Saturday, April 19, 2014

pregnancy FAQ, part 4

Q: ... still pregnant? Are you kidding us?

A: How I wish I was. I'm at the point of believing that my hitherto-unknown superpower is actually the ability to hypnotize medical professionals and ultrasound machines into supporting my pseudocyesis. THANKS, RADIATION. THIS HAS LIMITED USES. 

Q: Is your doctor concerned?

A: Well, my now-twice-rescheduled induction is, technically, not for medical reasons yet (it's what's usually called a "social induction", and that's the first procedure to get bumped if there are computer / staffing problems, which is what's been going on at our hospital the last few days). But the fact that she was totally on board with an induction the day after my due date indicates to me that she could tell I'm losing my damn mind. 

Q: So twice now you've packed everything up, cleaned the house, contacted the dogsitter, thought you were going in to start having a baby - and then they told you nope, not today, call back tomorrow? Twice? 

A: YES.  I don't at all resent being a low priority compared to women who are actually in labor, but if you thought I was losing my shit BEFORE...

Q: Wait, a "social induction"? Isn't that, like, so unnatural as to belong in Dr. Frankenstein's lab?

A: And I will probably be as stellar a parent, too. Instead of asking for an induction when the second visit in ten days showed that I hadn't progressed at all towards labor since the last check, I should have said cheerfully, "Oh, no interventions, let's wait! I can be patient! I can just do hours of meditation and yoga a day for, like, two more weeks of wasted leave time, and think beautiful thoughts, and the baby will come when she's ready! No matter that she'll weigh fourteen pounds and I'll have to go back to work before she's two months old!"

Q: Seriously. You're as bad as the apocryphal women who schedule their elective c-sections around their ski trips to Aspen.  

A: It's so true! An induction for, at the moment, work and mental health-related reasons (insomnia, anxiety attacks, uncontrollable crying, and self-loathing have been the delicious plats du jour for a week now, and I really didn't feel like going through [and exposing the baby to] two more weeks of such) is exactly like that. Never mind that should this go another four days my doctor wants an induction for medical reasons, given my age and genetic risk of blood clots, and the scheduling of it earlier for my sanity and convenience was the only part of it that's "social". Despite that, I'm a bad person who has failed. 

Q: Well, you will be justly punished for it; everyone agrees that induced labor is the most pain that a human being who is not actually being eaten alive by a bear can experience.

A: So they say. I will try to report back with a comparison.

Q: You have been eaten alive by bears?

A: No, but I saw "Grizzly Man". 

Q: Which begs the question: would having Werner Herzog narrate your induced labor make it better or worse?

A: This is probably an available childbirth option in the Netherlands. 

Q: You will, alas, have to settle for at least knowing that your pain is deserved. 

A: See my forthcoming book, Calvinist Childbirth Techniques. 

Q: Amen! Because women have not physically suffered enough after nine months of pregnancy.

A: Or emotionally or mentally, I would add. This experience is no fucking joke. Even if you don't plan and host your wedding during it. Even if you don't spend two months of it caring for a beloved terminally-ill dog, and one month of it grieving him, and all three of those months working six-day weeks in an increasingly frantic environment. Even if it doesn't mean that the daily strenuous exercise which has kept you sane for eight years is now off the table (yeah, yeah, women run marathons while pregnant - it wasn't a good idea for me). With profuse and multiple apologies to those who wish to be pregnant and are as jealous of me as I am of women who love being pregnant, don't have to worry about work, and/or are going into labor naturally and beautifully, the last nine months have been kind of horrible and I am every shade of done. 

Q: To the books?

A: To the books!

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American West, by James Donovan. A LOT of backstory before we get to the actual battle, but interesting for all that. The section about the aftermath, and blame-assigning, post-battle, was perhaps what I liked best.

Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking, by Jessica Mitford. Essays about her experiences in investigatory journalism; really, really funny. Also, I had no idea that the expression "frenemy" has been around as long as it has (she claims her family invented it). 

Sacred Hunger, by Barry Unsworth. Huge ambitious historical novel about the slave trade that succeeds on almost every level. The female characters are given majorly short shrift, in my opinion, but other than that I loved it. 

The Mapping of Love and Death, by Jacqueline Winspear. The latest (that I've read) in her Maisie Dobbs, impossibly-perfect post-WWI investigator, series. I like them without at all liking our heroine, and I forget the details of each one almost immediately. 

Q: Good luck producing a baby at some point! At least you have an awesome husband and dog.

A: Thanks! The dog got a very good walk this morning, and the husband ate some cheese balls, and the result is that they are both in a coma state on the couch, snoring with the delicate harmony of a kazoo and an electric guitar. Magical Saturday afternoons. 


  1. Holy WHAT. Best of luck, and take advantage of what modern medicine can do for you! Women did once give birth squatting in the fields where they worked, but you don't see many five-star reviews of the experience.

  2. OH MAN, I am so sorry this continues to be so stressful. That kid of yours has determined opinions about what she's going to do already! Thank goodness for the awesome books and husband and dogge.

    'Q: Which begs the question: would having Werner Herzog narrate your induced labor make it better or worse?

    A: This is probably an available childbirth option in the Netherlands.'

    That made me really howl with laughter, just so you know.