Family

So, the week has gone by fairly quickly. The last time I wrote, I was pretty wrapped up in my Husky (cat) drama. He’s fared well on the treatment at the International Veterinary Hospital here in Beijing and I honestly will never take my pets anywhere else in this city. They’re fantastic. They can’t guarantee us full recovery for him, but they’re optimistic. We are too.

I go there every day and have become quite friendly with all the staff. Yesterday, one of the doctors, with a type of bold shyness I have come to admire in Chinese people, started asking me about my pregnancy. She’s also in her thirties but hasn’t had a child yet. The glint in her eyes reminded me of the feeling I must have had in my own eyes when I would ask other women about their pregnancies. I asked all throughout my adult life and those questions (and the yearning) only ended just five months ago now, so I recognize it intimately. It’s still so clear. We shared a warm connection about it all.

When Guo Jian and I visited the doctor today, Guo Jian asked what may have caused Husky’s decline that led to this “fatty liver” ailment. Of course, the fact that he was overweight was a main reason, but couple that with his extreme sensitivity and our last five months of absorption in Little Spark, and it’s not surprising that he has felt neglected and then suddenly decided to stop eating.

In fact, exactly five months ago, he stopped cleaning his back and developed a few dreadlocks. We laughingly decided it was because he wanted to look like his Dad—to emulate Guo Jian’s dreads. But, now that I think about it, I think the cat was aware of a new life having taken root inside of me and felt left out, maybe even jealous, but certainly depressed. Animals can sense these kinds of changes much more readily than humans, so I wouldn’t be surprised. He was my original baby after all. (See video below from 2008 when I had to bottle feed him as a kitten!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=&feature=player_embedded

I do think he’ll recover, though, and I think that we’re going to be one happy (not depressed) family. I keep telling him how much Little Spark wants to meet him and he has to get well so that he can be the “guard cat” in the house. I’m pretty sure he’s agreeing with everything I’m saying! :-)

So, here I am writing this and up the stairs in our apartment (we have a two level) bounds Guo Jian excitedly calling out my name and saying, “Ember, Ember, we have to be careful in the hospital when giving birth! I just saw this article on Weibo! It’s shocking what’s happening in China!” (Weibo is the Chinese Twitter and has more users here in China than Twitter has worldwide.)

Of course, I immediately stopped writing this blog when I heard that and turned right around in my desk chair to hear what he was saying. “They do unnecessary operations,” he said, “they’ll cut you to get the baby out more easily just because they can charge more money for it, and they’ll advocate cesareans also because of the enormous extra cost for it. It’s all greed! More than half of Chinese deliveries are done this way right now and it’s wrong! If they cut you down there, there’s greater risk of infection and it’s harder for you to heal. I don’t agree with that!”

“Uh, Guo Jian, this is exactly what I came back from Canada talking to you about! Remember, when we were laying on the bed that night and I had the dictionary out!? You’re talking about an episiotomy, aren’t you?” (That was exactly what he was talking about. Guo Jian sometimes has a tendency to not use the official term for things just in case I don’t know it, but then he switched to using it when he realized that I did know it.)

“Yeah, but now I know what you mean!” he said emphatically, “Now I understand it more. When we go into the doctor’s on Tuesday for our next appointment, we have to tell them that this is not acceptable. I even read that sometimes these operations happen without the woman’s consent. That’s not okay!”

“Exactly my point!,” I replied, “and that’s why I’m scared they’re going to make me lay down all the time because that’s not aligned with gravity, it’s more painful, and then that creates a cycle of wanting drugs.” I stood up then and demonstrated that women have traditionally used several different positions to more easily birth children and I stressed that this is what I’d been reading about so much lately.

“But what does this have to do with drugs and pain? How can it be connected to what I just said?” He replied, suddenly sobered and confused.

“They scare women into fearing this pain of childbirth but then they position her on her back, which is proven to hurt more. Because there’s more pain, they then encourage the use of drugs like the one in the spine (I forgot how to say epidural during the conversation) and then it makes a woman numb from the waist down. She can’t push then because her muscles don’t work when they’re numb, so the baby doesn’t come out anywhere near as easily, and then it leads to needing one or both of those operations you just talked about. It’s all connected and it’s all not okay!”

“Oh,” he said and stepped towards me to hug me in a tight, quick burst. “We can’t let this happen. It’s not okay. I won’t let them!”

And then he rushed back downstairs to resume what he’d been doing, and I stood there in his wake, sort of shocked and awed that Weibo had come along and saved the day. No longer were they “crazy Western ideas” that I had brought into our home from all my reading and talking with other Moms in Canada; these things are now to be avoided as best as we are able  (unless there is an emergency) for the sake of a pure, natural birth and for the sake of my healing!

Thank you, Weibo! Whatever path gets us there, I’m so happy to be walking on it together!

So here I am, back writing the blog, feeling a renewed sense of possibility, togetherness, survival and family. While my belly gets progressively bigger and more and more people start noticing that I’m pregnant and engaging me about it, I feel stronger and stronger in this experience. We’re more than half way to the parenthood finish line now~ 21 weeks!~and despite all the not-so-great aspects of having my whole body taken over, I’m getting more and more excited!

Everything’s going to be okay. I can feel it.

We’re a family!

The 3rd Prenatal Check-Up
Kitty Update
   

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