Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Those of you who have been reading since the beginning know that I have strong feelings when it comes to medical treatment and intervention. Those who are new might have found that sentence amusing seeing as much medical intervention was used to get me where I am today.

Allow me to sum up my feelings in a nutshell: For many years I have been treated holistically (mostly by a homeopath) when I have been "sick". This has worked wonders for me as a person who has had persistent upper respiratory infections, allergies, and her fair share of neuroses to treat. This by no means means that I am anti-doctor, or anti-medical intervention when necessary. What it does mean is that I often question my doctors (when I see them) and do plenty of research on modern medical "technology".

There was no question about seeking the help of my RE in order to conceive. (Perhaps if I had started trying at 21 instead of 31 I may have taken a different route, but I am well aware of the time factors involved with holistic healing, especially to such a deep level as dealing with infertility.) At 10 weeks my RE released me to my OB. To him it seemed best that she follow me because of some early bleeding episodes. I was worried too, and so I (in what I feel now is a bit of a moment of weakness), chose this path of least resistance. To be completely truthful, though I may have wanted to see a midwife instead of an OB, here in Quebec they are in very high demand. One usually has to book her midwife when she starts trying to conceive, and so this was not really an option for me.

So to my OB I went. I was comfortable with the medical intervention I had had up until 12 weeks (my weekly ultrasounds). Even though I know it is not the best thing for the baby, I felt I had to compromise for my own peace of mind. I was ok with doing my integrated screen at 13 weeks, knowing that there would only be one more ultrasound to go (which would be much later at 19 weeks).

There was a blip at 20 weeks when I had my episode with my ovary twisting. I knew that the medical staff could only see what was going on by doing another ultrasound. This did not bother me as much as the shot of morphine I was offered at the height of screaming in pain. Of course I took the drugs- talk about a real sweet deal in a moment of utter weakness. I still question whether that shot was completely necessary. I know in the long run it did not harm the baby (though who will really know...). I also know that it was offered to me way too readily by the nurse, probably to make her feel better about me screaming in pain. The pain never came back... This leads me to believe that if I had just ridden out that last bout of pain I would not have had to introduce drugs into my system.

Perhaps many of you are rolling your eyes at this point thinking: what's the big deal. Well to ME it WAS big. It`s pretty much informed the rest of my pregnancy.

So here we are at the end of the journey. I am finding I have to make more decisions now that I have had to in the last 37 weeks combined. The reason: birthing a new human being into this world.

I have no choice but to give birth in the hospital because I have been followed by an OB. Thank goodness I have a wonderful doula lined up, because I can't imagine walking into the hospital with my teeny tiny bit of labour knowledge. Unfortunately, I am finding that choices that I want for my birthing and the first days of my baby's life are being met with resistance from my OB because they are not conventional.

Let us examine for a moment....

Exhibit A: My OB wants me to have another ultrasound to see the size of the baby. She expressed some concern because some overweight women have large babies.

Me vs. the OB: I have already committed to not having further scans. My OB thought I was immediately wacked because who would give up a chance to see her baby?? Also, the point of this scan would be to determine whether or not a c-section would be recommended. There have been studies AT THIS VERY HOSPITAL that show that 100% of the women who were recommended to have a c-section, but who chose to try vaginally first actually succeeded in their vaginal deliver (more pointedly: NONE required a c-section.) Furthermore, while my doctor may be concerned that I am large, and therefore my baby may be large, if she looked at my weight gain (only 10 pounds) and my fundal height (measuring slightly low), she could pretty much ascertain that there is no 10 pound baby Buddha growing inside me.

Exhibit B: My OB told me that I may test positive for Strep-B, as one of my urine test results earlier in the pregnancy showed traces of it.

Me vs. the OB: I do not want myself or my baby treated for this unless it is absolutely necessary. There are 2 reasons for this: primarily, I do not want to introduce unnecessary antibiotics into my own body (that will then be transferred to the baby), and second, I do not want to be attached to an IV if at all possible. I am not going to delve into the stats on this one, but let me say a few things. The only way Strep-B can be passed to the baby is if he aspirates on some fluid during birth. First of all, aspiration on fluid is very rare; second, contracting Strep-B from this fluid is even rarer; third, having a complication as a result of this is even further removed. When faced with the question from my OB "why would you want to take a chance and put your baby in DANGER?" I am left to reply ì truly don`t feel that my son is in danger.

In case you guys think I'm a nutbar with this one, allow me to calm you with these few things... First, I pretty much instantly started a homeopathic and vitamin regime to eliminate the Strep-B. Second, as I have previously stated, I ok with intervention if necessary. So if the baby aspirated on birth, I would probably not decline an antibiotic injection for him (which would be the same thing he would get if I was hooked up to an IV throughout the entire delivery... but we would know at this point that it was indeed needed.) And finally, let me share this with you: my swab test came back negative. I don't have Step-B after all.

Exhibit C: I asked the OB whether she needed to mark in my chart that I did not want the baby to receive any eye drops when he has his post-birth checkup in the nursery.

Me vs. the OB: Basically she said that no, this was not something that would go in my chart, as it has to do with the baby post-birth, and not with me. And then she stated that she believed that this was an issue that was non-negotiable. I corrected her and told her that indeed it is negotiable, I just had to sign the appropriate document. In any case: since when did treatment in a hospital become non-optional? And since when did the parents of a child not have the right to make the decision about what they thought was best for their child? Further more, just to make it clear: the purpose of these antibiotic drops is to treat the baby in case the mother has gonorrhea or chlamydia- 2 STDs that can cause eye issues and blindness at birth. Again, allow me to assure you: I do not, nor have ever has either of these.

Exhibit C: All my questioning obviously ruffled a few feathers... At one point my OB stated: "I didn't know you had a medical degree, and with a specialization in obstetrics!"

Me vs. the OB: It is my right to be informed about what is going on with me and my child. I refuse to apologize for asking questions regarding things that I am concerned about, even if they are the very things that modern medicine is built upon.

Exhibit D: Finally my OB says: "Let me guess, you're not going to vaccinate the baby?" (shaking her head slightly)

Me vs. the OB and pretty much the rest of the medical world: That's what I'm leaning towards. And man, it's going to be a long 18 years.

It's about time I made some conclusion to this post/rant. If I sound a bit defensive, I suppose I am. These instances, along with some situations that my doula has warned me may arise while birthing my baby, have really left me with a sour taste.

Yes, you guessed it: I am going to try my best at a natural vaginal birth. I don't have a birth plan that has more detail than that because I know things can change in an instant. The one thing I am completely committed to is having an open mind. What I don't like is people telling me that they know what is best for me and my baby, and telling me that I should ignore all my natural impulses.

I'm sure I'll write more about my feelings, fears, and hopes for birth in another post. I can hardly believe that it's so close!

Friday, February 08, 2008


I did have great plans for journaling my entire pregnancy. But alas... It seems it has just gone and happened. Slipped right through my fingers. Not that I'm taking it for granted. I try to treasure every second (no joke), but writing about it has been hard for me.

Especially in the past couple of weeks with all the loss that has been running around. Some days I just sat and cried as I read blogs. And then I felt that posting here about my own pregnancy seemed all gloat-y somehow. I know- it's my blog and I can post about me, and I shouldn't feel guilty, etc- but that's just my point: I dodn't feel right talking about me.

It has taken me so long to sit down and actually click compose because I feel there are no words that I can give to adequately show my sympathy to these women who have gone through so much only to lose what they have worked for. Simply no words. In situations like these I find myself saying "I'm sorry" and "I love you", and I hope and pray that the words convey enough.


Perhaps turniong to talking about how the baby is due in six weeks (and, please, not a minute more!) is not the best accompanyment to my thoughts above, but I am here, and I am writing, so I am trying to take advantage!

There is so much to say, I'm going to take a step back and list off some things. If anything is of interest to you, please feel free to comment.

- I did my 1hour glucose test about 5 weeks ago. The test wasn't that bad- the drink tasted like orange crush. It was more a pain in the ass having to fast, do all the blood draws and sit around for an hour. About 45 minuts through I realized I felt like shit. And pretty much felt that way the whole day. No surprise (because I was feeling so crappy, I felt the effects on my body): it came back positive. So I was sent for a 2 hour test. Which was an even bigger, longer pain in the ass, and which did not leave me feeling crappy. It was negative (by a long shot). So my doctor was happy, and I can continue to eat all the carbs I want.

- Which leads well into talking about my weight gain. Up until about 28 weeks I was happy to announce to the world that I had only gained 2 pounds so far in the pregnancy. At 32 weeks I was up 4 more. This week (at 34 weeks) I was up FOUR POUNDS IN TWO WEEKS. High holy hell! Look, I know that 10 pounds so far is not that much weight to gain. I know a lot of you guys have gained a lot more. But let me be honest here: I started out pretty high in the weight area, folks. Someone with my BMI "should" (and I quote that very loosely) gain 15 pounds in her pregnancy. So I was kind of aiming for that. I figured that from 32 weeks, at a pound a week I would be sailing smoothly. But, eeks... if I continue at 2 pounds a week for the next 6 weeks-yowzers.

- Which is not to say that I am complaining about the possibility that I am gaining more than "they" say I "should" (really, who are they, and when have I ever done what I should?!), I am just a bit concerned about how my body is going to handle carrying around these 12 more pounds that are going to pack on in such a short period of time. Already sleeping has become an activity of Olympic proportions (or should I say: moving in bed is), and I am having such pressure in my pelvis that sometimes makes taking 2 consecutive steps unbearable.

- And so I find myself waddling, people. WAH-DUL-ING. Not a pretty sight. It's weird. And embarassing. And friends and family think it's so cute. But: it's not. Ugh, I am annoying myself, I will stop talking about this. (Mental picture of me waddling, please go away!)

- A nicer (who else hates the word nice?) thought: the baby's room is all painted. It's gorgeous, and it's exactly what I always pictured. You want to see a picture? Maybe next time.

- We also have purchased most of our baby items, though the big stuff is on order and won't arrive for at least a couple of weeks. Which is ok with me: I'm not sure I am ready to handle an all set-up baby room. After 3 years of looking at this room (we called it the little room, and it was mostly filled with our overflowing stuff), it's hard to believe that we are going to use it for our baby.

- But maybe we won't use the room for a bit... We are still up in the air on co-sleeping. The C is leaving the decision up to me, and I go back and forth daily. I know that we can't have the baby sleep with us in our bed (it just won't work with our sleep style- it's not a jugement that I am making on people who DO choose this route), but I'm not sure whether to purchase a co-sleeper (or bassinet). Is it worth the money for just a few months? After which may be a difficult transition to the crib? I JUST DON'T KNOW. (Help? but not in an assvicey way, please!)

- So: I'm talking like there's gonna a be a baby in the house, eh? That would mean the baby will have to come out of me. I was ok with this thought through most of the pregnancy, but now that the reality is looming, it's starting to freak me out. I know... there is nothing I can do about it now. But I keep imagining worst case scenarios. I can't help it. Though I do feel more confident knowing that we have a fine doula on board. SO far I think that is the best choice we have made since choosing our clinic.

- And though right this moment (I italicize taht because, well, this feeling may chnage in the next hour) I am not concerned about how to take care of the baby (I have lots of guidance, and I know we will figure out what works best for us by trial and error), I am concened about a pediatrician and about vaccinations. Don't fret- we DO have a pediatrician lined up to see the baby. But I am really nervous about telling the pedi that I do not want to vaccinate my child (at least for the time being.) (Again-this is something that has taken me tons of research and time to decide, and it's good for me. I don't judge you, and I expect that you won't judge me.) The problem here is that there aren't any pediatricians that fit the following criteria: in my area, associated with the children's hospital, and ok with not vaccinating infants. So I know I will have a fight on my hands, and it's causing me some level of anxiety.

Alright... this is what happens when I don't post for so long- I have manual diarrhea. (nice image, you're welcome.) And so I sign off. And promise to try to be here before another month passes.