Thursday, November 29, 2012

41 Weeks - Shaken and Stirred

Ever wonder what it looks like to be 41 weeks pregnant? This is all you need to know:

Cankles and sausages! Isn't it divine?
Every vein in my body is bursting with fluids. My fingers are constantly numb from carpal tunnel. I require a shoe horn and baby powder to get my feet into any shoes other than slippers. My wedding rings only come off after a long shower. No matter how much water I drink, it somehow never exits my body.

How do I feel?
I've been physically uncomfortable for the last 10 months of my life, so nothing new there.

Here's where you ask me when I'll be getting induced...

My doctor will be "out of town this weekend," so he suggested we get induced 2 days ago. I have a problem with this philosophy. Why is it we as a society no longer treat childbirth as a natural occurrence, but rather a medical procedure on a calendar?  Why are we no longer educated about what it truly means to give birth?

I know my body well enough to tell you that an induction at this point in my pregnancy will not go well. If I were induced it would be in the morning, and my contractions do not naturally start until the evening - I know this because it has been my contraction pattern for months. Meanwhile, our little baby has lost all the fluids that have kept him alive for the last 41 weeks, and my body will not produce any contractions to help him move down the birth canal. Medical intervention will be necessary in the form of drugs that cause intense, unnatural contractions that often result in further intervention to slow down the contractions. The baby becomes stressed, and further intervention is required. Also, all those drugs you're taking are being passed to your baby through the placenta. How does that make you feel?

I know there are plenty of women who have had successful inductions with beautiful babies. But I personally have had WAY too many medical procedures performed on me in my life (I have the scars and fake teeth to prove it), and I want to avoid any more for as long as possible. The fact of the matter is our baby is completely healthy. We have had 3 appointments this week to check his fluids, heartbeat, movement, and breathing. I am fine and baby is fine. What is not fine is that the doctor's office is getting annoyed with me taking up so much of their time. Well sorry folks, but I'll be around til the bitter end. And am I not paying you thousands of dollars to provide prenatal support?

I only shared this fact with a few individuals at first, but now I will share it with you all to give a sense of the kind of pressure I am under. I had a severe allergic reaction to the gel my doctor's office uses during my first internal exam a few weeks ago. Yes, this means I had terrible hives...They had to get special gel packets from the hospital for subsequent appointments, and yesterday they finally ran out. Here was the conversation that resulted:

Nurse: "Wow, we should probably pick up some more special gel for her before the next appointment."
Doctor: "What we need to do is get this baby out of her."

This dialogue happened during my second "stirring" of the week. So now let's talk about this little intervention. When the doctor strips/stirs the membrane, he/she is essentially inserting fingers into your uterus and aggressively detaching the amniotic sac from the uterine wall. The uterus: woman's most sacred, mysterious vessel, violated by the hands of man! Okay that's a little dramatic, but I did feel extremely violated afterwards, and I could barely walk. Also, I'm still pregnant so clearly it didn't work. However, the look of horror on Jeff's face after he witnessed the procedure was priceless. After the doctor left the room to let me put my pants back on he angrily whispered, "What the hell did he just do to you?"

At this point in time I am getting it from all sides. My mom agrees I shouldn't be induced but wants me to deliver before the weekend so she can take a day off work (who can blame her), my husband's boss wants me to never have the baby so he can work at Nordstrom during the holiday season (and who can blame him...also the commission would be nice), our cat hates everything and just wants us all to die (we feel the same way about you), the doctor wants me to hold onto the baby over the weekend so he can be back to deliver next week (we would like to have you there too, but unfortunately it's not that predictable). Even my husband is getting emotional about all this. He really doesn't want me to get induced either, but does that mean he'll be disappointed in me next week when I have to give in?

I was sure the full moon last night would inspire something. Although those four contractions were nice while they lasted, it wasn't enough. So when my alarm went off at 5:45am and I mourned the fact that my water hadn't broken in my sleep, I jumped in the shower and thought about the newborn baby I saw at church last week. His mother was nursing him during the sermon and I thought to myself, "That will be me soon!" Tears of frustration came as I shaved my legs and armpits "one more time" (I've told myself this so many times!) to prepare for my trip to the hospital in the near (?) future.

And yes, I've tired everything from acupuncture to Eggplant Parmesan. Jeff even rubbed my ankles for an hour last night. Baby is cozy, Mom and Dad are still enjoying our time alone. So get off my back.

Weight gain?

Food cravings?
Fruit smoothies.

Food aversions?

Doing pretty well with this.

Projected Game Day?
November 22, 2012/Thanksgiving Day/1 week ago

Baby's movement slows down quite a bit at the end of pregnancy. I'm still getting little kicks and punches, but they are not nearly as violent as they were a couple weeks ago. 

Stretch marks?
Only on my psyche. 

Painful. Innie. 


What have I learned?
Educate yourself on different birth options and know what you want your experience to be. If you enjoy being in the hospital, maybe you won't mind getting induced before your body is ready. But I would prefer to spend early labor in the comfort of my home, playing nerdy games with my best friend Jeff, and watching Gossip Girl until it's time for the real show to start.

On that note, educate yourself about what really happens during birth. Just because you start having regular contractions does not mean you need to rush to the hospital - you will just end up sitting around in a hospital gown for hours waiting for things to pick up, or you will get put on the medication fast-track to get you out of the doctor's hair sooner. And of course you also want to educate yourself to know when the baby is coming so fast that there is no time for Gossip Girl.

As fun as blissful ignorance is, serious consequences can result.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting when you mentioned giving birth as a date on a calendar. Given all that I know about child birth I got from watching "The Business of Being Born" it seems to make it easier for the dr to schedule a C-section, but the recovery time is really high compared to natural child birth.

    I'm having a hard time thinking of anyone I know that gave birth naturally.


I love to hear from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...