Thursday, November 10, 2011

Maternity leave report #2

And on the third day, I spent way too much time kicking it at Kaiser, for someone who is not even in labor. First I had my routine prenatal. There my doctor discovered that Baby H’s heart rate was chilling on the low end of normal. Not concerning, but on the low side, and lower than at my last appointment. (This is clearly due to the rigorous workout regimen he has undertaken in utero.) Then she measured my belly to be ever-so-slightly small, which was also normal, because at this late stage of being gigantically pregnant, the baby settles lower into the pelvis to prepare for exit. Thus, the belly tends to lose a little height.

Still, the combination of both perfectly normal factors led her to order some additional testing, just to make sure Baby H hadn’t settled in for exit in a way that was pinching his cord or otherwise causing distress.

So, down I went to the strange exam rooms in the basement, with thoughts of emergency c-sections bouncing around my brain. Apparently my baby’s daddy (having been updated on our adventures) was simultaneously coming to a place of calm acceptance that perhaps we would have an induction that afternoon and that would be fine. And isn’t he so zen with his worry? I had about 45 minutes to kill between “appointments” but that clearly isn’t enough time to do anything, other than call your baby’s daddy so that he can also worry, so after I did that, I ate a granola bar. I figured that no matter what happens, it’s always good to be well-fueled.

Then Wanda showed up to do my test and was horrified that I had been waiting and thought maybe she had overlooked my appointment and why hadn’t anyone called her??!!!???!! I assured her she was right on time, and that my appointment was brand new and it was okay. Then she gave me an ultrasound, which is always fun. Checked in on the fluid level of Baby H’s swimming pool (all good) and noted that he is still a boy.

And then! I was escorted to a lovely pink recliner, where my belly was hooked up to heart rate and contraction monitors and my only task was to lounge and read a junky magazine. As Wanda connected the contraction monitor, she said, “I don’t expect you’re having any contractions, but if you do have one, it will be good to see how the baby responds.” I assured her that I did not seem to be having any contractions.

So I reclined there, listening to Baby H’s heart thump away and watching the bumpy lines crank out of the machine. About 20 minutes later, Wanda returned.

“Did you know you’ve had four or five contractions?”

“Um, there was one thing I thought was maybe a contraction.”

“About five minutes ago? That was the biggest, but you had several others.”

“Oh. I had no idea. I’ll know when I’m in labor, right?”

“Yep. It’ll hurt. I promise.”

Then she reviewed the other bumpy line, and diagnosed Baby H’s heart to be “textbook awesome.” She confirmed that it was pretty much the most beautiful test result she had ever witnessed in all her experience administering such tests. And I thought finally! Someone is acknowledging how exceptional my baby is! Because I was really getting bored with all this “normal” and “fine” nonsense.

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