Rotating Doctors, Rotating Perspectives

The maternity clinic I attend actually houses four different clinics in one building. The one I am in has nine physicians, and you see whomever is working when you come in for your appointment. Three of the clinics share on-call (delivery) duties, so any one of about 14 physicians could be the one who delivers your baby. Meaning, there is a chance you will have never met the person who delivers your baby. This is okay with me…I feel like it won’t really matter who is there that day because they’re all equally qualified and that experience is pretty much going to suck anyways (until it’s over, of course).

What is interesting about this set-up is that you meet a variety of physicians in your prenatal visits. In three visits I’ve seen three different doctors, plus a couple of residents as well. I have to admit, I am a bit of a creature of habit, so I’m surprised this doesn’t unsettle/annoy me more than it does. So far the first one was my favourite, so I’m going to kindly request that the universe sends her to the hospital on the Big Day.

Anyways, they have all been fine/good, but they have also all been quite different in personality and style of care. Some are more laid-back, some are more directive, some more communicative or information-heavy, some more blunt etc., etc. For that reason, I’m actually kind of glad that I’m exposed to different perspectives instead of being stuck with one personality, and having to take just one doctor’s word as gospel truth. If I had been thinking about this more at the outset, I would have made an effort to ask each doctor the exact same question on some random topic so I could have compared their responses. I don’t necessarily think I would have gotten different answers per se, but I know the question would have been addressed in significantly different ways, if that makes sense.

On Monday, I had the pleasure of waiting for 40 minutes (alone in the exam room, of course) for the doctor-on-duty to see me (for 10 minutes, of course). With no entertainment, I was practically forced to eavesdrop  overhear the doctor’s visit with the patient in the room beside me. The 40-year-old woman was in for her first appointment, and they set her due date for July 2 (seriously, this is how clearly I could hear every single word spoken behind full walls and two closed doors – the need for whisper-mode was duly noted for the next time I have a sensitive/embarrassing topic to discuss in there).

Anyways, this doctor was really hammering home the point of eating lots of protein, lots of veggies, limiting starches, increasing your calcium/dairy “but without increasing your fat intake!!!” and that “sugar is enemy number one in pregnancy!!”. She then asked the patient what she does for exercise (“uhhhh…..yoga?” was the tentative reply) and told her she had to work up to 150 minutes of “dedicated exercise” per week and that yoga was “okay for stretching” but you also need cardio and strength training, yada yada yada. Then she went on to talk very matter-of-factly about the heightened miscarriage and genetic risks of pregnancy at 40. Her tone the whole time was very friendly and even-toned, but the messaging was unmistakably all-business.

Sure, it was all perfectly good advice and accurate information, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for the patient. A patient I don’t know a thing about, mind you, for all I know she is diabetic or has weight or other issues that necessitated this hard-line stance on prenatal fitness…but if I had been dealt that kind of doctor at my first prenatal appointment I would have been overwhelmed and feeling pretty bad about myself. At 11 or so weeks pregnant, it’s quite likely you’re still feeling like a bag of shit and having a hard time keeping any food down or dragging your ass home at the end of the work day, let alone whipping up a salad and blasting out a few sets of squats when you get home.

The upshot was that by the time the doctor made it to my room, I had 40 minutes of warning on how opinionated and direct she was apt to be. Small wonder baby’s heart rate was a record 158? Luckily, I was spared the scary warnings and exercise lecture. In reviewing the results of my last ultrasound though, she asked if I had found out the sex of the baby. When I said that we had, and it was a girl, she told me, “I don’t recommend that. They are occasionally wrong and it has been shown that it’s very hard on you psychologically when that happens.”

Well okay then. I mean, valid food for thought and all, but too late for that now, no? Why voice that opinion (and it is just an opinion) after the fact? I gave her a confused cocker-spaniel head-tilt and glanced at the resident in the room who was also giving her the side-eye and glancing back at me.

After being shocked a week or so before by a friend who told me gender ultrasounds are wrong about 30% of the time (!!!) I had already scoured for statistics and found that they are generally considered at least 90-95% accurate – with the experience of the technician and timing of the ultrasound (i.e. not too early in your pregnancy) being the major factors, and that in many cases (right view, right tech, right timing) they can tell with near 100% accuracy. As far as my own experience went, I asked how confident technicians are in their predictions and mine said, “we don’t make guesses: I either know or I don’t know.” I believed her.

So while I am sure that finding out she is actually a boy after expecting a girl would be quite the shock, this physician seemed to be making a strong recommendation for my “psychological health” based on something that maybe – at worst – happens once or twice out of 20 times.

As I laughed the comment off with a, “well, I guess it’s too late for me now!” she went on to urge me not to imagine scenarios or “create a persona” for a girl, and to try really hard to keep thinking of it as an “it” — exact words! Okay lady, now you’re just talking crazy. Good fucking luck with that one.

Isn’t it at least possible that there could be psychological benefits to finding out early? Benefits that could apply 90-95% of the time? Bonding maybe? I’m no expert, but it feels like encouraging me to objectify and distance myself from the baby isn’t the most psychologically sound recommendation either.

Whatever. I left the clinic that day, took my shetus directly to the mall and bought her the most adorable pair of size 1 baby Chuck T’s. She’s a good girl, she deserves it 😉

The most pointless post ever: part one

A week today we get to find out Perry’s sex! Well, I do anyways. I was late booking the ultrasound and had to take what I could get, which ended up being a date that Andrew is out of town for work. So he will be standing by on his cell for me to pass the news along…or not…muahahaha! (gleefully rubs hands together)

Andrew has been predicting a girl for several weeks now, and I have to admit, he had me on that train as well…but lately I’m second guessing that and feeling more of a boy vibe.

Old wives’ tales and techniques for gender prediction abound. So with nothing left to do but wait, I’ve decided to run through a schwack of them and see what the prediction scorecard says leading up to the big reveal.

High or low? If you’re carrying your bump low and out front, it’s a boy. If it’s up high or the weight gain is spread all over, it’s a girl. This one is a bit of a wash for me, because my bump hasn’t really arrived yet, and I managed to actually lose a tiny bit of weight since my last appointment four weeks ago. I do feel thick all over, but I can’t commit to this one. Edge: Even

Chinese Gender Chart. This one is based on your age and the month you conceived in. According to the super reliable online forms I submitted… Edge: Girl

Heart rate. This is a big old myth (until actual labour and birth, when a baby girls’ heart rate will tend to be higher). But as the tale goes, if it’s over 140 it’s a girl, under 140 it’s a boy. What was Perry’s heart rate at my appointment yesterday? 140, of course. Way to be a fence-sitter, little one. However, a month ago it was 155 and at 7 weeks it was 143. So once again…Edge: Girl

Sickness. The sicker you are in the first trimester, the more likely you are carrying a girl. Supposedly. One of the sickest pregos I knew had a boy, so I am highly skeptical of this one. I wasn’t awfully sick in the first trimester. I had a few shady weeks where I puked once or twice a day, and then felt fine right afterwards. And I hated a lot of food. But horribly sick? Not really. Rumour has it that boys make you sick in the morning and girls in the evening…the latter was definitely the case for me. But this one is too close to call. Edge: Even

Cravings. A hankering for sweets indicates a girl, while sour, salty or savoury urges are for boys. I am normally a salty treat girl, with almost no urge for sweets and I still love my chips and fries, but for the first time in my life I have a sweet tooth and I’ve eaten things I would normally never want. So…Edge: Girl

Heel of the bread. This is the weirdest one I’ve ever heard. If you’ll eat the heel (the end piece) of a loaf of bread, it’s a boy. If you won’t, it’s a girl. Who eats the heel of the bread?? That’s unnecessary and gross – pregnant or not. Edge: Girl (and common sense)

Hit with the ugly stick. This one makes me feel great (ha!). The worse you look, the more likely you are having a girl. Specifically, if you have breakouts and dull hair you can blame your daughter for sucking the estrogen (and beauty) out of you. Breakouts – sure – but that’s just my lot in life when I’m not on the Pill, however, earlier this week (way before reading about this) I noticed that my hair is super dull, so that detail intrigues me. Edge: Girl

Hands. If your hands are drier than normal, it’s a boy. Soft hands mean a girl. Edge: Boy (finally!)

To be continued…Coming in part 2: the “ring on a string” test, and TWO pee tests involving Drano and baking soda. I can only take blogging while I’m at work so far…stay tuned for the results and final tally!

 

 

What do you want?

This is the question that naturally follows after hearing that we plan on finding out the baby’s sex – which is, in itself, a polarizing choice. Some people are staunchly pro-surprise while others are pro-planning. We are philosophically neither of these; we just want to know because we are curious and impatient. I don’t really see a big planning advantage – how much gendered shit does your newborn need? We’re going unisex on the baby room anyways. Maybe there’s a practical advantage if you had older kids and were hell-bent on knowing exactly how many pink dresses and Barbies to keep vs. give away, but that is clearly not our situation. And I’m not really one for surprises so, whatever. I JUST WANNA KNOW DAMMIT.

Anyways, a lot of people are curious if I have a preference one way or another. I’m curious if I do too. I want to say that I’m ambivalent about it – and that is the right word – but not the way most people typically understand its meaning. We tend to think ambivalence is equivalent to not really caring one way or the other. BUT (boring language lesson time!) ambivalence actually suggests having strong – often conflicting – feelings about two options. And this is exactly what I have.

When I think of girls, I think of the sweetness, the fun dress-up opportunities, the chance to have a peer-like relationship with them in their adulthood, Rory & Lorelai Gilmore (I warned you, Kate) and the general lack of boy grossness. But I also think of the body image issues, the lifelong personal safety concerns that boys don’t have to worry so much about, the perilous mean-girl frenemy dynamics, the ages 13 to 18, and the old “having to worry about every dick in town vs. only one dick” dealio.

When I think of boys, I think of the easygoing, rough-and-tumble nature of boys and their friendships/pursuits, probably never hearing my child say they hate my fucking guts, and the general lack of girl drama. Boys just seem easier in a lot of ways, but I also think there is a lot of important work to be done in the way of teaching boys about respect and behaviour. Are there enough intelligent, socially conscious people out there raising rad little guys who respect women as equals and understand things like consent? I think we could do an okay job of that, and that really appeals to me.

Planning on only one child adds a “this is it” factor to the mix. Andrew grew up with two older brothers and I think it would be really nice for his poor testosterone-trampled mom to finally have a little girl to dote on. For some reason, baseless as it may be, I also feel like singleton girls might have an easier go of it than singleton boys. I guess perhaps I feel that boys need the teasing and roughhousing of a playmate more than girls do? Or that girls are more likely to enjoy solitary play without turning into trenchcoat-wearing weirdos? I don’t know. I can’t really argue this one with any sort of validity. Feel free to set me straight on how totally wrong I’m getting it.

I wonder if I have some kind of subconscious preference that will only reveal itself when we get the news and I am hit with a pang of relief or disappointment – however fleeting. We shall see. If I do, I’ll be honest about it here.

What I do know is that I can see the pros of both sides so clearly that I will be able to validate the shit out of whatever hand we get dealt. A valuable life skill if ever there was one.