A typical baby doc visit and pregnancy auto-pilot

PSA: Today is brain tumor awareness day. As I told the husband this morning, in my mind (ha! get it??) brain tumor awareness day is September 15 but since May 22 is the date for mass (again, get it?) awareness, please be aware. Brain tumors are out there. Or in there, rather (gosh I kill myself). Go gray in May!

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A friend was lamenting her impending trip to the lady doctor but then backtracked, saying “it’s probably nothing like having to go once a week, like you do.”

I told her au contraire, by the time you’re knocked up, provided that everything is going well, the monthly visits are non-invasive and quick. I’m very blessed to be having a textbook pregnancy so far, and this is a typical visit to the baby doctor:

Nurse: Step on the scale please.
Me: <eyes closed>
Nurse: That’s good, good. Now we’ll do your blood pressure.
Me: <falls off scale, opens eyes, sits, breathes deep>
Nurse: Excellent, right this way.
Me: <sits on crinkly paper in exam room>
Doctor: Hi. How’s it going? How are you feeling?
Me: Good. I walk the dog twice a day.
Doctor: Are you feeling the baby move regularly?
Me: Yes.
Doctor: Good, let’s hear the heartbeat.
Me: <lies on crinkly paper>
Doctor: <waves heartbeat wand over my belly> Sounds good.
Me: kthxbai.

The nice thing about pregnancy is that it’s gradual. You’re going to gain 30 lbs? Not to worry, you’ve got nine months to do it. You’re going to outgrow everything you own, underwear and some shoes included? No biggie, won’t happen overnight. Everything is going to ache and burn? Sure, but not all at the same time.

So much of what I read about pregnancy is negative or just plain stupid, and I’m talking about the articles and websites, to say nothing of the idiots who post on chat boards and e-communities–there’s a name for that kind of stupid, and I’m not comfortable including it in a post. My parents read this stuff.

I rolled my eyes at the article I found called “10 icky pregnancy side effects,” because in case pregnant women everywhere weren’t already fully aware of the itchy skin, random bloody noses, and constant need to pee, it’s really nice to have an article that spells it out for us.

My other favorite was an article–which linked to others like itself for more information/guidelines/rules about how to be pregnant–that detailed the daily chemicals we preggos come into contact with, how distressingly toxic these are to our feti, and how we must, simply must, without wasting another moment, haul our laptops to the bathroom, and sort through our face washes, moisturizers, toothpastes, and hair gels to cross-check each 27-letter ingredient against The List of Baddies Heretofore Provided and dispose properly of each offending product, promptly hopping into our cars (hold your breath, don’t breathe in the fumes you may contact on the road or rightoutsideyourownhomeomg!) and patronizing the local organic markets to purchase for prenatal consumption vastly overpriced products that use only Siberian sea salt extracts and Canadian spring water in their composition. And packaging.

Natural ingredients are awesome, but there is simply no way on God’s green earth that I’m going to believe washing my face with Noxzema is harmful to my baby and a dereliction of my motherly duty. Yes, I did text my older sisters, who have normal and healthy children of their own, to find out what truth there was to this business, and they were equally unconvinced and unswayed.

A lot of the pregnancy industry (yes, it’s an industry) is predicated on taking advantage of women who are vulnerable to opinions, thanks to hormones and the idea of being solely and uniquely responsible for another human life, and pumping them full of more opinions-disguised-as-requirements than there sperm in a fish in the sea so that they buy every last product out there to guarantee a health pregnancy and brilliant baby. Implying that only a bad mother would continue brushing with Colgate total and painting her nails adds insult to injury, both of which preggos are extremely susceptible to. These women, already getting familiar with the new responsibility their bodies take on, are eager to do whatever the pros say to do or not do, buy or not buy, lay on, sit on, pick up or avoid.

Case in point: I have read and heard that it’s dangerous to lay on your back after a certain point in pregnancy–but this certain point varies from book to book and doctor to doctor–because the weight of the growing baby puts pressure on the mom’s major blood vessels and can constrict blood flow to the baby, killing it. After about 18 weeks, I was extremely careful not to lay on my back, responsibly propping myself up on an extra pillow to lay in bed and read and wedging myself between a pillow and the husband at night to guarantee that I didn’t roll onto my back and murder my unborn daughter. And then I went for the 20 week ultrasound, during which I was–did you guess?–completely flat on my back for well over an hour, and which procedure I will repeat at 25 weeks, presumably inflicting the same lack-of-harm on the little oyster as the last time I held this supposedly life-threatening position. And guess what? With only one pillow to think about now and no more contorting myself like a Tetris piece to remain firmly on my side while asleep, I sleep better, which itself is better for me and the baby.

Unlike preparing to bring a baby home and gathering all the required equipment, insurance, etc., actually carrying one during a normal, healthy pregnancy is a relatively auto-pilot thing for a body to do. There is work involved and some adjustments to be made for sure. I can’t move as fast as I used to or carry things on my hip at the moment, but that’s because my body adjusted itself to not do those things anymore, not because I planned to stop carting the laundry basket around on my hip at week 22. Do I need to wake up each morning and consciously think of what I need to do today for my body to complete another day of pregnancy? Apart from making sure I drink enough water to fill a Volkswagen because it helps me not cramp, no I don’t.

There are some obvious things to avoid while pregnant, and others to take in moderation. Chat boards should be avoided, while websites should be consumed in moderation.

Ha, and you thought I was going to say no wine while expecting. Yeah, ok.


2 thoughts on “A typical baby doc visit and pregnancy auto-pilot

  1. Hooray for ho-hum visits! And also, don’t worry, by the end of the pregnancy when the visits are both weekly and invasive, you’re so ready to be done that you are quite eager to find out exactly what the doctor *can* see, feel, or hear and the exams won’t bother you a bit. All in good time, m’dear, you know, and all that.

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