Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How Did I Learn What I Know?

I've always felt like a know-it-all.

It may come from being an only child.  It may come from being on my own for so very, very long before starting my life with Dean.  Maybe it's because I can't stand a lot of silence, and I feel the need to fill uncomfortable periods of quiet with (typically) useless facts.

Over time, the information I know has morphed a bit.  In high school, I knew where the Hooters were touring and how to make my own skirts.  In college, I knew which bars would let you drink underage (Myskyn's and Big John's) and a bunch of other information my mother doesn't want to read about.

As a bonafide grown-up, I could talk your ear off about automobile bodily injury claims when I worked as an insurance adjuster for Nationwide Insurance (I refer to this period as the Dark Ages), and later, when I became a teacher, I could spend hours defending high school theatre programs to the closed-minded and ill-informed.

But lately, I sometimes have to take a step back and ask myself, "who ARE you, and what have you done with the old Monica?"

Well, Monica is having a baby, and there is a lot of new stuff taking up space in my (scientifically proven)  shrinking brain.  I know things I never, ever thought I would know.  Most of these things revolve around natural childbirth and baby gear, but some of them deal with...nope, it's all baby related.

Here are some of the more interesting tidbits:

*  There are benefits to allowing the umbilical cord to pulsate for several minutes before being cut, to allow more blood to be pumped from the placenta to the baby.

*  The placenta has lots of nutrients and some people save their placenta to eat later.  We aren't that hungry, though.

*  One does not need to be Jewish to have a mohel come to your home and circumcise your newborn son.

*  Skin-to-skin contact between the baby and mother immediately after birth is really important, and having the baby whisked away to the nursery isn't always necessary, if the baby is healthy.

*  A doula is a labor coach, and does not typically wear a turban or tell your fortune.

*  The center of a sunflower is an excellent visual reminder for the woman waiting to fully dilate.

*  When doctors use a vacuum during birth, it's nothing like a Hoover or Dyson.  It's tiny and doesn't plug in, but you still don't want them to use it.

*  Internal fetal monitors have a little metal part at the end that screws directly into your baby's head.  It will leave a mark, but with a cute little hat on your bundle of joy, you won't be able to see it.  (We held one in class.)

*  There is a birthing suite at Mt. Sinai that costs $4000 a night, and overlooks Central Park.

I know lots more stuff.  TONS.  Most of it is kind of gross or may seem a little "midwifey," as someone told me recently.  So, Dean and I are happy to keep it to ourselves, and save it for our Bradley classes.  (For the record, Dean knows as much, if not MORE, about this as I do.)

But if you want to know more about natural childbirth, comparing NYC obstetricians, or the menu at Lenny's Deli, let me know.  I'm becoming an expert on all three.

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