WEEKS 14 & 15
Senility sets in
Here I was thinking I could blame missing last week's journal entry on "placenta brain." I guess I can no longer use that excuse. Why? Well, you see, I just recently celebrated my birthday; I turned the "magic" 35. What makes 35 so "magical"? Ah, it's a mystery, really, at least in the obstetrical world. You may know that the risk of giving birth to a baby with Down Syndrome increases dramatically after a woman turns 35. However, did you also know that in obstetrical lingo that the 35-year-old (and older) pregnant woman is labeled "senile"? Sure, it's not a term that's commonly used today. More often you'll see "elderly," like that's any nicer way to label a woman who is considered to be in the prime of her life! Don't believe me? Take a look at some OB websites, or better yet, some of those forms that have the insurance codes on them. A woman who is pregnant at age 35 or older is senile/elderly. So, now I guess I have to blame my forgetfulness on senility. :-)
Hey, it's not as bad as all that, though. Another label I have is "grand." Yes, I am a grand multigravida. A multigravida is any woman who has been pregnant more than once, so I've been in that territory for a while. A GRAND multigravida is a woman who has been pregnant more than FIVE times. OK, so I've been in that territory for a while too. I'm also a grand multipara, which means that I've birthed at least five children. So, when you put it all together, I am a SENILE/ELDERLY GRAND MULTIGRAVIDA. It kind of conjures up this image of a very pregnant old lady who's a little off in the head, but is nonetheless a grand person to be around. And all because I turned 35 while pregnant. If I have any more children once I'm past 35, I'll be of "advanced geriatric status." PUH-LEEEZE.
The obstetrical lingo isn't limited to the senility thing, either. One term that comes readily to mind is the incompetent cervix. A cervix that doesn't KNOW what to do? Incompetent? Stupid??? OK, so it may not be able to hold in a pregnancy to term, but it DOES know how to open up. Fortunately more people are using the term "weak cervix", which seems to more accurately describe what the problem is. The cervix is weak and needs a little help (a la cerclage, that little stitch to keep things closed for a while). Many of the terms surround the event of miscarriage and include such terms as "habitual abortion" (recurrent spontaneous miscarriage), "products of conception" (normally a miscarried baby), and "pregnancy wastage" (again, a miscarried baby). Nice, eh? Then take the term that's used to describe the removal of a woman's uterus, hysterectomy. It actually comes from the Greek, meaning "removal of hysteria." Apparently the Greeks thought that female problems caused insanity in women. WHAT-EVERRRR.
Anyway, enough of my rant. That's about as feminist as I get. :-)
I've continued to feel really good. I now can tell that my lower digestive organs are making the slow migration north to my ribcage, which tells me that my uterus and baby MUST be growing. Sure, I've been able to palpate the fundus (feel the top of my uterus) somewhere between my pubic bone and belly button for quite some time, but now I can feel the effects on my internal organs. I've also started to experience some slight heartburn as a result of the aformention migration. It's nothing to complain about yet, but I'm sure it will get worse as my stomach competes for room later in pregnancy.
At times I think I have felt the baby move. Actually, I'm pretty sure it was baby movements and not gas bubbles. But I haven't felt anything strong enough to jump up and say "Hey, the baby just kicked me" to my husband or kids. I think one of the things is that my placenta is most likely near the front wall of the uterus, which then cushions the movements the little one has been making. The other thing is I just have way too much belly flab to feel anything really early.
The time is nearly up on my month's rental on the doppler unit. I think I will keep it for another month. Part of this is because I know I just won't get to FedEx in time for a prompt return, and part is because I like using it occasionally. I need to get a new earpiece for my fetoscope, so I won't be able to use that until I can locate a new piece. I prefer the fetoscope to the doppler, but not because I'm one of those people who is freaked out about ulstrasound. It's nice to hear the actual heartbeat and not the ga-dunk, ga-dunk whoosh-y type sound that most people are familiar with. The actual heartbeat sounds quite different. Just think to a time when you listened to your own heartbeat through a stethoscope. It's like that, only much faster. Plus, you can listen to all the weird pops, swishes, and gurgles. Some of that is baby movement noise, and some of it is digestion noises that the baby also hears. Kind of cool when you think about it...you kind of hear what the baby hears when you listen in with a fetoscope.
I was supposed to meet with the midwives this week. The winter weather had other ideas, though. The midwife called me the morning of the meeting and encouraged me to stay home, as it was snowing a great deal out where she was. I was kind of relieved, as I didn't want to get caught driving through the predicted "wintery mix." Yeah, I'm a baby, I guess, but I'm glad I didn't have to drive. I guess it's a good thing I'm not anxious about starting prenatal care. (Start? I've been doing it at home all along, really). At least I can honestly answer my mother-in-law that I have found a new midwife. Maybe now she won't bother me with the same question every time she sees me. It's funny, I haven't been to an OB since my first pregnancy, but she insists on asking if I've been to the "doctor" yet when I'm pregnant even though she knows full well that I see midwives. I don't know if it's because she's so doctor-centric or what. Heaven forbid you seek any kind of alternative care. Gosh, she even gets on her parents for going to the chiropractor for care! But this is the woman who runs to the doctor for a sniffle. Go figure.
My 14-month old son is "still nursing." I put it in quotes because that seems to be what you hear when you're pregnant and "still nursing" the previous child. He doesn't nurse a lot, but it's a few times a day. It doesn't bother me and I don't have plans to wean him aggressively. He does take a bottle and likes his milk, so I give him one when I'm tired or my nipples are bugging me. He doesn't seem like he will nurse throughout the whole pregnancy, but you never know.
Lastly, my house is really shaping up. I decided to take the plunge and join the Flylady list again, knowing that I need to have some kind of system in place before this new baby arrives. I was so overwhelmed with even the small tasks after our fifth was born, and I don't want to go through that again if I can help it. Anyway, Flylady has been helping many people instill little daily habits to make housekeeping easier and more enjoyable. The most notable thing has been my change in attitude. I hated keeping house because I felt like it was a thankless job. However, now I look at the things I do as blessing my home and my family, and that attitude seems to be carrying over to the rest of the family. I'm genuinely happy to make every bed in the house, and that small gesture seems to encourage the children to keep their rooms picked up. How about that? So, if you are desperate for some help or a new outlook on the drudgery of housekeeping, visit www.flylady.net and give it a go.