Monday, November 14, 2011

Tell me what it's going to be like


Don’t add hormones if you want it.

I think we have safely covered the fact previously that I am a worrier.

I analyse, I anticipate, I role play a variety of scenarios and I lay awake at night with a brain racing like a nitrous-fuelled Lamborghini at a time of day when my conscience should either be driving this Miss Daisy to sleep, or put that damn Buick in the garage for good, Earl!

I also consume large amounts of what I shall call twaffle related to anything I happen to be interested in at any given time. Twaffle is any and all manner of “information”, so questionable that it must come with its own set of inverted commas in this context.

It is most commonly derived from such respected sources as the internet, magazinary assortments of flippy book-type things often positioned near the check-out in supermarkets, the television, discussions with friends and any pop culture reference that I may notice.

Despite my sometime-intellectual logic shrouding this twaffle in wrapping paper made from many grains of salt, one other part of me also takes it as gospel to be believed unequivocally – until a new piece of twaffle comes along to dispel/replace it.

So, consequently, I am consuming many baby-related things: a documentary series on TV called One Born Every Minute, I am talking lots to women about their birth experiences (not their own, obviously, at least I don’t think that’s what we were talking about) and reading lots of baby books, magazines and – worst of all – the internet forum.

I even read a tabloid glossy story about some random Entertainment Tonight reporter in the US I had never heard of, just because she had a horrific IVF story.

It’s only human, I suppose, and perfectly natural to want to find things to relate to. Especially at a time when you are on a long-haul flight OUT of Comfort Zone, scared, vulnerable and trying vainly to set the scene in the role play in your head of your own baby’s delivery!

Blocking, we need blocking people!

There are some horrible labour stories out there. I have watched some of them on TV and heard others in person.

There are also some great ones. But they are like headlines (I am a journalist) – the worst ones sell, the worst ones stick in your memory.

And perspective is almost impossible here – damn it, just when you need it most! – because birth is such a subjective thing.

Even if you could duplicate a delivery, every woman would describe a different experience. Because every woman is different.

Pain thresholds, transition speed, dilation rates, complications, interventions, time lapsed, music, hypnobirth, water, knees, gas...every single thing is different for each woman.

So how the fuck do you prepare?? I expect it to be one of life’s most memorable flight-or-fight moments. Will I soar or punch someone in the head?

I know it probably sounds ridiculous to waste so much head space thinking about something that on the day will be beyond my control. But it’s in my nature to prepare as much as I can, even if it is mentally. Hard to do when all you can visualise is informed solely by dodgy twaffle.

I keep asking T what the pain is like, where exactly it can be felt, during a contraction. I take comfort in the fact that she says she can’t really remember, even though I suspect she is deliberately lying.

And I also cling to her words when she tells me that feeling of release and relief when the baby’s head and then its body eventually do come out is the best in the world.

I also had my glucose screen test for gestational diabetes this week. I get the results in a few days and even though I feel enormous, I don’t think I am abnormally obese with a big sugary baby, so hopefully that means I’ll be clear.

I have stopped taking Elevit daily and now only take one or two a week. It saves both money and my bowel, frankly. Iron and I aren’t so much firm friends as firm enemies, if you get my drift, and Elevit contains a whopping 60mg per tab.

I had a bit of a scare today when I hardly felt the baby move at all. Triggers for movement are normally after I eat, when I lie down or exercise. But by about lunchtime today I realised I hadn’t felt much at all. I called T and expressed some worry, hung up and then felt the baby move.

It was much lighter than before, and certainly much less than we had both felt last night when I thought I was channelling John Hurt in Alien and expected to see our baby bursting through my skin.

The “trusty” old internet forum came to my rescue, saying babies can have quiet days, but that no movement is obviously a concern after a day or more.

Actually, that was the third forum I found. You’ve got to keep Googling until you find a diagnosis you like.

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