& i wasn’t born in a small town

The bustling parking lot of the only grocery store in town, about 5:00, just before closing time.

Over the past five months or so, I’ve been getting used to small-town living. Sort of.

Wilburton is, by far, the smallest place I’ve ever lived. My high school had more people than this town. I’m originally from San Jose, one of the largest cities in the country, so the dwindling road I took to wind up here is, well, odd.

Karli grew up in a small town and, believe it or not, is adjusting worse than I am. Part of that is because it’s my teaching job that brought us down here. Most of that, however, is probably due to the pregnancy. It’s not that she’s having trouble because of the sasquatch seed, but rather because of what this little parasite has revealed about our surroundings.

Through the course of her—thus far— short pregnancy, we’ve managed to run across some of southeastern Oklahoma’s shortcomings. Not insignificant among them is the dire lack of options. (Which isn’t surprising for one of the poorer areas in the country.)

For starters, she’d like to be particular in how she and Squatch do this birth thang. Now, my opinion of the medical industry isn’t high, and I don’t want to start one of those healthcare debates like someone else I know, but when it comes to pregnancy, my criticism is the same gripe I have with higher education: that it’s not a business, and shouldn’t be a business, but it’s routinely treated like one at the administrative levels.

Karli would rather not have drugs and definitely doesn’t want a c-section when she has the baby*. She’d actually prefer not to have the baby in a hospital, would rather go to a birth center where they don’t do the epidurals and the doctors and the inducing. But that’s one of the things about living in Oklahoma—and in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma, at that—a hospital is the only option. And the hospitals around here have a reputation for whipping out that c-section to fit the doctors’ schedules. But it’s our only workable option, which means she just has to be vocal about what she wants and hope it doesn’t lead to substandard care.

*Don’t take this for natural birth evangelism. It’s what she wants. Not what everyone wants. You do what you do.

It probably hasn’t helped that she spent the weekend watching some documentaries on labor and delivery (which I might discuss later), and her frustration over living here only gets exasperated when she thinks about how little say she might get in the whole process. And that doesn’t even begin to cover what happens when Squatch comes out.

Daycare options here—in Mayberry’s trailer park second cousin—run the gamut from non-existent to mortifying. Seriously—terrifying. And we were never in the position before to have to consider school districts where we lived, but if the daycare situation is hopeless, then the school system is downright appalling. I don’t mean to step on people’s toes, but between the reports of racist attitudes in administration and screwed up priorities in some systems here, I don’t know where the hell we’d want our kid to go to school. That is, if we make it here that long. Is this what all parents go through? Holy shit, why didn’t they warn people about this?

Small-town life is going to take some pretty huge adjustments. I have complete faith in Karli to get what she wants out of the birth experience, because she has a history of getting what she wants. I’ll just have to keep her head from popping in frustration between now and then because, of course, it’s my fault we’re in this situation.

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4 thoughts on “& i wasn’t born in a small town

  1. I wouldn’t say your situation is a second cousin to ours; I’d say they’re pretty close siblings who finish each others’ sentences! It is indeed strange to all of a sudden have to think about schools and safety and medical options and wonder how on earth our parents did it so seamlessly. But I’m waiting and hoping that all will turn out as it should in the end. I mean, what else can I do?

    What do you teach?

    Reply
  2. I teach English–mostly composition, literature and creative writing. What do you and your husband teach?

    I think it’s more than strange. It scares the piss out of me.

    Reply
  3. My husband also teaches English and composition at a community college, and we taught ESL in Korea for two years until last March. I teach people how to be awesome on my blog, often by negative example 😉

    Reply
    • Nice. Solidarity, brothers and sisters. Solidarity.

      I had a couple friends who taught in Korea for various lengths of time and loved it. They came back with lots of cool, funny stories about the city and the people and overt racism toward Chinese people. It sounds like a blast.

      And you’ve got plenty of positive awesomeness examples. But my self esteem especially thanks you for the negative ones.

      Reply

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