Sunday, November 11, 2007

First hospital tour

We went on our first tour of a maternity ward over the weekend. I'd say it's time. If these next few months go as quickly as the last six have, the birth date will be here soon enough.

I thought that I was confident that I was ready for this (the visit). We feel that we've made some great strides, Joe and I, as far as our "level of readiness for baby" is concerned. A few months ago the birth videos or skipping ahead to the later chapters of the baby books either made us sick or caused us to recoil in horror, eyes wide-open, stuck in a state of panic. Now, only one week away from finishing our 12-week bout of childbirth education classes, we were feeling pretty good about our "maturation".

The classes really helped to demystify this process. The next logical step is to decide on a hospital. There are two here that are virtually in our backyard. Lucky for us.

As grown up as we felt, the act of walking through the maternity ward and touring the birthing suite, stripped away much of our confidence and an unromanticized reality became much more apparent. I conceded that perhaps we weren't quite yet to the "graduation stage". Well, maybe, junior high graduation.

I imagined us in this room on this hall, with people buzzing about, other voices (read: screams), and (gulp) all that medical equipment. The prospect of giving birth in a hut in the outback suddenly had much greater appeal than this hyper-sterilized, very institutional-feeling environment. Having absolutely no familiarity with a hospital stay (I've never been in the hospital), my over-active imagination went right to work. As the tour guide droned on, pointing out the highlights of the facility, I kept having visions of scenes from COMA.

It's a scary venture, all this unknown stuff. And while one can do a lot to prepare for this life changing event, like learning how labor typically proceeds (key word there--'typically'), there is so much that one can't plan for. I actually have to be open to spontaneity and surprise, two things that kill me as an obsessive planner. Relinquishing control is a far-away place to which I do not travel very often. Usually only by duress. :-) But I just keep reminding myself, women have done this for millenia, and I will be there with my very best friend, and at the end of the this very long endurance event we'll get to add a new special someone to our "pack" (Ginger's words). I think with all this and a few cider donuts, the deal would be sweetened sufficiently enough to have me sign on the dotted line.

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