Friday, 23 August 2013

I'm a goddam medical mystery. And a failure to boot.

I wrote this in June, but I was afraid to post it.  It was a dark time for me; I wasn't sure how many details I wanted to share.  Time has since passed, and now I want to share it - for any woman struggling through pregnancy, with or without complications and/or antepartum depression


How common is pregnancy?

Probably about half the human population is physically capable, and it's safe to say that most of those do happen to experience it at some point in their lives.  Even for those women who don't experience pregnancy, there are several others who experience it multiple times.

Not only that, but pregnancy has been going on since the beginning of time.  It isn't even specific to certain parts of the world - women get pregnant internationally.  Plus Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior.  

I think it's safe to say, then, that pregnancy is the most common medical "condition" of all time.     

So, I find it continually dumbfounding that the most common medical condition, particularly in an advanced nation such as Canada, is such a FUCKING MEDICAL MYSTERY.  

Perhaps it's because I've never actually experienced a significant or long-term medical condition, nor have I ever had much direct exposure to the medical system, but tell me:  How is it possible that doctors have so few immediate or precise answers?

Not only is my little Fraggle's health and well being entirely relying on me and only me, but I have essentially little-to-no control over her safety and development, let alone any true knowledge of how she is progressing.  

Every time I speak to a medical professional, they seem to apply 50 different random and uncertain measures of baby wellness, but they don't actually know the answers to anything.  

Is Fraggle happy in there?
Well, here, let's strap this monitor to your belly and listen to it for 30 minutes.

Is she growing?
Well, we can put this measuring tape on your belly to see if it's getting any bigger...

Can't you measure her?
Well, we can do an ultrasound, but we just did one last week and so any change would be imperceptible.  

Am I in labour?
Well, that depends on you - What's your pain level, on a scale from one to ten?

Am I dilated?
Well, if we check, we may dilate you, so we're not going to check.  Actually, let's check and make matters way worse.  

Is there a chance of me going into pre-term labour?
Well, let's do a test. 

What were the results of the test?
Well, they're inconclusive.  

Is she moving enough?
Well, that depends on you - Here, hold this little clicker and click it every time she moves.  

How many Braxton Hicks contractions are normal?
Well, you're having too many. 

What do you mean "too many" - what does that mean?
Well, we don't really know, except that you should sit still for several weeks on end.  

What causes them?
Well, there isn't a lot of research but we think your uterus is irritable.  

Huh.  Doesn't that just suit me perfectly.  What "irritates" it?
Well, moving.  So sit still.  But don't limit yourself.  But don't go shopping or anything.  And drink lots of water.  But don't let your bladder get full.   

So, my uterus doesn't want this little one in there, or what? I'm a terrible mother already? My body is incapable?
Well, no.  Maybe.  We don't know. This is not your fault.  Just sit still. 

Ok, so can these constant, uncomfortable, and terrifying contractions lead to labour?
Well, there isn't a lot of research but we doubt you'll make it to your due date.  Then again maybe we'll have to induce you at 42 weeks.  But just in case, stop moving.  

So now I'm terrified of pre-term labour.  How can I prevent it?
Well, sit still, and call us if anything changes, but no, Braxton Hicks contractions are not real contractions.  But we don't want you in pre-term labour, so please sit still. Hopefully we can just get you to 34 weeks.  

Ok, 34 weeks.  Good news right?
Well, yeah.  But let's get you to 37 weeks. You should probably sit still.   

Ok, what about after 37 weeks? Then we're good?
Well, every week after that is better.    

So, we're still aiming for 40 weeks then...
Well, no, 37 is full term, but yes, 40 weeks.  Please sit still.  

I never anticipated that keeping myself physically well would be so fucking emotionally exhausting... 

Fraggle ended up staying put until 40 weeks and 2 days.  And she rushed out of there like a bat out of hell.  


  1. Your feelings are always your feelings. Don't ever let anyone tell you that your thinking in wrong. Happy for you and hope you continue to call her Fraggle.

    1. She'll always be my little Fraggle. Mokey Fraggle perhaps :)

  2. I just bashed my head into a wall for your 14 times while reading this since you couldn't because you had to SIT STILL DAMMIT!

    1. Sitting still was good for a week or two. Then I went NUTS!

  3. I called mine Bean and still do actually. Pregnancy is the scariest thing, and it's so frustrating to know that we know so much more than a hundred years ago and still no nothing. You did very well. You didn't kill the doctor. :)

    1. The whole thing was so frustrating! Bah.

  4. Great post. It brought back so many memories! Thanks.

  5. Kills me. As always. I'm so glad you could harness that miserable time to make me laugh ;-) xo LB

  6. You have an irritable uterus too? Welcome to the club, isn't it GREAT? (Can you sense the sarcasm?)