Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


One!... Two!... One! Two! Three! Four!

The Learning Channel is the Playboy Channel for hypochondriacs. Reading their programming info, it’s best to start at the Beginner’s Level with Untold Stories of The E.R. and then work your way up to the Aw, Hell No! / Fucked Up Level of Mystery Diagnosis. Real episode titles of Mystery Diagnosis include: ‘The 13 Year Stomach Ache’, ‘The Man Who Turned Orange’, ‘The Woman Whose Legs Were Killing Her’, ‘Mistaken Amputation’, ‘The Woman With a Knife in Her Head’, ‘Blood & Fire’ and ‘Why Is Emily Screaming?’ Shoehorned in between these programs and the ones about child pageants and midgets married to giants are the pregnancy and baby shows; the very reason why Web MD is so popular among out-of-their-shit paranoid mothers-to-be. All it takes is picking a demographic from Column A and a reproductive challenge from Column B to get someone in rural Tennessee to drop their Mountain Dew and say: “Fuck, Daryl! Take me to the liberry! I got to get to a ‘puter!” And there’s your Column C.

"I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant".

This is a show on the TLC Network. The title explains everything. Tune in to I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and what you’ll see are a lot of women who were pregnant and didn’t know it. Right up until giving birth. At least when I had no clue I was pregnant *coughforthreemonthscough* I found out before, say, labor time. “Who the hell doesn’t know they’re pregnant?”, friends say when we talk about our favourite trashy television. Well, apparently me. I don’t exactly have a brain like a cheese grater, but do I count? “Ha-ha! Morons. Have you guys seen 'Hoarders: Buried Alive'?”

“I’d put you at about twelve or thirteen weeks”, said our midwife on the first official confirming everything visit. On one hand: Yay! First trimester, pffft! Out of the way. On the other hand: Yikes. What can three months of weekend vodka… And maybe some ‘other stuff’ do? This child might have three heads and if that’s the case, then it might be a case for Mystery Diagnosis: ‘That Baby Has Three Heads’. TLC my Brother, you bring everything full circle.

So we’re here. The first sonogram is on Monday as are a few tests just for those in the Advanced Age Maternal bracket. I’m 41. When we meet our child I’ll be 42. That’s not old, but it worries me a little. Before finding out about this pregnancy, I was told by my general doctor that I was starting to enter menopause. My gynecologist at the time told me that I should have a hysterectomy to take care of some things that were making my life very difficult. Like the pregnancy with Evangeline, our first daughter, I didn’t see any sign that I was pregnant. None. I took my sore boobs (this time) to be the heralding of a summer storm. The thing that made me take a test this time was that I nearly threw up on Ted after catching a whiff of his chicken strips. We were at a karaoke bar. I knew I needed to take a test immediately. I got a hold of a few tests and decided to not break tradition; I found out I was pregnant with Evie at a mall, so it only made sense to find out if I was knocked up with her sibling at a bar. There was no way I was going to honor this with any sort of good taste. I think Evangeline is the luminous magic creature that she is because I fell in love with her in a food court ladies’ room, inches away from a California Crisp. She took her first real steps while we were watching "Crank II: High Voltage" as a family. Why seek out a regal scenario of patrons holding opera glasses at a tennis club piano recital just to pee on a stick? All I needed to encourage me as I sat there holding these drug store instruments of science was someone singing Danzig’s "Mother" just outside the door while young girls with Red Bull breath bitched about how "You guys, Kyle is like, THE biggest douche...".

I must have been so out of my head with excitement and terror that I "did it wrong". The tests came out with no results. I waited until the next day and then took two tests. One of them said "Pregnant". The other one, I accidentally dropped into the toilet.

I sit here in bed on a Friday night, every muscle in my tummy stretching out like memory foam. My moods have been pretty outrageous (like Gem – who is truly outrageous), and I’m trying to keep my brain and mouth and body from tearing each other down. I went off of my antidepressant a few weeks ago, which was huge. The surging hormones and sudden lack of common sense that the Cymbalta had provided me with, has turned me into Gran Torino Clint Eastwood. Not cool Dirty Harry Clint, but Clint the angry forgetful coot with a shotgun. Despite this lucky, joyful news, I feel angry all the goddamned time. It bubbles up for no reason and it’s up to me to let it fly when no one is around so I don’t push it deep down into Resentment Town or count backwards softly from one thousand when we’re on a crowded bus. Anything, ANY THING to try to not take it out on Ted. With the irrational insane anger comes massive guilt. This is where therapy comes in and I thank my stars for that, because the next words out of my mouth are going to be ungrateful and harsh and sound annoyingly entitled.

"Get off of my lawn..."

It’s not that we never talked about having a Second, but we also never tried. The week before we found out, I was researching adult refresher ballet classes and thinking about The Next Thing. The Next Thing For Myself. Sometimes the anger comes out of nowhere, but sometimes I know exactly where it comes from. At times it’s one hundred percent undiluted fear. Will this baby make it? What have I already done to fuck this up? Am I worthy? Can I do this? Given my body’s track record, it’s terrifying. Other times it goes darker; I can be a selfish bastard at times. Along the lines of looking at classes and planning a trip with Ted without Evangeline in the early New Year, (possibly Hawaii), I was fantasizing about starting a job again – any job. Anything to get me into a routine again involving listening to music on headphones ALONE on the way to a place where I can speak like a grown-up with other grown-ups. Anything to get me out of the house after spending two rewarding yet exhausting years inside of it raising a beautiful, tornado of a little bean.

And now I’m looking at a few more years inside of a house trying not to go mad. It’s rewarding. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. But my knees are making noises and I’m so tired, Maaaaan! I think it’s okay to at least acknowledge this. Some women don’t and some of those women drown their own kids. I’d rather teach mine how to swim.

I’m finding out that if I actually say out loud The Thing I’m Angry About as I’m feeling it, (no matter how ridiculous it is or how much of a brat I sound like) it usually goes away. Sure, bones are creaking, and I can’t take ballet. Wah-fucking-wah. No one wants a pregnant ballerina in their class. Besides, I wasn’t cut out to play Giselle even on my best day. Still, I need something that is mine that doesn’t say: “Juice! Juice! Mama juice!” twenty times, only for her to pour it on the dog as an experiment.

On the flip side to this honestly dark B Side rant is the A Side; The Hit Single. The song that makes people want to buy the record in the first place. A lot of B Sides are experimental because there’s no way the B Side can be discarded without getting rid of the more popular A Side. The B Side to The Monkees’ sun-filtered “Pleasant Valley Sunday” is the hypnotic and beautifully sinister “Words”. I’ve traditionally been drawn to the B Sides my whole life.

But here’s the A Side:

The very moment I saw that ‘Pregnant’ in the window, it was on. That particular smile that attacked me at the food court mall nearly three years ago came back to my face as if it never left. I patted my tummy. I air-kissed it for a minute before rushing downstairs to find Ted. He knew before I showed the evidence to him. So much excitement and planning. A sibling for Evangeline! We cried happy tears.

And it was a Sunday.



At 11:00 AM, Blogger Biz and/or Jordi said...

I love you Jordi! Welcome back to the Pony

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordi, I swear sometimes I feel like we were cut from the very same cloth. While I'm pregnant with my first, I'm, at times, terrified and even angry. I too was thinking about the next big step in life, also planning a trip with Rob and when I found out I was worried about what my tequila binge had done to my unborn child. Our plans are just going to be a little bit different and may have to be put off, but they're still going to happen. You're a fantastic mother to Evie and I have no doubt that this one will get the same awesome mom. xoxo

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Kevin Charles Chesley. said...

(GET IT!?!)


At 7:30 PM, Blogger Baz said...

So sorry I didn't read this until right now, but I second Kevin's CAPS! CONGRATS!

You're the best.


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