Thursday, January 19, 2006

State of the Pregnancy

Well, I'm now 31 weeks. (Full term, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of pregnancy, is 40 weeks). So I am in the final quarter of this blessed nine (10) months. The home stretch, if you will.

First, I should explain the nine (10) months comment. I borrowed this from Vicki Iovine, author of The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy and other great books for pregnant women and new moms. She explains the mystery of calendar months vs. lunar months. A pregnancy is 40 weeks. In lunar months, this is actually 10 months, but on the wall calendar, it sort of looks like nine. The point is, it FEELS like 10 when you are actually experiencing it.

So I am seven calendar months pregnant, but almost eight lunar months. I had a doctor's appointment today which I completely forgot about until they called me 3o minutes after I was supposed to be there. I'd like to write this off as "pregnancy brain," but I think it's really more fair to call it "Elizabeth's normal scatter-brain."

Most doctors' appointments when you are pregnant are very "Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am." There are few pelvic exams during the nine (10) months... just a pap smear near the beginning and then near the end, they'll reach up in there to check for dilation and effacement (thinning of the cervix... just in case you are wondering). All the other appointments (once per month for the first 6 months, then twice a month until the last 6 weeks or so when you start going every week) are very predictable and boring, with a few little extra tests sprinkled in here and there for fun and for terrifying the poor mother-to-be. I'm done with all my tests, so now we just go through the routine... pee in a cup; get weighed; answer questions about pain, bloating, swelling, headaches, and fetal movement; get blood pressure checked; wait in an exam room on an uncomfortable table for five to ten minutes; get my belly measured; listen to the baby's heartbeat with a magic wand ultrasound thing; then ask the doctor any questions I might have. Ah, yes... the thrill of pregnancy.

My pregnancy is not very notable... which is how we like it. Once again, I have lost weight rather than gained it. I believe my total net weight gain since conception is now a whopping two pounds. This is the story of my life... when I am told by a medical professional to lose weight (as I almost always am), I cannot seem to do it. When I am encouraged to GAIN weight, however, I lose it without even trying. Talk about your anti-authority issues! It's completely innate in me, apparently.

My biggest concern at this point is the size of this little bundle of joy in my belly. I am already waddling... much worse than I EVER did with Athena. The doctor tells me my belly is measuring just slightly bigger than normal (it's about at one would expect at 32 weeks), but that's not really a major thing. And it isn't a good indicator of how big the baby actually is. But we do discuss it now, because Athena was so large (8 pounds 12 oz.). I am told that statistically, the second baby is normally 4 to 6 ounces heavier than the first. So worst case scenario (statistically) is 9 pounds 2 oz. And that's only statistically. Really, the sky is the limit. Um... holy crap, people!

So there is no test to determine how big the baby really is. We can do an ultrasound, but that's iffy because now that the bones are well-formed and calcified, it's harder to see anything. The doctor can palpate (fancy word for "poke") around the baby and guess at how big he is, which is about as scientific as closing one eye, holding your thumb up, and estimating the height of a tree. In fact, they did that with Athena just before she was born, and they guessed she was about 6 pounds, 8 ounces. So I just don't put much faith in palpating/poking.

My "doctor" is actually a whole practice. They have you meet with each doctor at least once during your nine (10) months so that you won't have a complete stranger deliver your baby. (You get whoever is on call). So two weeks ago, I saw a doctor who said that because of the possible size of "He Who Must Not Be Named," we should consider the possibility of inducing labor at 39 weeks. This week, the doctor said, well... there is no real scientific proof that it's better for mom or baby to induce. Now, I'm not really big on Pitocin, or any of the drugs used in labor and delivery. I did my first one naturally (although admittedly that wasn't by choice) and I want to do this one that way too. BUT... nine pounds is REALLY big. And Athena did plenty of damage down there when she came barreling out like an NFL Linebacker. So I'm not really keen on passing a huge baby either.

The decision for now is my favorite decision of all... not to decide. We'll just keep plugging along and growing a baby, and then when we get nearer to D-Day, we'll see where we are. Hopefully by then we will at LEAST have a friggin' name selected.

1 comment:

A Girl From Texas said...

I wonder how I would handle pregnancy. When I was younger the whole thought of it scared me to death because it would be something I would have so little control over.

Now that I'm older, I think it would have been a wonderful experience.