me as I finger-poke type this. His hilarious geyser of urine that comes with each diaper change always hits me or the wall, or the art or the dog. I am convinced of my son's comic timing as he always manages to hit me with this surprise spew only after I've changed or washed. And mostly I laugh, too, grateful that this time it's not his Vesuvius-like molten feces, startling me out of my demi-sleep.
Here's some stuff I didn't know before going to the lengths I went to to become pregnant: these kids gestate for ten months, not nine. There is no such thing as morning sickness; I had it 24 hours a day. And please don't think that when you throw up, it feels better. It's not like too many mojitos, it is never-ever ending. For ten months, I ate from the smorgasbord of terrible pregnancy symptoms: acid reflux, flatulence, swollen breasts, fat feet, premature contractions, chronic urination, headaches, mood swings, constipation or diarrhea, insomnia, nosebleeds, backaches, skin tags and a kid so tall, he spent the third trimester using my kidneys as punching bags.
Then came the delivery, which women have complained about for generations. I'll confirm that it was no picnic. Sure it hurts but just think about how it feels after the baby passes through there. No one talks about that. Let me be blunt -- it was like a bomb went off in my underpants. And I'm not only talking about the front part either. During delivery, the doctors tell you to push out the baby as if you're going number two. Think about what all that bearing down does to your backside. Can't do the math? I'll do it for you -- one plus one equals your ass turning inside out and staying that way for a long time.
Then the hospital tells you to take this kid home with you -- no real advice or directions on how to care for this human puppy. Everything else comes with a pamphlet in three languages and a colorful how-to drawing. I mean, come on, people are still leaving directions on their answering machines instructing us to "leave a message after the tone." I think we get it by now. If only they'd told me to point my son's penis down when changing a diaper, there would've been way fewer loads of laundry and a way less damp and cranky newborn. If only they'd told me that with a brand new baby who eats every two-and-a-half hours, that days and nights merge, Wednesdays and Saturdays are one as time is rolled up into a giant ball of baby feed-sleep-poop. If only they'd told me you never really get used to not sleeping. That you can be driving in your car and not know how you arrived at your destination, that you pour cereal in the bottle warmer thinking it's a bowl, that you can't bear to hear people's pleasantries on the phone, you just want them to get to the point so you can put a clean burp cloth over the wet spot the baby made when he puked in your bed and go back to sleep at 7:15 pm.
So all this stuff sounds bad. And it is. It is terrible. But what else they never mentioned is that even at three a.m. feedings, when I look at his tiny face, I can't help but well up with tears. For anyone who knows me, this is not who I am. I scorn emotions and movies about cancer. I even think homeless people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. But I've never felt like this before about anything. Nothing. Not even smoking and I really, really loved to smoke. Seriously, this kid kills me. What could be worth all those symptoms, sleepless nights, busted-out down there's? He is. My kid is. He is magnificent.
So listen, if you find yourself pregnant, get plenty of foot rubs, buy lots of Saltines and those seasickness wristbands and wait it out. Because pregnancy, labor and child rearing suck, but the kid, the kid is totally worth it.
Oh, yeah, one more thing. If you see her, tell Julia Roberts' daughter to watch out for my son.
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