Archive for My story

Going back to work

Monday is my first day back at work.  I’ll be working part-time through August.  I also can work from home (except for meetings), good thing since the Nushka is not “quite” at that stage where I thought she would be, i.e. me proudly pumping giant bottles of breastmilk for her to enjoy while I am away.  My in-laws are here now so they will help with child-care and I just need to pop out of the office in order to dish up the ole boob.

Note: since her tongue-tie operation last week she has gotten a lot better at breastfeeding – she can eat from both boobs!  Baby, we have just doubled our pumpless milk-transfer capability.   Now “all” I have to do is double my milk production and we will be home free… well, I will work on it.

In any case, in the meantime, I went in for one meeting this week as kind of a trial run.  That’s when I realized… I’m stupid.  Yeah, sleep deprivation has pulled one over on me.  I didn’t really notice how dumb I have gotten when most of my activities were fairly brainless.  But at the meeting where I actually had to do some very minor mental gymnastics I realized that the ole memory is pretty much shot, or at least my access to it has been radically curtailed.  Holy poo, am I going to be dumb for at least several months.

I am really lucky that at my work you can take so many months at part-time but be paid full-time.  But if I had to do it over again, I would take unpaid leave for a few months before going back at part-time.  I’m looking forward to working some and getting back in the fray a bit, but I had no idea when I made my plans of just how much time childcare takes, and just how much joy it can bring…


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Breastfeeding is hard

The Nushka turned 6 weeks old yesterday.  She is a bundle of joy.  She is happy and healthy and we love her to death.  We are very, very, very lucky.

The only part of the having-the-Nushka experience which is not so good is the breastfeeding.  I really wish that childbirth classes spent more time (or maybe, any time at all) preparing you for how hard breastfeeding can be.  Our childbirth class did have one week on breastfeeding, which focused on pounding in the “breast is best” mantra.  But it didn’t explain that you needed to be well-prepared for what could go wrong and how to handle it.  I knew lots and lots and lots about labor and delivery, I had read lots of books and had educated opinions on my options.  But breastfeeding?  I figured that would just… work.

So… here’s what actually happened.  At the hospital, the Nushka and I couldn’t figure out a good latch and I got very bloody and scabbed nipples.  We ended up using a nipple shield, which seemed to work well.  “Seemed” being the operative term here because with the nipple shield  (a) we didn’t learn to latch well without it and (b) the Nushka wasn’t getting enough milk and (c) my boobs weren’t getting enough stimulation to keep the milk production up.  I didn’t realize these things until we found out from a lactation consultant we called to find out why the Nushka wanted to nurse 24 hours a day that the reason was… she was starving.

We’ve spent the last 5 weeks in a constant stream of problem-solving with the help of two very good lactation consultants.  For a while the Nushka preferred the bottle to the breast, it took some training to get her back interested in the boob (now she much prefers it, fortunately).  We worked hard to get a good latch, but even now, 5 weeks later, she still does not latch on very well.  For example, she still is not capable of triggering a milk ejection reflex on one side (i.e., basically, she can’t eat out of one boob). I have been pumping for 5 weeks to try to keep the milk production up, but have had various problems with the pump as well including scabbing from the flanges and mysterious sudden drops in production.  We spent 5 days fairly early on trying to wean her off the supplements by continuous nursing, which should in theory get your milk production up but in practice didn’t really work.  So mostly for us feeding has consisted of (1) nursing then (2) bottle feeding then (3) pumping – lather, rinse, repeat 8-10 times a day.  Now I am trying to get a supplemental nursing system working (a system whereby a tube taped to your nipple delivers formula while you nurse), which should let me cut out stages (2) and (3) of the daily grind, but so far for mysterious reasons the Nushka is not getting enough food out of it to meet her needs.

Why is all this happening?  Some of it is just mysterious and apparently random.  But some of it is starting to be clear.

1) I am hyperthyroid.  Actually, I am or at least was hypothyroid during my pregnancy, and it seems like my thyroid function is returning after pregnancy and, combined with my thyroid meds, is making me hyperthyroid.  Did you know that thyroid levels play a major role in breastfeeding?  No, I didn’t.  Sure wish I had known that earlier.  And that my thyroid levels were very near the hyperthyroid cut-off before I gave birth already.   The midwives had just told me they were “normal.”  They were normal, but only by a sliver…

2)  The Nushka had an obscure form of a tongue-tie.  This means she could not move her tongue freely.  She had been checked for tongue-tie by her pediatrician but because she has a subtle kind it hadn’t been caught.  The lactation consultants had been wondering if it might be why latching wasn’t working, but it took a while to rule everything else out.  Finally we had the tongue-tie snipped this past Monday.  Right away – well, after she had stopped crying because she was so traumatized by the anesthetic – she started really sticking her tongue out and Mr. Nishkanu and I realized that this tongue-tie thing really had impeded her.  Now she is learning to breastfeed again, but old habits die hard.  Maybe, maybe, maybe she can learn to latch on without pain.  If that is the case we can try to get my milk production up.  And if that works maybe we can finally get rid of the supplements.  But I have my doubts.

My behavior in response to all this has really surprised me.  I never would have guessed that I would be plowing on through all this to try to breastfeed.  In fact, if you asked me beforehand, I would have told you I would not do it.  Breastmilk is best, that’s true, but formula isn’t so much worse really.  But after I had my Nushka… and after I knew what it was like to snuggle up with her and feed her (even with the scabs)… then I didn’t want to stop.  The idea of weaning her makes me feel intensely sad, even though I am not really supplying that big a part of her nutrition.  I don’t really care about the health benefits, what I care about is the relationship. I want to be a breastfeeding mama to my Nushka.  That’s it.  If they had said that in childbirth education instead of sticking with the “best nutrition” argument maybe I would have listened a bit more.   Or maybe not, after all I am pretty pig-headed.

So here’s the thing.  “Breast is best” is the public education mantra.My childbirth education class did point out that most American women do not successfully breastfeed to the extent that they planned or hoped to before the baby came, and said the reason for that is lack of societal support.  But I have had a lot of societal support – I am motivated, my husband was mostly home for the last 6 weeks and pitched in 100% in childcare, I had my family here for 4 weeks helping as well, I am working with 2 excellent, super helpful lactation consultants, I have 6 weeks of paid full-time maternity leave (actually 7 – it was extended one week because of the tongue-tie operation) and I am still only partially breastfeeding.  How is the average new mother supposed to do this?

For many mothers, I guess, breastfeeding  does come relatively easily.  But for many others, it doesn’t.  When I called work to ask about getting additional leave, the person who answered my call explained that she had had the same problems that I am having.  But the doctor she went to poo-poo’d her when she suggested it could be a tongue tie, and she gave up.   It’s really pretty sad.

On the positive side:

1) My nipples are pain-free enough that I can wear a bra or a shirt now!

2) My milk supply is stable!

3) The Nushka managed to get milk out of the right boob once or twice recently!

4) She likes breastfeeding!

so there is progress, just in tiny tiny steps.

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She arises for air…

I wanted to post a long long long time ago but somehow the energy was missing… now random missives from the front.

The first week with the little one (who we will call here the Nushka) was super totally 100% awesome (if you ignore the severe pain in the nether regions).  We feel like we hit the lottery with our little one, she is a super mellow, alert, happy baby, easy to keep content, very interested from her very first day in what is going on around her and likes to keep us company throughout the day.  We are also lucky that she came at a slack time for Mr. Nishkanu’s work so that he can stay at home for a few weeks with me and we can split the parenting 50/50.   Being born late and large, she sleeps pretty well through the night, 4 hours at a stretch. We spent the first week just enjoying her, introducing her to new experiences like her first ex utero music which she listened to with rapt newborn attention, and marvelling at how absolutely awesome it is to finally be parents to our beloved daughter.

Then breastfeeding hell began.  Apparently my nipples are “semi-inverted” and in an attempt to get them latch-onable my first night nurse applied a manual pump to them which caused the nipples to crack and start bleeding.  Learning to latch on the next few days aggravated matters until my nipples were a bloody, scabby mess (sorry for the TMI). The nurse gave me a nipple shield to protect them and things seemed to straighten out.

Until a week later when the Nushka started getting fussy, very different from her default mellow personality.  We thought at first it was gas or a reaction to something I was eating.  Then Mr. Nishkanu read in one of our books that nipple shields can interfere with milk production.  We tossed the shield and I gingerly latched her on to my scabby nipples (this provided excellent motivation to work on a good latch….). She ate quickly and happily, covered in breastmilk by the end of a short feed and then good-bye fussiness.

Problem solved until that night, where she started fussing again and then wanted to be fed continuously from midnight until 4 AM… and beyond, but my nipples hurt so badly I woke Mr. Nishkanu and asked him to give me a half hour respite…  What were we doing wrong?  Were we misreading her hunger signals?

The next day we called a lactation consultant.  Fortunately she could come by the same day.  When she did, she told us that our baby was underfed and dehydrated.  That seemed weird given how much she was feeding.  In retrospect it seems like the nipple shield had interfered with my milk production and I was no longer producing enough milk to feed her.  The consultant recommended we start supplementing with formula immediately to get her rehydrated.  S*ck!  Was this the beginning of the end of breastfeeding?

To put this in context, before I had the Nushka I figured that I would try breastfeeding, if it didn’t work I would bottle feed and that would be that.  But once I had the Nushka… once I knew what it was like to snuggle up to a little being you have waited so long to meet, and to be able to fill her needs with what your body produces… well, I didn’t want that to stop.   Like, I guess, so many other things about parenting, I had massively changed my tune.  So, this felt like a huge loss.  But bigger than that loss was the blow to our parenting confidence… we thought we were getting the hang of it but we were starving our baby without even realizing it.   So much for parenting instincts.

For the next week we fed her a bottle after every feeding, and while Mr. Nishkanu gave her the bottle, I pumped to get my milk supply back up.   It was a drag – all the overhead of bottles, plus breastfeeding, plus pumping, and I can tell you that after a 3AM feed the last thing a person feels like doing is getting out of bed to sit in a chair and pump and then carefully wash the various pumping parts… but it would be worth it if it restored my supply.  Except my supply wasn’t being restored, it wasn’t getting worse but it didn’ t seem to get better either.

Finally, we decided to go cold turkey.  We cut the formula out altogether during the day, only using it for two feeds at night so we would get some sleep.  Now finally something seems to be working.   The first day she nursed continuously the entire day.  The second day she took two one-hour breaks.  The third day she started to take breaks more often, between 10 and 45 minutes a piece, though she still nurses continuously in the late afternoon and evening.  Today when I got up there was actually milk leaking from my breasts, and she is taking a break after every feed, though not always a very long break.  We may be back in total breastfeeding business soon… I hope!!

In the mean time I have a couple of random thoughts to note down before they are gone in a haze of breastfeeding sleeplessness about labor and delivery…

It was not really a transcendental experience, just really really long and hard.  At the time, I thought to myself “People want to remember their birthing stories.  But why would anyone want to remember this?”  I was in fact  forgetting it even while it was happening… but now I too would like to remember it…

I can not recommend strongly enough for people to have a doula accompany them for labor.  Our doula was fantastic.  I truly believe that without her I would have ended up with a c-section.  And the whole experience would have been really, really traumatic (or at least, really much more traumatic than it already was).

I thought that giving birth would be this amazing experience of meeting your child.  Instead (maybe because of the length…) it was a lot more like taking the worst, most horribly painful poo of your entire life.  At the end, they then hand you this baby and say “here, this is what came out.”  And you think, “who the heck is this baby and where did it come from?”  It is hard to connect the experience with the outcome.

And when we first saw the little one, really she was just a stranger to us.  But it did not take long for us to fall in love with her.  After a day with her we couldn’t imagine having a different baby.  When they checked her ID before letting us take her home we said, “well, if there has been a mistake, we would still like to have this baby…”

What I learned from this experience is, you don’t love a baby because it came out of your vagina.  And you don’t love a baby because it is genetically related to you or your sweetie.  You love a baby because you take care of it.  And you love it for its own nature, for its own way of being.  The fact that the Nushka is a DE baby is irrelevant to our love for her.  She is not a second-best baby, she is our miracle and our precious daughter.  We would not trade her in for anything.  The DE aspect does add a dimension to the experience, it means there is a stranger somewhere in this country who gave us this amazing gift.   She is a miracle of science and of the human heart. We are unbelievably lucky to have her.

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More on interventions – a post for geeks only…

I have another midwife appointment tomorrow so I spent some more time doing background research into postdates pregnancy, induction of labour, and membrane sweeping.

First, I gotta say that if you are a research geek like me you should hurry on over to the Cochrane Review to check out all their meta-reviews on pregnancy and childbirth practice.  All the stats a girl could want.

Second, their meta-review on membrane sweeping suggests it’s not really a bad idea.  Not such a great idea that I have to kick myself for not having done it already, but a good enough idea that I’ll ask the midwife tomorrow to do it.

Third, they have  a pretty interesting meta-review on induction of labour for post-dates pregnancies, suggesting that 41 weeks might not be a bad time to do so.  On the other hand, they say that waiting until 42 weeks has very small absolute risks, even though they are higher than induction at 41 weeks.  Personally, I think you have to weigh things differently for first-time mothers.  If you take into account that the average first-time mom delivers at 41 weeks 1 day, and that induction in first-time moms doubles the risk of c-section, then inducing everyone at 41 weeks would mean doubling the chance of c-section for more than half of first-time moms… and that doesn’t really sound like a great idea for avoiding what is a pretty small risk.  Especially given that, in many areas of the US, once a c-section always a c-section…  But I am a layperson here, so don’t quote me on that logic.

We’ll see what the midwife says tomorrow.  In the meantime the little one is still doing all-day judo competitions so seems like things are still going well.  Lots and lots of contractions but they seem to all be in the Braxton-Hicks category so no excitement around here.  The wait continues…

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Our “birth plan” is extremely short.  It basically says “we prefer to minimize interventions.”  This is kind of ironic considering the number of interventions we submitted to in order to get knocked up in the first place.  But our interest in minimizing interventions is not because we think childbirth has to be “natural” but because there are so many secondary risks that the interventions themselves can pose… and it seems like the US obstetrical system seems to be optimized to minimize the “risk of a lawsuit because we didn’t do anything when we could have,” rather than the actual risk to the baby.

Today I had an appointment with the midwife, which I had been dreading all weekend.  Our practice has multiple midwives, so you see different people every time you go.  Today’s appointment was with the super interventionist midwife, she of the “you have a DE baby, so we will be more likely to do a c-section” fame.  I knew she was going to get on my case about being post-dates (5 days and counting).

At the last appointment, she told me she would want to “sweep my membranes” at this appointment.  Sweeping the membranes is a very, very common procedure where they use a finger to separate the bottom of the amniotic sac from the uterus; it is supposed to trigger labor.  This weekend, I went on-line and did some research into sweeping the membranes to see if I should consent.  Here is what I found out.

First, there is no scientific research that shows that sweeping the membranes as a routine procedure actually makes any difference in how quickly labor comes.  Second, there are a few risks to the procedure, including that your bag of waters could break (in which case they have to induce you if you don’t go into labor within a day), and that they may introduce bacteria from your vagina into your uterus and thus increasing your chance of infection.  The procedure is often very painful and it is not uncommon to have bleeding afterwards.   All in all, it didn’t really sound like the benefits were worth the risks.

I took Mr. Nishkanu along with me to the appointment because I was pretty sure that the midwife was not going to be receptive to me turning down this procedure and I thought I could use some help fighting off the tidal wave of doom and gloom she likes to spread.  First, we had our non-stress test.  Baby passed with flying colors, not only doing all the right things with its heart accelerations but also kicking 15 times during the 15 minute test, at one point kicking the contraction monitor so hard you could see it bump off of my belly.   Hooray!  Everything is great, no need to worry… right?

We then went to the midwife’s office where the Big Fight ensued.  I was so glad that I brought Mr. Nishkanu because the midwife pulled out all the guilt stops.   The thing was, a lot of what she said just didn’t seem logical.  For example, she told me this was my last chance to avoid an induction, since it was practice policy to induce at 41 weeks (which I know it isn’t, since I talked to all the other midwives about it).  When we asked about risks and benefits of the procedure, she only talked about benefits and did not discuss risks.   She said it was very dangerous to be post-dates, that the placenta starts degrading… although she admitted that according to the test my placenta was in great shape.  But, she said, they prefer to induce before there is a problem… leading me to wonder, why did she bother doing a non-stress test, if her plan was to induce if there is a problem, and also to induce if there is no problem?

She also assumed that the reason I did not want to have my membranes swept was because I was “afraid to go into labor,” so she started trying to talk me into having courage to face the inevitable.  One thing I can tell you, lady, is that after 5 years of infertility treatment and 8 IVF cycles, I am not afraid of labor.  The hell in my past is much greater than the suffering in my future, even if the raw pain of the latter is much greater.  After all I have been through to have this baby, labor is just a minor bump in the road.  And actually, although I know this might be a bit weird and I might regret saying this in retrospect, I am kind of looking forward to the athletic challenge.

Fortunately Mr. Nishkanu had taken over the conversation at this point.  He is good at not getting upset by this stuff.  Finally he got the midwife to the point where she said “if you really insist on not sweeping the membranes, then the only option is for you to come in in a few days for more tests.”  Mr. Nishkanu said, “that sounds good, we’ll do that.”  Fortunately, our next appointment is with a different midwife.   If she continues the “must get this baby out now (despite no evidence of problems)” bandwagon we’ll listen; as is, I feel like this particular midwife has an induction ax to grind.

The whole thing made me think again about the difference between RE practices and ob-gyn ones.  The REs I have been to are compulsive about collecting statistics about most of their procedures.   If you say, “what difference will it make if we do assisted hatching?” they can tell you what the numbers, on average, for their practice are (of course, this may not apply to your case, but that’s another story).   In fact, this is one of the things that I think kept Mr. Nishkanu on the DE wagon rather than going to adoption… adoption agencies don’t hand out statistics, they work more with relationships and emotions, things Mr. Nishkanu does not derive as much comfort from.  But ob-gyn practices seem to do much of their practice because “this is how we’ve always done it.”  The national evidence-based standards for induction from the American Council of Ob-Gyns is to not induce until 42 weeks unless there is an indication of a problem.  But many, many practices across the US start haranguing people to be induced much earlier than that… “just in case.”

Part of the difference, I guess, is that REs are trying to stay on the cutting edge.  They acquire patients by having better stats than the competition, and in order to keep the stats up, they have to keep innovating.  They keep pushing to see if they can get the numbers better.  Ob-gyns are in a different position, their methods are established and they get more patients than they need even if they don’t do anything better (for example, in our town, there are two ob-gyn practices; one has twice the c-section rate of the other yet neither hurts for patients).

But, Mr. Nishkanu pointed out, another issue is the question of bad outcomes.   Ob-gyn practices are optimized to avoid the worst outcome, not to optimize the average outcome.   The risk of waiting may be small, but over the patient population our clinic sees, eventually they will see the bad outcome.  And the bad outcome can be really, really bad.

Now,  the fact is that REs have bad outcomes which are just as bad as ob-gyns… after all, they are causing the pregnancies that the ob-gyns eventually handle.  If their patients have multiple pregnancies, there are very real, serious risks for the babies that come out of the treatment.  If we look at higher order multiples, these are very high risks.  But… REs generally don’t actually see the bad outcomes.  The perinatologist is the one left holding the bag when the babies don’t make it home, or have serious disabilities.

OK, time to go back to thinking positive.  The baby is doing acrobatic leaps and bounds tonight, so the good news is: happy and healthy, nothing bad has happened so far!

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The Wait

The conventional wisdom is that the period after your due date is one of total impatience.   You’re uncomfortable, the story goes, sick of being pregnant, you want your baby to be there.  Certainly, that’s what everyone around me is telling me… “you must be so tired of waiting!”

In actuality, that’s not how I feel at all.  There are some things that make me nervous about being postdates, one is that something could happen to the little one still at the last minute (and as I typed that it squirmed around inside as if to say “no worries, everything is fine!”) and the other is that I will get increasing pressure from my care providers to induce.  But otherwise?  I am fortunate that I don’t feel too uncomfortable, I have been spared the swelling and backaches that are common in late pregnancy.  I waited a long, long time to be pregnant and at this point a week or two more doesn’t seem like a big deal.

In fact, this time feels like a special, magical time, “the time that was not supposed to be.”  Every day that I get up and go to work, I think to myself, “what shall I do today that I didn’t expect to be able to do?”  And there is no pressure to do anything since, for the same money, I could be not working any more – everything I do is just a little unexpected bonus.  In the evening?  “Honey, what do you think about going out to dinner?”  “Sure, it might be the last time…” (we have now had many “last time” dinners and several brunches… and I’m not complaining about it).

The people around us seem to have more problems with it.  The only people who don’t bug me about “can’t you not wait to have the baby out?  don’t you feel anything? are you having any contractions?” are the ones who have, thankfully, forgotten when my due date was supposed to be – one of the advantages of having your due date early in the month is that a lot of people only remember “some time in December” and so they haven’t joined the bug train yet.

My mom is great, she sent me an email on my due date saying “I just want you to know I am not going to bug you every 5 minutes about how the baby is doing.  I know how annoying that is.  We will wait to hear from you that something has happened.”  I replied with effusive thanks and asked her if she could please spread the memo to everyone I know…

My MIL, on the other hand, is a different story.  Yesterday she called me at work…

MIL: What’s going on?  Is anything happening?

N: Nope.

MIL: Where is Mr. Nishkanu? [Aha, that explains why they called me… usually they bug him with this stuff.]

N: I don’t know, I guess he is at work.

MIL: Are you at work?

N: Yep.

MIL. Oh. Huh.  You know, you should go to the doctor.  They can tell you when your baby will come. [She has been bugging me for a while to find out how effaced/dilated I am… and tell her, of course.]

N: Actually, they can’t say it very precisely.  Anyway, the baby will come whenever it comes.

MIL: But we want to know when it will come.

N: It could still be a while, you have to be patient.

MIL: But we aren’t patient!  Anyway, do you know what the gender is yet? [My in-laws are semi-convinced that we have known the gender all along, just aren’t telling them… which in all honesty is something we WOULD do, but in actuality haven’t.]

N: Nope, no idea.

MIL: Mr. Nishkanu won’t tell us the names.  Will you tell us the names?

N: Nope.

MIL: He said you hadn’t agreed on a boy’s name.  Did you finally decide now?

N: I’ve decided, I can’t speak for him.

MIL: But you won’t tell us what it is?

N: Nope. We’ll call you when something is happening, until then there is nothing going on.

I have to say I was cracking up to myself over the course of this entire conversation.

Actually, that last thing I told my MIL was a lie.  We will not call them WHEN something happens, we will only call them AFTER everything has happened.  Because otherwise Mr. Nishkanu is going to get a phone call every 30 minutes in the delivery room asking for updates and if he can please post some photos on the internet of what is happening…

We have a solemn pact that No One gets to find out I am going into labor except for (a) the doula and (b) the midwives.  Mr. Nishkanu has been practicing his lies in case there are inconveniently timed phone calls.

Caller: What’s that moaning sound in the background?

Mr. Nishkanu: Oh, Nishkanu just stubbed her toe.

The wait continues…

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The due date

Today is a big day around chez Nishkanu.  It’s my due date.

Now, I had no illusions that this would be the day the little one comes.  After all, average day of delivery for first-time moms is 41 weeks 1 day, so we have plenty of time to go before even the average day arrives.  But still, it feels like a huge milestone.  The little one could come at any second, it is full term.  Who would have ever thought I would make it this far?

Now, could somebody please let my colleagues know that it is not unusual to go post-dates?!  I am now at the point where Every Time I see Any Colleague they feel compelled to say, “Oh, wow, you are still at work!” Yes, thanks for sharing, but I had already noticed.  And it isn’t really an interesting topic of conversation the first time in the day, let alone the 17th.   One poor colleague came into my office this afternoon and said (you’ll never guess), “Oh, wow, you are still in!” I said “Yes, I am aware of that.  I do not need you to point it out.  Or the other 15 people who have let me know that fact today.”  He said, “Are you tired?”  I said, “Yes, I am tired of people commenting on the fact that I am in!”  Then, feeling a little bad about my outburst, I added, “I am also a little cranky.”  I think he would have been well within his rights to respond “Yes, I am aware of that”…

In other news… had a bit of a scare yesterday. Normally, when I wake up in the morning the little one seems to wake up around the same time.  It seems to like getting in a little session of kicking Mr. Nishkanu in the kidneys before we get out of bed.  Mr. Nishkanu complains about these but secretly you know he likes it.  At least that’s my theory.  Yesterday morning, though, for some reason the little one was mellow or sleeping and didn’t kick around.

During the morning I was working and not really paying attention, but around 1 I started to think to myself, “Gee, I haven’t really felt a lot of movement today…” I grabbed some lunch to get the blood sugar up, then ate some chocolate for good measure (yeah, I swear, that was “for the baby”), then grabbed the belly to do an in-office kick count… one measley twitch, that was it.  The little one is usually a circus acrobat, so this was making me nervous.  I went home, drank some juice, and lay in bed and tried to do a real kick count.  Normally I polish off the 10 kicks in 10 minutes or under, this time in 10 minutes I felt two tiny squirms that maybe were baby movement or maybe my imagination.  I started to imagine all the dire scenarios… what it would be like if the little one had died…  coming home from the hospital with a small box and the house full of kid’s stuff… whether we would keep everything and try to adopt, or just give up altogether… then I snapped out of it and called the midwives to go in and have the heart rate checked and avoid the whole insanity, or do something about it if there was a problem.

Sure enough, as soon as I was in the recliner with the fetal monitor strapped across the dark side of the moon and a contraction monitor orbiting the top, the little one woke up and started getting acrobatic again.  I think some of the “contractions” that they measured were actually the baby kicking the contraction monitor.    That’s fine because the important point is, baby was A-OK and super healthy.  Thank god.

The midwife on duty that day was the super interventionist one – she offered to strip my membranes (to try to get labor going) and wanted to do a vaginal exam to see how dilated I am.  I said “No thanks, I am not in a rush, the baby will come when the baby comes” and that earned me a little lecture on the dangers of going post-dates and when they will start bugging me about being induced.  I listened politely and continued with my refusal of the in-my-opinion-totally-unnecessary vaginal poking around (my theory is, we can start thinking about interventions when I am post-average-first-mom dates, or have some other reason to expect that there is a problem).  But the whole incident did make me realize the temptation of induction and all its friends… it would be nice to have the baby on the outside where I can check at home that it is still alive instead of poking my belly and hoping it wobbles back.

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