I had my 35-week OB checkup yesterday, complete with ultrasound just to peek in on things like baby’s size, amniotic fluid level, cervical and placental positioning… I’m still hoping very much for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarian), which means I need to waddle walk gracefully glide into the maternity unit of the hospital with as few complications as possible. I was given a(nother) nod of approval to attempt VBAC, which has been happening all along… as was explained to me by my least favorite doctor in the practice, the only real risk factor, in my case, is the presence of a scar from my prior C-section. Which, um… yeah. If there wasn’t a scar from a prior C-section, then this wouldn’t be considered a VBAC in the first place, now, would it?
The same doctor who delivered that tidbit of existential awareness happened to be my examiner yesterday, marking the fourth time that I have seen him during this pregnancy. I don’t like him. I’ll call him John, because that’s his name. John is the only practitioner there who seems unable to recall, despite reminders that appear at the top of each computer screen, that I have both a moderate-to-severe hearing loss and a serious chronic pain condition. He conducts each appointment from behind a computer screen, bothering to stop typing and look at me only when I directly ask him to do so and then only for a few seconds at a time, and we have had the identical, “Now, explain to me again, you have some sort of back… problem?” conversation three times. And so on…
I go to a group practice, chosen because it’s tied into the same system as my hospital, primary care physician and children’s pediatrician, and because it’s about a mile down the road from my apartment. There are some practitioners with whom I feel a need to really bond with; my pain specialist, for instance, and neurologist, because they are seeing me for complicated, long-term problems. Others, such as audiologists and obstetricians, see me for fairly straightforward conditions, and only once every five years or so; as long as they meet basic requirements of training, intelligence, licensure and competence, I don’t really care whether our personalities jibe.
In fact, during my first appointment with the prenatal care nurse at this practice (during which I was handed the typical stack of brochures and allowed-medication lists, and I rattled off my various health concerns and obstetrical history), I explained to her that, after possession of the correct diplomas, my biggest criterion for an OB-GYN is a good grip, so as not to drop the baby on the floor during delivery. I think she thought I was kidding.
I’ve been going to my appointments, first monthly and then biweekly, and now weekly, and for the most part have been perfectly happy with the staff, both medical and administrative. I consider it a decent batting average, then, to have only encountered one person there that I just can’t communicate with, much less like. With a little luck, someone else will be on call whenever I go into labor, and I won’t have to attempt to push my baby into the waiting arms of an asshole.
Regardless, the appointment itself went just fine. I invited Jenny to join me, because she had mentioned that she had never attend a prenatal ultrasound that didn’t involve the jelly being squirted on some part of her anatomy. She seemed pretty jazzed about the whole thing, likely because no one was assaulting her with a Q-Tip trying to test for the presence of Group B Strep. She and Gretchen are in line to attend the birth, so I figured I ought to just go ahead and abandon any sense of shyness or personal dignity now.
According to the ultrasound technician, this baby is measuring in the 98th percentile, with an estimated weight of 7 pounds 8 ounces, at 35 weeks gestation. I’m taking this information with several pounds of salt, because I have not yet met anyone whose pre-birth ultrasound was accurate, and because I continue to believe that the office is using a due date that is almost a full week behind estimates from previous ultrasounds. The main bit of pertinent information that the weight estimate gives me is that this baby is big enough that, whenever I do go into labor, no efforts will be made to delay or stop my progress.
They won’t consider scheduling a C-section or induction prior to 39 weeks gestation – or, rather, John won’t consider it, so I’ll ask again next week when I see a different doctor – but I’ve been given the green-light to try a few “home remedies” at my discretion. Spicy foods, eggplant, attention from Willem (poor guy, it turns out I need him to do just about exactly the same thing to get this baby out as I needed back in July to get the baby in), and perhaps a delectable-sounding orange juice/vanilla ice cream/castor oil smoothie over the weekend, to “get things moving.” I’m a bit on the fence about this last option, because of course there’s the bathroom side of things, plus I’ve heard that it can bring on very unpleasant contractions that lead nowhere and eventually just fade out on their own, all for nothing. On the other hand, I’ve heard that it can kick off labor in grand style, and the risks of gastrointestinal unpleasantness and quick contractions are, by any measure, smaller than the risks of a repeat C-section, both in terms of the procedure itself and the recovery.
So, still pregnant a bit longer, but I can truthfully answer the when-are-you-due question with, “Any day now!” I’ll be spending tomorrow attacking the last remaining boxes in a big reorganizing/filing effort, dealing with our taxes, and generally giving in to whatever nesting urges present themselves. My blood pressure went down a little, just enough to impel bed rest only when my ankles swell painfully and I get that weird headache; the rest of the time I’m to limit my physical activity but am allowed to move around the house and get those last few things done before The Big Day.
I’m so ready to have this baby. Not desperate-and-miserable ready, just really, really looking forward to being able to feel the baby’s cheek next to mine, to smell the little neck, to doze off under the weight of a snoozing infant. And I’d rather exit the pregnancy before I reach true desperation and misery, given the choice.