Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Doctor Feelweird

Today, I made an appointment to meet with a pediatrician. Apparently, you need to set up the whole baby doctor thing before you give birth. Like, well before, you give birth. Like, when you’re five or six months pregnant. That way you have plenty of time to research, get to know the doc. Add it to the list of things we didn’t know before we got pregnant, and didn’t really understand until just recently. Dave and I aren’t great instruction readers.

So here I am, seven and a half months big, scheduling an appointment that will take place one month before our baby’s due date. We can’t meet any earlier because of the impending Thanksgiving holiday coupled with the fact that Dave is on the road for the first half of next week, and we have gigs during the second half. So I hope we like the doc. And I really hope our baby isn’t super early in coming.

Dave and me on the cusp of parenthood

But what is really strange was realizing that I’m trying to find a doctor who will pretty much deal exclusively with our little bean. I mean, throughout this entire pregnancy, I’ve been making appointments for us, and by us I mean the whole family unit. The OB/GYN, the doula, the birthing class, they’re all there to help me, my husband and our baby get ready for the biggest transition of our lives. (Just a shout out to the husband, he has made every scheduled doctor/doula/class appointment thus far. He deserves mad props). But the pediatrician will be there to attend only to our baby. Our baby will have her own doctor! She will be separate from me, her own little self of a being, so much so that she needs her own medical practitioner. This really puts it all in perspective.

To quote David St. Hubbins: “There’s too much fucking perspective now”

Best Band Ever

Not really, but almost. Dave and I want this baby. We’re super excited to meet her littleness and embark on the big life adventure with her. But we’re also a little, um, what’s the word?...terrified. Because if there’s one thing that everyone who’s ever had a child will tell you – one piece of advice that you will never get conflicting opinions about – it’s that having a baby changes everything. And it changes it all in ways you can’t even imagine.

You know what’s so frustrating about hearing this again, and again, and again…and again? It’s that there’s not really anything you can do about it. How can you prepare for the unpreparable? It’s not like they’re saying, “Dude, you have no idea how much things are going to change. But if you read this book and watch these videos and do some yoga and meditate twice a day, then you should have a pretty good handle on the situation. Nope, it’s just “Everything changes.” Over and over.

At least people have stopped telling me that my life is going to change much more than Dave’s. The first couple months of pregnancy were infuriating for me. You see, my husband and I play in the same band. It’s called Asleep at the Wheel. I’m one of the singers, and I play rhythm guitar. Dave is the drummer. We travel together on the same bus, we play the same gigs, we make the same money, essentially we have the same job…and yet when people found out we were going to have a baby they would always ask me if I was going to continue working after the baby came. Would I give up music? Would I be getting of the road? And sometimes, they didn’t ask. They just told me how it was. “Looks like you’re going to have to slow down huh?” “I guess you’ll be doing something else.”

Asleep at the Wheel onstage at the Austin City Limits festival 2007. I'm in the dress. Dave is behind the drumset

I’m am absolutely sure that during this seven and a half months of pregnancy not one person has ever asked Dave if he would still be drumming and traveling post baby. Not a one.

Now, I get it. Babies are tiny and fragile and typically someone stays at home with them, at least at first. And of course mom is going to stay home because she’s got the milk and the whole maternal imperative thing happening. And Dad goes out and makes the money. I get it. But why would that last more than a couple of months? I mean, I’m all for maternity leave, but after that, I totally planned on going back to work.

And hello! Do we not live in the 21st century? How could it not have crossed one single solitary person’s mind that after the first couple of months of maternity leave, that maybe Dave would want to get off the road and rock the house husband position, while I made the money for the family, touring and playing music? I thought we lived in super liberal Austin! I thought the people were more evolved, man!

Not that I ever wanted to hit the road and leave Dave and the baby at home. I mean, I want to watch my baby grow into a toddler, into a kid, into a teenager. I want to be with her. And so does Dave. We want to be together, raising our child, you know, together. The way we figured we would do it? Take the baby on the road with us.

But people don’t take babies on the road…right?

Actually, before we got pregnant, Dave and I had always said we would take the baby with us on tour. Screw the common thoughts and practices. We were going to procure our own vehicle, throw the baby in a sling and drive ourselves around the country playing the Western Swing music.

Our dream van...sigh

And then I got pregnant. And everything changed really quickly. And no one really seemed to think this baby bus idea was a good one. And diesel got to like, $5 a gallon. It was too expensive. It would never work. We’d spend all our money staying on the road. And all of a sudden our dream seemed foolish.

I tore my hair and gnashed my teeth those first couple of months. I was not only going to have a baby, but I was going to have to give up my job. I was going to have to give up making a living as a musician, and playing with a band I really dig. I was going to have to get off the road, but my husband wasn’t (because, dude, we need some money right), so I was going to not only be careerless, but husbandless. I’d be raising a baby alone half the time.

Back when I thought all hope was lost

That was not what I signed up for when we started this whole endeavor.

At about 4 and a half months pregnant, at the height of the skyrocketing gasoline price ordeal (remember that? It seems so long ago, now that unleaded is down to $1.69 at the cheapy station down the street) Dave and I saw something on Good Morning America, or some such national morning show, about getting companies to subsidize your gasoline bill. They were talking about a site called http://www.freegashelp.com/ where you could get money in exchange for putting advertising on your car.

Dave and I both had a simultaneous “Eureka!” moment.

The biggest problem with the baby bus idea was the cost right? Well what if we hooked up with someone, some company, and did some advertising for them? What if we wrapped our vehicle in a big ad, and that would help us get and stay on the road? We could do it right? We could at least try.

I think I learned then one of the great lessons of life. That working towards something, whether or not you’re successful, makes everything better. I mean, we haven’t found a sponsor company yet, but we’re talking to people. Even better than that is that we are so doing this baby bus thing, sponsors or no. Having a workable idea, even a sketchy and un-thought through idea based on a cheesy morning tv show, rocketed us into action. We researched vehicles, mapped out touring strategies, started looking for sponsors…we made plans man. Now we’re on the cusp of actually buying said vehicle. I have date when I plan on going back on the road. This is going to go down, and it’s going to be doable.

One great asset we have is my family. They’ve agreed to come out on the first big trip we’ll be doing in February. Asleep at the Wheel is releasing a new record with Willie Nelson called Willie and the Wheel, and we’ll be doing an East Coast tour. My Dad will help drive, and my mom will help take care of the baby. This is key since we really can’t afford any driving/nanny help yet. My parents are committed to the idea that with family support and help, neither Dave nor I should have to stop doing what we love because of a baby. My mom worked the entire time I was growing up, and the both believe in the importance of work you are passionate about. In short, my parents are awesome. With their help, we’re making this baby bus thing happen.

Now people just tell us that we’re crazy.

That’s fine with me. No one has asked about me getting of the road permanently in months. They just ask me what my post baby plans are. I tell them about the baby bus. Some are supportive in the way that cool, righteous friends are supportive. The see the fun possibilities in the plan. Others nod their heads while obviously thinking to themselves “It’ll never work.” I’m down with either response.

Up to this point, our post baby plan has been all theory, no practice. I think things are always easier that way. But, I just made an appointment with a pediatrician. We’re really going to have a baby. The practice part of this experiment will be starting soon. And it’s so much bigger than going on the road or not going on the road. It’s having a child. Being primarily responsible for her health and well being. Helping her make that strange transition from solitary womb bound little bean to a member of the human race. Dude, this is like, for fucking real,


Amanda said...

Excellent post!

I saw Liz Phair shortly after she had a baby... I'm betting she didn't leave it at home while she was on tour!

Little is going to have an awesome life no matter what. And you're going to have a blast with her no matter where you are. Seriously.

Maybe you can get G-Diapers to sponsor your baby bus. :o)

By the way - we're ready to pass the pump along now... and I ain't talkin' 'bout the gas pump, neither!

Stinkydog said...

I think the whole baby bus thing sounds fantastic--you are so lucky to have your parents do that with you--what a great thing!

Desaray said...

I love you!

Alison said...

Man, I knew you were a total bad ass before, but now I'm completely blown out of the water...You rock!

ladydi said...

Damn, woman, I so love you! (And I love you too, Davey!) And I'm so excited for you all. Have I ever told you about the many rehearsals in the dance studio when 2-month-old Cathy Sue slept under the piano at Ken's feet right next to the sound board(so as not to get trampled by the choreography), so that her Mama could dance and sing herself into exhaustion for a musical review she refused not to be in? (I mean, hell! It was directed by demanding Oscar-winning musical director Jay Blackton!) And I tell you, that girl can fall asleep to any volume!

Awesome times ahead my loves!