October 31st, 2012

planet

still hanging on

So after last Thursday's incident I quickly went back to being a normal, just slightly more nervous and spooked, pregnant woman. Hungry all the time, sleepy all the time, no blood soaking through my jeans, all good. My doctor said "take it easy" and I did, on Friday and Saturday, but by Sunday I wanted to be a little more normal so we went to church, went to that fun rabbit convention, went to a halloween carnival... and of course in between I laid around and napped but I basically did what I felt like doing, just didn't push myself.

Monday I went to work, and within 15 minutes of being at the office the cramping started and the bleeding started again. This time I was more prepared, in an area with more women so I could steal a pad from the bathroom, then shut myself in an office to lay down a bit and monitor things. When the doctor's office opened I called them and told the same story... bleeding was not as dramatic this time, but did finish a pad in 30 minutes, then tapered off, still no tissue or clots.

And I said I'd really rather not go in, unless they recommended it. Some fellow birth club members said they were shocked, I had a perfect excuse to be "glued to an ultrasound machine" but honestly, that does not thrill me. I know I make fun of the tinfoil-hat wearing doctor-hating natural birthers a lot, but I'm kinda with them on the topic of excessive ultrasounds. Yes, some high risk babies have to be monitored a lot, and they turn out just fine. But there's a reason ultrasounds are medical devices, and if my doctor isn't saying SHE wants me to get one, I'm not going to push for her to be MORE hands-on, if that makes sense.

A few weeks ago, when I was a normal low-risk pregnant woman without a care in the world (except exhaustion, and steady waves of nausea) I posted in a natural birth community about intervention-free prenatal care. I think some of the things we accuse hospitals and insurance companies and other "thems" of doing are really maybe women's fault, because WE want to be so in control. For my first pregnancy my doctor never pushed for induction, but I overheard her telling others that if you've hit your due date and are sick of being pregnant then sure we'll induce. And I bet a lot of them signed right up, because why not just go head and meet your baby? Then I'd go to the natural birth community and they'd rail against those pushy doctors forcing inductions and taking away women's choices, when I felt like I was seeing quite the opposite... women were getting choices, and choosing intervention.

Oh but back to my post... I felt weird that I was getting no first trimester ultrasounds or heartbeat confirmation with this pregnancy, but everyone else was, and I got an interesting reply on the subject.

The idea was that seeing a heartbeat on an ultrasound only tells you one thing: that right now, this instant, the baby is alive and well and growing. As soon as they turn the machine off you don't know, and have to hold your breath until the next technological interface.

On the other hand, you can teach yourself to relax and let go, only control what you can, trust that your odds are good (if you have no miscarriage symptoms, you probably have a healthy baby). And that trust is a real gift you give to yourself, because it can last MONTHS. It is not a machine that gets turned off.

I was watching an interview with the Ina May Gaskin, and she talked about how doctors have lost skills that they used to be able to do with just their hands and observations because there's so much technology. That you can walk through a dark forest with a flashlight and see only what it illuminates, or you can turn it off and let your eyes adjust and see every single tree.

I'm not saying I'd skip EVERY scan, and of course I needed the one Thursday because we didn't know where all that damn blood was coming from. But that's why I'm trying not to pester my doctor about more checks, more pictures, more technology... she's an OB! The very breed of doctor that the hippie midwives are saying are too involved, and yet sometimes us women want them to do even *more*.

That's my "moderate" stance on the natural vs. hospital birth controversy... I am going to try everything I can to not make my doctor intervene more than even she wants to.

Next appointment: Monday. We'll see how many more bleeding episodes there are, the nurse did ask me to contact her every time. They'll check for a heartbeat then. And I'll hope that this settles down, that this weird little spot I have stops collecting pools of blood to dump out at random inconvenient times over the next six months. And I'll learn to hope, and maybe trust, that the baby is still hanging on, like it has been, if it's okay in a week it will have only proven itself that much better.