It's only 9 months... but it feels like Maternity...

Now Known As Postnatal Oppression

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sooo.... I had an appointment with Dr. Onymous, as my midwife had had the nerve to go on holiday.
He seemed neither happy nor unhappy with the small urine sample I gave him, although he made a big show of washing the pot out and wrapping it carefully in tissues before he gave it back to me. After taking my blood pressure, he looked at me and then at my notes, as if one or the other would suggest something else for him to do.
"How many weeks are you now?" he asked.
"Erm - about 32 I think," I replied.
He looked sceptical, and reached into his drawer for the round plastic wheel thing they use to work out when you're due. It seemed to tell him the same thing. "Right. Everything OK?"
"Yes thanks," I replied.
He looked around his room for a second, then he suddenly thought of a way of making it look worth both our whiles my being there. "Would you like to hop up onto the bed and I'll measure you," he beamed. I 'hopped' up onto the bed and he produced the ubiquitous tape measure. "Yes, you're 32 centimetres," he agreed. Then he said "Although to be honest, I don't really see the point of this - it's going to be different on women with different builds, and 32cms on a six foot woman would be a different indicator than on someone who's 5 foot 2 surely." You tell me, pal. "But I have to do it, or the midwives tell me off," he confessed.

He then had a listen to the spawn's heartbeat, and a bit of a prod, and then said the most useful thing I've heard for a while, just as an afterthought - "He's the right way round, with his head down." It's amazing how they can tell these things. That was it really. It wasn't as pointless as I had been anticipating.

Today was the penultimate antenatal class - 'Abnormal Delivery'. There were only 6 of us today - Scandinavian Woman, Cats Bum Mouth, one of the single mums this time WITH dad (not the 'friend' who'd she arrived with at week 1) which she clearly wasn't too happy about, and me and the husband. Single Mum, it turned out, is due to have her baby in 5 days' time. She is skinny as a rake with just a pudding bowl bump, but the husband pointed out that she is also only about 20 years old.

The midwife went through the different components of labour (again) this time by putting coloured cards on the floor in the order that everything happens, with phrases like "***Painful***" and "HURTS!" on. Then she discussed things like induction, ventouse and forceps deliveries, and showed us a ventouse cap which didn't work, and the forceps, which looked massive. THEN she dragged the husband up to the front, put a hospital gown on him and a paper hat, pretend-attached a drip to him and shoved the baby doll up his gown, so she could go through caesarian sections with us, explaining the difference between elective (e.g. when the baby's breech, or you've got medical problems they know about beforehand which would mean you really would be better off not having a vaginal delivery), urgent and emergency. Urgent are the ones they decide to do when you're in labour and things are not going well, for whatever reasons. These are the ones that everyone likes to call emergency ones, whereas real emergency ones are rare.

She reckoned that from the time of first cut on the skin to the time the baby's out, is around 2 minutes! (At which point, she made a violent slashing motion over the husband's groin, which alarmed him, then yanked the baby doll out of the bottom of his gown, and shoved it down the top, for the "skin to skin contact"). They really don't piss about. I had a friend who was a trainee nurse, she watched a c-section as part of her training and said she couldn't believe how rough they were with the woman, really shoving and pulling. I suppose they feel they don't have time for niceties.

We had a bit of a question and answer session, from which I learned that I'm the only one not having to take iron tablets. Ha! (Well, yet, anyway). And the midwife told us that no matter what we thought was going to happen, she would make money if she put bets on us crapping ourselves during labour. And if you have a water birth, the crap will float to the top. One of the questions came from Single Mum's baby's dad, who asked how soon you could have sex again after the birth. The midwife said "As soon as she feels ready," and a very definite look of "Forget About It" crossed Single Mum's face. The midwife then added "but gentlemen wait until the placenta's been delivered." I like her lots.

We get to go and have a look around the labour ward on Sunday. The husband and I are going earlier than everyone else as he is working a late shift, and we're getting a personal guided tour with the midwife. It does mean that I can't have a lie-in on Sunday though.

Now, just a few points that I feel I must make:
1. Everyone keeps staring. I catch people doing double-takes, or talking to my belly. It's similar to wearing a low-cut top that shows your boobs off, although not as erotic. The husband says he has also noticed this - he reckons it's because I haven't really got bigger anywhere except my belly, so when I turn round or stand up, it catches them unawares. I suppose this means that I can't pretend no-one has noticed any more.

1a. Some people also stare at my boobs, which I have to admit are fairly sizeable now.

2. I am very tempted to make a sign for my desk at work with the following phrases on it:
  • I'm due in March.
  • No, it is not long to go now.
  • Yes it is my first.
  • No I am not 'all set' yet.
  • Yes I can register it myself.

Just to save myself 5 minutes each time I see anyone.

3. Despite my moaning, I am going to miss everyone being nice to me once the evil alien spawn is out of me. I have never really had this much niceness directed my way before. The head of our division of the county council was telling me that she believes it's because at a subconcious, primal level, society is trying to protect and nurture me as I am expanding the group. Hmmm.
I thanked the husband for being so nice to me the other night, and he replied "that's alright - I have to be, you're bigger than me now."

4. However cute it sounds, being kicked by the spawn is not entirely pleasant. I know that it's a good thing, it shows that it's moving around properly, blah blah blah, but sometimes the little bugger gets something wedged under my hip bone, or seems to be trying to stand up, or gets hiccups, and it's just bloody uncomfortable. I can't really lay back on the sofa, as I get stuck, and I can't bend in the middle so I can't reach for stuff any more. Also, the slightest thing seems to make it wake up at night, and then it decides to morris dance for half an hour or so. And the cat now prefers the husband's lap as there is more of it.

5. Buying baby stuff sucks. It's massively overpriced; there's a million different choices of just about anything you think of buying, all of which claim to be the absolute best one bar none, and I know I'm probably not going to use half of it; everything is in shit twee little patterns or vile colours or drowning in frills and lace and flounces. I got completely fed up with looking at moses baskets - what a pointless, stupid thing they are, I hate them so much, and yet you try and find something more sensible which isn't silly money or unbelievably ugly or doesn't take up so much room that you need to build an extension just to fit it in. The husband has completely refused to let me buy a dog basket for the evil alien spawn to sleep in. Also out are ironing baskets, drawers and cardboard boxes. I am in a sulk about the whole thing.


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