Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Final Countdown (Schrodinger's Gestation)

As I write this, I am thirty-eight weeks pregnant. Those in the know will recognise this as Schrodinger's Gestation; the pregnancy both is and isn't classed as full term. Technically, any baby from thirty-seven up until forty-two weeks can be classed as fully cooked, but because all babies and pregnancies are different, which slot you fall into can be a bit of a mystery until it happens.

Recently, I've been doing a fair bit of complaining about the end of my pregnancy on social media. The fact that I'm friends with those who have struggled/are struggling to conceive, as well as those who have suffered pregnancy loss leaves me wanting to explain, and maybe even justify, what probably comes across as incessant, ungrateful whining.

I'm not ungrateful. I'm so, so aware of how precious this life inside me is, I'm just not someone who actually likes being pregnant. I didn't like it with Blake, but I absolutely live for the little lunatic that came from it; not a day goes by that I don't consider how lucky I am to have him. I realise that there are women out there who love everything that pregnancy brings, but frankly, I think these women are probably a little bit unhinged. There are even women who do it for other people. What a noble thing it must be to be a surrogate, but I would honestly have to respond with 'fuck that for a game of soldiers' if I was ever asked to go through this whole shebang and not get a baby at the end of it. I mean, seriously, not even if you paid me. 

This pregnancy, in particular, has been very difficult. I suffered extreme morning sickness from about week six right up until week twenty, which is a bit like having the worst hangover you've ever experienced every day for fourteen weeks, but without the fun of getting smashed the night before. It's also been incredibly tiring; where my first pregnancy involved an awful lot of self-indulgently sitting on my arse, this time around I've had a toddler to run around and clean up after. I also had some pretty severe prenatal depression and anxiety to battle which, although overshadowed by its more famous cousin - postnatal depression - is every bit as exhausting and, occasionally, terrifying.

Now, here I am at the end and my body is throwing up a whole host of new potential problems. I have a relatively common condition called polyhydramnios, which basically means that I have too much amniotic fluid. The condition itself isn't serious, but it can both cause and indicate problems with labour and the baby. However, because I'm only thirty-eight weeks, it's a wait and watch situation as they don't really know if this baby is cooked yet. The problem is that I'm categorically not allowed to labour at home. As soon as my contractions start, I have to get to hospital to be monitored. Which would be fine if not for the fact that I've been experiencing (painful) false labour every evening for nearly two weeks now. When the real thing does kick in, I'm inevitably going to accidentally ignore it until I'm way further on than the doctors would like. Should my waters break before my contractions start, then I've been instructed to get on all fours with my bottom in the air and call both my midwife and an ambulance, as the excess amniotic fluid means that my risk of cord prolapse is elevated (which would starve my baby of oxygen in no time at all). That's all very well should it happen in my bedroom, but what if I'm halfway around Morrisons?

The baby herself also happens to be rather on the large side. At my last fortnightly growth scan, she was estimated to weigh around 7lb9oz. I'm due another on Tuesday, and if she's following her current growth line, I can take a conservative guess that she's heading towards 8lb6oz. That and the extra fluid mean that my bump is huge - people actually looking at it in horror huge - not to mention really quite difficult to carry around. I also have swelling in the tissue of my abdomen, because why the fuck not?

The point is, I want my baby out of me because I don't feel like my insides are doing a very good job of keeping her safe. Yet the Schrodinger's Gestation issue means that they are loathe to induce me unless it's really medically necessary; by which they mean 'if her life is in danger'. Right now, the issues are all potentially problematic but not extreme enough to warrant interference; I just have to keep trundling up to the hospital every other week for tests.

That said, however much I complain and moan, please never, ever think that I'm taking this pregnancy for granted. I'm really not, but that doesn't mean that I have to actually enjoy it.