Friday, February 5, 2010

Pregnancy is Not for the Faint of Heart

I begin to suspect that many of the blogging entries about my pregnancy will either serve as birth control for my friends or as evidence of my increasing mental instability. I don't believe that was my original intention, but as Ina May Gaskin said in Spiritual Midwifery, "If you can't be a hero, you can at least be funny while being a chicken." This, as you can well imagine, has instantly become my mantra. I may have it inscribed on the walls during the birth.

I am a chicken. Ina May has some other fascinating 70s name for it, but I can't remember what. I only remember reading about this not very brave, strong person and recognizing myself immediately. I can cautiously over-think and worry myself into a tizzy in record time. And now, faced with the mind-blowingly Brobdingnagian prospect of bearing a child, is no exception. Brobdingnagian - you're wondering? Dictionaries are fun. It came from Gulliver's Travels, meaning giant. I like it's daunting size and unfamiliarity; it contributes a bit more to what I'm trying to say.

The seriousness of person-creating, the intricacies of the human body and its development, the shear magnitude of it all is wondrous... and paralyzing. But then the actuality and eventuality of pregnancy frequently consumes my focus to the point that I forget entirely about anything beyond my aching back, throbbing belly or burning esophagus. This preoccupation isn't unique to pregnancy: GK Chesterton's best stories call readers to live in a way where we realize the wonders that make up our world. It's just that when you're pregnant these wonder-full, cosmic, and often preposterous things are happening IN YOUR BODY.

All this to say that yesterday's 35th week appointment at the midwife's was going along swimmingly. I have gained 20 pounds, my blood pressure is normal, the baby moves often, her heart is strong, she is not too big and my fundus height measured 32cm. And then the midwife recommended we go get an ultrasound. I was just cruising through this information, when Andrew casually said, "What was the measurement last time?"

"Is it normal to get a second ultrasound now?" "Well," said Carol "No. Not Really."

Please insert the sound of my mind crashing into itself like a conga line.

"No? Not normal?"

Carol quickly and carefully said she was not alarmed.

"Good for her."

Nor should we be alarmed. All the ultrasound would do is clear up a little guesswork as to why my fundus was not as large as it should be at this stage. It was actually measuring smaller than had previously. Comforted by the scientific fact that babies don't shrink, this leaves a few other explanations: the baby was just in a funny position, the amniotic fluid level was low because I was a little dehydrated, the baby is already moving down into position to be born, or the amniotic fluid level is low for some other reason. So, while it's never ideal to hear anything is unusual during pregnancy, there's not really a cause to get upset.

I'm repeating that phrase regularly. We got the ultrasound this morning and we'll find out more Monday.

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