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.

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