Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Not Yet

It's been so long since my last post, I'm starting to get email asking whether I've had the baby yet, and whether the baby and I are all right.

Not yet, and yes, we're doing fine. The midwives continue to be happy with the baby's growth and position. I'm as uncomfortable as women usually are in the last weeks of pregnancy, but so far everything is progressing in a very ordinary, non-scary way.

Back when I was still in grad school, in the middle of the dissertation quagmire, I remember catching a few minutes of some PBS documentary about a tribe in the Amazon whose rite of passage for boys was to weave a sort of mitten out of palm fronds, to fill the mitten with fire ants, and then to seal the boy's right hand into the mitten to get bitten. And to leave him like that for twelve hours. The film editing strove to convey, in a several-minute montage, how awful those twelve hours were. And while I was watching that kid's face, I thought to myself, "He's got a sweet deal. Where do I sign up to switch places with him?" After, at that point, three years of dissertation misery, I was pretty sure I could withstand twelve hours of anything, if I could know for sure that it would eventually end. Over the past few months, the doula who's been teaching our childbirth education classes has lent us several films of births, and I have to say, natural childbirth looks far preferable to both fire ants and dissertations. If labor were going to take me five years, I'd be daunted, but I believe I have it in me to do for a day what any woman in those films is doing.

Meanwhile, my writing energy seems to have been sucked into nesting behavior. The nest is shaping up really well. Over the past few years, Dan and I have watched various expectant friends and relatives put off setting their houses up on the theory that first babies are always late, only to scramble when their babies arrived a few weeks before their due dates. When three different couples invite you to take them as cautionary tales about the same mistake, you might as well listen, right? So the baby's room is painted, and somewhere under the mountains of shower gifts we still need to write thank-you notes for, it's even furnished with a crib, a changing table, and a rocking chair. The dresser Dan spent two evenings assembling is now full of clean, folded, hand-me-down baby clothes, while I carefully run the new, not-yet-colorfast baby clothes we got at the shower through an endless succession the world's smallest laundry loads. We're a few hours' work away from having the Nubbin's room ready for his eventual homecoming. Our living room is nowhere near childproof, but I think if violet_moon25 could see it now, she would say it's no longer the toddler deathtrap it used to be.

Not bad, for four weeks before the due date. The women in my family mostly have their first babies a couple of weeks early, so I figure I have two weeks left before the big household stuff needs to be finished.

Of course, I remember a time when I really believed I'd have the Little Book in complete working draft before the baby came. I even remember a time when I would fly into a panic at the thought that, if it wasn't done before the baby came, somehow my writing life would be All Over. Both of those thoughts seem kind of silly now. How productive was I really going to be while I was laid low with morning sickness, sleeping 16 hours a day, and teaching when I wasn't throwing up or asleep? And considering that grad school didn't finish me off as a writer, I think nothing short of a literal lobotomy could.

Right now, I'm trying to get all my polished mss back out there into the mailrooms of agents, editors, and magazines, so the fallow months of the baby's proverbial fourth trimester can be potentially productive for my list of publishing credits, even if they're not productive for much else other than wiring up the baby's brain. I'm really enjoying looking those mss over as I figure out where to send them next. I may not have sold a book, but I've done some work I'm proud of over these past four years.
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