The End of the Beginning
As Lorna, studious graduate student and incredibly expanding woman, nears her due date, the waters begin to rile…
My pregnancy was a by-the-book affair until sometime in the 7th or 8th month. It was “my” pregnancy because, as I recall quite vividly, my body was stretched, poked, hormonally zinged, and incessantly patted by a cadre of passersby, some who I actually knew. I understand that fathers want in on the baby-action, so saying “we’re pregnant” was/is all the rage. I resented Chuck talking about our pregnancy, although I had to admit he knew more about it than I did–and he gained weight during my pregnancy, too. Hmmm.
But I digress… I was a busy graduate student: studying, going to evening classes, TA-ing (cool down, I’m referring to my teaching assistantship), and RA-ing (working part-time as a research assistant at GWs hospital). My days began with a 7:00 AM metro ride into D.C. and ended with a 9:30 PM metro ride back. During my RA-ing, I had my consistently low-end-of-normal blood pressure monitored, just to keep Chuck and Baby-Doc happy.
No one was happy when my readings started to go up from “low-normal” to “normal” to “high-normal.” When they reached “border-line high,” Baby-Doc ordered strict bed-rest until the baby came (one month before classes ended). This was
disasterous impossible not feasible unlikely. I talked to all parties concerned, including Getting-Bigger-Bugger. They were all understanding and accommodating for about two weeks. So I bed-rested for two long weeks, worrying about what I missed and if I was missed. I told Getting-Bigger-Bugger that s/he better appreciate my sacrifice of lying in bed all day while Chuck made all meals, cleaned the house and took care of Humphrey.
Against Baby-Doc’s orders and Chuck’s
instructions advice, I resumed my schedule after the 2-week sacrificial period. My blood pressure went back down and I only had 2 more weeks before the semester ended. I checked my blood pressure daily. It stayed higher than normal, but didn’t escalate like before.
One night I came home, exhausted as usual. I didn’t feel like eating and laid down. My rest-time was Getting-Bigger-Bugger’s cue to act up. I got ready for kick-ball time inside my belly. This night was different. No activity. I waited an hour before I told Chuck I was pretty sure I’d killed our child. I tearfully told Chuck about the not-kicking. We both used my bulbous belly like an Ouija Board, moving our hands around, asking Getting-Bigger-Bugger probing questions.
We both felt a flutter, then a regulation kick. I was so relieved that I didn’t start my career as a mother with a manslaughter conviction. This time, the bed-rest thing wasn’t such a hard sell. I finished my semester by mailing in my term papers, quit RA-ing and scheduled twice-weekly appointments with Baby-Doc.
Three days before my due date, May 7, Baby-Doc told me Getting-Bigger-Bugger wasn’t budging. I was
hysterical upset troubled. Mother Nature is wise. She has a plan for wimps afraid of the pain of childbirth. The thought of keeping a growing human contained inside forever is much worse than somehow getting that growing beast out of you. I wanted my body back, poofy and achy though it was.
On the evening of May 8, I asked Chuck to massage my feet. He told me something he learned in Lamaze class: never massage a pregnant woman’s feet–it’s likley to induce labor. Really? I missed that (like everything else except than vile birthing film). I said “Massage like your life depends on it.” In the wee hours of May 9, my “water” broke and contractions started; they were as irregular as most travelers bowel movements.
The enchanting birthing-details aside, note these observations:
- Pitocin, a drug to make contractions occur more often and virulently, was probably devised by Josef Mengele.
- Demerol is useless to help you rest between contractions when on Pitocin because there is no “between contractions.”
- Breathing exercises work quite well after the epidural.
- Epidurals were invented by Divine and Merciful Angels.
- C-Sections have a bad reputation, but they saved two, maybe three, lives that night. You can speculate on whose…
Alexander, nearly 10 pounds worth of him, was born at 1:23AM on May 10, my due date.
Thus ends Lorna’s pregnancy and begins some wild adventures into the unknown: parenting.