Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Fun with Pre-Natal Yoga!

People are always recommending pre-natal yoga. They say it's relaxing and a great way to stay limber. But mostly, they say the words that bring comfort to your ears. They say, "It'll prepare you for labor."

And they even reassuringly offer that, "Everyone can do yoga!"


I'm starting to think that I...

I suck at yoga.

We begin each class with 15 minutes of breathing. This was a concept I thought I had mastered. I mean, I can do it in my sleep and everything. The instructor worked exceptionally to motivate our breathing, telling us to, "Fill your prana with air!" and "Feel your chest rise!", as though at any minute we might lose focus and accidentally suffocate.

In her sanguine voice, she explained how important this exercise was, saying "During labor, breathing is all you have!"

I interjected, "Well, that. And drugs."

Apparently, yoga is not interactive. I did not know this, because I suck at yoga.

We moved into the Tree Pose.

Seriously. Do you have any idea what a room full of off-balanced pregnant women look like trying to do this? I began to wonder if the next instruction would be, "Now, get out your Twister mats." Luckily, we moved instead to something easier - standing with our arms and legs spread out, like a star. Or a gingerbread man. Mmm, gingerbread. Oh, sorry. Damn cravings.

Realizing that standing was something I could do for hours, I was optimistic. Just when I thought I was getting good at yoga, we are instructed to, "Let our stars shine!"

I think yoga might be my personal hell.

Later, when we assumed the Goddess Pose, which is oddly similar to the Space Invader Pose, we were asked to determine the flavor of our goddesses.

I think my goddess is bacon with a side of cake flavor. Though I'm not sure what flavor my goddess is supposed to be, I'm pretty sure that's not it.

Man, I suck at yoga.

It just never seems like it's going to end and I spend every moment envisioning that I am somewhere else. And yet, after wards I find myself laughing about it all.

What better preparation for labor could there be?

So, I think I'll keep going.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Losing it

Last night was pre-natal swim class. It's a tight knit group of us preggos, and we spend as much time indulging in non-stop pregnancy talk as we do swimming.

Two of the girls were missing from the class, which didn't come as a surprise seeing they had both been bursting at the seams and were due any day. There's an excitement that permeates through the rest of us when news comes that one of our own has finally reached that point where everything - the build up, the expectations, the curiosities - become an overnight reality.

We look at them, and see ourselves.

After class, we received a message from one of the girls. It was bare in its simplicity.

"I went into labor a few days ago. Unfortunately, the baby did not make it."

A ton of bricks doesn't strike as hard as those two simple sentences scratched on a tiny square of paper. We stood there silently. We weren't crying, but I'm not sure we were breathing either. We just stood, paralyzed with the images of our own baby rooms in varying states of completion. I saw the onesie with the bike on it, the empty crib, and the changing pad the cat has now taken to sleeping on. No matter what we have left to get or prepare for the baby room, only one part of that room is a true necessity - the baby.

As the silence broke and tears welled, our hands all found there ways to our stomachs. Slaggy gave me the tiniest of kicks.

Someone asked in a stuttering voice, "How could someone go on?"

I answered with the only truth I know. We'd hurt. We'd heal. And we'd try again.

Six months ago, I was just another woman. I was strong, fit, and essentially still wearing the same body I've been in since I was 13. Over a handful of months, and without my knowledge, help, or permission, my body morphed itself in such a way that the priority was no longer on me. My body just knew how to create a baby, which is convenient, because I wouldn't have a clue where to start. Our minds and bodies came prepared to provide security, sustenance, and life for these fledgling beings. I can't help but wonder if we aren't also engrained with a certain amount of resilience to withstand the vulnerability that comes with loving someone so very much.

Last night, I slept intermittently, often dreaming about little Slaggy. During my frequent awakenings, he seemed to always be there, already awake, and punching away at my insides almost to say, "Hey! Is this your bladder? Is this your bladder? How 'bout this?"

And I appreciated every single punch.

Now, for a moment of happiness, I bring you impossibly cute dog and cat snuggling:

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Placenta Tree

When you're knocked up, you find yourself asking a lot of questions. Should I strive for a natural birth? Will I ever lose the baby weight? Where the hell are my toes?!?

Apparently, there's another question I need to be asking myself.

After the baby is born, what do I do with the placenta?

Like many of the other woefully ignorant mothers to be, I figured the doctor would just take it and toss it down the hospital garbage disposal. Then, the other day, I saw our neighbors and their family gathered in a circle, celebrating the planting of a placenta tree in their backyard. Like, they kept the placenta, put it in the ground, and stuck a fruit tree on top of it, so that one day they could totally freak their kid out and turn them off to lemons for the rest of their lives.

Or, maybe, they're just hoping that the placenta tree can open up lots of discussions about life, lemons, and the downfalls of symbolically representing your kid with a tree.

"Mommy, where did that lemon tree come from?"

"Well, after you were born, we buried the placenta under the tree, so that we could watch the tree grow as you grow."

"Then, why is the tree dead?"

"We forgot to water it."

So, now I've come to realize there is a whole world of options for post-birth placenta functionality. We could plant a tree or a nice decorative placenta hedge, but seeing as our dog has become very adept at digging up yard treasures and eating them, that might not fare so well. We could seal it in a Lucite box and turn it into a paperweight, which would be both practical and make a great graduation gift. Then again, we could always eBay it or turn it into a nice pair of mittens for our newborn.

After turning all these ideas around in my head for several minutes, I couldn't get over the fact that none of these really felt right - nothing seemed to completely capture both the longevity and fragility of life. And that was when I had a placenta epiphany.

I figured, if our neighbors can plant a placenta tree, I can make jerky out of mine. All I'd have to do is set it and forget it, and the life sustaining quality of my placenta would get a shelf life that'd rival a Twinkie. Eat your heart out, Ron Popeil (though, not literally, as heart jerky would obviously just be gross).