Thursday, January 10, 2008

13 weeks and one day

I'm going to boldly declare myself a first-trimester survivor, even if I technically have a few days left. Woo! It's not a time I will reflect back on fondly. I'm not sure many mothers do.

I went to my first Birth Care Center appointment today in Old Town Alex, VA. I was amused to note that it's probably two blocks down from the karaoke bar where Matt and I first met. Heh.

It seemed ... serviceable. Probably. The birth center in Bethesda, where Lizzy was born, has closed, and I'm rather bummed about it. On one hand, it took some effort to get to for those monthly, then twice-monthly, then weekly, appointments. On the other hand ... it's no short trip from Metro Center to King Street on the blue line train. It doesn't seem right that the process of having a kid should use up so much of my precious sick leave that I'll soon need to take care of the kid after he/she is born. But so it is. At least I don't personally ever seem to get sick (knock on wood) ...

I got the usual lecture about needing to exercise ("you're preparing for a physically exhausting experience!" Yeah. I kinda remember), and was asked a lot of questions about stuff I should remember, but don't. Hey -- I prefer to forget about those visits to the gynecologist as fast as possible. The woman said, brightly, "Oh! Kaiser lets you check your test results online! It's really cool." I said, "Yeah. They're the same folks who told me they didn't know about the pregnancy test I just took, but I definitely had a bladder infection. Which wasn't true."
Ayyy, Kaiser.

There are a few differences between this place and the old birth center, as I suppose should be expected. One is that I need to hire a birth assistant and bring her along when the happy time comes. Huh? Then what do I need YOU people for? That one was puzzling. Also, they give new mothers the boot within three or four hours of giving birth. Which I'm fine with, but last time, with Lizzy, the other folks insisted that I spend the night because I didn't seem well enough to send home. (I was having a hard time standing up without passing out) Hm.

The good news is, they prodded my abdomen and all seemed well, and they found a heartbeat, and that's always good news. I got a kick out of hearing the little one's beat-beat-beat and my b-e-a-t layered against each other. It's cool to have proof every once in awhile that my efforts aren't for nothing.

The genetic testing options are giving me pause this time around. Last time, I was 30 years old, and felt fine with my odds. This time ... at 36, I'm not so certain that I should assume that all is 'normal.' But if it's not normal, should I find out? (what am I gonna do differently?) I missed my window to get some neck fold or other measured. That's supposed to be pretty reliable. The next possibility is a blood test, and I wasn't trying to be snarky, but I honestly really couldn't understand the point when they were explaining it to me.

It goes something like this: The blood tests can detect possible abnormalities. But for those in whose tests abnormalities are indeed detected, at least NINETY-FIVE PERCENT of those folks are just fine. Well, great! So what I can do with that information is, worry a whole lot, and then go get an amniocentesis. Which I have to tell you, I never EVER want to have. Big ol' needle into my belly ... Didn't look like fun when it happened to the Rats of NIMH (Lizzy's movie du jour in the car this morning). I'm not looking for excuses to have one.

I guess I've rattled on enough now. It's quittin' time, and I successfully wasted the last 10 or 15 minutes of potentially productive work time. :)

Oh, one more beautiful moment from the visit: We were taking a wee tour of the place -- takes about 90 seconds to absorb the two birth rooms, the family/waiting room and the kitchen -- and the woman mentioned that some parents like to have their kids 'involved in the labor process.' I said, Wow! I think that would profoundly freak out my daughter. The woman said, Well, moms know best! I thought, not if they think it's a good idea to have their kids watch them being in intense pain ... These are all people pushing out kids without pain relief. And they want their kids to watch.



  1. You know, we opted against genetic testing for exactly that reason--all those false positives! I'd rather be blissfully ignorant, then deal with the actual eventuality on the rare, rare change it presents itself than take a pretty good chance of getting myself worked up over nothing (knowing myself . . .).

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