AUTHOR: Marty, a.k.a. canape TITLE: Making it work DATE: 9/20/2007 08:13:00 PM ----- BODY:
A couple of months ago, my momma made reference to when she and my daddy would be here for the birth of Little Bird. Inside my head rang, "Um. What? Seriously? Okay, no." and out of my mouth came, "So you guys are planning on coming in January?"

Momma replied, "Of course. Your daddy wouldn't miss it for the world."

I chose not to comment at that time. I wanted to think about it. Which is rare for me, but I'm glad I did.

Since then, I have thought a lot about this. I have read a lot of other people's words about how family created more work for the new mom. Extended family intruded and was in the way more than they were helpful.

Even though there is some truth to that in our situation, I'm rethinking how I feel about it. Putting my own spin on it, if you will.

There are many reasons why having my parents be here would be more work for me and Guy.
My daddy is no easy dude these days. Parkinson's and Alzheimer's have left him needing constant care and an unending supply of compassion.

However, my mother has that. She doubts it some days I imagine, but she would be wrong. She has it, and she will be here with him.

Simple things about being here will be difficult for Daddy. Or at least I think they will. Just being away from his own home will be hard. After 30 years of living in a two story home, he still tells Momma that he is "going up to bed." What some people consider habits are necessary routine for Daddy. Break that routine, and you get crippling anxiety. Some days, you just get the crippling anxiety for no apparent reason.

Stairs will be hard. Sleeping in a different bed will be hard. Finding a bathroom at night in a new house will be hard. Not knowing where to find a few snacks throughout the night will be hard.

Being at the hospital will be hard. Daddy does not do well in hospitals. When Momma was in the hospital last October, my biggest challenge was keeping Daddy corralled and calm. He would want to wander the halls by himself. He would introduce me as his sister and become confused when people would try to lead him back to his wife's room. Because it was his mother that was in the hospital in his mind. The stress of the situation had him completely rattled and confused.

Planning a natural childbirth, the most important thing in the world to me is getting Bird here safely and without interruption. I don't want to worry about where Daddy is and if he is doing alright. I don't want for him to become anxious if labor continues on and I am struggling. I don't want for him to be uncomfortable at the hospital.

And I don't want them to miss a minute with Little Bird.

And that is where the spin comes in.

Their health is not reliable. Everyday that we have with them is really and truly a gift. They have been waiting a long time for this grandchild and have stood by my side through my incredibly rocky ride through adulthood. I want them to be here with me, Guy, Lovely, and Bird.

So what if it is more work? So what if I might be a more tired and stressed with a newborn? So what if I feel like I have to clean the house a little bit better, have the kitchen a little more stocked, and make a few more detailed plans to ensure that Daddy is comfortable and safe? He is so excited about it, and I want for him to be happy.

That is my choice.

When I look back at the birth of Little Bird, I want to know that my family was included. I want my mom and dad to be able to share in the excitement. Well, whatever excitement occurs in the waiting room, but still. I want them to be there to meet Little Bird as soon as possible.

Whatever it takes from me and Guy to have that happen is okay with me.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Karla DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:07:00 AM EDT Sweet sentiments, but totally impractical. I've had experience with both newborns and a parent w/Alzheimer's and you are truly minimizing the difficulties you'll face. Good luck. You're going to need it. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Marty, a.k.a. canape DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:17:00 AM EDT Your sincerity is well, underwhelming.

If you had enough experience, you would know that the effects of this disease are different with every person who it strikes. So your experience is just that. Yours.

I'm not minimizing the difficulties, I'm saying that I'm choosing to accept them in order to have my parents here. It will be their only chance, and I love them enough to give it to them.

It's too bad you decided not to be clickable. I would be interested to read about your experiences. I would be happy to listen. Without the same snotty judgment you have exhibited. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous MB DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:34:00 AM EDT You are a brave woman, and so kind to want to include them.

I was not so kind, but do not regret it. It was my new beginning with my new family and I wanted it to be about the three of us. Then again, I am often called selfish!

It was what was right for me. You do what is right for you! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous MB DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:34:00 AM EDT You are a brave woman, and so kind to want to include them.

I was not so kind, but do not regret it. It was my new beginning with my new family and I wanted it to be about the three of us. Then again, I am often called selfish!

It was what was right for me. You do what is right for you! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Liz DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:35:00 AM EDT [DOH!]

I had the WHOLE family in the L&D room with me. The men folk sat on the other side of a flimsy curtain while the women were with me. It was totally Red Tent, and I would never change a second of it.

I actually enjoyed a few moments when I was taking care of other people, it helped me take my mind off the, ummm, moment.

I loved having the family with us for Henry's birth. And I plan to do it again! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Clifford DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:37:00 AM EDT I always admired and liked your dad, C. He always made a point to talk to me and asked pertinent questions about things he knew about me, making it obvious he remembered the previous conversations we'd had. That always left an impression upon me about how I hope I communicate with my kids' friends, to make them feel like they matter.

Of course, I'll probably just say "Unless you can beat me in NCAA Football on the Xbox, you can't hang out with my daughter tonight." Then make him buy me an icee after I wax his ass. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous MB DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 11:38:00 AM EDT PS Perhaps they could wait at home until the very end of labor, or even come as soon as Little Bird is born? By the time they got to the hospital he would be all clean and snuggly?

I wouldn't wish a day in a hospital waiting room on anyone. I think they are designed to be as uncomfortable and miserable as possible.

I was in the hospital for three whole days before the baby finally popped outta me. (Or was yanked out.) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous MplsChic DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 12:02:00 PM EDT Delurking here (and I don't have a blog, otherwise I'd link...) - but just wanted to applaud your thought process and decision. I've never been in your position, but I hope I would make the same choice. Frankly, I don't see a lot of difference between your willingness to make arrangements and deal with the potential challenges of having your parents present for birth and your willingness to take on and make arrangements for the full range of challenges and adjustments that a new child brings. Both require enduring some hardship - but both are so monumentally worth it in the end. Right? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Amy DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 12:21:00 PM EDT You have such a good heart, Canape. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Bubblewench DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 12:23:00 PM EDT I am so glad you made that decision. You will be happy you did in the long run. Your parents are amazing people and yes, they do deserve every second they can get with their new grandchild. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Erika Jurney, Plain Jane Mom DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 1:08:00 PM EDT That's a challenge you have there, but I would say that the person actually doing the birthing (that's you!) should be able to dictate the circumstances. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Kendra DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:01:00 PM EDT I'm sure it will be hard, but what you will get out of it will so much more rewarding. I think having someone else to take care (or focus on) would have helped me after my daughter was born.

On the plus side, you won't really know if it is harder or easier without them since you haven't done it before. There won't be the "it was easier last time without them" thoughts going on. They may provide you with a needed distraction and will certainly give you all their love and support, which is something I think all moms need after birth. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous pastormargaret DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:07:00 PM EDT Being your father's child I wouldn't expect anything less than for you to completely think through what you think might happen at the blessed event. With my first baby grandparents were present and Dad was taking law school finals. I have fond memories of your granddaddy sitting with me while in labor. With you, only Dad was there. Grandparents were keeping big brother. My mother came after the births and helped--though I had to be really specific what I wanted.

We will be where you want us when you want us. Just give us enough notice to get there. This grandma can't wait. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Steph DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:21:00 PM EDT I think that you've looked at all sides of the situation and made a choice - the best choice for you and your family. I think you are amazingly realistic about the work that will be involved, but are willing to take it on so your family can be here to enjoy birds entrance into this big crazy world. Nothing EVER goes perfectly, and anything worth having is worth the work it will require. People who have always had it easy, or run away from difficult times or situations will never understand that, nor will they ever REALLY get to enjoy this wonderful, crazy, messy, lovely thing we call LIFE!! I admire you and your strength!! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Mutt DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:34:00 PM EDT Do what will make you happy. I did not want my mother in the room wtih me while I was delivering and sort of kept her at arms length at the end of my pregnancy. She came to see Peanut both days we were in the hospital and that was it. In the end I really wish she would have come to stay with us for a while after he was born. She kept saying she would and I never thought she wouldn't.

Make the plan YOU want and do that. This is YOUR (and guy's) time, so do it however will make you happy. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Mutt DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:36:00 PM EDT Do what makes you happy.

I didn't want my mother in the delivery room with me so I kept her at arms length toward the end of my pregnancy. She ended up visiting me in the hospital both days I was there, but nothing after that. She always said she would stay with me for the first week or so. I never dreamed she wouldn't.

It's YOUR day. Do it however will make YOU happy. That's what matters. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Jaime DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:41:00 PM EDT {{{HUGS}}} C. I wish I had as much tact as you do. You are going to be a wonderful mommy :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous MamaGeek @ Works For Us DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 2:49:00 PM EDT canape, reading this put a lump in my throat - beautiful (both your post and yourself). it is afterall your decision. everything will fall in place.

p.s. don't listen to the noise. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 3:00:00 PM EDT First off, I'm shocked at the comment left by Karla! I'm don't even know what to say, how could someone be so rude to YOU of all people.

Moving right along...I began reading this, relating to my own experience with my less-than-helpful parents after the births of my own children. After reading this, I realize that although they weren't helpful, they were HERE. They got to experience the joy of adding a new family member.

Thanks for reminding me that it wasn't all about me.

I love your outlook on the situation. It will all go smoothly. I promise you won't have time to worry while you're in your drug-free labor!

I feel the odd urge to snap my fingers and say "you go girl." Would that be weird? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Karaoke Diva DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 3:27:00 PM EDT Like you said, your time with your parents is limited. Yeah, it may be a bit more stressful for you, but how happy and blessed will you feel when you look back the pictures of your dad holding the Bird for the first time right after he's born? How much will you cherish the look on your mom's face when she sees him for the first time?

I think the pros for you will far outweight the cons.

(Oh, and f*ck you, Karla.) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Katie DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 3:33:00 PM EDT What a loving daughter. Very brave and thoughful. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Heather, Queen of Shake Shake DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 6:29:00 PM EDT Canape, it sounds like you're making a very wise decision and putting not only a lot of thought but a lot of heart into it.

This is a once in a lifetime event. You do what you know is right for you and fart on Karla. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Tiffany DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 7:01:00 PM EDT Canape you are amazing, thoughtful, wonderful, and heart-warming. You think through things and go into circumstances with eyes wide open as well as open to the possibility that you could end up with an entirely different situation. However, you charge in and take control. I love your wisdom, posts, and our virtual friendship.
I was so selfish and worried about my in-laws coming to stay and you are facing a more difficult road with much more grace. I heart you :)

Can I also say that reading your Mom's post brought tears to my eyes? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Oh, The Joys DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 8:52:00 PM EDT I think a lot depends on your mom. If she will be full time taking care of your dad, then it might be hard, but if she has the energy to take care of you a little too it might be fine.

I haven't wanted my mommy so badly as the day The Mayor was born in 30 years. I swear. I was so freaked out and lost and man did I want my mom. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Stella DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 9:08:00 PM EDT I really admire you and absolutely agree with your choice- not that you need anyone's agreement!

Your Little Bird should have everyone there that is important to you and Guy, no matter what!

I would make the same choice! Part of the reason we started trying to have our first child was because we wanted our children to know our "older" family members.

Kudos to you and I know your Daddy will love every single minute with his Little Bird regardless of anything else!! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous katy DATE:Friday, September 21, 2007 at 9:41:00 PM EDT Newborns do make more work but for me the work wasn't overwhelming, I knew what was coming and was prepared. I think the chance to have pictures and memories of your parents snuggled up with Little bird will make it worth everything. I get the idea, just from your blog, that you aren't the type of person who gets all bent out of shape from little things so I know you can handle it and will be so glad later than you did. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Kris DATE:Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 2:43:00 PM EDT I think you are absolutely amazing for taking the time to think this whole thing through. I'm sure everything will fall into place and Bird's birth will be just as you want it to be. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous gail DATE:Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 8:12:00 PM EDT I can't say anything that hasn't already been said.

But, like Grandma, I can't wait! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous The Farm House Kids DATE:Saturday, September 22, 2007 at 11:01:00 PM EDT Canape,

That is so awesome. You are so absolutely right to want them there. And you can make it happen. You will never regret having them there, but if not, you might. Let them love Little Bird with all they have in them for as long as they have with him.

I so admire you!

Tanya ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous dawn224 DATE:Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 9:02:00 PM EDT Would a postpartum doula be a help? Perhaps it would be worth the money to have someone around to support you to help you enjoy the time with both Bird and parents? http://www.dona.org/ ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Mrs. Chicken DATE:Monday, September 24, 2007 at 1:17:00 AM EDT My father was four months dead the day my daughter was born. In the end of his days, he was weak, sorrowful and confused.

I would have given anything in the world to have him see my daughter's face her first day on earth, even as sick and confused and sad as he was.

I was not given the opportunity to make that decision; it was made for me when he died.

It may be difficult, but canape, you won't regret it. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Ally DATE:Monday, September 24, 2007 at 4:35:00 PM EDT This is such a difficult decision. It seems to me you've weighed the options and made a good choice. ----- --------