Zoralee woke up with a snot trickle. There have been some serious nasties going around, so of course I'm hoping against hers developing into any of those. That was the least interesting thing I had to say, but it is a reality that lead to an afternoon nap in which we lay skin to skin while I gave her a little breast milk medicine on tap and thought about the day so far. Sickness and injury was definitely a theme.
On the way to church, Mom read us two emails from the caregivers of some of our recovering family members - a young cousin who had knee and leg surgery following a pretty bad snowboarding accident, and an early-70's great-aunt learning to talk, walk, and write again a year beyond a steroid injection for back pain gone wrong. The striking thing about the letters was that, despite very unfortunate circumstances that have and may continue to drag on for an unknown period of time, the caregivers (a mother and a husband) were hopeful. They focused on small victories, things that wouldn't even be worthy of mention if you were dealing with healthy people. But I suppose the standard of progress can change in an instant, as can the standard of a normal day, a normal life.
We also learned that Murray, pictured below, had eaten one of those giant 7 ounce Hershey's chocolate kisses the night before, necessitating a middle-of-the-night visit to the animal hospital and some worried hours for Luke and Heather (brother and wife). Fortunately, it looks like the little guy will be okay, because his system is essentially rejecting the chocolate in every way possible, ahem, out of every orifice possible. I can only imagine his glee though when he first saw the kiss and began tearing into the foil, realizing this was a gold mine like no other.
|Murray, two days ago at the park, pre-7-oz-Hershey's-kiss|
One thing about churches around here (or grocery stores or theatres) - lots of white people. My lands, I hadn't been in a room with that many white people in, well, nine months. And one thing about this particular church - lots of older people. Permed hairdos and extreme-floral-print shirts for the ladies, suits for the gents. One couple caught my eye. They were both well kept and looked easy-going, the kind of people you'd want to talk with at length. She must have Parkinson's disease, or something like it, and was in a wheelchair. He was very handsome, bearded. After church, he was loading her up via wheelchair lift into a VW vanagon. Yes. An older, maybe mid-80's VW vanagon. Mine eyeballs were both confused and delighted. Believe me, I'm filing away that revelation: just because one of us gets a debilitating disease doesn't mean we can't have fun transportation.
At lunch, I saw an acquaintance who is the same farness along in pregnancy that I am. Normally I don't delve into pregnancy and birthing issues (that I care deeply about) with a near-stranger unless they too are really into it. I value individual choice, and I think there's a time and a place for nearly everything, so a variety of well-informed methods and perspectives doesn't bother me. But what gets me fired up is when a woman has no idea that there are ways she can increase her chances of a healthy pregnancy and normal birth. I am not angry at the woman; I am angry at her health care provider, be it doctor, midwife, or whomever isn't making known to her the range of choices and their benefits and risks. Birth can usually be such a beautiful, intense, life-enhancing, confidence-giving experience (barring serious medical conditions that threaten mama or baby), that when women are pushed through the process in ways that strip them of control, I feel nearly the same anger as I would toward a rapist.
This acquaintance gal, sweet as can be, mentioned that she may be having a C-section if the baby gets too big. I was curious! How big is her baby right now?! Turns out, my midwife (by feel) and her doctor (by ultrasound) estimated our respective babies to be within 1/2 pound of each other at 32 weeks - mine 4 pounds, hers 4.5 pounds. I was totally alarmed that her doctor would be already seriously considering (and gearing her up for) a C-section for a potentially perfect baby! I asked if the doctor was discussing diet with her. She was surprised by the question. "Nope," she said, "not at all." Aaagh! I suggested she might want to google it, and I briefly mentioned two friends who had first children by C-sections five or six years ago due to "large" babies of 10-11 pounds. By watching diet (and taking a totally different approach to birth, which I didn't mention), their recent full term babies were 8.5 pounds, both born vaginally and completely naturally.
But here's the rub. She, having every right to be so, was uninterested. She's sure that she eats too much, but oh well. This reasoning is so different than the birthing subculture I'm most familiar with that it threw me for a loop. I moved on to general congratulations and lightness, but it really bugged me for a bit there. Debriefing with my folks afterwards, I was again reminded that sometimes people don't want the complexity of considering options, and in a free country, that's their prerogative. So then I felt weird about what I said, like maybe I'd overstepped my bounds. It was probably fine to express my honest surprise at her doctor, but I shouldn't have mentioned my friends. It's helpful to know about real life examples, if you're open, but it's not helpful to be blithely compared to others, which I may have inadvertently done. So, doggies. The last thing a pregnant woman needs is stress that she's not doing something right. But, but, but what if this information could save her a major abdominal surgery, 6 weeks of recovery, the heartache of bonding and breastfeeding problems, etc. etc. etc. etc., and instead allow her to have the most incredible experience ever? Choosing between advice-giving and advice-withholding is very difficult sometimes.
Another post I want to do soon is about the lessons I learned from my first birth, things I want to remember and apply to this upcoming birth. I hope to get some feedback from y'all too, no matter your stories! In fact, after I'd finished this post, I read a great story, and I'm gonna post a link right next.