Wednesday, 26 May 2010


So, today I got to hear Squeak's heartbeat for the first time!

It was pretty darn cool to see the heartbeat at the 11-week scan (like a prettily fluttering fish fin in the middle), but hearing the whoosh-WHOOSH leads me to wonder if I need one of those little dopplar things. I could become kind of a Sneaky Spy Mother before Squeak even enters the world (could anyone be eating paste in there?). Squeak was moving around quite a bit, indicated by the midwife's inability to keep track of the heartbeat in one place. To me, this indicates future weariness on my part. My mama and daddy threatened me with a hyper-active child when I was young; foolishly, this threat failed to calm me down then. Payback's warranted, I suppose. :)

During the appointment, I met two more of the midwives in the community team who are looking after me (there are 6 in all). They were absolutely fabulous and, even though my list of questions was a little long, we got on like a house on fire. In the past week (since hysterical giggling began over my 'Elderly' status), a complete change of opinion has swung. Originally, my thought was to definitely plan for a hospital birth since I am fully aware that I am old. However, after talking to a useful panel of people from knitting, yoga, work, and Ms. Teresa... I think it might not be unreasonable to attempt a home birth.

For any US readers I have at this point, the maternity culture here is quite different (AND has a more favourable infant mortality rate than the US, before anybody gets too uppity). It is not an obstetrician culture but a midwife culture. One may never see an obstetrician at all -- unless there are complications. When one attends pre-natal appointments, one meets with a midwife, and the midwives one meets over the course of the pregnancy are likely to be helping at your birth, which is quite nice. There are two types of midwives (I think): community midwives and hospital midwives. Community midwives are in teams attached to medical practices and will be sent out in teams of two to home births. Hospital midwives are (quite obviously) the midwives who work at the hospital and deliver whoever is there. One might be able to have one of one's community midwives at the hospital, but it is not guaranteed.

At a home birth, there are two professionals constantly monitoring the birth and who are probably going to more likely honour wishes in a birthing plan. If at any point, the mother feels uncomfortable staying home or the midwives note something concerning, then the whole thing moves to the hospital. We are about 10 minutes from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It all seems pretty unintimidating. The only logistical kinks that could send me to the hospital are: 1) someone else goes into labour and gets the shift team before me or 2) there is no incoming cover if the shift ends before Squeak emerges. My 'head midwife' thinks that I seem perfectly normal (little does she know at this early stage) and that my  'elderly' condition is also laughable -- her confidence was the final seal of approval.

I think the most interesting thing about my mental state is that my absolutely concrete terror of birth, which for some reason has always been in my consciousness, has absolutely and concretely disappeared. It was not lurking about when my condition was determined not to be an exotic illness, so it has to have wandered off at some point during the first month. What an oustanding blessing is that?!

Today was also my second week at pregnancy yoga. I am the earliest phase person there (at only 16.5 weeks), but my OCD nature makes me happy to be starting early. Having never done yoga before, my brain had no idea what to expect last week, but it is really good and They say that the techniques learned can be helpful during phase one and phase two of parturition. There is no worship of foreign entities. There is a lot of breath control, which is good as mine is currently weak to non-existent, and lots of stretching, which I love. My knees are very bony.

This week, we did the Camel Walk around the room (to move the pelvis backwards and forwards for flexibility) -- and I must admit to almost breaking out in a fit of giggles at the thought of someone peering through the door to see variously pregnant women in leggings stalking around the room like a Monty Python sketch. Giggling, though, does nothing for one's balance (especially mine) and so this was quickly quelled before a trauma occurred.

Now I must rest.

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