reality check

gus and i took the bucket seat to children’s hospital today to get it installed properly. funny, it only took us having the careseat installed FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES by FOUR DIFFERENT carseat techs over the last three years to have someone FINALLY explain exactly how to do it. and it’s surprisingly WAY easier than i’ve always thought. which is, whew, because i need to take both carseats out htis weekend when i run to ikea to get a new mattress for gus’ bed (he keeps creeping into the big bed at night lately, and while we’re working on getting him to stay put in the train bed, we’re also trying to be realistic about the fact that even if he DOES stay in there all night long starting tonight even, there will STILL be some late nights or early mornings that he’s going crawl in with us anyway, so we should at least get a mattress that is comfy enough for mama or papa to sleep on if need be. the big bed is about to get awfully crowded!). but also — OHMYGOD — it becomes so much realer that we’re about to be a FAMILY OF FOUR when you look into our backseat right now. TWO KIDS. whoa.

at the midwife appointment on monday, i had gained 2 lbs (in three weeksish), and little chilly measured “smaller” than expected. this happened at pretty much the same time with gus too. only last time the midwife we saw that day got all frowny and fretty and said that if we (if *i* measured small, like i had something intentional to do with it) measured small again the next week that she was going to order an ultrasound to see what was “wrong”. which we thought was silly and annoying and worried about all week but than (a) gus was back “on schedule” for fundal growth and (b) we didn’t see that same midwife again anyway so *shrug*. this time around i said to our midwife, “oh, what does that mean?” and she said, “well, the baby probably dropped this week.” wow, such a different response! and actually, i DID remember the one morning when i went to put my hand on the top of my belly and it dropped down a bit from where i had expected chilly’s bum to be. so yea, i had been thinking to mention that i thought s/he had dropped too and had forgotten by appt time. and she palpated around and confirmed that there was in fact a good deal of fluid so there was no reason to think anything was amiss.

just for fun, she measured my girth this time, and used what she called a “russian method” for estimating the baby’s current weight, by converting cm to g to lbs. by that guesstimate, chilly is already over 7 lbs. we are so curious to see how much bigger chilly will be than gus. consecutive babies are usually (but not always) bigger, so i do expect chilly to be a little bigger, but it’s fun to wonder about small little details like this one. there are so many things to be curious about, it’s very exciting.

i got to listen to the heartbeat this week. even though i know they are so fast, and even though i always watch our midwife count out the heartbeats with her finger, i still always forget just how much like a hummingbird’s wings their heartbeats are. so fast and so lovely. and so faint through the fetoscope. but i like that, it’s somehow so much more sweet than through the doppler. there’s so much extra background noise with the doppler, it makes it all sound so much more mechanical (which, well, it is, after all). with the fetoscope it’s just the heartbeat. it’s so tiny and beautiful.

we’ll meet with the midwife again on monday, and then as many mondays in a row as it takes. and then of course at some point she’ll meet with us here. we don’t expect that to happen yet, but “soon” is getting closer and closer. it’s fairly reasonable to expect that within the month, we’ll be glad we have that little carseat installed.

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10 thoughts on “reality check

  1. mike’s older sister, my ‘sister in love,’ had her baby yesterday! a c section, something about the hospital not allowing natural births of babies that are like, over ten pounds. it was a bbiggg baby!

    • okay, that rule is total bullshit, BUT CONGRATS to your SIL (ha, i use that expression too!)!!! and congrats to mike on being an uncle again! and to you one being an auntie!! HURRAY BABIES! 🙂

  2. i thought it sounded like a pretty suspicious regulation but….i guess once youre there, youre there, and theres not much you can do about it. with the way they dont allow vbac’s i would personally be pretty pissed about having a forced c section for my first kid and then being forced to have c sections thereon out. but by the time i *do* get to that point, hopefully they will have wised up about all that stuff and wont be peddling c sections like popsicles.

  3. well apparently it isnt clear if she *had* to have a c section or if she opted for it, but i find it interesting that there is a debate on whether or not there is such a thing as a baby being too big to deliver vaginally, unless there are some other noted complications. all this baby stuff is making me really want to become an OB!!

  4. ugh, god, this is such a pet peeve of mine! there isn’t really a debate about whether a baby could be too big to be delivered vaginally so much as it is easier for some OBs to diagnose a labor that is going more slowly than they would like as “macrosomatic” (big baby) or “CPD” (cephalopelvic disorder; baby’s head’s too big for mama’s pelvis). basically this is just “FTP” (failure to progress) that is supported in the OB’s eyes as a valid reason for a cesarean delivery by the mom’s weight (if she is overweight or obese, has diabetes, or was diagnosed with “gestational diabetes”) or by the mother and father’s history (how big they both were at both, or worse, how big they are *now*). they will also base this on how much weight the mother has gained during the pregnancy (no relation at all to how much weight the baby has gained whatsoever), how big her belly is measuring (interesting, but not directly correlative to the baby’s weight), or what they are guesstimating on an ultrasound (which has never, ever in any way to be proven to be a scientifically accurate means by which to measure a baby’s weight).

    in fact, while there are a few female pelvis shapes that make birthing a big baby more difficult (http://books.google.com/books?id=_VAI9RobXZwC&pg=PT55&lpg=PT55&dq=android+pelvis+percentage&source=bl&ots=bDzXq6mhr4&sig=AaWF5KVzWfjhWTFwn6A7u2HNkb8&hl=en&ei=j82iS-a1Bcq0tgeclsTxCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CA4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=&f=false), the truth is, our bodies rarely make babies bigger than our pelvises can handle. while it’s true that a baby born to parents who both were big babies is likely to be a big baby him/herself, it’s also likely that if those babies were born vaginally, this baby will be able to be born vaginally too. and it’s true that a woman’s diet CAN affect the baby’s weight — think 9 months of fast food and other HFCS-loaded meals/drinks/snack/etc — just because a woman is overweight or even obese does NOT mean that she automatically will give birth to a big baby. if the mama eats a healthy diet — even with the occasional fatty, sugary indulgence — it is highly unlikely that she will give birth to a baby that is too big for her to birth. babies up to 10 lbs can be birthed with little difficulty, and babies up to 13 lbs can be birthed vaginally with a little work and patience. yes, their labors might be slower, but if the woman is supported physically and emotionally and the labor is allowed to progress naturally without a myriad of interruptions and interventions (particularly labor augmenters like pitocin, which will make contractions stronger and closer together, frequently causing a baby who needs to take her/his time traversing the pelvis and vaginal canal to get stuck occasionally and not be allowed to gently find her/his way again because of the force of the contractions), she will be able to give birth vaginally (and in these cases, sometimes an epidural can be a godsend, as it can allow a laboring mother time to rest if she’s been working a long time and/or to help her relax, further making room in her musculature to release the baby and let her/him descend). one of the reasons the end of pregnancy is so uncomfortable is because our backs and legs get tired from our pelvises OPENING. UP. TO MAKE MORE ROOM FOR THE BABY. and imagine that the heavier the baby pressing down on the pelvis, the more it’s going to be forced open. thus, the more prepared the pelvis will be for a baby that size.

    and i don’t know your SIL’s situation AT ALL and i certainly couldn’t say whether or not her new baby’s cesarean delivery as a good idea or not! because it might have been really the best choice for her and the baby. but i just wanted to say, that unless it is truly an emergency (and even then it is still a choice, although i think it is very rare the mother who would choose NOT to have a cesarean delivery in an emergency situation), the mother always has a choice as to whether or not she wants to have any intervention performed. it’s just that it can very hard during labor to ask an OB “is this really necessary? do we have time to try something else? can you suggest anything we could try first before we do ? can we talk it over for a minute first? what if we tried and we evaluated the situation again in ? or is this an emergency and do we need to do NOW?” because (a) OF COURSE you want what’s absolutely best for your baby’s safety and you will do almost anything anyone suggests to keep your baby safe and (b) it’s really hard to fathom that an OB would ever suggest ANYTHING that wasn’t absolutely necessary for your baby (even though unfortunately sometimes procedures and interventions are suggested merely for the OB’s personal comfort and/or convenience alone, and have very little to do with the mother’s desires or what’s “best” for the baby).

    okay, god, end rant. i just get really really mad about unnecesareans. the GOOD NEWS, though, is that the NIH recently had a VBAC conference and in fact came out saying “dudes, vbacs are actually a GOOD idea”. so maybe you don’t have to worry about this stuff as much in 30 yrs when you and mike finally get around to making babies 😉

  5. wow!!!! ok, that really helps clarify things! in the end, I don’t think her baby was that large–just over 9 pounds. Though everyone in her husbands family had been born a large baby and had had large babies. My initial impression was “huh–can there really be such a thing as a baby that is TOO big to be delivered vaginally? it’s not like a human woman can gestate an elephant.” I don’t know my SIL’s situation either, I was just told second hand that she was having a c section on a certain day and that that had something to do with the size of the baby, which I thought was curious. and yeah, why wouldn’t you trust your OB or think they were rushing you into something, because they are the authority, right, and you’re just the patient? I guess maybe that is where pregnancy planning has more to do with just when to have a baby, but how to have a baby–if you want things to progress naturally even if it takes longer, or if you use intervention which could possibly lead to more intervention. I read somewhere in some recent article a doctor saying “well a 36 hour labor doesn’t do anyone any favors”. And I wonder what he meant by that. I mean, I guess it doesnt do HIM any favors if you show up at the hospital at hour 1 of those 36 hours and he thinks he could cut the time down to 8 or something…but if everything is normal, and the pregnancy is low risk, what is the problem with a 36 hour labor if you are prepared for it? and i know there are probably some women who wouldn’t mind being in and out and home in time for primetime….but I also start thinking about c sections and doctor convenience and a woman’s body, and at what point it doesnt just become about the baby, but starts becoming not about the mother. I saw something somewhere, too, a sign or something, about how a clinic wouldn’t do anything for the mother that they didn’t think wasn’t good for the baby–or something like that. And while the unborn are given certain rights and whatnot, I wonder at what point some of those places or some people start treating women no longer as women or mothers, but as incubators, and have no problem subjecting a woman and her body to major surgery, cutting her open, taking out the baby, sewing her up, and going home. and I know that’s maybe a really wild comparison, but there are plenty of instances in history in which women are either assumed not to have the mental acuity to be in control of their bodies, are too irrational and hysterical and when left to their own devices WILL endanger a baby, or in which control of a woman’s body and her choices has been wrested from her, or when she has been misinformed or not informed at all for the purposes of simply having her not put up a fight–‘dont give women the option to make choices about her body because she’ll choose wrong!’ and yes, maybe in 30 years when i have babies (LOL!) the attitude will be different and if I have an OB it will be someone I can talk to about a comprehensive birth plan, someone who isn’t just schooled in only the hospital’s way of thinking! or maybe I’ll just go to that birth center in the desert!! 🙂

  6. god, so, there is nothing wild about anything you’ve suggested might happen to a pregnant woman in this post. sad, right? but the truth is, unfortunately there are indeed caregivers out there (OBs and MWs, both) who do treat women as incubators and expect them to jump when the say go. one of my students right now was told that they expect her to do what is “right for the baby” and they have been treating the baby, NOT HER, for the past almost 30 wks of her pregnancy. yes i suppose that occasionally there are mamas who are not interested in their babies particularly, but most mamas out there want to do what’s best for the babies growing in their bellies even if they are NOT planning to keep them. and unfortunately there are lot of women who are being taught to believe that a c section is “no big deal” — but IT IS. IT’S MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY! NOT TO BE UNDERTAKEN LIGHTLY!. YES thank god we have c sections — they save A LOT of women and baby’s lives, but they should NOT be scheduled the same way some people plan their pedicures. but our maternal health care system does NOT respect women as a rule. a lot of what women are told during their pregnancies and labors have more scare tactic than truth because it is easier for OBs if their incubators are compliant and do what they are told without asking questions. unfortunately, it’s up to the woman and her birth partner (if she is lucky enough to have one) or her other support (family/friends/doula/other BTDT* moms) (*been there done that) to read and learn and take classes and talk to other folks and shop around for care to find the right fit in her caregiver. a pregnant woman’s caregiver should have a similar philosophy to her as far as how she views the pregnancy and the birth. some woman would prefer to be told what to do and don’t want to ask questions. as much as that bothers me personally, ultimately i feel like it’s a woman’s right to choose how she wants to give birth. but most women want at least *some* say, and we need more care providers out there who are able to share their knowledge an experience AS WELL AS be respectful of the mother.

    and you know, you may find an AMAZING OB. they are certainly out there! and they should be celebrated and upheld as a good example of what we as consumers of maternal health are looking for. and girl, when you FINALLY 😉 make some babies, just call me, and i’ll set you on the right path to finding out what’s best for you and your wee tiny babe 🙂

  7. I feel like until not too long idea (ie, meeting YOU and learning about all this stuff!) I would have been one of those women who probably just wanted to be told what to do and how to do it–go to the hospital, get the pain pills, crank the baby out or cut it out, and wah lah! baby born! hahaha! just because we are taught, I guess, to assume that you don’t know enough about your own body, or that nooowwwaayyyyy would your doctor *not* give you all the information. and while it is a woman’s choice on how she wants to give birth, how much of a choice is it really if she isn’t presented the options, or isn’t given the time to think about the options? you might THINK you are being given a choice when maybe it isn’t that way at all. and i totally agree, that the health care system doesn’t respect women as a rule—its ssooo true. why isn’t there a feminist health practice out there?…hhhmmmm….i always try to choose women doctors, if I can, just in the basic hope that maybe they will be a bit more attentive to my concerns and answer my questions and not treat me like some little hysterical crazy. i can’t imagine being 30 some weeks into a pregnancy and feeling like the doctors were just treating the baby, and not me as well. i mean, what does that sort of thing to do you and your experience of pregnancy, psychologically? just that sort of language and that feeling creates, i think, a sort of hostile dynamic in which the baby/mama/doctors aren’t all seen as working toward the same thing, but that one has to or will trump the other at some point. seriously tho, are there any feminist health practices out there? that would be awesome.

  8. well, lots of midwives tend to be more lady friendly. and birth centers too. you can definitely shop around and find some good folks, even in small towns.

    and HURRAY if i helped you think about birth in a different way 🙂 one mama-to-be at a time! we can make a difference 🙂

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