Last Weekend

I’m getting behind on these updates!

My sister, Amy, came to visit last weekend. We had a whirlwind tour of children’s consignment stores and then Patrick met up with us to see Ira Glass at the Modlin Center.

Ira Glass is the host of This American Life, a great NPR show that we’ve all been listening to for as long as we can remember. It was very strange to hear his voice and see him at the same time, but the show was great! He explained a bit about how each show is put together and gave the background on some of the more memorable stories. Here he is on Letterman, to help you put the face with the voice:

He even showed a clip from the new This American Life TV show, which I’d never seen. It was a story about Haider Hamza, an Iraqi who was traveling around the U.S. to talk to Americans about how they felt about the war in Iraq. He sets up a sort of lemonade stand that says “Talk to an Iraqi” and waits for people to come up and say hello.

In some places he was pointedly ignored, in others he was met with instant anger and in some he had some really thoughtful conversations with people. I remembered that Hamza had been to our hometown of Fayetteville and I worried that the clips from that stop would be among the most contentious. Instead, he said that of all the people he spoke with, the military families (whose loved ones were there or had been there) were the most understanding of his worries and the most pleasant to talk with. Whew!

After the show, Amy and I went to a few more shops and then had dinner at Panera before coming home to collapse. The next day we got up early and went to do the baby registries at Target and Babies R’ Us. It was great having her along because she gave me the scoop on what we’ll really need vs. what will just take up space, and she knows what we’ll inherit as hand-me-downs from her. (Speaking of hand-me-downs, did I mention she arrived with five huge tubs of baby-boy clothes for us? Sweet!) Anyway, even with her guidance it turns out there is a lot of stuff that one tiny person needs. And that doesn’t even include furniture, which we’re starting to learn our way around now …

Once the registries were all set, we went to see “The Business of Being Born,” a documentary about how childbirth has been medicalized over the past century in the United States. The C-section rate here is up to 40-something percent, about four times the rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO?) In Europe and the rest of the world, most births are attended by a midwife and result in healthy moms and babies. Here, with all our shiny equipment and through-the-roof medical costs, it’s handled by doctors — but our newborn death rate is the second worst on the planet. So, more money + more intervention = more deaths. Super!

I went into the movie knowing that I wanted to avoid a C-section (I’ve never had major surgery, and the day that I become a mother hardly seems like the time to start), but I walked out with the realization that so many other things (the beloved epidural, for example) can lead me right into one.

Long story short (too late!) … I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m going to try to have Joe as naturally as possible. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll go to a hospital (I’m not brave enough for a home birth!), but I’m going to be much more wary of all the “standard procedure.” If a medically necessary (i.e., not because the doctor is impatient) C-section happens, it won’t be the end of the world — I will be glad to know I didn’t just get hustled into it.

Wow, that was a long update! Some other small things, just to wrap up:

  • Patrick finally felt Joe move! He had his hand against my belly as we went to bed one night, and just when I started to think Joe had called it a day, Patrick got a big THUMP! against his palm. Yay!
  • I am officially huge. Belly photos coming, as soon as I get up the nerve.
  • Patrick has been busy transferring some of our old VHS tapes to digital so that we can throw the tapes away. There are some old home-movie gems in there — we’ll be posting clips soon!