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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pregnancy Update: Due Dates and other less certain predictions

This is my fourth pregnancy. I've been through this before, and I've learned a few things along the way. Not 24 hours after I took a positive pregnancy test with my first pregnancy, I was on the phone with my OB/GYN. "What, you don't want to see me until 10 weeks? Don't you want to take a blood test to confirm I'm not making this up?"
So in the last few weeks when someone has asked if I had scheduled my first prenatal appointment, I've shrugged and responded, "Ehhh, I've got time. They won't want to see me until I'm 10-12 weeks along anyway, and then all their going to do is listen to the babies heart beat, tell me when I'm due (which I already know), and tell me to take prenatals (which I'm already doing)."
I had some things to think about, too. The midwife that I fell in love with and who delivered both Julian and Schroeder recently moved to Virginia. Plus, I gave birth less than ten months ago, and the intensity of an unmedicated labor is still fresh. I thought maybe I NEEDED an epidural this time. I sat at Steak 'n Shake on our trip to Indiana explaining to Stephen why an epidural might be emotionally necessary.
As the shock of being pregnant again has subsided, I've come to the conclusion that labor only lasts a couple of hours. I've handled it twice before, and I can do it again. So, I once again made an appointment at the San Antonio Birth.
My first appointment was this morning. Before I headed out, I got a call from my mother-in-law. As we were saying goodbye, she said, "Hey, let me know what they say, you know, when and who." I threw back my usual sassy reply, "Well, the when isn't going to change. I already know when I'm due."
Because besides being less eager, the other thing that has changed with each pregnancy is the confidence I have in my ability to understand my own body. I know when I'm due, not because I know the date of conception (I'm still trying to figure that out) but because I know when my last cycle was, I know how long my cycles normally are, I know when my morning sickness symptoms began and started to subside, and I know when my stomach started to firm up. I also know that my dates will be confirmed if I go to the doctor and they tell me, "Oh my, the top of uterus is only ___ below your belly button. That indicates at least 14-15 weeks."
"Yeah, have you noticed that my torso is half the size of a normal womans? Before this baby is born it will practically reach my chin!"
My 20 week ultrasounds aren't much better. They usually indicate the baby is at least 2 weeks further along than they are. According to Julian's ultrasound, he should have been born September 15th. His birthday is October 7th.
So this morning, I walked into the birth center and simply said, I'm due August 7th. Then I breathed a sigh of relief when the reaction was like, "Sure, your reasoning is sound, and, hey, we kind of have the approach that babies take as long as they take." I had made the right decision in going to a caregiver that honors my experience and knowledge of how my body works, and, yes, I will pay for it in labor pains.
I'm also vowing now that this pregnancy I will not get caught up in believing that a doctor's visit is going to give me more insight on when this baby will actually appear. See, around week 38 of my first pregnancy, I had a realization. I would head to the doctor's office each week hoping that something would indicate that this baby's delivery was imminent. Instead, I would leave in tears having been told two things. First, that I was heavier than I had ever been in my life. Yippee. Secondly, that according to my cervix, I was not going to have this baby anytime soon. These doctor's appointments were sure overrated! I fell into the trap again with Schroeder, when at only 37 weeks, the midwife identified that I was already several centimeters dilated. She happily said that she would be surprised if I went past 40 weeks. I began to hope beyond reason. I even blogged that my hope was that I would have a red haired girl on St. Patty's Day. I even bought a St. Patty's Day onesie in expectation. Well, my beautiful baby boy was born a mere 10 days later (for those who can't do the math, March 27th). He does have a tinge of red in his hair, and ,yep, he still wore that onesie I paid 5 hard earned dollars for.
I should have trusted my experience, and my body's signs which clearly indicated the last weekend in March. Had I done this, I would have saved myself one week full of grief.
That being said, I'm predicting that this baby will be born sometime on or around Friday, August 13th. Let's all hope that this San Antonio summer isn't as blazing hot as the last one.
So, unlike my sister, who have had their portrait taken about seven times now, I have not had an ultrasound. However, I plan to have one at the 18-20 week mark, and we intend to find out the sex. We didn't last time. We thought we would see what it was like to find out in the delivery room. That was before we knew that the delivery room would be our own bedroom. When Stephen said, "It's a boy." All I could think was, "Hi Holly (our midwife), I'm glad you could join us in time for this alien to shoot out of my body (She arrived with about three minutes to spare)."
So what am I hoping for this time around? Well, let's just say I'm refusing to come up with boys names until forced to, and when asked what we should refer to this baby as right now, my answer is "Uh...Maggie! :)" Don't worry, this baby will get loads of love one way or the other.

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