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It beat-beat-beats

August 26, 2011

It seems no one can talk of anything else but this damned hurricane, but it is bright and sunny today, and I am unconvinced that a wave of destruction is headed our way. But I guess that is the nature of meteorological events. They come on quick. We are not in an evacuation zone, so we are going to buy some non-perishables, fill the tub, and hunker down until this thing passes. Frankly, my biggest concern is how to walk the dogs in this weather. I also hope the power doesn’t go out, but I’m sure we will be fine, either way.

What a week it has been. The pigeon poop is still on the fire escape. The insurance situation is still a mess. And yet I feel better than I’ve felt in weeks because we had our first prenatal visit yesterday. My midwife was kind enough to allow me to begin care on the assumption that the insurance will eventually sort itself out, which means that I didn’t have to pay her anything up front. Really, the insurance company is being kind of an asshole about what pretty much amounts to a clerical error. I was on the phone with them again today, and they told me they are doing everything they can to resolve this by next week so I can begin my care, but I am not holding my breath. I told Kimm and the biller that I wouldn’t be planning a homebirth with a midwife if I didn’t have at least a little advocacy in me. I anticipate several more phone calls before this is settled. Even finding a fetal imaging facility took me far longer than it should have. Two unhelpful calls to Atlantis and several calls to various providers later, I managed to book an appointment for my 20-week “anatomy scan.” Four more weeks and we’ll have sonographic proof that there is a baby with all its parts. More importantly (I think), we will know the position of the placenta, and hopefully we can keep the technician from spilling the beans about the sex. We’re both enamored with the idea of waiting to find out whether or not this will end the legacy of Bates males (this would be generation four).

Kimm arrived (at our apartment – can’t get more convenient than that!) promptly at 4 p.m. with another midwife friend in tow who works at a hospital in Boston and is learning about homebirth care. She may also be filling in for Kimm during a vacation in November, so I’m glad I was able to meet her. They stayed for an hour and 40 minutes! We had a nice, comfortable chat about my medical history, symptoms, diet, and things we should buy in preparation. She listened to my heart, felt my uterus, showed me how to find it, and told me it was the right size. Then she pulled out her Doppler and we heard the heartbeat for the first time. That was pretty cool. It made it seem more real, and it was a relief to know that this little being is alive. I gave her a urine sample and she tried to take blood, but my dumb veins weren’t cooperating, so I will go to a lab and have them do it. We are declining all the screening tests because we decided that they tend to raise more questions than they answer, and nothing they could tell us would convince me to terminate. The odds are low that there is anything genetically wrong, and it is certain that no test can tell whether your baby will be a jerk, a psychopath, or a remedial-level student. Like waiting until the birth to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl, we’d rather take it all as it comes because there are never any guarantees.

We are both still really pleased with our decision to go with Kimm. She is smart, funny, puts us at ease, gives us confidence, makes us feel like she knows what she’s doing, and assures me that I’m doing just fine. She gave us lots of good information, and sent a follow-up homework list immediately after the appointment. I like homework. Lists to stuff to do and buy I can handle. She also said that she embraces medical contingency plans in case things should go off track, but then she sets that aside and proceeds with the expectation that the birth will be smooth and beautiful. I like that approach. I like knowing that there are things in place to support a smooth transfer if that becomes necessary. But I also like not dwelling on the negative what-ifs, and preparing for things to go well.

Mentally, I feel like I can relax a little more now. I can think about other things instead of whether or not there’s a baby in there. Hubby joked that Kimm would be able to tell me if I’m really pregnant, but truthfully, it was helpful to get confirmation. Physically, I feel fine. That yoga class was exactly what I needed to kick-start my workouts again. And Kimm’s advice that it’s all money in the bank and she sees a direct correlation between women who are active and who have easier labors was pretty powerful motivation. It’s funny how hearing it from her gave me the extra incentive to actually go do it, even though I knew I should be. Something about knowing that this will be good for me and the baby makes it easier and more palatable than just feeling like I should do it because it’s good for me. Some people chafe when their doctors tell them to change their habits. For me, it was a welcome, and completely manageable homework assignment.

I have discovered a new-found freedom at the gym, as well. Instead of obsessing about how many calories I burn, I ponder how hard I should push myself. It is easy to be competitive with myself on the treadmill, but I know I need to be careful and not overexert myself. I actually hurt myself shopping the other day, of all things. I finally broke down and bought some maternity clothes, but I carried around such a load for too long that my arms and shoulders were sore for two days. Stupid. Shopping was also more enjoyable than ever since everything I tried on was loose and flowy. Practically everything fit and looked good, and I tried on things that I would never normally pick off the rack. There is a burgeoning appreciation of my body and a relaxing of the critical eye. I bought things in sizes XS to LG, and aside from care instructions I didn’t care what the tag said. I wasn’t trying to hide or carefully disguise my body. I went for comfort and color. It is so nice to have things to wear again, including pant options!

So, life is good at 16 weeks. We are about to launch our new company website, fall is coming, and there is a little life growing inside me.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    September 2, 2011 3:46 pm

    And the storm has passed!!!!

    I was talking to Angela D, who is about a month ahead of you, and who has a pregnant sister a month ahead of her…. Angela said there was a period in those early weeks when she couldn’t tell she was pregnant either and the heartbeat was a great reassurance.

    I really like Kimm’s website and her approach. You are in great hands!

    Speaking of hands, I’ve just had my first doula inquiry from one of Robin’s older students! Who knew. More family advertising. She delivers sometime in November so it’s time to get together and do a birth plan and have a talk. I need 5 births to be nationally certified and can’t really charge anything until those are under my belt, so to speak. Let me know of any NYC folks looking for assistance!

    Jackie and I now have bus tickets for our October visit! Can’t wait to see your new wardrobe!! Julia

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