Pregnant Life: Laughing It Up

Amy Keyishian

Isn't she cuuute?
I had my first labor-and-delivery dream of this pregnancy! I was at the hospital, and my husband was there, and all my neighbors from when I was a tiny kid kept coming in to say hi. I was so happy to see everyone, and also kept asking the doctors why I wasn't having contractions. They said "it's all right, you will."

The funniest part was that I wasn't in stirrups; I was sitting at the top of this sorta chute-thing, designed so that I could sit up and the baby would just slide out and down the chute. I guess it was my version of a birthing chair. I remember very clearly at Penelope's birth that after my first push, I screamed, "I want to sit up! Can't I sit up? I want a birthing chair! I need gravity to help me!" The doctor and midwife kind of chuckled, and told me to push again.

"No seriously, I went to an all-women's college, I took women's studies, I know there's such a thing! Can't I have a birthing chair?" I yelled. (I am very talkative when I am nervous or stressed out. This was about as nervous and stressed-out as I have ever been, so – let's just say it was a very chatty delivery.)

My brother-in-law the doctor says that at his hospital, they have birthing chairs as an option, as well as some kinda contrapion that hangs from the ceiling so you can lift yourself up (also, apparently, a common practice in pioneer days). I would have LOVED that. My husband points out that I had Penelope in a state of total terror and emergency, and had a lot more IVs and interventions than a usual birth. It probably wasn't an option for good reason. This time, maybe things'll be different. I'm going to ask my doctor about it at my next appointment.

Anyway, I had my first super-simple cervical-length ultrasound today. Did I mention? They're going to do this every two weeks till I'm close enough to term. They'll be making sure my baby's not attempting a great escape by pushing down onto my cervix, making it shorter from top to bottom. (Funny thing about my cervix: I always pictured it as the shiny pink donut I saw when a gynecologist gave me a flashlight and a mirror – I never thought of it as something you'd look at from the side.)

Anyway, first surprise: this ultrasound is internal. You know, with the big, er, Tommy Lee that they put a condom on and stick into your, er, Pamela Anderson. (Couldn't it at least be ribbed, for my pleasure?) I'm very paranoid about anything going in the chute when I'm pregnant. Later on, it really hurts, and I have had enough weird unexplained UTIs to really want to limit what goes in there. Again, I'm going to check with my doctor and make sure this is how she wants them to do it. If yes, then fine: I will admit I felt much, much happier knowing my cervix was nice and thick and fat and huge, and loved seeing Birdie nestled upon it like Princess Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress.

Second surprise: the nurse I thought was cranky the first time I met her, at my CVS, is not! At that first ultrasound and genetic test, I sensed that she was reserved, and when she didn't respond to my first few jokes, I spent the rest of the exam trying harder and harder to crack her up. (It's a terrible habit. My husband was totally onto me. "Cut it out," he hissed. "You're here to make sure the baby's okay, not get into the Friar's Club.") I think I made her snicker at one point, when she told me to focus on the beautiful beach scene pasted to the ceiling and I whined, "It looks like Haiti." But this time she was a riot! Maybe because it was just her and me. But when I offered to name the big dildo-wand, since we'll be meeting regularly, she was right on board. And when I said that according to the emails, my baby should be the length of a banana, she said, "It'll be a lot bigger than that at 20 weeks. Eight to ten inches." (Pause.) "I'm taking about the baby."

This whole process is so much easier when you can get people laughing with you. Or at you! I'm not picky, as long as there's laughing. Babies like laughing!

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