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The waiting game and playing unfairly

6/14/2007

So we've been waiting on pins and needles since the water breaking incident with very little exciting news. The contractions continued at a rate of about two or so per hour for a week, depending on whether Jenny was lying down, sitting, or walking. This constant occurrence of contractions, much like the water breaking weeks before the actual birth, was not in the books although it seems to be in the experience of many mothers we've talked to. I suppose that if doctors and educators (myself included) told all the gory details of the actual process of pregnancy, unfiltered by the joys of being a parent, that fewer people may be willing to experience the joy of parenting. It also demonstrates to me that pregnancy is almost an entirely unique experience unlike anything else. Children's development, conflict processes, and almost any other typically occuring social or biological phenomena I can think of has patterns and ranges of experience, but all it seems that most medical professionals involved with pregnancy can say is that you conceive, the baby grows, then you give birth.

That said, when your doctor is going out of town for five days, you’re wife is at 38 weeks, is dilated to 2 cm, and you really want to make sure that the baby doesn’t come while he’s away, you may have to depend on medical science. That’s a very roundabout way of saying that Jenny has decided to go into the hospital for an induction. It was a considerable decision since early on we had decided to “go natural” (possibly under the influence of too many childbirth educators), but it seems that in order to do what we think is best for our baby that employing some medical innovations may be the most helpful.

There’s a fair amount of discussion in books, classes, and with experienced mothers about the pros and cons of inducing. We’ve been told that it may increase the pain of labor. We know that it raises the “risk” (their word, I prefer “possibility” since risk is inherently negative) of needing a C-section. We also know that recent reports say it is overused for “convenience” rather than necessity. While I have been lead to believe by some writers and educators that these people are selfish, time obsessed people, who prefer their own schedule to that of nature, now being in their position, I think that view is very narrow. Since OBs are people with lives, families, and social schedules all their own and when attempting to conceive we unthinkingly didn’t consider that having a baby in the summer time might clash with our then unchosen OBs parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. All the advice out there says that your relationship with your doctor is the most important part of your pregnancy, so why would be jeopardize that when it’s the most important and there are choices available?

I realize that this sounds defensive, but the gestalt of information from the pregnancy-industrial complex seems to be against these things: drugs (including caffeine and prescription), alcohol, inducing labor, c-sections (these two seem to go hand in hand), and not breast feeding. Engaging, or not, in any of these things result in guilt-inducing looks either from someone in the hospital, your neighborhood, or a baby superstore. I’m not sure why, but I suppose I’m just preparing myself for this. Maybe once the baby is here, no one will really care how she got out (I was c-section). Plus, redirecting my anger towards a nameless, faceless entity keeps my mind off the fact that this may be the last night of sleep I get in my home without a baby in it and some would say the last good night of sleep I’ll get…ever. Personally, I can't wait!

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