This morning, A. and I went to our monthly OB appointment at the hospital that we picked because it has the highest level NICU in town, patients get private rooms, and I heard a wonderful birth story from my coworker’s neighbor who delivered there. She was 34 years old and had a low-risk pregnancy (like me) and she wanted and achieved a natural birth (e.g. no epidural). Her story was that she was able to walk around, not connected to an IV; the fetal heart rate was monitored intermittently; and she felt very supported by the nurses who were trained in midwifery. The hospital also has tubs in each room and a top-notch lactation department.
Anyway, this morning, as A. and I waited for the doctor, we joked around with the nurse — a nurse we’ve had before who we know has a good sense of humor. When she asked me if I was ready to get on the scale, I said, “Just let me get naked first,” and she laughed. “Oh honey, you’re pregnant, it’s OK.” I was happy to see I have gained 25 pounds since I got pregnant — with 10 weeks to go, maybe I can stay in the 35 to 40-pound range.
Dr. M was running late, so A. and I did squats in my continuing effort to strengthen my legs. I’m sure we looked ridiculous, squatting down on the white-tiled floor — A. in his blue button-down shirt and dress pants, me in a tank top and skirt — looking into each others’ eyes and grimacing a bit. I said: “What is it that Sting is into? I bet we look like that.” We finished three of them before Dr. M knocked on the door.
He walked in and he shook our hands and asked if we had any questions. I told him I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks contractions and asked if that was normal (he said the uterus is always contracting, even when you’re not pregnant — I had no idea). I asked him about my due date — it was Nov. 28 at the last practice, now it’s Nov. 25 (and it’s staying there). I asked him how they determine the date and how long they let someone pass their due date before they induce them (he said up to two weeks, but it all depends on other conditions).
Then I told him that I’d like to have a natural (unmedicated birth), which could also be interpreted as, “You know, medicine, that thing you do? No thanks.” But I quickly added that I’m open to whatever happens. He raised his eyebrows and said deliveries for first pregnancies can be difficult. He asked if we were taking any classes, and I said we were learning the Bradley Method. I left out the part that half of our class is birthing at home.
A short while later, as Dr. M searched for the results of gestational diabetes test (it was negative) on the computer, it was uncomfortably quiet in the room so I struck up small talk. “So I had tea with my friend the other day,” I said, “and she said you gave her a C-section.”
“I gave her one, huh?” he said with a slight smile as he continued to look at the computer.
I happen to be the master of the non-sequitur. This time, I had gone right from “I want a natural birth” to “You gave my friend a C-section.” Which sounds linked, but I wasn’t thinking that way at all. I might as well have said: “Yeah, so, doc… what kind of CAR do you drive, hmmmmm? Do you ALWAYS give C-sections?”
Of course I don’t believe that — I picked him for his experience and education — and I didn’t mean to put him on the defensive, so I backtracked: “Oh … gave was the … wrong word. She said she had a really good experience. She was high-risk and had been pushing for more than four hours…”
Dr. M didn’t bat an eye and the rest of the appointment went just fine. Sometimes I don’t think about what I’m saying and it slips out all wrong. Luckily, A. finds it funny. We laughed together as we walked out. And as he dropped me off at work, A. said: “You make me really happy. We laugh together a lot.”