Thursday, September 20, 2012

It came to me, as I pulled up the Blogger website for the first time in...I don't know how long it's been, that I now know why I blog--or don't blog, as the case may be most of the time. I don't do it because I need everyone to know about my life. As a confirmed introvert, in fact, I've always shared too little, been certain that no one would be interested in my thoughts, and marveled at strangers who could tell me the most intimate details of their life with full assurance that I would care.

Why do I write (sometimes) on a public forum, then? For me, it comes close to my childhood fantasy of sneaking into one of those Catholic confessional boxes and releasing all my pain, anger, and confusion on someone, while retaining anonymity. With a friend or family member, I'd have to see judgment, or maybe disinterest, on his or her face. But maybe a paper diary, tucked back into the underwear drawer and left to grow mold, is just a tad too...lonely? I'm not sure.

Lastly, it has never failed to amaze me how often, in times of distress, I've randomly Googled and found someone else going through something similar, and, without any connections being made, found solace. Just as that little bit of solidarity was enough to get me past a bad place, I always hope that someone might randomly find a snippet within all the drivel I've written here that would bring them a like comfort.

In case you didn't get it, I'm feeling low. Not completely. I'm about 17 or 18 weeks pregnant right now and today I actually wanted and enjoyed a cup of coffee after being put off by the idea for almost five months. So there's a little cause for celebration. I also found a not-entirely-new friend recently, who seems to want to support me through this pregnancy, which is nice.

I know it's mostly pregnancy hormones. Had a big pity-party this morning. Googled things like "labor pregnant alone" and "husband never around." Hey, after over ten years of marriage, I should be used to our life. I am used to it. Shh, don't tell A, but he was of no help to me when I went into labor with R. I don't mind that he probably won't even be present for the next birth.

I just resent the hell out of him, even though it's not his fault, that I can't depend on him ever. I had to hold R last night, while she sobbed in her bed because she missed her daddy--which makes it sound like he's dead or something, but no, it's just that we almost never see him. This morning, he promised to take R to kindergarten and she was so thrilled, as was I because there were a million things to prepare for today and I was so busy I didn't have time to eat breakfast, even though an empty stomach always has my morning sickness rearing it's ugly green head. But then, of course, suddenly A had work to do. What is new.

Suddenly, I had ten minutes to douse my crazy bed head, try to find clothes that would fit my new big boobs and big tummy, pack the gazillion things R's kindergarten had instructed we bring to school that day, help R on and off the toilet and in and out of her clothes about four times because she thought she had to poo but then she didn't (she recently cut her hand with a knife and is suddenly dependent on me for a lot of things she usually can do herself), and wonder as my stomach roiled if there were any way I had even 30 seconds to cram something into my mouth and tame the MS monster. I didn't.

R and I ran out the door. But not before I said some curt things to A, that resentment I mentioned seething inside me. I knew I was wrong. I know he works hard for us. I couldn't contain my feelings. I even had to blink a few tears away as we hurried toward the elevator, unsure if they were brought on by frustration or regret.

And now there is another baby on the way. Are you shaking your head in condemnation? What is she thinking, you wonder. She obviously can't handle the situation as it is, and now she wants to bring another kid into the mix?

I know, right?! This is crazy. How am I going to handle two kids by myself, one of them a needy newborn? Sure, there are a lot of single moms out there who do it. And what about those women who have like ten children, their own successful businesses, and time to blog daily about the art projects they came up with for their kids that will be on display at MoMA until the end of October? What is my life compared? How is it so impossible?

Well, that's where this blog comes in. Here I am, with my whirlwind of pregnant emotions, and I don't really have anyone in real life that I could whine to without feeling utterly ashamed. You could be reading this and hating me, but just don't tell me about it, okay? I don't wanna know. Just allow me to get this beast off my chest.

Big sigh.

I've got to get going. I'm meeting up with a midwife in a bit and discussing a possible all-natural birth, versus the full-on hospital experience I had originally planned for. R was born at a hospital and I had never been so grateful for the epidural I received. I can't remember the anesthesiologist's face, but in my mind, his head glows with a golden halo and he exudes an aura of peace and love. Unfortunately, this time around, I'm in Japan and my luck with doctors here is CRAP. They freak me out, with their taciturn, authoritarian, impatient mannerisms. I could not handle laboring alone in a hospital, surrounded by such people, knowing I had zero rights. It only took one hospital visit, with a doctor whose internal exam left me feeling violated and in pain, and a nurse who assured me I would get an episiotomy--everyone does--and that I could not have my baby with me during the week-long enforced hospital stay.

The two-hour appointment (most of it spent waiting in a huge room packed with other pregnant women) left me feeling dehumanized and scared. I knew I would rather die (sorry for the melodrama) than have that doctor's rough, pitiless hands on me when I was in the middle of labor and delivery pains.

I went home, wrote to as many people as I knew, and started researching alternate options. As the replies came in, it soon because clear that birthing at a midwife-run clinic would be my best bet. Unlike at the hospitals, my concerns would be heard and respected, breastfeeding would be supported, and there would be no medical interventions--i.e., no episiotomies but also no epidurals.

I am afraid of not having the epidural to fall back on, if I reach a point in labor where I just can't handle the pain. I try to tell myself that it's unlikely I'll have another 36-hour labor with the second baby. Anyhow, pain-free births in Japan aren't common and, in terms of accessible hospitals, I don't have many options: It's the Hospital From Hell or one that would require I be induced at the convenience of the anesthesiologist. I could try a smaller doctor's clinic, which I've read can provide a more personal and accommodating experience; but I've lived a total of ten years in Japan, seen my fair share of different doctors, and I'm afraid my confidence in them is lacking. A midwife clinic it is.

A is 100-percent unsupportive of natural birth. He doesn't think I can handle it. He also cannot believe the pictures he's seen on some of the birthing house websites: "There's just a bed," he'll say. He wants wires, monitors, the full shebang. But I say, he's not going to be there, I am. And if I'm going to be laboring alone, I'm going to want to do it with a midwife at my side, not some overworked nurse tersely barking orders at me and expecting me to lie quietly on my back and be an obedient little animal.

Oh well. I don't know what I hope to find out at my meeting with the midwife today. What assurance I will get. But I've had my cup of coffee and I've dumped my feelings all over this page, and I feel a flutter of optimism. Or maybe that's the baby inside me.