Friday, 4 December 2015

Durban Doula's Pregnancy Diary - Week 22

And so the downhill stretch begins!

Yay for salad cravings...
This mahoosive bowl of salad: all mine!

I went for my clinic visit at St Mary's Hospital in Mariannhill this week. 

State hospital? Say what?

You've heard me rant about how I feel irritated on behalf of all the ladies paying a fortune to go to private hospitals and assuming they must be getting the very best care available... Well, I've decided to vote with my feet. I've volunteered at St Mary's before during my training, been in theatre for a caesarean and had a client transfer there for a caesarean and to be honest, I'm much happier with many of their policies than I am with the policies of many of our private institutions...

One thing I do appreciate about St Mary's is that they do have individual delivery rooms, and besides that, midwives take care of most of the deliveries, calling the doctor only if needed, and they encourage birth support. Having said that, I am not planning to have to actually go there - we are planning to birth at home as you know - but if intervention becomes necessary, then that's where we're headed. I did call up the delivery ward matron to check that this was acceptable, repeating the words 'planning a home birth' and 'private midwife' a number of times to make sure - and her verdict was that as long as I've been to the clinic for prenatal care, that is fine.

My new favourite Twitter account / Facebook page -
'Top tips for men juggling a successful career and fatherhood.'

And I'm reminded how glad I am that I chose a man
who doesn't see himself as 'mom's sidekick' but
really lives this whole egalitarian vibe on an every day basis.
They are quite serious about their Baby Friendly Hospital certification - there is no default nursery stay or mandatory stint in the incubator. Skin-to-skin for an hour, within 5 min of birth is encouraged, every baby sleeps by mom, breastfeeding is assumed and encouraged and no artificial teats or artificial milk will be used without your consent. (For more info on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative click here to see a pdf.)

So yeah, back to that clinic visit: despite arriving late, and during lunch hour to boot, it was mostly painless. Apparently I was supposed to have been there by 7am, but I got my book and paid R50 for my appointment (I'm not in their official catchment area). Waited at the ANC (ante-natal clinic) desk for the staff to come off lunch and redirect me - was redirected to the HIV testing station, then to another queue and another room to have my blood pressure, weight and pee-stick checked, then to another queue and room to have blood taken for further antenatal testing, and then in to see the resident midwife who did the usual data collection (previous births and pregnancies, health issues etc) and belly palpation.

One of my new outfits...
If I had come on time, my blood results would have been ready for collection before I left, but as it stands I'll need to collect them at a later stage. Two and a half hours altogether - and despite some signage mishaps i.e. not knowing where to go next, the staff were all very helpful. As I said, mostly painless. 

Get on my belly!

Some other great news this week, which has alleviated much of my daily frustration, is that I bought a bag of second hand maternity clothes from someone on Facebook... What joy to have pants that just fit and shirts that are comfy without being too snug! I'm not sure how I managed pregnancy without maternity clothes before! Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some of my outfits. It really helps to feel confident and comfortable in what you're wearing.

Speaking of Size

Apparently baby is about the size of a pawpaw / papaya  - 27 cm from crown to heel and 19 cm from crown to rump - so a small pawpaw by Durban standards! The midwife I saw at St Mary's said it seemed like fundal height was showing as 24 weeks (i.e. the height of the top of the uterus), and the sonographer also thought baby was looking a bit bigger than average. I'm not too stressed - I'm sure of my dates as I keep track of my cycle, so even with cycle irregularities taken into account I can't be more than a week out, and even if baby is a little bigger than the last two were, I'm sure I'll manage!
Wikimedia Commons 

I often hear of women reporting back from their gynae appointments with something along the lines of 'I'm 28 weeks but the gynae says that the baby is measuring 30 weeks' or that their due date was brought forward again. Now that doesn't mean that your baby time-traveled somehow and became 31 weeks mature all of a sudden, all it means is that compared to the average baby at 28 weeks of gestation, your baby is the size of the average baby at 30 weeks gestation. About that... ultrasounds are not considered reliable late in pregnancy. Even the machine manufacturers say that macrosomia (big baby) cannot be diagnosed with enough certainty to indicate a caesarean, and even then, caesarean birth is not necessarily the best choice for so called 'big' babies. (An excellent link on this here.)

Feminist Frustrations

Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but the reaction to 'We're having a baby boy,' seems disproportionately enthusiastic. We really are and were truly indifferent to whether we were having a boy or a girl, but everyone seems to assume that we must automatically be super excited that we're having a boy after our two girls, as if we would somehow be missing out if we had had another girl. But then I may be the one overreacting...

Camping Adventures

A couple of weeks back I thought it might be nice for us to take the girls camping, before I get too big, and before we become a family of 5 with no space for camping gear in the car... We picked a spot nearby, at the beach, packed the camping gear we had, borrowed some bits that we needed, took a day of leave and headed on our merry way. The first evening was great, if slightly cramped with all four of us in a four man tent - who made up those sizes anyway? There is no way 4 men could fit themselves and their bags in that tent
A little something like this...
comfortably unless they were in the snow and needed to keep each other warm... but anyway.

Besides the wind it was ok. The next day though, it started raining. Fortunately hubby's folks were joining us at the resort, but were staying in one of the apartments on the property. We ate with them that night even though we had planned a potjie - what should have been a  stew cooked in a three legged pot over hot coals became a stew cooked in a stainless steel pot on a regular stove. It still tasted good though. Anyway, they could only get a 6 sleeper apartment - which was just as well, because we discovered our tent was leaking in 7 different spots, and it rained the second and third nights... So we were grateful for the warm dry beds!
The girls had a great time though, and I really appreciated the heated pool - I am such a wuss when it comes to cold water! Not sure when we'll attempt the camping thing again soon though - we'll definitely need a bigger car next time! I was stowing food under the chairs and fitting shoes in wherever there was a gap... It was quite something!

Other than that, not much to report here, other than that we are happy and healthy and expanding in all directions! 

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