Dorianne Sager - Baby Steps, The Vancouver Sun  

Book Excerpt

Baby is a Four-Letter Word: Surviving the First Two Years of ParenthoodBaby is a Four-Letter Word

Surviving the First Two Years of Parenthood


Chapter 1
You Call This a Plan? Learning to Live with a Newborn

"Planned parenthood" must be a misnomer. Sure, we planned to have a baby. I remember it distinctly: it was the last time Andrew and I had sex without worrying about bumping into the baby or waking the baby. We bought nursery furniture, chose a name, signed up for childbirth classes. We planned. But from the moment our baby poked his head into the world, absolutely nothing has gone as planned.

In my first trimester I decided to take a hypnobirthing course so I could overcome my fear of labour. I desperately clung to the instructor's assurance that this self-hypnosis method could guarantee an "often pain-free" birth—especially since every mother I had spoken to assured me that childbirth was going to be "almost definitely excruciating." But I was in luck. The following nine months of positive visualization, breathing exercises and calming music somehow helped me transcend my naturally high-strung state, and my son Zach was born in three blissfully short, albeit slightly uncomfortable, drug-free hours.

And then it all went pear-shaped. My body—so completely unfamiliar with this state of relaxation—took onboard the "let everything go" mantra that my hypnobirthing tape kept repeating and my uterus decided to go on a field trip. I discovered "often pain-free" didn't include passing a uterus—and it most certainly didn’t apply to shoving one back in.

Without warning, my amazing and serene birth experience flipped over to a terrifying episode of ER. The dimmed lights were slammed on in full force as a team of doctors rushed in to take centre stage, shouting out directions and casting my midwife and nurse into the background to watch the show like a pair of extras. The sense of celebration that followed Zach's birth turned to one of panic and chaos. "Am I going to die?" I whispered to my husband, and the fear in his eyes told me that his reassurances were more for his benefit than mine. "Get this woman into the OR! Now!" I heard someone yell just before I passed out from the pain and shock. Suddenly, my introduction to motherhood—the moment I had lived for everyday for nine months—became the moment I lived through...


Some more highlights from Baby is a Four-Letter Word include:

- Boob Job: The Joys of Breastfeeding

- Can I Get This in Another Size?: Body Image After Childbirth

- You Can Sleep When You're Dead: The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

- For Better or For Worse: Mixing Marriage with Babies

- Living with Labels: Mommy Types