She’s Not Making It Easy

9507597807_3405bb9947_z

My fetus is a jerk. Incredibly stubborn, and not particularly concerned who she’s inconveniencing. It’s making some things challenging, but it’s what I like best about her. Her, an unborn creature that of course I can only project personality on to at this point.

And while I know I’m projecting, she’s working this stubborn thing pretty hard — hard enough that we’ve given her a twitter account just to amuse ourselves.

At my 20 week ultrasound — the one where they take a picture of every body part from every angle to make sure she’s not missing anything important — it took the tech at least 50% longer than planned to get the images. The tech jabbed me in the belly with her wand repeatedly, made me touch my toes, sent me to the bathroom twice, and had me flip-flopping all over the table in the hopes that the baby would roll over and expose what parts needed capturing. She did roll over briefly, but them immediately rolled back — as if to say “I know what you want, but I’m not going to give it to you. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Once she finally started kicking with enough gusto to feel from the outside, I’d call Ryan over to feel. He’d put his hand on my belly and all movement would stop. He’d wait for a few minutes, hoping to get a sense of the madness that is this alien invasion inside me, but would get nothing. Then he’d take his hand away and she’d move again.

Finally, this week I went for another ultrasound and discovered she was breech — footling breech according to the report. She was just hanging out, head up and foot dangling down, not doing what she is supposed to. We were surprised, though I’m not really sure why. A breech baby almost definitely requires a c-section. Luckily, at 34 weeks, there is a procedure to turn the baby around. In an ECV, they quite literally grab hold of the pregnant belly (well, the lump of baby within), push hard, and turn. My awesome midwives did this successfully yesterday and I thought we were in the clear. Until this evening when my fetus, the jerk, seems to be hanging out on her side.

I hadn’t really thought all that much about what I want my daughter to be – although we’re likely grabbing on to the “I’m a girl who doesn’t take shit from anyone” for a reason. Yes, I want her to be smart and kind, and preferably be reasonably coordinated so she doesn’t have to spend all her school age years feeling out of place. But mostly I’d like her to be strong. I want her to be brave enough to stand up for things and not feel like she has to shape her personality to suit the world around her. I want her to be bossy. I want her to have opinions. I want her to be stubborn, even though it will likely get her in trouble. Ideally, she’ll find a mix of these things, and not let just one thing overwhelm her life. And maybe, if I’m lucky, she’ll cut us a little slack occasionally so we don’t spend the next 18 years in tears.

I’m ok with my fetus being a jerk. But for the next 6 weeks, would it kill her to just behave?

Photo: Korona Lacasse on flickr

Advertisements

5 Things I’ve Learned about Pregnancy: A Listicle

Photo via TipsTimesAdmin on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tipstimesadmin/11557919223/in/photolist-iBkmHn-5Zkxe7-idL6v-8cZmLZ-71yZLi-dZicFZ-xDgCP1-4PNvSx-5fetgN-aw9Sth-xDkU3u-g1oZpj-7Q8YoN-kjfvT-5cYUWv-5siQc1-8d3vyA-uNbrPA-92MRDG-pZAuKB-47FSSy-3zQatC-oN5ezy-4nPoNZ-67f7SG-crtLkL-6aMC5C-7MFL5L-7WiKe6-7XfFgh-4nMcjc-8TXFGT-7Lsz4B-4zD18k-6aHtCt-8U1Hr9-4y5b47-8dbGLR-pJcbV9-4nMcfX-4yKz3R-9be9XB-7XcrWa-75cRM8-3ay81x-6Mhp4M-4z9fgd-7Kn71C-4yDfTJ-5d4gDA

  1. Pregnancy is hard, even when it’s easy.
    I’ve had it really easy so far*. I was tired and nauseated the first trimester, but could still function in my daily life. The second trimester was mostly boring, despite a few irrational mood swings about Ryan drinking when I could not, and I’ve had no major health complications (of which there are many possible). I think my body might be made for doing this stuff**.

    And yet, I’m not one of those women who will claim to love pregnancy. (For the record, I think you’re all lying.) Things ache in weird places. I have an invader in my body who sucks out the nutrients and for whom I had to give up coffee***, diet coke, and gin. I can no longer comfortably tie my shoes, I have to take naps in the middle of the day, my abdominal muscles feel like they are being stretched over a frame, and most of the time my sleep is shit.

    And that ignores all the emotional stuff that comes with it. Pregnancy is a big friggin’ deal. So basically, all pregnant women deserve a prize for continuing our species, but women who have it especially hard – 9 months of puking, forced bed rest, who have to work manual labour jobs on their feet all day – should get a fucking parade.

    And yes, I know some people choose not to have babies. You might deserve a parade for something else in your life, that’s awesome. But be extra nice to your pregnant friends even if you think they’re annoying.

2. The human body is nuts. Why are we not celebrating how amazing women’s bodies are on the inside? (Like, actually on the inside. Guts and stuff.)

Seriously. How am I still upright? #thingslizzgrew

A photo posted by @opinionatedlizz on Sep 15, 2015 at 8:34am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js
I took a photo today – 34 weeks less a day – and as I looked at it, I couldn’t believe I was still standing upright. Even more amazing was when we looked at a diagram of a pregnant women in our prenatal class and I realized that nearly all of my internal organs have been displaced – my stomach is basically in my throat, guys – and yet, somehow continue to function.

I have an actual tiny human inside my stomach right now, I grew it from nothing, and I am single-handedly keeping it alive. And no, I’m not a special snowflake. Women everywhere can just grow new humans. It’s amazing. For all women’s bodies are culturally devalued (and also over-valued as baby-making ovens), they are biologically awesome.

3. Forcing women to carry babies and become parents before they are ready is absurd.
Really early on in my pregnancy, I was scared. Yes, I did this deliberately, and yes, I wanted this baby really badly, but I was terrified. There were so many possible things I could do wrong. It would take 10 months and a huge toll on my body, and at the end, I would be left with a helpless human that I would have to keep alive – not just for a few weeks, but forever. And I would have to teach it to be a good human, and a kind human, and hope I could love it the way it needed to be loved. I knew we were going to be poor for a long time since daycare in Toronto is equivalent to mortgage payments. I sat in a movie theatre one day and panicked about how hard it will be for Ryan and I to just go to a damn movie without it costing $100. And to be honest, I was a bit resentful of losing control of my own body. And the only thing that balanced that out was knowing that I would get a baby at the end that I truly wanted.
But if you had all that fear and didn’t want, or weren’t, for whatever reason, able to handle a baby right now/ever, it would be awful. I’ve always been pro-choice, but actually being pregnant made me appreciate so much more the need to have access to safe abortions and birth control. Because pregnancy is really hard, and at the end you have a baby that needs a hell of a lot of work to make it into a productive member of society and forcing that on anyone who isn’t interested or isn’t capable of doing that work is both cruel and stupid.

When I read about companies fighting against providing birth control to their employees as part of drug plans for “moral” reasons, the only conclusion I can come to is that they really hate women, and they really hate babies.

4. Midwives are amazing. I am lucky.

I guess we timed things well, because I was more than able to find a space with a midwife (despite the small number available). So far, they’ve been really awesome, and I’ve really appreciated going through this madness with the support of health providers that I not only trust, but who don’t treat me like I’m a moron. They give me choice (sometimes more than I would like), and they assume I’m a rational adult who can make decisions about my own body. I get to see the same people week after week, I’ll know the person delivering my baby, and afterwards, they will come to my home multiple times to ensure I and the baby are doing well. No trudging out to a clinic 2 days post-partum, possibly in the middle of a cold November rain storm (or snowstorm), sleep-deprived, bleeding and sore, and sitting in a waiting room full of sick people. How humane.

Yes, I’m glad doctors and hospitals exist for doing the things that actually require doctors’ skills, but until I’m in need of those special skills (hopefully I won’t ever be in need of them), having a publicly funded alternative is the best.

5. Having a pregnancy buddy is essential.
I know that not everyone is as invested in the details of my pregnancy as we are****. I’ve been trying really hard not to overwhelm people with details about weird things happening in my body (night mumbling) or what strange animal my baby is equivalent to this week (ferret) or what new things we got for the baby this week (Lies. It’s baby shoes and they are the greatest thing on earth.), but it’s hard because it’s basically all I can think about. So I can’t stress enough how essential it has been to have someone to talk about all the minutiae, who not only wants to hear all your crazy, but who has a similar philosophy about pregnancy so she doesn’t make your crazy worse.

*Please don’t punish me for being cocky, universe.
**Pretty please. I promise I know you could smite me at any moment, universe.
**For 6 months. I’m back!
****Once she’s out, all bets are off. Unfollow me now because my baby will be the cutest, most special baby in all the world and I will make you look at pictures of her fat limbs and frowny face.