Monday, May 05, 2003 posted by Jen at 5/05/2003 04:35:00 PM
Oh, boy, do I wish I had some happy baby news to post right about now.
I had a bunch of contractions last night and got very excited. Then they stopped. But they left me in a very good mood, because I thought that things could maybe finally be starting to happen. "I think we should try reverse psychology," I said to Adam. "Like, let's tell the Bun that today isn't a good day to be born, because your birthday will coincide with cheesy Cinco de Mayo festivities and two-for-one margarita specials."
So I bounced down to the prenatal diagnosis office for non-stress-test number three and an ultrasound to check on position, amniotic fluid levels and size. NST went great -- the Bun is happy and moving. The heart rate looks good, fluid level looks good, and the Bun remains head down. Size....well size was another story.
"Ooh," said the technician, sliding the monitor over my belly. "This is not a small baby."
Well, I knew that already -- from previous ultrasounds and from discussions with my doctor. I also know that ultrasounds get notoriously inaccurate as the pregnancy progresses, to the point that the technician said that her number could be off by as much as a pound and a half in either direction.
That being said, the Bun, at present, appears to be somewhere upwards of nine pounds.
Then it was time for the discussion with my doctor that I really didn't want to have -- the one about what we do if the Bun appears content to stay in the warm and sheltering confines of my uterus, and we get to the 42-week point. Yes, you probably guessed it -- with a baby they think is big, and a mom whose cervix hasn't done squat, it's C-section time.
And right now, the thought of that has me a little sad and scared.
As faithful readers may remember, Adam and I really wanted to at least try natural childbirth. We took a nine-week-long Bradley class to get ready. We've read a zillion books, done exercises, practiced relaxation, hired a doula. I've gone swimming and walking and done prenatal yoga, and spent more hours than I care to count squatting on my birth ball when I would have rather been snuggled on the couch. And up until last week's blood-pressure scare, the pregnancy's been textbook normal. I've been healthy. The Bun's been healthy. All systems seemed to be go.
And a C-section....well, I've got friends and relatives who swear by them, who say that they wouldn't give birth any other way, that it's a breeze, the kid comes out looking gorgeous and recovery is no big deal (plus, you get to stay in the hospital for five days, instead of being booted after two. And they don't let you leave until after you've pooped, which offers its own special level of excitement. I mean, how, exactly, are you supposed to relay that information to your caretakers? Do they follow the lead from the Vatican and look for white smoke coming out from underneath the bathroom door? Or maybe just the smell of air freshener? ).
The thing is, for so long I've been picturing going through labor with Adam beside me, holding my hands and rubbing my back and making me laugh (or at least trying to). I've imagined giving birth and holding the Bun in my arms and nursing right away. And with a C-section, there'd be no labor, no hand-holding or back rubbing, no chance to try out all the things I've learned and practiced and rehearsed in my mind. There'd be an operating room, a sterile field, a bunch of nurses and doctors. I know they'd put the Bun on top of me, but my arms would be strapped down so I wouldn't necessarily be able to hold or feed my baby immediately. Plus, surgery is still surgery. I've never had an operation, and I find the prospect pretty frightening.
And the idea of my body just never going into labor....well, I know it shouldn't make me feel like a failure, or like I've done something wrong. But right now it sort of does.
"I know it's not the birth you've been planning," my doctor said gently (he was probably being gentle because I probably looked as if I was going to have a nervous breakdown before I even got my feet out of the stirrups.) "Take some time to think about it. I'll see you Thursday. Maybe before."
And Adam says not to worry about things initially not being the way I'd imagined, what with the snuggling and the nursing and the rose-tinted glow. He points out that we've got years and years to love our baby, and that in the grand scheme of things the first few hours won't matter so much. I know that's true, too, and I'm trying to think positive and focus on the good news -- no matter how it happens, I'll have an actual baby by next Monday.
Thanks to everyone who's written in with encouragement and suggestions. Keep sending good thoughts my way!
Welcome to A Moment of Jen, author Jennifer Weiner's constantly-updated take on books, baby, and news of the world. Email me at jen (a) jenniferweiner.com.