Week 13 Appointment

Today we had our Week 13, Day 5 appointment. We are very precise. Since my last appointment, which I had to interrupt to collect my wits about me, I’ve had long periods of feeling good interspersed with still being ill. My OB was convinced I was having a girl until I told her my sister lost 15 pounds her first trimester and had a big burly 8-pound boy. Then she told me “Guess you’re just genetically lucky, then.” Ha. Ha.

For the record, I lost five pounds since my first appointment two months ago. To look at me, you have to know what you’re seeing; if you didn’t know I was pregnant you’d think I was just chubby and carrying it all in my gut. If you do know I’m pregnant you’d see I’m steadily losing weight anywhere that isn’t my belly and what I must now refer to as my truly bodacious tatas. From the front and back I look no different; from the side there’s definitely a topography there that did not exist before.

Today we also heard the heartbeat for the first time, way over to the right side as I had suspected. Most of the pain I had in the very first few weeks was in my right side, and I think that’s where the Sea Monkey has taken up residence. The heartbeat is a perfect 140/min.

We got two big surprises at the appointment. My doctor also announced that she was only doing deliveries at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, instead of Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital like we had originally thought. Kapiolani is the best maternity/children’s hospital in Hawaii, and one of the reasons we originally picked this doctor. Queen’s Medical is fine, just not la creme de la creme, and, well, we all know I’m a snob, so I liked the idea of Kapiolani. We did discover that Queen’s Medical is very family-oriented, offering lots of classes including a special prep class for older siblings who are going to attend the birth. That doesn’t apply to us, obviously, but I like the implication that they treat the whole family with respect and consideration instead of trying to dismiss the needs of certain family members. Tom’s aunt is also an experienced L&D nurse and a lactation consultant, so we do have help available on the phone 24/7 if we want a second opinion.

The second surprise is that there are no water birth facilities at any of the birth centers on Oahu. I was thoroughly dismayed, since I had a nice little pain strategy worked around floating in a hot tub but I see now that is not to be. Fine. I’ll take up residence in the shower and push in there if I have to, and use the removable shower head to aim the hot water where needed. I’ll christen the baby Water-Pik.

We had considered home birth as a way to ensure I could have my hot tub intervention-free labor, but it is simply not for us. The main reason is that Tom and I are “What could go wrong?” people; we try to anticipate and plan for all the worst case scenarios. We hope for the best, but no reason not to be prepared. I know that most normal births are straightforward and uncomplicated and that an experienced doula could handle most of the issues. But the fact remains that something could go wrong. The nearest hospital is 45 minutes away under ideal conditions. There is ONE way to the hospital from our place, and if anything went wrong on the highway–the constant construction, the traffic choke points–we would have almost no recourse. There is simply no way for us to get to the hospital in time if something did go wrong. We pray that it won’t, but it could, and knowing that, Tom would not be able to relax, and therefore I would not be able to relax. It would be a miserable experience for us. I have deep respect for couples who can do homebirth, but we are not of their number.

A final note: the nurse told me on the way out that they “only need a little” next time they ask me for a urine sample. This is the same woman who refers to giving a urine sample as “making shi-shi,” apparently in the Hawaiian tradition. Seems I provide them much more than they need. I like to joke around with nurses and doctors, but my sense of humor is often inappropriate, and lately I’ve had to pee all the time. Example: I looked at the nurse and said, “But…I have so much to give.” *Awkward pause.* “Ha? Haha?”

Yeah. The nurses and I are going to have to get used to each other.