Sunday, March 31, 2013


Tomorrow I throw in the towel. I have an appointment with my midwife at the hospital. We'll do a non-stress test and she'll examine me. If my body is still unfavourable (That is my cervix is clamped shut like Fort Knox) then we'll ask for a C section. I'm so over this.

We chose tomorrow instead of Tuesday, when I would be officially 43 weeks along, because the OB on tomorrow is someone my midwife feels better about. Good enough for me. I'll take a recommendation like that. It's super unusual for a woman with a midwife to come in and ask for a surgical birth, but then most women don't go to 43 weeks.

I hate being an anomaly. I just wanted to go into labour and push the baby out and recover like a normal person. Now after a lengthy gestation that has sucked the life out of me and freaked out the hospital staff every time I go in for a test, I have to face a surgery.

And I'll have to explain why I don't want to be induced. I see no point to attempting that without being dilated at all. It's like trying to force open a closed door. It'll likely stall or fail after putting me and baby through a lot of pain and possibly distress and has a good chance in resulting in an emergency cesarian. I don't want to endure that. I have no more stamina left. Get this kid out.

I feel the kicking and movement, I've seen the tests showing a thriving fetus that's growing larger and larger, with a normal heart rate and enough fluid. But I can't sustain this. No more. I can't make myself spontaneously go into labour. This is out of my control. I've gained somewhere between 35 to 40 pounds. Carrying it around is killing me.

I went swimming days ago and the weightlessness was indescribable. Getting out of the pool actually hurt when I had to resume lugging my ass around again.

I really wanted a natural birth. There are risks for inductions, there are risks for C sections and there are risks for going over 43 weeks in pregnancy. At this point, there are no ideal options. I accept this. I am resigned.

And I have to remember my mother, who birthed me surgically after a failed induction and went on to be the sort of woman and mother I would want to be. What I wouldn't give for her to talk me through this. She would understand. She would empathize. I have to remind myself how my child enters this world is a temporary experience. I'll have a whole childhood to look forward to. I am weighed down by disappointment. I think the only cure now is seeing my baby. Who now looks like it'll have an April Fools birthday. Go figure.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


The following is an e-mail from the past, composed 3 months and 29 days ago, on November 30, 2012. It is being delivered from the past through

Dear FutureMe,
You're a mom! Or at least, hopefully you are. I've got my fingers crossed that you've given birth by now. If not, well, chin up. Easy for me to say, though, isn't it? I'm not 9 months pregnant.
This letter is only being sent about four months into the future, but really, motherhood is supposed to be transformative. Are you still you? Does life seem better?
I have so many questions. How was birth? Girl or boy? What's breastfeeding like? How have the cats been reacting? Is ***Dude*** excited? That last one I don't think I really need to ask. I'm pretty sure he'll be overjoyed.
I'm enjoying my last months of independence. I hope you're enjoying the co-dependence of loving your baby. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think we were meant for this life.
Make sure you get out and meet other mothers in the next couple months. I think that'll be important.
Good luck!

Sometimes even you have the power to taunt yourself. No baby yet.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Still. Pregnant.

I hit 42 weeks yesterday. I have little humour left to share about it. Calls and texts and emails abound from people who love us and I no longer want any of them. 

Yes, I've heard of that method of induction. I don't care what suggestion you have. I've heard of it, and I've either tried it and it didn't work or I think it's silly and have disregarded it as an option. Last night I attempted acupuncture. Seeing as I'm still in this state, I'm guessing it didn't work.

I've also tried sex (which hurts, for the record. I'm too big and nothing feels good), spicy food, herbs and supplements, walking, meditation--

Just got a phone call from someone I talked to a month ago about RESPs. 

"Still pregnant."
"Oh, awesome!"
"Not really."

I can't escape this.

I went in for an ultrasound and the technician could have been kinder. I laid there on my back, aching from the pressure and strain and tried to support my lower back with one hand, my head with the other (So my acid reflux wouldn't act up and make me vomit) and I coughed. "Could you cover your mouth?" Yeah. I know it's bad to not cover a cough, but my body was screaming at me to deal with the increasing discomfort, burgeoning on pain. She never tried to help me up and seemed mildly confused about my inability to move with ease.

And then I got sent up for a non-stress test again. Apparently a low heart rate. But when I got there and was tested, the heart rate wasn't low. Low end of normal, yes, but not low. And then I ate a cookie and there was all sorts of activity. 

My midwife came and was reassuring. She had to talk to an OB about me, as I'd hit 42 weeks and there are laws governing these things. 

The OB came in and more or less told me I was risking baby's life by not inducing today. She applied tons of pressure and eventually I couldn't look at her. I knew in my gut she was wrong. Baby was kicking, with a strong heartbeat and I felt fine. Totally over being pregnant, yes, but healthful. But there  she was, reaffirming all the reasons I avoided obstetric care in the first place.

She suggested I do various invasive hospital induction techniques that I knew I couldn't mentally handle. And by "mentally handle", I mean experience a fight or flight response wherein I will freak out and likely kick the doctor involuntarily. I don't care to go into why I'm like this, only that I am. This is not something I can suck up and handle. My primal self will fly off the rail. I tried to explain the impossibility of this and it fell on deaf ears.

My midwife talked to the doctor privately without me and when she came back let me know the doctor was not alarmed by my data, that everything looked good. It was just the fact I was 42 weeks along and everything wasn't exactly perfect. The numbers of certain things, things that were never recorded even a handful of years ago, were off by fractions. And for that this OB had me sobbing in the hospital room. I had to sign a waiver stating that she had informed me of my risks and that she was off the hook.

Now I'm home and feeling drained, discouraged and otherwise unhappy. Do I think baby will come when the time is right? Yes. Do I have faith in myself? Yes. Does it make this any easier to bear? No. No, it doesn't.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Still. Pregnant.

'Tis the first day of spring and the snow is a blowin', on and off, for days and days. And I'm still pregnant. On my father's side, the women tend to go overdue. One aunt was 18 days over, another was a couple weeks for both, and apparently my grandmother was 43 weeks for all of her children and she gave birth 10 times. Christ. Considering kidney stones run in that family as well and I've had those twice, I can't help but feel rather horrified by this prospect.

So, keeping that in mind, I decided to have a membrane sweep today. The Dude's vacation time is running out and I can't afford to not give birth soon. Three weeks of having him home is great and everything, but I need him here for the baby. If we could have waited for me to birth for him to start his time off, that would have been ideal, but we didn't have that choice. So now the pressure is on for the last week.

A membrane sweep is not enjoyable. Turns out I'm not dilated at all. Great looking cervix (If you must know) but not dilated. Doing a sweep, or attempting to sweep a non-dilated cervix can be painful. And it was. Another reason I don't like pregnancy. I really wish I could just let nature take its course. It would be a calmer, easier choice. My baby and my health are doing just fine. No need to panic. Life, however, is getting in the way.

Tonight I introduce castor oil into my life. I had it once before, when I had kidney stones the first time. Not sure why, but it was recommended and my mom made sure it happened. Foul stuff. But it's being put into a smoothie. Maybe that'll make it okay. It's supposed to help kickstart labour, which is a softer alternative to a medical induction with pitocin. Pitocin can necessitate an epidural, which can lead to an episiotomy and forceps, with an enhanced risk of a C-section. Scary.

Leaving the midwives today I had these Braxton hicks that literally stopped me in my tracks. Every minute, with no exaggeration, my uterus tightened up to the point I couldn't take any steps. It's hard to describe. It wasn't painful, but it threatened pain if I tried to move while my womb was flexing its muscle. It never used to be that hard. I guess the organ has really toned up over these many months. I was already walking like a wind-up tin duck and the intensity of the hicks was immobilizing. And yet it wasn't labour.

It's been nearly two weeks since we've seen our friends. The only time I get out now is to make some sort of appointment. My entire life is revolving around the end of this pregnancy. I literally could go into labour any time. It's a difficult thing to live with. Unless you actually live this reality, it truly is hard to understand. I'd heard about other women facing being overdue and I sympathized, but I realize now I didn't really appreciate the nature of it.

You can't think about the future anymore. Why? Because you have no idea what it'll look like. Zip. Nada. You can't envision it at all. You live entirely in the moment and the moment is uncomfortable and wrapped in nervousness and anticipation. You are entrenched in your body's doings, cataloguing the changes and obsessing over what it all means. You are deluged with advice of how to induce labour, making you feel like every passing day it doesn't happen it's somehow your fault. Everyone is calling, texting, and emailing you wanting updates, even though there aren't any. The only update that anyone needs or wants is: was the baby born? And of course the answer is no. Still nothing. Just like yesterday.

In case I haven't made it painfully obvious, this is ass.

Here's a picture the Dude took at 39 weeks.
This version of me has hopes and dreams of a 40-week pregnancy.
Oh, how wrong she was.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Oh, I haven't given birth yet, though I have contracted a nasty cold.

It's one of those colds that causes you to cough so forcefully that you throw up. I was already throwing up from time to time due to acid reflux, solved by sleeping upright on the couch at night. But now I was vomiting after I ate. And the runny nose has also been a delight.

So, with it being officially the 18th, I'm six days past my due date. This, generally speaking, is not a cause for concern. 40 weeks is average. Pregnancies can last between 38 to 42 weeks. Hence I don't need to be alarmed. My body is not an egg timer. But there is a difference between knowing this intellectually and the way it feels.

How does it feel? Well, I feel like a walking time bomb of fluids and pains. I've been experiencing pre-labour things for weeks: extra Braxton hicks, menstrual-like cramps. But still waiting on the THIS IS IT sensation of a real contraction, something I'll have to trust I'll recognize for what it is when the time comes.

The birth pool is set up in the kitchen. It's sort of just there, taunting me. One night when pre-labour pains were especially intense, I asked the Dude to get it ready just in case. And of course everything calmed down and I went on being pregnant forever.

But back to the cold, it's sort of been ruining my life for several days and last night entirely robbed me of sleep. I was waking every 20 minutes to sip water to quench my desert-like throat, or to cough violently. Then I had to go downstairs every 60-90 minutes to go to the bathroom and blow my nose. Putting off the bathroom ran me the risk of urinating a little from the coughs, they were that intense. I couldn't drink enough, I couldn't pee enough.

So, I called Telehealth and was informed to see a doctor within a few hours, probably due to my advanced gestation. And being that it was Sunday, I had to get to a place downtown that was only open until 4:00. Spent $35 on cabs there and back. That's how you know I'm sick, when I don't even consider the TTC.

Now, I haven't seen a doctor throughout my pregnancy. I've seen midwives. And because I haven't had cause to see a doctor, I've not bothered, even for a yearly physical. Why? Well... when you show up pregnant to a doctor and they want to know about your medical care during pregnancy you run the risk of condescension and disapproval. And I also can't help but feel my regular doctor would feel affronted by what is frankly my lack of confidence. It's not that I don't think she's a good doctor, it's just sometimes her bedside manner has been patronizing and appointments are always late and rushed, and there would be no home birth option and I don't know how knowledgeable she is about natural birth.

Anyway, this doctor at the walk-in was off-putting in exactly the way I had anticipated. He asked me about my doctor, I told him I had a midwife and he wanted to know what she said about my cough. I responded that she felt I should see a doctor about it. Fair enough, right? Midwives aren't GPs. They don't treat illness. They don't prescribe antibiotics. They're pregnancy and birth specialists.

His response was a dismissive, "Oh, that's helpful." Well, actually, I think it was. It's responsible for midwives to refer their patients to doctors when necessary. Then he wanted to know what my midwife intended to "do" about my pregnancy. I asked him to clarify that, because I'm not sure what there would be to do about a natural process that will end in due time. I'm still well within normal parameters, after all. He was wondering why I hadn't been induced yet, why I hadn't been transferred to an obstetrician yet.

I told him it was standard, that normal pregnancy was between 38 to 42 weeks and that now I was hoping I wouldn't give birth soon anyway until my cough was under control. He prescribed me some antibiotics, scared me off my neti pot and away I went.

You know, I just don't... care for doctors. I always go in hoping to like them, to see a friendly face and occasionally I'm pleased to meet someone who speaks with kindness and compassion and respect for you as a sentient person. But more often I just keep meeting these medical folks who talk down to me, try and frighten me or otherwise make me feel either confused or violated in some manner.

When we got home, the Dude propped me up in bed with every pillow in the house and we watched a movie until I found a way to lean over onto my side, feel the sweet bliss of gravity and fell asleep. Eventually I know I'll take sleeping horizontally for granted again, but I have to say, that much-needed nap felt godlike.

So, still waiting. Somehow having this cold, although annoying and awful, makes me feel a bit better about still being pregnant. It'll be easier to nurse it away without the baby here than with. So at least my lengthier gestation is serving some sort of a purpose.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Waiting, oh, waiting.

I'm days away from being 40 weeks, which would make me due. The Dude is on his vacation time and now I can't help but feel some pressure that I need to birth soon to make the most of his time off. My in-laws are all checking in to see if there's any news, my family is emailing me, and I'm feeling everything: anxiety, excitement, joy and apprehension.

Tonight we're seeing the Oz movie. Time is of the essence with this one. I love going to the movies, so I need to get this in while I can. There's those baby-friendly day time showings around town, but still. And who knows, maybe enjoying myself out of the house will get labour going.

I can't say enough about how weird this is. I mean, massive life changing event due to happen tomorrow. Or next week. Or sometime after that. And all I can do is wait. You get married, you know when that's happening. You know when you'll graduate. You've got your big trip circled on the calendar. You've planned what day you're bringing home your new pet. The closing date on your house is defined. And so on. But this? Pfft. Nothing. I suppose that's the appeal of the C-section. For someone like me, that's the only appeal, but I can appreciate the convenience.

Here's hoping my next post will be along the lines of: I gave birth!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Every time I see a new mother pushing her baby in a stroller or carrying the bubs on her person, I have two simultaneous reactions: joy/tenderness, and envy and resentment. And then I usually need to scratch my belly because I do a lot of that now because I've developed itchy skin. Glorious.

I mean, seriously, I just want my baby. Also, I want to know what the damage will be to my body so I can get to work on both accepting it and willing it back into some sort of decent shape. I have particular concerns about my rib cage, as I do not wish myself to be a barrel. Also, my hips have spread and have taken my ass along for the ride, effectively flattening it. My butt is not gone, but it's not as round and I'm interested in some sort of hip shrink wear, as post-birth the body is more malleable and may be my only crack at re-assing myself.

I've started to get small anxieties about being a mother. I know I'm up for it, but it's the finality of the decision that occasionally stuns me. This is permanent. Nothing else in life will ever be as permanent of a choice as this is. You can drop out of school, change jobs, sell a house, get divorced and so on. Having a kid is forever.

It's a weird place in your head. There's still the ME talking loud and clear. How will I get to my hair appointments and still meet my baby's needs/afford hair appointments? What about my social life? What will I look like? But then aside from all that there's the intensity you feel inside. You know you're going to adore your baby and you want to meet him or her now, and know if baby's a him or her. I want to breastfeed, and I don't want to be chained to breastfeeding and I want breastfeeding to go well, and I want my boobs to go back to normal and I don't want to pay for formula and I think pumping will be a pain in the ass. Ah, ambivalence.

My God... On one hand I wish I had other things to write about right now. But really? Try growing a new person inside your body and have the physical symptoms run your life for nine months. After awhile, it's just sort of what your life is about for a good long stint. My conversation hasn't been reduced to only baby talk, at least. But I think my blogging has now become an outlet for this side of my life. I know no other pregnant women. In a weird little prenatal way, this is all I've got.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Oh my God, it's almost here (Or at least it had better be almost here). I'm a few days from being 39 weeks along, I'm measuring at 39 cm (My uterus, that is) and the baby is so far lodged into my pelvis that I question if I'm going into labour every time it moves. And I didn't know it was normal to feel menstrual-like cramping in the last month. Oh yes. And there's dick-all you can do about it.

So, occasionally, I simultaneously experience Braxton hicks (Uterus tightening in practice for labour. Non-painful, unless the baby kicks), the baby kicking (mm-hmm) and cramping. Even a woman who loves pregnancy would have to get fed up with this tomfoolery. I don't even have room in my mind to be nervous about birth. I just want this kid out.

The midwife came for a home visit today, which was nice. It made my impending delivery more real as she was going through the house, casing the joint as it were, determining its fitness for a home birth. Our apartment passed, which was nice. I was sure it would, but sometimes I feel unsure about my home. I'm happy here and it's got a yard and is off the subway, but it's a poorly renovated 100-year-old house. If critters aren't getting into the roof, water is leaking under the stairs or the appliances are breaking. Oh, Toronto. And this place is something of a steal at $1275.

I've applied for EI for the first time ever and being off work for the week has been interesting. And by interesting I mean boring and relaxing at the same time. I'm trying to soak in the lack of things to do because soon I will never be without something to do for years and years. I should really leave the house, but the weather's been ass, and hauling my body around has become a test in endurance.

I'm really looking forward to meeting my baby. I've always wanted to be a mother, minus about 3-4 years when I was a teenager after babysitting the worst kid ever. Great birth control, that experience.

But I envisioned briefly my baby's face and I think about the cuddling and the love. I think about the nursing throughout the night and diapers and potential for colic. I've been mentally preparing myself as best as possible for my new life, and mixed in there is fear of the unknown, nervousness about losing my independence and freedom, excitement about parenting and just basic joy. There's a readiness and desire for my life to be about more than me, despite my apprehensions.

This is without a doubt the deepest plunge and biggest leap of faith of my life. I really wish my mom were here for this.