Friday, November 7, 2014

Today, Baby, and The Shooting Gallery

What's been wonderful is that I have been able to go through the pregnancy so far rather worry-free. This is quite a coup for an anxiety monster like myself. After we saw the little heart beating on the ultrasound at about 10 weeks, a flood of relief and happy hormones washed over me and I felt so.... engaged. Optimistic.

Sure, I am diagnosed as hypertensive, but it is a borderline case and the extremely low dose of baby-safe meds is doing an excellent job keeping my blood pressure right where it should be.

I was doing so well and feeling so happy and energetic I started fantasizing about the birth process, especially after reading Mongan's Hypnobirthing. Any residual fear I had about pregnancy and the birthing process was rapidly melting away. I had rhapsodic daydreams about being the model mom-to-be in labor, calmly baking a cake until the contractions/surges peaked and it was time to head in to deliver. (This really happens. A friend baked zucchini cakes until she was ready to sit in bed and have the baby.)

Why go to the hospital to have a baby? Hospitals are where you go for medical problems.

So, for a few weeks I carried around the fantasy of the natural birth, researching birth centers and home birth options. I figured I could go without drugs so long drugs were not readily available. I'm extremely sensitive to other people's emotions. I mean, it's just what I do. I'm a human emotion barometer and have no emotional skin. I have a feeling that if I'm in a hospital, I will be surrounded by anxious people with all sorts of expectations as to how this thing is going to go: I will be in unbearable pain and demand an epidural, laudanum, ether, and OK just anesthetize her within an hour of arriving, that things will move too slowly and the doctor will get bored and break out the baby vacuum, or hell, you're making a lot of noise, lady, so let's just do a C-section.

This emotional sponge knows about the body-mind connection.

But after reviewing the results of the baby's last ultrasound, the doc said there is something called marginal cord insertion going on. There are apparently various things that can go wrong with the cord, placenta, and pretty much anything related to the baby's squishy hotel room. What I have is on the not-so-bad end of the spectrum and occurs in about 5% of pregnancies blah blah blah, but it is still kind of a thing. Supposedly as soon as I go into labor I will need to go to the hospital so I can be watched closely as the cord has a higher chance of severing during the process. And the doctor didn't say, but that would be bad, I presume.

That little revelation threatened to burst my happy bubble. "It suddenly felt like a shooting gallery out there," as Anne Lamott writes of her first months with her baby.

No birth center, no way, says the doctor. But I was already over it. As soon as he said something was going on with our girl, I felt a tectonic shift in my heart. Birthing is about the baby, after all, not my ability to endure pain or be some sort of model woman. It is wonderful to be in a rather developed country with lots of shiny medical machines that can tell you what is going on and drugs that can keep you comfortable.

It's November--gratitude month--so maybe I can find a nugget to be grateful for somewhere in here. I have a real need to be seen as tough and strong. I'd almost rather be seen as someone you'd like to be your desert island MacGuyver survival buddy than an intelligent, multi-faceted woman capable of many things. Having a baby shouldn't be about me and what I can do. Whatever she needs to come out safely and healthily is priority. A good ol' hospital might be just the thing. I'm happy to have this shift in orientation. Whatever birth happens is the birth I'm meant to be a part of.
New feature! Today, baby.

Today, baby, I am sorry about the four mini muffins I ate this morning. I don't think sugar spikes are good for you. You were quiet most of the day, maybe out of being mad about the muffins and caffeinated tea I had with lunch, or maybe being quiet is a good thing. I'm not sure. It's really funny how you will kick up a storm when it's just you and me, but when your dad is nearby and he puts his hand on my abdomen you quiet down. Maybe the pressure of his hand calms you down. Maybe you are just trolling him.

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