Saturday, January 28, 2012

Be sensible. For once

I am reading Kaz Cooke’s famed pregnancy book Up The Duff.

As she writes week by week about her pregnancy, so too do I read the relevant chapter at a time.

This week she talked about presenting her birth plan to her OBGYN at her latest appointment.

As far as I knew, it was a piece of paper, actually handed over to the doctor.

I got a bit worried and wondered if this was par for the course, so I raised it with my OBGYN when we went in this week.

Dr Sensible, as he shall henceforth be known for all eternity, said that was probably something advisable in larger hospitals where the staffing complement of midwives was enormous and such notes/plans would be clipped to patient admission forms to ensure that Labouring Mother A did not get her Enya CDs, carrot sticks and lavender oil burner mixed up with Labouring Mother B’s sandalwood incense, Tim Tams and strict instructions to do third stage naturally.

And trust me, when it comes to banshee demands from a woman in labour, you do not want to confuse a carrot stick with a Tim Tam.

“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself,” he said, when I told him I will certainly try for a natural birth but will be undoubtedly disappointed if I have to have a Caesarean or some other drastic means of intervention.

I hate that about myself sometimes...the fact that I anticipate extreme, negative emotions that I may never feel. But perhaps I need to experience something of that – to imagine that – to provide me with enough internal incentive to try and avoid it?

But that’s the thing about labour. Your body takes over. How much of your mind could possibly play a part when there is a physical process just running the show? How closely intertwined can body and mind really be at that point, especially as it’s a point when women commonly LOSE their minds...?

Back at the doctor’s, I hopped up on the table for a quick heartbeat scan and gentle tummy feel. The head is definitely down. Good news.

I told him friends of mine had had their doctor give them a rough indication of the size of their baby via a quick ultrasound. Could he also do one on me, please, so that I might have some early warning as to whether or not I should be readying myself to deliver either a hippo-shaped human or a lemur-sized lump.

Just who is who in my zoo?

Dr Sensible then explained that such calculations were very imprecise and carried a margin for error of 15% either way. And besides, he said, some women have heard a weight, – say 8.5 pound – freaked out about the possibility of delivering a 9.5 pound baby through their fragile pelvis and opted for a Caesar only to deliver a 7-pounder on D-Day.

Too much information? It is EVERYWHERE in the world of babies, pregnancy and parenting.

At the end of our appointment, I wasn’t one bit miffed. In fact, I was thankful we had a doctor who was willing to stand so proudly with both feet firmly in Reasonville, Logic Land.


  1. Go with the flow and take the drugs if you need them. If you plan too much, it sets you up for disappointment in yourself. How women birth is not a competition - it's a means to a beautiful outcome. So excited for you Bec!

  2. You are absolutely right of course. I am trying desperately hard NOT to think about it, but the more I tell myself that, the more I freak out about the fact that I am actually thinking about it. I am now looking into breathing techniques and I think I will visualise the word "plan" going out the window. Literally.
    Thanks (and you too T from last post.) X