Shall remain nameless?

I wonder if most parents just know at a gut level what their kids’ names should be. Because we’re really struggling with this.

We do know the sex of the baby, but it turns out we were more confident in a name if the baby were the other sex. As of last night, we have a running list of about 10 names with various degrees of confidence and feeling toward them, and not a single one jumps out as the name for our little one.

What to do? We can keep brainstorming – we certainly have the time before the baby comes – but I didn’t think this process would be so arduous. I hate the idea of being lukewarm about a name, that’s just not what I want.

We’ve talked about waiting until the baby is born and interacting with our newborn before settling on a name. Sounds good in theory, but what if at that point, still nothing jumps out at us as the “right” name? Then, we’re really behind the eight ball.


Starting to talk about birthing options

Met with a friend who is a doula yesterday. I was interested in understanding her services as a doula, and what I can expect for the birthing process. Here are some new things that I learned:

  1. You can instruct hospital staff not to even offer you drugs if you don’t want it.
  2. Most of the labor can be done at home, near loved ones and with pain managed in the tub with water and breathing until you’re basically ready to push. The hospital isn’t far from us at all, so this is a big plus for me.
  3. You can opt not to have an IV put in at triage. That’s only if you might want an epidural later, and it might inhibit your mobility and ideal positioning for labor. They can always put in an IV later, it’s just more convenient for the nurses to do it early.
  4. The doula can play a large role for the partner, to instruct the partner on how to be most effective in supporting the woman in labor.

Also, we don’t have experienced family in very close proximity, so she is willing to be available after the birth to help with any trouble or guidance, including breast feeding, which is great. (I know I could also get a lactation consultant.)

It was just nice to talk to someone who does this a lot, rather than talking to others’ personal birthing experiences that may outdated in terms of options (going to C-section waaaay too quickly or easily, just because it’s more convenient or a better payment for the physician) or are frankly so personal and individual that they don’t really help me prepare. They’re definitely wonderful stories, but they don’t necessarily tell me what I can expect, or help me identify what I want.

I’m preparing for a long, tiring labor with no drugs if I can help it. It’s definitely intimidating, if not slightly terrifying. But this is what I wanted! We will see how this birth actually plays out – it may not end up being anything that I anticipate.


Dancing? Somersaults? Kung fu? What is Baby doing in there?

I’ve been feeling the baby move recently!  It’s not a kicking sensation like I would have expected, and what might actually happen more in the later months of the pregnancy, but it’s definitely distinct baby movement!

On some level, I feel a little silly. After all, women since the beginning of time have gone through this. But I can’t help being so excited and tickled to feel my little one moving inside me! It’s stunning every time it happens. It doesn’t cease to take me by surprise. I make a comment whenever I’m with my husband, and he immediately moves his hands to my belly, sometimes even puts his ear to my belly, haha! It’s too early for him to feel anything – the movement isn’t strong enough to be felt on the outside, but he really wants to be a part of this, and I can’t wait until he can feel it, too.

There’s also a little bit of the weirdness of this entire experience that I can’t shake – feeling like I’m in one of the Alien movies, or that whole Frankenstein thing – “It’s alive! It’s alive!!” Pregnancy is one of the most natural, awe-inspiring, and STRANGE things that someone can go through.

We just signed up for childbirth and baby care classes at the local hospital. It’s early yet, but the classes fill up so quickly that we needed to reserve a space. Now that’s a weird thing to put into your calendar! “Childbirth class, 9am-4pm,” and “baby care class, 10am-4pm.” Yikes!

The world I’m bringing Baby into

I decided to learn the sex of the baby.

And now that I know, I’m suddenly conflicted. I would have been happy with either a boy or girl, that’s not what I mean, but my first thoughts were of the things that I want to AVOID in having a child of that sex, or the things I’m AFRAID of in having a child of that sex, or the potential PROBLEMS that we could have with a teenage child of that sex.

Sheesh, what’s wrong with me??

I wanted to avoid the over-socialization of gender roles by others before the child was even born, which is why we originally avoided learning the sex (and will – for now – still keep it a secret from everyone else). But here I am, automatically worrying about this or that related to the child’s sex before it’s born. Maybe it’s human nature. But I do find my own reaction interesting.

I didn’t think about colors or names or clothes or toys. I thought, “What will be the world’s social agenda for this child upon its entry to the world?” and “How can I protect this child from all the misguided bullsh*t that will inevitably befall them because of their outward appearance?”

* * * * *

Last night, my husband and I went to see Dan Savage speak in Berkeley. It was hilarious, enlightening, heartbreaking at times, and just fun. I was very conscious the whole time that I was sitting there with a big fat belly, awaiting the arrival of a little one in a short five months. I would love for this little one to define themselves the way they want. I suppose it’s as likely to happen in the San Francisco/Oakland area as anywhere else in the world, but bullying and all those other awful things still happen here.

Metro living has its trade-offs, right? You might have to compromise on the school “quality” (at least on paper) or the safety risks, but what the children gain in terms of exposure to diversity and learning to navigate their way through more complex systems to be independent and self-reliant is pretty priceless. I like to think we can back up our kids’ formal education and teach them strategies to be safer, but I’m not sure you can teach kids about diversity without being immersed in it, and I don’t think you can teach kids how to get around without them having to actually do it.

Every parent makes choices. I feel strongly that raising our kids in Oakland is going to be a good choice for us. I’m hoping that the diversity frees them to be who they want to be, rather than what social mores dictate. Hell, maybe our kids decide to be Republicans. (I’m an atheist, so I don’t pray, but if there’s one thing I would pray about, it would be that they do not decide to become Republicans.) But even if so, I’ll know that we did what’s best for them, creating an environment in which going against the norm here in the Bay Area was something they felt empowered to do.

(As a side note, this does bring up the issue of which will be Baby’s first social democracy event. I typically don’t participate in those, as I’ve always felt those simply make protesters feel better rather than actually effecting change. I prefer to throw money at my issues to get the liberal and progressive agendas pushed forward. More effective, at least in today’s environment. But before our child has any money to throw around, we would have to show them the way, and being out in the streets would be one option. If Baby were born last year, maybe we would have taken them to Occupy in NY when we went, that would have been cool. What does next year or two or three hold? Anti-war demonstrations? Education funding and support? Gatherings at City Hall regarding excessive police force? Who knows.)

* * * * *

All this stemmed from learning the sex of our baby! It has sent me into a whirlwind of pensiveness and concern and hope.