Friday, March 27, 2009


Today was a pretty nerve wracking visit to the midwives for several reasons. First, I had my glucose test. Last month, the midwives warned me of this test. I'd have to come in super early in the morning and drink sugar juice. Not just any sugar juice, they said, but uncarbonated soda. Nothing to me sounded more vile than syrupy sugar juice. This from the girl with the sweet tooth!

They make pregnant ladies drink this goop so they can test our blood an hour later and make sure we process sugar properly and don't have gestational diabetes. My sister, with her wonderful Arizonan midwife, got to eat a candy bar. I go to a major research hospital and had to drink the syrup, which came in a medicine vial with a label and bar code and everything.

For some reason, I imagined this juice would be brown and thick and gross. I got myself a little worked up over it, actually. When I got to the lab at 7:20, the tech said, "ok. You have five minutes to consume the drink. Starting now."

Man! This woman CHALLENGED a rugby player to something. A competitive freak like me, who has to win at the dentist and beat Corey at toothpaste conservation. Five minutes? Please! I prepared to chug the sludge in under a minute. When I saw it, clear and watery looking, a wave of relief washed over me.

It actually tasted ok. Like sprite. Maybe even refreshing? In no time, I had the whole cup in my gullet and had to make a mad dash to the midwives' office so I could pee out my urine sample in their special bathroom, stat. I find out the results on Monday. I'm thinking I won at glucose testing.

My visit was also frustrating because we had to discuss the follow up to my last ultrasound. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but I am convinced (after a solid six months of research) that the American medical system has done everything in its power to medicalize birth and operates not to promote this natural, wonderful experience, but to avoid litigation and industrialize or somehow efficiently process labor or something.

Because I see the midwives within this major medical research hospital (Magee Women's Hospital), I get my ultrasounds with not just techs but highly trained obstetricians with many years of college. They are trained to handle the most troublesome pregnancies in all the universe, and thus are highly aware of every little abnormality on their super sonic ultrasound machines. This is why they noticed that Baby Love has a "bright bowel."

When they first pointed this out, I researched the problem. 90% of the time? Just bright bowels. Sometimes it means the baby has Down Syndrome, or CF, or a virus. So Corey and I got tested and got Baby Love tested for all these things. Negative. But his bowel is still bright. I like to think it's his shining, poopy star, because 90% chance of normal feels ok to me.

These ultrasound folks? They are doom-sayers. They tell me he is breech, as if a 25 week fetus doesn't churn around all over the place. They go on and on and on listing everything in the DMV ever associated with bowels, and it makes me panic, which makes Baby Love upset, which pisses me off and it's a viscious cycle. I hate how they're trying to convince me that something is wrong with my very normal, squirmy wormy baby.

Today, the midwives measured my belly and my fundus and told me things are beautiful. They listened to his heartbeat and told me everything is beautiful. They monitored my health and my blood and my urine and it's all beautiful. Add in the super fancy technology? Disaster. Fear. Death. They support my decision to not be worried and view the pregnancy as normal. I like having them on my team.

I just want to move to a place where birth and pregnancy are still normal parts of the life cycle. Where people understand that my body can push out a baby without drugs because the female body has been doing this for millenia. I am blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a wonderful baby. I don't like sitting on a table with goop on my belly while a bespectacled man talks at me for over 15 minutes, making me fear things that have a 1 in 5000 chance of happening to my baby. You know what? One in six women are victims of sexual assault. I have like a one in 250 chance of getting breast cancer.

So take your scary news and save it for the pregnancies that really need your attention, because Baby Love and I are just fine. Stop trying to scare us and make us upset!


Jane said...

You have a Baby Love in your belly. What is there to be scared of?

Sikora said...

Amen to that. Agree with everything you said about maternity care in the US - it is in crisis. I too went with a midwife in the hospital and had to deal with a scary ultrasound result that turned out to be nothing.

I hope all goes well with your labor. Giving birth is such an amazing, empowering, beautiful experience.