The Gnome Is Born: Prologue

by Rachael on March 1, 2012

I wrote the following post on Monday, February 20, intending to publish it after my appointment with the midwife the following morning. During the last several weeks of my pregnancy, I was frequently blindsided by new information or unwelcome opinions, both about the baby I was carrying and the pregnancy itself. For that reason, I didn’t want to publish the post before the appointment. What if I encountered something at the appointment that would completely change my feelings — yet again? In that case, would I really want these upbeat, confident words hanging out there for people to respond to, whereas I felt otherwise? Little did I know how very much would change at that appointment….

Part 1 will follow on Tuesday: Surveillance and Intervention.

It’s Not Up to You

We’ve been busy, busy, busy here, preparing ourselves and our home for the Gnome. I’ve been more or less on maternity leave for a couple weeks, though I do have a couple small gigs still going (including my online writing class), and I’ve been finishing up some articles that I owe various people. Meanwhile, we’ve been sorting through baby clothing, decluttering, organizing, cleaning, stocking up the kitchen, arranging for Critter care, putting our finances in order, preparing our taxes, and so on; plus, on top of my now-weekly appointments with the midwife and weekly ultrasounds, we’ve toured the hospital, met with the doula, and met with the pediatric urologist. There have been many ups and downs that I haven’t wanted to write about, but right now I’m in a good place, feeling positive about the Gnome’s prognosis and striving to reconcile myself with the many constraints of this hospital birth.

Once I'm postpartum, Brian can't be with me at night, and the Critter can't be at the hospital at all. So I'm taking this photo with me.

Control freak that I am, as I put together my birth plan, I’ve been thinking a lot about an interview by Charlie Rose with Björk, which I first saw more than ten years ago. The part of the interview that has stuck with me through all these years is the three minutes beginning at about 29:01, when Rose asks, “Your voice — can you explain your voice?” Björk replies, “I guess I don’t think so much about my voice. Like I could talk to you for four hours about snare sounds, but my voice is maybe the thing that I try to leave out of this kind of analytical behavior.” She explains her approach to working in the studio, where she obsesses over every detail of the sound that she is trying to create — except for the voice. “The voice,” she says, “is the wild thing that you just go and do in one take…. You go in front of the microphone and you just don’t know.”

And so I’m trying to think of all my planning and preparations as creating a space for the wild thing that I’m going to just go and do in one take — the labor itself. What’s really going to happen? I just don’t know. And who is the Gnome? I just don’t know.

I’ve been listening to this song every day. The moment when the choir comes in still gives me chills every time.

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