midwives and monologues: week 26 peanut

It seems like all the pregnant ladies writing books and blogs always mention talking to their bellies, but the first time I did it it felt awkward. What do you say to someone who has no experience of the outside world and no understanding of language? And with me having never been inside my abdomen myself and unable to remember the good ole days when I was brewing in my mother’s middle, we didn’t really have any common ground to start from, Peanut and I.

I rambled a bit about how pointless those factors made my monologue, and then I spent a good ten minutes trying to explain trees. I told Peanut that I thought she would like them. I haven’t really bothered talking to her since. Instead I sing—one of the universal bridges of communication between folks who don’t speak the same language, or don’t speak any language at all. She seems to like it, and stops moving once I open my mouth. I hope she’s just as enthralled when she’s out of the pen and being dragged along to band practices once a week. We’re already fantasizing about our family musical trio, classic country-musician style. No pressure, Peanut. Ha ha.

midwifery

This morning I had my first at-home midwife appointment. (You can read about how we found her here and here.) Though this woman always comes across as unfriendly in the first few moments with her, she was immediately friendly and pleasant once we were inside. I like her a lot. And most of all, I like her attitude about pregnancy and child birth, which seems to revolve around the phrase “as long as you feel good, it’s not a problem” when it comes to anything that could be considered irregular. This strikes me as being incredibly helpful in 1. not freaking me out and in 2. avoiding unnecessary medical intervention. I’m really glad I found her.

“So, what are we going to do today,” she asked me as she set her briefcase down on the platform next to the wood stove.

I shrugged. “You tell me. As an American I haven’t got the foggiest idea what a midwife does at an appointment.” She laughed. We’d already been over how sadly lacking American culture is in midwifery.

Then she sat herself down at our little table, flipped through my Mutterpass (passport-shaped book where all your vitals throughout pregnancy are recorded by the midwives and doctors you see), and handed me a plastic cup. I was to go pee and stick a little white tab in for thirty seconds. If the tabs showed any green or purple, I should tell her. If they were all shades of yellow, no problem. I had all purples and greens. Protein and sugar. Probably doesn’t mean anything, but the sugar could mean that I have gestational diabetes. I’ll find out after some tests next week. My fingers are crossed. Gestational diabetes sounds kind of annoying.

After a finger prick (low on iron) and a blood pressure reading (looking good) she had me lay down on the bed (on my own bed! how comfortable it is to have an exam in your own home!) and measured my stomach (96 cm), felt around for the baby’s position, and checked my ankles and legs for swelling and varicose veins. When she got out a hand-held ultrasound thing-a-ma-bob to listen to the baby’s heart, the baby started kicking. “She doesn’t like that,” she told me. “Some babies just don’t like ultrasounds. She keeps moving away.” My stomach bulged out like a wiggling plate of jello with each kick. I love watching it move; it is so incredibly, fantastically surreal.

She’d forgotten the equipment she needs to take a larger blood sample for some tests I’m due for before my next doctor’s appointment, so she said she’d drop back over later this afternoon to take care of it and then again next week to put the results in my Mutterpass and give me the equipment for the diabetes test. I still can’t get over how convenient it is to have a midwife come to your home for appointments, how much less formal and more comfortable everything is when it’s not happening in a steriley white-and-gray-toned doctor’s office with paper-lined exam tables. As she was putting on her coat I asked her one last question.

“What about chopping wood? Do I need to stop doing that at some point?” What with all the taboos about pregnant ladies lifting heavy things, I’d been wondering if chopping wood might be off limits at some point as well, and it is not a topic that gets any attention in modern pregnancy books.

She laughed. “If you enjoy it, go right ahead. Chop as much wood as you want. Just as long as you don’t hit yourself in the stomach or chop off your hand. And if you start to have contractions, then stop.” Heh. Guess I won’t be convincing the Beard to take over all the wood chopping after all.

Read more posts about gorilla pregnancy

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if you do not buy our products, we will kill you
my cloth diaper fairy godmother delivers
possibly the future kindermobile
ramen confessions

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Friday November 18th 2011, 9:00 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,gorilla parent (pregnancy)

6 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

Fingers crossed you don’t have GD – like you said, it’s just annoying. Had it with my 20 month old and it was a lot of watching exactly every morsel I ate.

The midwife sounds fantastic, by the way, what a healthy way to look at pregnancy. Enjoy the next weeks (and try not to cut off any hands!)

Comment by Wendi 11.18.11 @ 10:59 am

I hope you aren’t too worried about potentially having gestational diabetes. You shouldn’t really find a problem with it as you are active and eat healthily. All that may result from it is that you may be required to have a few more blood/urine tests and possibly a few more ultrasounds. I have had diabetes since I was 11 and have had two totally fine pregnancies. All women require more insulin in the later stages of pregnancy, but for some women their hormones are resistant to their bodies insulin (or in the case of pre-pregnancy diabetics, they need to increase their insulin doses as their pregnancy progresses). They like to scan you more often to check that the baby isn’t getting too much sugar which can make them get quite big in the womb, and will regularly check your urine for protein in case you are at risk of pre-eclampsia. However, your kidneys can quite naturally ‘leak’ a little protein which is not usually a problem. So worry not!

Anyway, you might not have it, so it’s jumping the gun a bit. But I just wanted you to know that if you do have gestational diabetes it shouldn’t affect your pregnancy too much. Take care and keep enjoying your wood chopping! xx

Comment by fiona 11.18.11 @ 12:35 pm

Haha “like a wiggling plate of jello”. Mine was like that too – never just “a kick”, but the entire stomach rolling from one side to the other. It honestly scared a couple people who caught a glimpse at the right moment.

But surprisingly never scared me – what I thought would be the most freakish part of pregnancy turned out to be my favorite part.

Anyway, I was super low on iron too. I tried to eat better and take some supplements, but after she was born, my levels were fine and it never caused any problems.

Comment by Frugal Vegan Mom 11.18.11 @ 8:08 pm

heh, what a nice response to the wood chopping question…shows how open minded she is. What a lovely lady; luck to you in having her.

Comment by haveyouseenthisgirl 11.21.11 @ 8:29 am

Wendi: All fingers, toes, and eyes are thoroughly crossed. I have been finding it a struggle to keep myself fed as it is…not being able to wait an extra hour to eat and having to eat so much makes eating feel like so much frickin work sometimes lately. But then again if the only downside to having it really is having to watch what I eat, then I’m thankful…at least there’s nothing more serious wrong so far. (Crosses fingers again…)

Fiona: Thanks for the reassurance. I am not stressing about it too much yet (though I am mildly annoyed at having to take the test at all because as of the last appointment my midwife had been all like, doesn’t look like we’ll need to bother with that test you’re perfectly healthy)–after all I don’t even know if I have it. But more like resigned to possible annoyance and hopeful that maybe I don’t even have it anyway. And like I said in my response to Wendi above, if annoyance is all that comes of having GD, then I am really thankful. After all, being annoyed I can handle. Having something seriously wrong with me or the baby would be a little harder to stomach. But I’m glad to know who I can possibly hassle with questions should I turn out to have it. :)

FVM: Haha, it is one of my favorite parts too! And probably because it is so totally freaky. But it makes me feel close to her at the same time. (As if we could BE any closer, but you know what I mean probably, makes it more real, as if some sort of communication is happening.) My mom has had iron issues for most of her life, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this turned out to be a general issue I have. Then again, my levels were fine the first six months, so it’s probably just the baby taking all the iron I’m getting and everything will go back to normal once she’s outta the pen.

HYSTG: Hells yeah, that’s what I thought too.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 11.21.11 @ 3:06 pm

[...] Clack Gorilla shares, “At 26 weeks pregnant I have my first at-home midwife appointment, and it is glorious.  Medical care feels so [...]

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