Where have I been, you might be asking? I’ve been silently counting down the days until my ultrasound. The time seems to be dragging on and on, and it’s driving me crazy!! I keep hoping for more symptoms to reassure myself that I am pregnant (you’d think I’d be happy with the sore breasts and the exhaustion). I’m so scared to go in for the ultrasound this Thursday and find out that something is wrong. I’m trying to think pleasant thoughts, but the scary ones keep on nudging their way in. I just hope after I see the heartbeat I can relax a little and enjoy this pregnancy.
Seriously though, when I say exhaustion, I mean it. Most days I come home so tired from work that I have a hard time not passing out for a nap, and even when I do give in, I’m in bed by about 9pm! I’m having a hard time keeping up with reading blogs, let alone concentrating long enough to put coherent sentences together for a post of my own. My last post regarding the book tour for The Handmaid’s Tale took much energy to put together, and I’m not even sure all of my responses to the questions made sense! I just wrote as much as I could, pressed publish, closed my eyes and hoped for the best :)
So other than being a nervous wreck waiting for the ultrasound, I’ve been doing some research. Research on what, you ask? On birth plans. Yes, I am already planning how I want to give birth. Because in all reality, I don’t know what else to do. I like to plan and research and do some more planning and more research, and this waiting for the ultrasound has placed me in this state of limbo of not knowing what to do with my time. I’ve been too scared to buy any books yet on pregnancy (you know, in case I jinx myself), so instead I’ve been reading up on giving birth.
I wrote a while back in this post that I bought the book, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of it for the past several weeks, and I have found it to be very informative. The author discusses various medical practices in regards to birth, including c-sections, epidurals, episiotomies, induction, among other things. She points out that many OB’s have adopted the mindset that the baby must be rescued from the mother rather than it being a natural occurring event. They act as if birth is a disease that must be treated. While I think it is wonderful that we’ve had so many advances in technology that can help mothers and babies that are in danger during labor, I am not a fan of how common some of these practices have become (for instance, the 30% cesarean rate).
As I’ve mentioned before, I want a natural birth if at all medically possible. By natural, I mean no medical intervention, including pain medication (I used to think “natural birth” implied no pain medication until a few discussions with men I work with said their wife had a natural birth, then threw in that they had an epidural). I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with pain medication – to each their own – it’s just not my preference. I want to experience as much of this birth as possible, and being numb from the waist down doesn’t work for me. So in my goal to have a natural birth, I’ve come to realize that there are many medical practices that I must try to avoid when I near my delivery date. For example, induction. Henci Goer discusses how one medical intervention generally causes a cascade of them, and induction is just one of the examples she gives. She explains how induction medication such as Pitocin causes longer and more painful contractions and can lead to fetal distress, which can then lead to a c-section. While in some instances it is necessary to use, she says that reasons such as convenience (doctor leaving out of town before due date) or prediction of a heavy baby (due to the inaccuracy of the ultrasound measurement) are not a good reasons because of the associated problems.
I would love to say I’ll just trust my doctor to do what’s best, but I personally think that’s a load of crap. I don’t trust easily, especially not doctors. I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but as in every profession, there are some terrible ones as well. Being in the military, I won’t have much of a choice in who my doctor is or what hospital I give birth at unless I want to pay out of pocket – which I have considered. I’ve been looking into having a midwife deliver my baby because they generally share in the ideal that birth is natural and intervention should only be used when absolutely necessary. I suppose I have plenty of time to research all my options, though.
Anyway, I’m running out of energy for this post, so it’s either end it now or never post it. I’ll post again on Thursday after the ultrasound, hopefully with some good news and pictures. Wish me luck!