Tuesday, April 22, 2008

First OB Appointment

Hey everyone, sorry for the long wait between post but I've been waiting for something momentous to happen with the pregnancy and so far everything has been smooth sailing. I've only had two or three really small bouts of nausea, all right after waking up and none sticking around for very long. Usually it just takes a couple of saltine crackers to make it go away. Other than that, I'm still just knocked out by my constant fatigue. Seems like the only time I'm not exhausted is when I wake up at 2 am on my nights off, wide awake and unable to go back to sleep until about 8 am. Ah well, I guess that's for the best since I'm still on graveyard for another week and a half.

Yesterday I had my first OB appointment with Dr. Dan Smithson. Nathan took some time off and came with me, which was great. It was nice to have him there, although I sent him back to work before the oh-so-fun exam. This was the first time either of us met Dan (that's so much faster to type than Smithson) and I know I liked him right away! He's very relaxed and funny, which helped me relax. I got to ask him all of the questions that had occurred to me in the last 4 weeks, and he answered all of them. One of the questions was whether it would be safe for me to go on a small rafting trip with Nathan and my young life co-leaders when I'm at about 15 weeks, and it turns out that he is a big rafting fan too. Excellent.

The best part was when I asked him about the Bradley Method, which is a different approach to natural birth. Carly had mentioned it to me and when I did some research on it, I liked what I read. It's very focused on keep the birth as natural as possible and aimed towards avoiding c sections unless it's absolutely necessary. Don't worry, it's not so against drugs and c sections that it puts mom and baby in harms way if those things are necessary. But the method really focuses on keeping mom relaxed throughout the labor and listening to what your body needs. It also teaches the fathers to be coaches during the whole process, helping keeping mom as relaxed as possible. When I mentioned this to Dan, he first asked me what I knew and then told me that he has been involved in a lot of births using the Bradley Method and that he thinks it hits the nail on the head in almost every way.

He then went on to say that he is incredibly liberal when it comes to letting the mother decide what she wants to be doing during labor. The OB wing of our hospital is only 3 years old (brand new for Baker) and has things like birthing balls (basically just those big air-filled exercise balls), squatting bars, and even jetted bathtubs. Which is great since water relaxes me so much and has been proven to relieve a lot of labor pains. Dan said that they only hook the mother up to the monitors once an hour or so, and the rest of the time mom can be walking around, in the tub, pretty much wherever she wants to be. Evidently he is all about mom listening to her body and has even allowed moms to give birth squatting or on the birthing ball, with all his equipment laying on a sterile cloth on the floor.

I know this may all sound pretty strange and abnormal to some of you, but it very strongly resonates with the things I want and feel for my pregnancy and birth. I want to be in control of my labor and birth process as much as possible, and it sounds like Dan is going to let me do that. I want to be able to listen and work with my body, not fight against it. I want Nathan to be my partner and helper during this process. I don't want to be stuck on my back in a hospital bed attached to monitors for my entire labor. I realize that I have a pretty high probably of needing a c section, but if there's any way to avoid that, I believe this is it. And the fact that, in Baker, there's a doctor who is willing to let me do these this is nothing short of miraculous. So needless to say, I am extremely happy. If Nathan and I decide to do the Bradley Method, it will require us to travel to Ontario once a week for twelve weeks towards the end of my pregnancy, since that's where the closest classes are, but I think it will be so worth it.

The rest of the appointment was just as good. After getting the history questions out of the way (yay for having a clean medical history!) and finding out that all my labs came back normal, Nathan went back to work and I got to be examined. It was blessedly short, if incredibly uncomfortable and fairly painful. My next appointment is on May 21st, which will be when we get to hear the heartbeat of our little one for the first time! I'll definitely be counting down the days!

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