I often regale stories from my ridiculous life and frequently they’re met with either horrified expressions or uproarious laughter but almost always a “you should write a book.” As I attempt to transition away from the world of performing, I’m pursuing a degree in English Education so as to someday hold a job that doesn’t result in me having a calloused vagina or slathering veterinary grade liniment gel on my aches and pains. (As a side note: calloused might not be the proper adjective to describe my lady bits, it’s not as if it now resembles a big toe in desperate need of a pedicure but wearing an aerial harness six days a week has definitely tempered it a bit.)
In addition, I’ve decided to accept the challenge of authoring a collection of memoirs because, at the risk of sounding like a Dos Equis commercial, my life thus far has been pretty damn interesting. To kill two birds (knock out some college credits and reap some benefits for my not-so-educational endeavors) I opted to take a Creative Nonfiction course this semester. Prompted to write a memoir I chose the story of how I found myself accidentally knocked up because like much of my life, it’s unconventional and an imperative addition to the book I’m writing (which other than this chapter is purely hypothetical at this point.)
This story also neatly encompasses the objective of my blog about motherhood and the idea that it’s a mess; look at me being super efficient and shit. If you’re an avid reader of Hot Mess Mommy you’ll notice that there’s an area of repetition having stole a segment from a previous post, for this I apologize, but it fit nicely in this piece so you’ll just have to deal.
In an effort to adhere to the true nature of book writing, I dedicate this piece to hostile pregnant women everywhere. Happy reading! (And if this is a huge pile of garbage I encourage you to be honest so that I can squash my dreams of being an author and start actively pursuing a more realistic venture. My vagina begs you.)
Accidentally Pregnant: because unplanned would imply I even had a plan
I knew I was knocked up. It was only days ago that I resembled a dog marking its territory as I peed on no less than seven pregnancy tests, all of which popped up positive. If what they say is true and knowing is half the battle than the other half is having your doctor manipulate a lubed up wand in your hooha.
“You’re definitely pregnant. I would estimate almost seven weeks.”
I looked suspiciously at my boyfriend who was crumpled on the floor having just passed out during the ultrasound. He should be a heap of help during actual labor I thought to myself.
“How? And not like how did this happen because I’m fully aware of the logistics behind how babies are made…”
In high school we had this bizarre sex ed assembly where a woman stood at the front of our study hall with a basket full of those colorful plastic easter eggs while some upperclassman passed me a naughty note saying “show me your…” with what was a shit drawing of a vagina or a crude rendition of a cherry pie. Clearly he wasn’t at all bothered that the first egg she cracked open contained a pair of girl’s panties as she pulled the “don’t have sex, you will get pregnant and die” before Coach Carr was even a thing.
That crackpot lady and her Easter eggs are liars. You don’t get pregnant and die, you get pregnant and embark on an incredibly uncomfortable and lengthy furlough from normalcy in which you have to abstain from some of life’s greatest luxuries including Red Bull, cabernet and soft cheeses. A life without feta is a life not worth living.
Obviously, I wasn’t surprised when the doctor confirmed the fact that my grossly unqualified womb would now serve as a safeguard for my gestating little nugget, but seven weeks? That was impossible. Seven weeks ago I was laid up in the emergency room having just thrown out my back while buying cat litter at WalMart. I’m not usually one to abuse medical services for such trivial matters but I was in the throes of recital week and my dancers needed a teacher who could at the very least could stand upright. I didn’t have health insurance so the ER doctor provided me with two options: hook me up to a morphine drip and keep me overnight or write me scripts for Vicodin and Valium and send me on my way while saving me an insane amount of money. I was in a crazy amount of pain but I wasn’t crazy enough to pass up an opportunity to avoid a hospital bill that could bankrupt me. My boyfriend picked me up, we got my prescriptions filled and I passed out cold from the pill cocktail.
“You got weird on those pills and wanted to do it.”
I can only imagine the look on my face but judging by the doctor’s slightly horrified expression it probably wasn’t pleasant. She gave me a bunch of pamphlets on prenatal care including what resembled an actual textbook on pregnancy and childbirth, set up a follow-up appointment and left the exam room to inevitably go entertain the nurses with the tale of how I accidentally got knocked up by my halfwit of a boyfriend while on prescription painkillers with a bum back. Laugh it up ladies.
I was barely capable of taking care of myself so having children was never part of my life plan (not that my extremely vague outline of what I wanted to do with my life qualified as a plan.) My dog at the time got himself locked up a handful of times when he was apprehended as a runaway, probably trying to evade neglect and I’ve always been adamant in refusing flowers as gifts simply because I can’t even be responsible enough to take them home at the end of the day. To top it off I firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose so abortion was easily an option but the guilt of being a 27-year-old quasi-independent woman who had a very comprehensive understanding of the fleeting beauty of life compelled me to undertake the overwhelmingly intimidating responsibility of motherhood.
I found comfort in my choice when I phoned my parents and instructed them to sit down and told them to prepare for imminent grandparenthood. Sadly they’re all too familiar with the “you need to take a seat” phone call; like the time I was in college and broke both of my feet falling off a balcony trying to jump into a pool or when I totaled the family car a mere six weeks after getting my driver's license because I misunderstood the purpose of a yield sign. But for the first time in the history of our relationship as doting parents versus troubled daughter they were thrilled with one of my mistakes and assured me of their unconditional love and support. I desperately hoped that included a tutorial in diaper changing because I can only recall executing that task once in my existence and it didn’t go well.
The idealists claim that a man doesn’t understand the idea of being a dad until he holds his baby in his arms but a woman embraces motherhood during pregnancy. I wanted to punch those idealists in the face. I felt less like a mother and more like one of those drug mules you see on Locked Up Abroad who has balloons of cocaine crammed into body cavities and packs of heroin fastened to their torso and extremities but instead of heroin I was just fat and instead of cocaine it was a baby. I was uncomfortable, anxious and constantly sweating through my shirts. I had announced my pregnancy to the public by posting a status on Facebook asking where one buys maternity jeans. Which was laughable because it’s not as if I regularly wear jeans when I’m not pregnant; so why I thought it necessary to try and squeeze myself into denim in a state of borderline obesity and extreme discomfort is beyond me. In all likelihood it was the allure of a stretchy waistband but there is no waistband in the world stretchy enough when you’re the size of a compact car. I wore those stupid jeans once or twice and openly wept and whined until I could take them off and then I probably openly wept and whined that I was too fat for maternity jeans. Pregnancy is fun.
As I neared the end of my pregnancy I still hadn’t developed that emotional connection to my unborn child; I found out I was having a boy and had even picked out a name but I had more love in my heart for stray cats and doughnuts than I did for my impending offspring. I considered that I could’ve been too distracted accidentally shutting my engorged tits in cupboards or too exhausted just trying to stand up from a seated position to really devote any time to cherishing the new life residing in my uterus, but I also considered that perhaps I was destined to be one of those awful mothers who are capable of ditching their babies in dumpsters because they lack all sense of humanity. Was I sociopath?
Not only was I fundamentally incapable of sustaining even a houseplant but I felt closer to the UPS Man than I did my own kid; at least he brought me cool stuff, so far my kid had just given me the gift of gas and a bad complexion. Terrified and lacking all mental faculties due to fluctuating hormones, when my boyfriend asked me to marry him, I obliged and we wed shortly after. As a side note, when you marry someone out of fear in a shotgun wedding officiated by a person who closely resembles a figure from a Hollywood Wax Museum the probability of you two maintaining a happy union is farfetched. Our marriage lasted longer than Kim Kardashian and that Humphries fellow but not by much.
At my final prenatal appointment I petitioned my doctor to be induced with the kind of fervor better suited for someone begging for their life. She had witnessed me in a hysterical state at more than one appointment and indulged my request telling me to check-in at the hospital the following morning and bring a copy of my birth plan. Bitch what? My birth plan? That was simple, step one: have a baby and try not to poop during the process but they say everyone craps themselves during labor so maybe just keep it simple, have a baby. And I want drugs, all the drugs. I assured her I would communicate that to the attending nurses.
Initially thrilled that the end was near I tried skipping from the lobby to the car but any type of prolonged but sudden movement made me feel like I would piss myself so I settled for pumping my arms over my head like Rocky Balboa as “Eye of the Tiger” played in my head. The moment was short-lived and bittersweet because while I was about to reclaim my body from the foreign dictator vacationing in my womb, that foreign dictator was about to take up permanent residence in my life and against all motherly odds, I wasn’t totally convinced I even liked him. In college I had a string of unbearable roommate situations including a stripper was falsely registered as a student and had an unhealthy affinity for stuffed monkeys and a suitemate who wrote me hostile notes on the shower wall using her own shaving cream. What if bringing my baby boy home would just read as another chapter in my memoir about experiences with shitty roommates? Could him moving in be worse than the time I was splitting rent with a girlfriend and she not-so-subtly moved in her boyfriend and his unruly 15-year-old daughter who I’m almost positive was stealing my beer from the refrigerator? Baseless paranoia aside, I was about to bring home an infant. In that moment I really wished that as an adolescent in computer lab I had obliged more of those strange e-mail chains that ensured good luck if you forwarded it 684 people. I needed all the luck.
Twenty-four hours and a mild anxiety attack later I was holding the most precious gift I have ever received in this lifetime. Even though he was covered in amniotic goo and my obstetrician was positioned uncomfortably between my knees with a needle and thread I thought to be better suited for hand stitching leather than fixing up my lady bits, I completely understood the tenacity of an extremely protective mama grizzly and why my own parents, instead of having me committed, had been so patient in those years I was hellbent on redefining “difficult.” I finally felt that surreal and unconditional love that those idealists preached and I vowed to devote myself to his happiness, show him boundless love and protect him from playground bullies and unsavory young women.
Our first night together I sat wide awake, pumped full of adrenaline since giving birth kind of makes you feel like a superhero, keeping a watchful eye so we didn’t end up the subject of a Lifetime movie because I left the hospital with the wrong baby. Watching him sleep, seeing each breath as a small miracle, I couldn’t wrap my head around ever feeling as though I wouldn’t completely adore him and everything he did.
It was then that I was left questioning those idealists, “am I really a dude?”