Tuesday, December 15, 2009

35 Weeks, A Little Bit Late

I've had to move out of my house while the biggest parts of the renovations are completed, so I've had somewhat spotty internet access. Life is a wee bit crazy. . .nine months pregnant and homeless is definitely not a desirable situation! Thankfully, family and friends have been wonderfully generous about taking in a giant pregnant woman, a giant dog, and a lazy cat for a couple of weeks.

35 Week stats: +26 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight.

The baby has been moving around a ton. She is still head-down, and the doctor thinks her back is pretty straight from her head up to my rib cage. I have given up heels for flats, and have been sleeping with a hot water bottle every night. The sciatica has essentially resolved, although I'm having plenty of other aches and pains, particularly when the baby tries to climb up under my ribcage as she is so prone to doing.

I had a really weird doctor's appointment this week that upset me for much of the day. I saw the last doctor in the practice (my practice requires you to meet each of its doctors for appointments), and didn't particularly care for her. The appointment started off oddly. It was time for the Strep B test, which I expected--what I didn't expect was to be given the swab myself so that I could obtain the sample myself. The doctor didn't do an exam, and I apparently won't need another internal until somewhere closer to 40 weeks. I'm fine with that, I guess, but I thought it was. . .well, odd.

Then, the nurse asked me if I'd received the labor instruction sheet yet. I said I had not, but had been planning on asking about it. Needless to say, I was expecting a detailed information sheet. Instead, what she handed me was two pages long. The first page was only a half a page of instructions about when to call, and the second page was about c-sections. I have to say, I didn't like the tone, or the content. It was very "this is what we're going to do to you." If you've been reading along at home, you know that I want an intervention-free birth, so I found it all disturbing.

The doctor didn't make things any better when she came in. She was fairly dismissive of me when I asked if we could spend a few minutes talking about labor and delivery, since no one had spoken to me about it yet. She was sort of like "didn't you take the birthing class." Well, no, but regardless of that, my questions had to do with the doctors and how they handle things, and not about the birthing process itself. I wanted to ask about things like IV's and interventions. She told me I should just "not think about it." Seriously, that's what she said. I was completely aghast. By the time I left the office, I was in quite a state. I knew this was where we were at, given everything my doula had relayed to me a few months ago, and also given some of my previous conversations with other doctors in the practice. This was by far the worst, though.

After we left the doctor's office, we went to the hospital to do the tour. The nurse who showed us around was really nice, which made me feel somewhat better. The maternity ward had recently been renovated, and it's warm and homey. I could've done without seeing the OR, but I suppose I can't ignore that a c-section is a possibility. The one really good thing that we learned was that the hospital has limited visitor access to the maternity ward this winter to just the baby's parents and grandparents. This makes things so much easier for me, as I won't have to explain to the would-be onslaught of visitors that we don't really want them there. We can blame the hospital! The bad thing we learned is that while they are fine with my doula being present during labor and delivery, they require her to leave immediately after the birth. What?!

I was very, very down after having these experiences back-to-back. I just really felt like I chose poorly, in terms of both my doctor and the facility at which we will deliver. I had other options, and I thought I was making a good choice at the time, but in hindsight, I felt like I erred.

Since then, I've read some more of Birthing from Within, and thought about things a lot, and I've changed my opinion somewhat. I chose the doctors that I did because I know that they are skilled clinicians. If anything were to go wrong, I know that I would be in very good hands. I am neurotic enough to need that kind of reassurance, to need to know that I have that safety net beneath me. There was a reason I made the choice I did, in terms of doctors. I had a lot of other choices of hospitals and midwives and birthing centers, etc., and I have to acknowledge that there was a reason I made the choice I did.

By the same token, I was wise enough to know that I want as few interventions as possible, and hired the doula very early on. I trust her, and I know that she will help T. be my advocate in the labor room. In essence, it will be up to me and the doula and T. to create an overlay, if you will, to the medical safety net, to create the birth that I want. We've decided that will mean laboring at home for as long as we can, and avoiding as much of the medical stuff as possible for as long as we can (ie, the hospital requires an IV as soon as you get there, which I think is ridiculous and unnecessary as long as I'm hydrating on my own), and then delaying the doula's departure for a bit. We had only planned on keeping her there for an hour after the birth to help with breastfeeding initially, particularly given that we may have her back to the house to help out, as well, if we have trouble. She feels like the continuity is useful in helping women successfully breastfeed, and I like the idea of it. So, it will be up to us push for that hour. I don't think it's too much to ask.

I don't have a birth plan, really, and I don't have hippy-dippy illusions about what this process will be like. I don't mean to suggest that I want some flower-child ethereal birth. I just really, really don't want to end up flat on my back on a hospital bed for hours trying to do the impossible, and I don't want anyone to cut into me. I just want the freedom and the space to do what feels right, without fear imposed by medical personnel.


Heather said...

Hang in there! I'm hoping you will still have the best birthing experience possible. I know I did and it was in the hospital and my second pregnancy with the twins was in the OR, but it was just a precaution. I still had natural deliveries for both my pregnancies. As natural as possible. I ended up with an IV for both and in the OR for one, but no epidural and no drugs other than eventually needing pitocin for both to get things moving. I'm still very happy with how they all turned out. My DH's family hates me when I talk to them about how I didn't need pain meds for either of my deliveries, LOL! Yoga breath, baby! It's very powerful!

~Jess said...

I didn't have a birth plan either and toward the end of my pregnancy I started to get really pissed off at my doctor's office (I think the dr saw me a total of 4 times my entire pregnancy and then wasn't the one to delivery me...some stranger was).

I think it's great that you have a doula and hopefully she is an awesome support for you. Breathing is definitely the key...that and visualizing contractions as ocean waves...something to deal with then coast over. You'll be find...the best thing to have/do is an open mind.

JamieD said...

I hope your labor and delivery are all you want them to be. It sounds like you have so much working against you! I don't understand why they want the doula out immediately after the birth. When I was giving birth I had all the attention in the world and once he was out, I was on my own. I don't see why they would care one way or another.

"I chose the doctors that I did because I know that they are skilled clinicians." - keep reminding yourself of this. Really, the delivery will just be a memory once you have your baby safe in your arms.

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