Coming right up
It occurs to me that there’s nothing on this website that covers the pregnancy in a relatively comprehensive way. Since our Christmas cards directed people here for updates, I should put something in.
So here goes…
We’ll be 37 weeks pregnant on Friday. If you’re not au fait with counting pregnancy in weeks, that’s 8 months and 1 week, roughly. So we’re coming into the homestretch. The baby, whom we’ve been referring to as B, is due April 20, 2001. This of course bears little relation to when it will be born.
Early pregnancy was difficult – we had a lot of worrying symptoms, and ended up getting 3 ultrasound scans in the first trimester. We were very anxious, but the scans all showed that everything was going well.
The second trimester was much easier. Part of it was that I was feeling a lot less nauseous, and a lot more energetic than I did in early pregnancy. Also, somehow, I stopped worrying, which is highly unusual for me. I think it helped being “out” at work, since I had to go through all the worry and exhaustion of the first three months without being able to let it show during the working day.
The last three months of pregnancy are turning out to be really exhausting. Part of that is work; we’ve been in a busy time, and I’ve done some long hours. Part of it was that I’ve been having lower back pain throughout the pregnancy, and it’s getting harder to get a good night’s sleep. And part of it is just being pregnant.
I’ve finished my last day in the office. Tomorrow and the next day, I’ll be working from home, and then I’m completely off work and onto maternity leave. That will be nice – getting up in the morning has been difficult, and sitting all day nearly impossible. My back hurts too much. Besides, by the afternoon, all I want to do is put my head on the desk and sleep.
Although this has been a difficult time physically, I am always conscious of how much worse it would have been a century ago. We’ve run into a couple of problems in the pregnancy.
- Rh incompatibility
Basically, I am Rh negative (a recessive trait), and Martin is Rh positive (a dominant trait). This means that the chances are excellent that B is Rh+.
Now, Rh- people can form antibodies to Rh+ blood, and develop severe immune reactions as a result. An Rh- mother with antibodies to Rh+ blood, bearing an Rh+ baby, can also reject the baby in utero, leading to miscarriage or extremely premature birth. A couple of generations ago, I would have been able to have one child at most; any others would die, possibly taking me with them.
The trick is to keep the antibodies from forming in the first place. As long as B’s blood doesn’t mix with mine, we’re safe. Barring a car accident or some such, that won’t happen until delivery. So they have a blood product called Anti-D, which they inject after birth (and after any instance where blood could have mixed). They tell me it “soaks up” the Rh+ factor before my immune system can form antibodies to it. In addition, the midwife has been taking my blood every few weeks and testing it to make sure nothing’s happened thus far.
- The position of the baby
The baby seems to be lying oblique breech, meaning that it has its head wedged under my ribs on the right and its bottom down on the lower left.
This is not a suitable position for giving birth. We’ll be getting an utrasound on Friday to confirm the situation, but it’s looking like the only way B can come out is by Caesarian section.
This is not a big issue as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t matter much to me how I give birth, as long as B and I both end up OK. But I can’t help thinking about how it would have been before C-sections were so common. Then, if we couldn’t get the baby turned, I would have died in childbirth.
Amazingly enough, this is a low-risk pregnancy. I am a big fan of modern medical science.