The Pregnant Life: Meeting the Midwife

Amy Keyishian

I rolled past this photo of Golda Meir on my way to deliver Penelope!
Now that I’m halfway through Week 35, my visits to the hospital have gotten quite long. I match up my doctor visits with the antenatal testing, which means I am a bit of a logistical nightmare. And there’s so much to tell!

First of all, when the nurse peeked at my babe via ultrasound, GUESS WHAT: She had flipped over! Her head’s still down, so she can peek out my hoo-hoo like a periscope, but now her butt is on my right side, and I guess I’ll start feeling her kicking and punching to my left. Oh. Ow. Yeah, there she goes.

The cool part about that is -- when Randy and I got into bed last night, I noticed there was unusual activity going on in my abdomen. “Check it out,” I said, poking him. Together we watched a mysterious series of lumps undulating across me. “Whoa,” he said. “You’re at the Alien stage of all this, huh.”

He started snoring, but I kept staring. It didn’t occur to me that she was actually flipping over, but today, there she was, plain as day -- facing the other way. That. Is so. Freakin’. Cool.

Also cool is my blood pressure -- it remains low, though it was at its lowest in the relaxing antenatal room, where they made me put down my phone and sit in soothing darkness so that the baby would relax enough for them to get a difference between “baseline” and “hyper.” (Pretty much all she does is “hyper,” in general.) And get this: ZERO weight gain. That’s right. After an eight-pound jump last time (obviously mostly in my ankles, via fluid), I stepped up my elliptical and my water intake -- not to burn more calories but to get the excess fluid moving up and out of my system. It worked. So I’m still the same colossal weight, but at least I haven’t gotten bigger.

I met with a midwife -- I’m making an effort to meet with everyone who has a chance of being at my birth, though I know everything’ll be okay no matter who’s there (I didn’t know anyone besides my husband at Penelope’s birth). My midwife had a great story to tell: She had a preemie and then a full-term baby. Oh! This was what I wanted to hear about:

  • How was the labor? Quick. The second baby is always quicker, but in our case it’s offset by the fact that your body has to do a bit more stretching than it did the first time. Assume it’ll be about the same. (Fast!)
  • How was the recovery? Quick. Despite my fear that this giant baby will shock my system, she said no, look, you have been through this before, your body does know what’s coming. Plus -- and this was the best thing to hear, something I had not considered -- this time I’ll be able to breastfeed right away. “This will do wonders for you,” she said. And I remembered how light I felt after P’s birth, but how tortuous it was to have to pump instead of breastfeed.
  • But how was the recovery? Alas, nobody wants to discuss the actual trauma to my ladyparts. What’s she going to tell me, anyway? I’ll get through it.

Also alas, she had no relief for my current crotch woes -- yes, it’s common for the inner thighs and groin to be miserably uncomfortable as the baby leans on them. Yes, the exercises I’ve been doing will help, and lying on my stomach with my tummy in a round mound of pillows is fine. Nope, nothing more she can recommend. Darn it. She did say it’ll come and go -- “it won’t be like this all the way till the end.” From her lips to my groin’s ear!

Coolest of all, I was able to stop off and visit for about a half-hour with a friend of a friend who’s on bed-rest in the labor and delivery unit. Poor woman has twins in her, a 0.5 cm cervix, and no friends in the area as she had just moved here when the doctors noticed her condition. I loved chit-chatting with her -- she was busy enough with piles of books, a laptop, and treats, but lonely. I can’t imagine. I’m so glad I’ll be able to stop in on my weekly visits to Doctortown and, I dunno, entertain her with news of the outside world.

What would you bring her? Have you been on hospital bed-rest? How can I make my visits uber-helpful?

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