Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Post Not Intended For Those Considering A First Time Pregnancy

They say that each pregnancy you have is different. Entering my second trimester while carrying Sofia, I would have told you that wasn't true, at least not for me. Everything was the same as I had experienced it with David:

Only the slightest bit of "ooginess" for about 20-30 minutes each morning, during which I would just sit still on the couch or at the kitchen table sipping water until I felt better. Check.

Annoying shortness of breath sensation from about 5 weeks onward, actually caused by hormones, not really related to the lungs themselves. Check.

Absolute, ravenous hunger for entire first trimester, eating whatever was within reach, from morning until night. Especially craving cottage cheese. Mmmm, cottage cheese. Check.

Constant compulsion to nap. Check.

I had all these symptoms with David. I had them all with Sofia. Things were just as I remembered them. David was a big baby, born at 9 lbs, 7 oz. and 23 inches long. 26 hour labor, no drugs. After him I felt like I could take over the world. After about a month of sleep, of course. I imagined the next birth to be a lot like the first. But then things with Sofia changed. At about five months into my pregnancy a new sensation emerged. It was the feeling that I was no longer carrying an infant in my womb, but rather several bowling balls that at any second were going to drop right out of me and go crashing through the floor boards, into the basement. It was awful. Really awful. This is what I felt at the very end of my pregnancy with David, only during the last week or so. Why was this happening so soon? My midwives didn't seem concerned. They said the second you often carry lower because of the muscles having loosened up, etc. etc. That seemed logical enough but this feeling did not feel right. I wore one of those awful belts to help support my gianormous belly, but it didn't do much. Two weeks before I was due I was having a check up and I asked my midwife about how big she guessed the baby would be. She felt my belly and poked and prodded for a few minutes and then she stopped and frowned.

"Well, that's not right," she said.

Immediately I begin panicking. The baby has three legs. Or maybe two butts. I knew something was not right. I just knew it. "What is it?" I whisper.

"I think she's breech."

Huh. I wasn't expecting that. In fact that was one of the things I never worried about for a second. Only 3% of babies are born breech so as odds go it wasn't on my list of likely problems.
She brought in a portable ultrasound machine and confirmed her suspicions. She pointed out the head and legs to me but I had to take her word for it because the image was too grainy and I couldn't make out a thing.

Since doctors and midwives nowadays have very little experience delivering breech babies (except by c-section) I was instructed on how to do exercises to try and "turn" Sofia into the head first position. I did a modified "downward dog" (or whatever it was) move faithfully for the last two weeks of my pregnancy, but it didn't work. Then the doctors tried an "external version". Oh, good times. Then they tried it again the morning I came in with contractions, thinking I was in the early stages of labor. Still nothing. A nurse confided in me while she was checking my chart that there's "usually a reason the baby won't turn. Babies know best," She assured me, smiling. She was right. After a successful c-section they saw that the umbilical cord was wrapped all around her neck and had she turned...well, baby knows best.

So there you have it. Two very different pregnancies, two radically different deliveries. Two unique, awesome little people.

This one is going his/her own course as well. So far it's the, "constant discomfort in my lower back and sometimes very oogy in the morning, sometimes not" pregnancy.

But just like the others, this baby likes the cottage cheese, too. Mmm. Cottage cheese. Check.

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