Eleventh Hour Panic
So as much as I’ve tried to deny what comes next, my pregnancy is quickly nearing an end. I am well into the third trimester—my hands are constantly puffy, I don’t remember what my feet look like, putting on socks leaves me panting for breath, and I have only 17 more days of work until my maternity leave starts.
I haven’t been a good pregnant woman. I haven’t eaten as well as I should. My well-balanced, healthy diet went out the window in the first trimester with nausea and food aversions, and I haven’t managed to regain control over it. I rarely remember to take my prenatal vitamins. My exercise routine now consists of walking for an hour 2-3 times a week. I haven’t been swimming, which I intended to do. The prenatal yoga that I managed a few times on out-of-town rotations is a distant memory. Mr. Couz and I haven’t attended any prenatal classes, or even toured the labour and delivery floor of the hospital where I’ll be giving birth. I don’t think I’ve managed to do anything to prepare myself for what lies ahead.
Even my prenatal care has been sporadic. My midwife is very nice, and because I’ve been out of town so often I’ve only attended 3 appointments since my care was transferred to her when I was 20 weeks pregnant. I declined my gestational diabetes test, as my weight gain has been appropriate and I have no family history of diabetes (gestational or otherwise) so I figured it was unnecessary. I enquired about the banking of cord blood vs. delayed cord clamping at my last appointment only to learn that I was far too far along for cord blood banking to be an option. So delayed cord clamping it is.
And now I’m starting to second guess everything I’ve done so far.
Initially when I opted for midwifery care I was very confident in my decision. In the town where I left the midwives had a great relationship with the obstetricians—they were well trained and respected, and the hospital where they delivered was very progressive and baby-friendly. This meant immediate skin-to-skin contact after delivery (unless resuscitation was indicated), no episiotomies, birthing tubs available, lovely birthing rooms that looked less like hospitals and more like living rooms, followed all breastfeeding friendly guidelines (so no well-intended nurse would pressure you to supplement baby with formula because your milk hadn’t come in by post-partum day #2—gah!)… Generally a place where I’d be comfortable to deliver.
In my new town, I’m not so certain. I’ve heard a few cautionary tales about making sure the midwife doesn’t wait too long to consult obstetrics in the case of complications, the relationship between the midwives and the obstetricians isn’t quite as friendly, and the birthing practices seem right out of the 1950’s. And I’m getting nervous.
My midwife is aware of our preferences. We’ve gone over every aspect of the delivery and immediate post-partum period and she is aware of my wishes pertaining to every step along the way. She even seemed okay with the fact that I’d prefer a c-section over an operative vaginal delivery (get those forceps away from me!). I think that between her and my husband they’ll be advocating for me if I’m not able to. But still I’m starting to wonder if I’ve done the right thing.
Should I have just gone with an obstetrician? There is one in town who seems to be universally loved by other physicians and patients alike. Of course, I still wouldn’t have been able to guarantee that I’d go into labour while she was on call. As ashamed as I am to admit it I’d still prefer a scheduled c-section over the unpredictability of a vaginal birth, but I am also well aware that no obstetrician in town would agree to that. And since the Bean has been vertex (head down) for weeks already, it looks like my semi-subconscious wishes that he would be breech have gone unheeded. So it looks like I’m doing this the old school way.
What about a family doctor? The one that was recommended so highly by a number of people refuses to accept my family into her practice, even as a professional courtesy. Her practice is closed, and she isn’t accepting new patients regardless of who they are. So much for the perks of being a physician. Having her deliver my baby would have been a back door into her practice, and it would have secured my family a primary care provider.
I don’t know why I’m starting to question all of this now when I’ve been perfectly comfortable with my choice since the beginning. As with all of my other neuroses lately, I’m going to assume it’s hormonal.