Labor Pains

Writing a book is–seriously–like having a baby.

It takes a long time to cook up and there’s really a lot of puking involved in the process (though it’s vomiting of words as opposed to food). When you finally get it out you think the hard part is over.

But it’s not. Not even close.

Then there’s all the molding and refining. And back talk. My manuscript was almost as sassy–not in a good way–as my eleven year old. “Why would you even write that?” was it’s favorite catch phrase, followed by, “Stop it. Just stop it.”

You know what would have made the whole book writing thing easier? A Plan. I mean, A Better Plan. One that I actually stuck to. But that’s not really how I operate when it comes to doing things for the first time. I kinda just do it really poorly and painfully, then decide to listen to the advice of more experienced people my second go around.

Like the first time I gave birth. I went into it with no more plan than thinking  I’ll give that natural childbirth thing a try and see how it works out.

Four days and one C-section later I had learned my lesson. Make a plan and get a doula.

Like my friend Mama M who can garden, recycle, and not buy things like nobody’s business. She already has her Birth Plan typed up and ready to go. And she’s not due til August. August people! I haven’t even planned what I’m going to wear today (though I think we’ve all got a pretty good idea).

But you’ve got to read this thing because it is hilarious.

Mama M.’s Birth Preferences
Below are my wishes for delivering an organic, all-natural, locally-made baby
(thanks in advance for helping me create the Patchouli Fest I’ve been dreaming of)

Mother: Mama M (blood type: O-negative)
Father: Mr. M.
Doula: Hattie Engel

  1. Nurse Preference: I’d love to work with a nurse who has a positive attitude towards natural childbirth or at least one who thinks I’m cute.
  2. Medical Procedures: I’d like to avoid any medical intervention where possible (including, but not limited to, Pitocin, IV, and epidural, but excluding liposuction and boob jobs – let me stress that these two are welcome procedures: C-cup and perky please). If medical intervention becomes necessary, I’d like to talk about alternatives and consequences and have some private time for discussion with my husband and doula.
  3. Induction: If induction becomes necessary, I’d like to start with non-medical methods (i.e. changing positions, walking, squatting, nipple stimulation, aerobics videos with Richard Simmons, etc.) and only use Pitocin if these don’t work.
  4. Monitoring:  I’d like to avoid any non-critical monitoring and also to avoid non-critical vaginal exams (if you do examine my vagina, please don’t criticize it).
  5. Free Movement: During labor, I’d like the ability to walk freely, use the shower, squat, kneel, or engage in interpretive dance to align my chakras.  
  6. Liquid and food:  For hydration and strength, I’d like access to clear liquids and small snacks that I’ve brought with me with the exception of vodka gimlets – don’t give me access to those.
  7. Quiet time: I’d like staff to be quiet and calm for maximum relaxation.  I want to be the only one screaming.
  8. Umbilical chord: I’d like to let it stay attached until the pulsing is complete.
  9. Baby on chest: I’d like the baby to be placed on my chest asap after birth and medical procedures on baby to wait until I say I’m ready for them.
  10. Circumcision: I’d like the baby circumcised if it’s a boy.  If it’s a girl, can you come up with some other form of retribution for the trouble she put me through?

Note for treats: Please also enjoy these organic vegan brownies (they are organic except for the Betty Crocker brownie mix and vegan except for the eggs and 2 cups of butter).

See what I mean? I did not think of any of these things the first time around. But let me tell you, I learned from experience–which sadly seems to be the only way I learn. With Baby #2 I had my best friend/doula by my side (who also happens to by Mama M’s sister), my husband, a better doctor and a plan.

And four hours plus one epidural later, boom, I had myself a baby. So. Much. Easier.*

So my advice, whether writing, birthing, or what ever…

Make a plan, man.

Make. A. Plan.

* The fact that Girl 1 will pretty much say no to anything unless she’s given a detailed plan and plenty of warning while Girl 2 pretty much just goes with the flow and is up for anything may also have had something to do with the amount of hell they put me through to get here.  And the amount of hell they currently put me through.

4 thoughts on “Labor Pains

  1. Enjoy Birth says:

    Love that you have a birth plan on your blog. 🙂 Having a book IS like having a baby. SO much work and time and I'll tell you even once it is in your hands, there is still more work to do!but it is worth it and you feel so proud once you hold it and show everyone.


  2. Nadine Feldman says:

    Great post! I learned one of my greatest writing lessons while I was giving birth. In the midst of deep exhaustion after hours of labor, I announced to my then-husband, “I'm sorry. I just can't do this.” (As though I had a choice!) At about that time, my daughter started moving through the birth canal. Now, when I write, I remember this. When I get discouraged and think I can't continue, something happens to keep me going.


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