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Labour looming.

2006-01-20 - 11:32 a.m.

My midwife told me yesterday that I am technically “term” now. Apparently, once one’s completed 37 weeks then we’re considered “good to go”. This is a freaky thought. While my thoughts are being pulled towards the ever-more-imminent labour, I’m trying to focus on the product more than the process. I realize this sounds like I’m sticking my fingers in my ears, all “La la LA. I can’t HEAR YOU.” But the fact is that labour will happen no matter what and I’ve already read and learned a lot about it and made some basic decisions about how I’d want to handle it, so dwelling on it too much at this point will, I think, only scare me.

In case anyone’s wondering, yes, I am okay with the thought of using drugs. I am open to whatever will allow me to have the most positive birth experience I can and I am the only judge that counts when defining what makes a positive birth experience for me. Until I read things like “don’t feel you have failed if you ask for an epidural,” it had never occurred to me that I, or anyone, would feel bad about such a thing. You do what you’ve gotta do at a time like that, and that’s all there is to it for me.

This does not mean I’ll be asking for drugs in the parking lot before I set foot in the hospital (though it doesn’t mean I won’t either), I’ll just see how long I can go before I say “that’s it, give me something.”

My reasons for waiting to see how long I can go without are actually much stronger than my beliefs around pain meds themselves:

  • I have a strong desire to stay as mobile as possible, for as long as possible, to hasten birth.

  • I want the option of eating and drinking for as long as possible (though I have read that the risk of aspiration pneumonia is not significantly reduced if you don’t eat and drink because aspirating stomach acid can actually be more harmful than aspirating anything you’d puke up, so that rule of not being allowed to eat or drink once you get an epidural is definitely unnecessary in my opinion. Not to mention that your chances of aspirating anything are very, very low given that you remain conscious and thus, if you do vomit, you can empty your mouth before you’d breathe anything in. But I digress…)

  • I want to avoid having an IV put in. It might not impair mobility significantly but it icks me out.

  • I DO NOT WANT AN EPISIOTOMY, and once you get an epidural there is often a cascade effect of lowered mobility and being restricted to the least effective position (on your back), leading to longer labour and less effective pushing, leading to higher incidence of intervention such as episiotomy and caesarean. While it has its place when confronted with a specific set of circumstances, there is no research to support the routine use of episiotomy and most of the claims they make – such as it prevents worse tearing – have been shown to be false.

  • I DO NOT WANT A CATHETER. Anyone who’s read far back enough in my archives will know that I have had run-ins with urinary tract infections before and I would hate, hate, hate to have anything done that would increase my risk of getting another one.
Anyway, there’s nothing to do but pack my hospital bag and wait and see how everything goes. I have friends that have done it without any drugs (one on purpose (“They told me that I should ask when it became unbearable, but it never got unbearable.”), one by accident because she waited too long) and I have friends that wouldn’t even think of doing such a “crazy” thing. I have no idea what my birth will end up like at this point. All I know for sure, Grommet is not staying in the Belly indefinitely so I’ll be meeting my son or daughter within a few weeks, no matter what. Whoa. I’m going to be a MOM! SOON!


Oh, before I forget, I have an appointment to follow up with the “high risk unit” this Monday. It’s not that my latest results have been bad – in fact there’s been an improvement in both my blood pressure and the protein content of my urine since I went off work – it’s just because I’m considered to be in a “gray area” so they want to make sure that everything looks good and I’m confirmed to be a healthy woman with the expectation of a normal, low-risk birth. They want to, as they told me, “Make sure all the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted.” This will mean another ultrasound (yay?) and some more blood work (ick). I don’t anticipate anything bad coming of it but I’ll keep you posted.

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