Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yay, fountains!

We returned last night from one of our favorite cities: Portland, where we saw our dear friend Margaret tie the not.
Uncharacteristically, it was in the high 90s there. To cope, we took Nutmeg to two different fountains that kids can jump right into. She was wearing her cute duckie bathing suit, so of course we didn't take any pictures. In fact, we forgot our camera for the whole trip, and in fact we can't find its charger anyway so what would be the point. Anyway, Nutmeg could have stayed in these fountains all day long. Playing around in shallow water is her favorite thing ever. I enjoyed a little splashing with her myself, and enjoyed it even more when I got to sit back and watch Daddy splash with her. Such a cute couple!

Nutmeg was kind of Jekyll and Hyde the whole weekend. At the wedding, just as the congregation stood for the arrival of the bride, Nutmeg said very loudly, "You ARE being very quiet." Which got a laugh and caused Epu to miss the very short ceremony after he hustled her out. She was messy and kind of bratty during the dinner, but we did have to cut her some slack when we realized it was already 9 p.m. our time when we sat down. Also, the room had no air conditioning and it was probably 100 degrees in there. During the reception, Nutmeg was delighted to dance with the bride, and when she saw Margaret again the next day she kept going up to her and grabbing her hands for a repeat performance. And she talks to adults she meets now, mainly women. She gets right in their faces, saying, "Oh, oh, ..." and then telling them something she finds to be very important.

We had a little reunion with a bunch of friends from Beijing, which is always nice. And Monday evening we met up with a college friend of Erik's, went to a fancy restaurant at which Nutmeg behaved medium badly, met the friend's girlfriend, and saw their new condo. Nutmeg actually asked to sit on the girlfriend's lap and later requested that the poor woman take her to the bathroom. Fortunately, the girlfriend was just as taken by Nutmeg as Nutmeg was with her, so we all went to the ladies' room together.

Nutmeg has also developed a habit of bullying waiters and waitresses. She not only loudly told our waitress at that restaurant that she wanted milk, but partway through the dinner, she insisted that the waitress take away her old milk, because it was dirty, and bring her fresh milk. Indeed, the milk was dirty after Nutmeg had dumped a piece of prociutto and who knows what else in it. Until her new milk arrived, Nutmeg practically shook her fist at the poor waitress every time she passed by. On the plane the next day, it was the same thing with the flight attendant: "I want milk!"

Of course, no trip to Portland is comlete without a pilgrammage to Powell's Books, and luckily, it's near a kid-friendly fountain. I of course ended up picking up a book I could've bought anywhere, but it kept me riveted on the whole flight home: "Babycatcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife." It's helping me make the transition from an appropriately low-key first trimester (ok, perhaps a little more low-key than necessary) to actually looking forward to giving birth again. One page I dog-eared somewhere over Wyoming tells of when the author, Peggy Vincent, quits teaching Lamaze after her own birth experience leads her to see the whole concept of painless childbirth as "a set-up" and a "conspiracy to avoid the word 'pain.'" Instead, she starts telling her students: "Every birth is different. Since you have no idea what kind of labor you'll have, how can you realistically train for it? Give yourself permission to experiment."

After using hypnosis for childbirth the first time around, and now that I'm getting ready to use it again, I found that very interesting. The issues of pain and expectations are such a central conflict for women using hypnosis for childbirth. The study course I used insisted that childbirth could -- and should -- be entirely pain-free, if only you EXPECT it to be. I can see how this can work, but the problem with it is that if you get into labor and you're in all kinds of pain, which happened to me, sort of, and a lot more to a friend of mine, it's kind of a slap in the face after all that believing in painless childbirth. I'll certainly be going into this birth with more of an open mind about what to expect, but part of me still wishes I could close my mind a little more, and believe only in painless childbirth, because I still think it's possible. It's a connundrum.

To make matters more confusing, Vincent goes on to have an almost totally painless birth her second time around, after rejecting the whole concept as a set-up and a conspiracy. Aha, I figured (and so did she). She somehow tapped into that primal wisdom that allowed her to give birth painlessly. But then her third birth is extremely painful. It just leaves me thinking, well, let's hope for the best.


Kori said...

How interesting. I agree with you that it's a complete connundrum. I have no way to explain away back labor---hours and hours of agonizing back labor---and I remember turning to our hypnodoula in the midst of it and actually saying, "I know that I'm not supposed to think this is pain, but it hurts so much!"

At the same time, I don't want to believe that all of that study and preparation a) didn't make a difference (I did survive the pain after all), and b) couldn't help someone in the right situation have a painfree labor.

I've come down to believing that a mom can do everything possible to be in the right head space for painfree childbirth, but a lot depends on the baby---position, health, timing, etc. I'd like to think that I can completely control my daughter's actions with the power of my mind, but as I'm sure you can imagine, I can't!

As for the painfree second birth, I would imagine it was due to several things: a) experience, b) freedom to feel whatever she wanted, and c) the fact that everyone seems to say subsequent labors are less painful or long. As for the third birth, I say, blame the kid. lol

Bert said...

Ah. I miss little Nutmeg. I can just picture her fussing over her milk. "I want white milk with the chocolate on the side , please." Sweet little diva.

Moxie Mom said...

Well, I don't want to be a nay-sayer here but I might be in the minority that believes there cannot be a painfree childbirth. Or maybe just for me.

I DO believe you can have a great birthing experience and still have it be painful. For me the difference between a good and bad birth isn't all about the pain. For me, it has more to do with the ability to relax, have a great team to support you, good environment…

Of course everyone is different. I also believe in epidurals. Well, actually, I love them. So again I might be in the minority here. I agree with Kori that some things you just don't have control over, and they can really distract you from your vision of a good birth. So an open mind can be helpful if you find yourself being wheeled into the OR.

But then again, my second birth was 31 hours shorter than the first. I was also instructed how to effectively use the epidural which made ALL the difference for me.

Bottom line is that she is right—everyone's experience is different. You should work for what you want this time around, but remain open if it doesn't happen.

Notta Wallflower said...

I have to agree with moxie mom - I've only been through one birthing experience, but I'm not sure how it could be pain-free. But it would never keep me from doing it again because the experience was like nothing else. I took Lamaze at that time because it was the thing to do. I'm not really sure I'd go that route again, but it was so long ago that I can't remember how much I used the techniques. I think if you can find what works for you, then bravo!