Saturday, February 05, 2005

Lileks and the Facts of Life

In Friday's episode of "The Bleat," Lileks writes the following (and I borrow without asking but I doubt he'll mind).

And so it begins:

“Daddy, I’m a little nervous about having a baby in my tummy.”

Well, good. Hold that emotion for about 25 years.

“Why? You don’t have to have a baby for a long long long time.”

“I want to be thin.” Oh. My. “I don’t want to have a fat tummy.”

“But your tummy goes down after the baby.”

“I’m still a little nervous.”

So I explained that she had to go to kindergarten first, then school, then junior high, then high school, then college, then a job, then meet her Prince and get married, and then travel around the world and / or go to the moon as she chose, and THEN she could have a baby. By which time I’ll be about ninety, but I didn’t get into that.

Lileks reminded me of a memory I hadn't thought of for quite some time. I thought I'd share it with you.

I was pregnant with Geoff. Jessica was 4 at the time. She was watching something on Discovery or TLC about a vet in Africa. Poachers had taken down a Leopard. They were spotted! (pun intended) They fled! Someone immediately called the vet, who happened to be closeby. He jumped into his H2! He rushed to the scene to try and save her. But. To no avail. She passed. But! She was pregnant! So he immediately set upon her body to remove her kits.

The vet removed two bloody baby Leopards. Right there -- in the middle of the field. An assistant took each one, cleaned them up. One was not responsive, failed the Leopard APGAR test I guess. They did mouth to mouth on the Leopard baby. He was revived! Huzzah.

The kits survived -- they were eventually zooed somewhere so as to avoid being poached in the future.

I asked Jessica what she was thinking. She looked at the belly, where her little brother was and for the first time in her life to that point, I heard uncertainty and fear come out of her mouth.

"Are they going to cut you open like that to get the baby out?"

I could also hear her saying "Dude, if the answer is yes, I'm SO never having a baby. That sucks!" She wasn't worried about not being thin, like Gnat Lileks, she just thought that was a pretty crazy assed way to take out babies. Let's just say, the vet in the Leopard case didn't do a very gentle C-section. The momma was already passed. He was rough and not very neat and cut a big opening... he had to get the kittens out. Fast.

I explained to Jessica that sometimes women have C-sections, and I explained why. But I told her that my intention was to not need one and to deliver the baby "naturally."

Her mental image of me being sliced hip to hip was vanquished, but then arose the new question. "What do you mean by 'naturally?'"

Well, there ya go. Now I have to explain THIS to her. How a baby gets OUT of the mom's body. So I did. I didn't mince words. I told her and she was really confused. "You pee the baby out?" No honey. There's a different spot. The baby doesn't come out the same pathway as pee. So I explained the other opening. She was quiet. For a long time.

Later that evening she says to me, "Mom? I'm not sure about this. That's an awfully small space. How can a baby come out of that small a spot?"

She told me that she investigated. And really could not grasp how a baby's head ("I've seen how big they are and there is NO way on earth it can come out!") could possibly make it through there.

Sigh. Yeah. Honey. It's difficult but. It works.

"I think I'd rather be sliced open like the Leopard, upon second thinkings. You should too."

But I didn't. And I still laugh about having to explain this to her, and her reaction. Four is a great age. I'm glad Lileks is blogging his experience as they happen -- I didn't have a blog then, so it's all a memory for me.