Monday, May 02, 2005

The end of the second trimester

According to one of the pregnancy books I've been reading, the second trimester ends with the beginning of week 28. I'm almost 27 weeks, which means that I can now officially say hello to swollen body parts (apart from my tummy which, of course, has been swollen for a while now), breathlessness, lower back pain and the inability to walk quickly or without an accompanying pressure on my bladder.

I'm already on quite good terms with sleeplessness, nosebleeds and taking five minutes to change positions on the couch. Last week I was introduced to light-headedness and inconvenient fainting.

The latest bit of terrifying information I've read about it episiotomies. This is when the surgeon makes a cut down there to give the baby a bigger opening to come out of. Apparently if the cut isn't made, sometimes the woman can tear from clitorus to anus. Yikes. It made me think of that bit in Up the Duff where, after reading about caesareans and vaginal births, our pregnant heroine decides she doesn't want either.

I've also started reading books on what to do with the little blighter after the big day. One, What to expect in the first year, is a great big telephone directory-sized book. No doubt everything in there is both useful and accurate, but it makes me wonder why there aren't diplomas in parenthood on offer. After all, looking after a baby is supposed to be very important, and it sounds really hard; yet woman are generally expected to just pick it up somehow, eh?

15 comments:

Make Tea Not War said...

One of my least favourite things about pregnancy was when I got to the stage where I could no longer reach my feet to do up my boot laces myself. I wore tramping boots for most of the third trimester after I fell and sprained my ankle. Stupid shifting centre of gravity!!

But still the time goes fast and its not that long left to go now...Post baby I remember suddenly noticing my legs which I hadn't been able to see for sometime. I celebrated by lying on my stomach which hadn't been able to do for awhile either. It was great.

EB said...

Yes I'd agree about a diploma or similar formal parenthood training. I wondered whether I should have trained as a nanny or Karitane nurse first. They probably are more qualified to look after JJT than me and yet I'm the parent.

An issue would be whether the community can agree on all aspects and whether some might view it as meddling. The physical side would be way easier than the psychological.

Ali said...

I found "what to expect when you are expecting" to be the worst of the pregnancy books and i've found "what to expect in the first year" to be one of the worst parenting books as well.

they do a lot more scaring than actual helping. don't be worried!! you'll be fine :)

onscreen said...

"yet woman are generally expected to just pick it up somehow, eh?"

It's because women are one of the most capable, adaptable and smart beings on thi planet.

Just think of what a disaster it would be if men gave birth and had to figure out what to do with the baby.....

Violet said...

mtnw: ooh, lying on my stomach...that would be wonderful.

eb: yeah, I guess it's more of a PhD really, isn't it?

ali: really? because it's unhelpful or because it's got too much information? Just as well I didn't buy it then.

onscreen: sucking up to the female blog-reading population now, are we? ;-) If men gave birth they'd probably turn it into competitive computer game.

onscreen said...

Me sucking up?

Never.

Honest.

I just have great admiration for mothers after seeing my lovely wife go through 3 extremley traumatic preganancies.

As for a competative computer game around the theme of giving birth..... hmmmmmmm, interesting.

Violet said...

onscreen: if your wife's pregnancies were all extremely traumatic, yet she went on to have more, then that post-birth amnesia I've heard about must be really effective.

Ms Mac said...

28 Weeks is the most exciting part!

Rainypete said...

Never mind diplomas! Some people should be required to pass a test first (Imagine requiring a license to operate a car but none required to handle a young mind). Sounds like you're adequately worried about doing a good job. Don't worry about it. Follow your instincts and you should be okay. I'm mucking up a wee one of my own. It gets easier with time.

Frally said...

Just to let you know, in most cases you will heal faster from tearing naturally than if you are to have an episiotimy, as an episiotimy can cut through muscle and a tear is usually only superficial. You can reduce the chances of tearing by a) birthing upright (standing, squatting, on all fours) b) perineal massage and c) having someone support the perineum with hot wash cloths while you push.
I can say with first hand experience that these things work as my first child was born lying down, no massage and no perineal support and I tore like a bugger. OUCH! My second child was born with all three of the above things and I only needed one tiny stitch (Which the midwife was considering not even giving me as it was almost just a graze). He was also the bigger of the two babies so it definitely wasn't a size issue. I agree with ali, those "what to expect..." books are probably the worst books written on the subject. Sheila Kitzinger is the best author if you want to be able to make informed decisions on birthing your baby.

Violet said...

Ms Mac: why is 28 weeks the most exciting part, as opposed to later weeks? I would've thought week 40 would be pretty damned exciting...

rainypete: Still, a handbook would be useful to start with. Something with a helpdesk number on the inside back cover perhaps.

frally: yep, that's what I read. It's just that I also read that sometimes you get an episiotomy just because. And I really don't like the idea of getting cut up if I don't have to. That perineal massage sounds a bit like foreplay though, eh? I had a look at one of Kitzinger's books. It had some alarmingly frank photos in it, at the very front of the book.

Frally said...

Well, childbirth is amazingly frank! It's definitely not the fluffy puppies and rainbows experience a lot of books make it out to be (At least not until the baby's in your arms anyway ;))

darth said...

violet, i just read this:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/05/04/MNGJOCJN2K1.DTL

One of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States -- an incision many pregnant women receive to make childbirth less damaging -- has no benefits and actually causes more complications, according to the most comprehensive analysis to evaluate the practice.

hopefully your dr. did too!

Violet said...

frally: yeah I realise that, but I'd rather see fluffy bunnies on the first few pages and ease into the full frontal crowning shots later on!

Darth: argh - that's what I was talking about! 70-80% of first time mothers in the US have episiotomies?! I was hoping that the info I'd read was old and that this procedure was no longer routine, but it looks like I'm gonna have to get specific with my midwife eh?

darth said...

violet..heck yes! make sure your midwife reads that report! you don't want one unless its a last resort!


the epidural however..mrs darth said that saved her life :lol: