Recap for Blog 28 – The show gets on the road: Inspired by Vee’s gentle courage and wisdom, Zani realises a baby is something she wants and not necessarily needs. A few months down the road, she’s ready for an ultrasound …
I have begun to look at everything differently – even poor, much-maligned Dr Cohen (who seems to have borne the brunt of my rants, as if it was her fault that I failed in my first attempt at having a baby). I have to say, that woman’s good. Just as she has predicted, within just ten weeks I fell pregnant without a breeding programme of umpteen supplements, scheduled sex, thermometers, increased alkalinity or legs in the air after what Jake calls ‘The Act’. Nope, we have fallen pregnant the way nature intended. Just a lot of caring, laughter, loving – oh, and a blood test (only one) and a home pregnancy test (okay, four of those, but a girl has to be sure). And, yes, the lines are still there!
We are opting for a midwife to be our guide through our pregnancy and birth, simply because we feel that pregnancy and birth are the most natural things on earth, like breathing. It’s a woman’s business so I want an experienced woman to hold my hand, and not a doctor, even if she is a woman. Pregnancy and birth are not medical conditions, right? Unless something goes wrong, right? Then, sure, we will need medical care – but for that we have the back-up of Dr Cohen, don’t we?
Unfortunately, thoughts about what could go wrong open the door to that terrible trio – Dread, Anxiety and Fear – but then I remind myself that I’ve read that about 90% of what we worry about, never happens. So I firmly see them off, close the door and do everything in my power to keep my body, head and heart happy and healthy.
I have to admit that our first visit to the midwife – at a very early stage, at our request – turns out to be a little nerve-wrecking. But Miriam is gentle, helpful, and enthusiastic, which is what both Jake and I need, I think, to allow us to relax and get excited all over again. Our due date is apparently 19 July. She takes a blood sample to determine my blood group, assess my haemoglobin levels (if I am anaemic, my baby will be getting too little oxygen at the beginning, she says), screen for infections and to establish my immunity to rubella.
She measures my weight and explains a woman should gain on average 8 to 13 kilograms at a rate of 1,5 kilograms in the first three months and then about 450 grams per week thereafter. She mentions that I am a little underweight and suggests that I should try to gain about 2,5 kilograms in the first three months and a little more than 450 grams every week in the following months. She is very serious when she points out that the baby’s weight at birth is the single most important indicator of his future health.
Since I am only four weeks pregnant, she does not refer us for an ultrasound scan. We, like the novices we are, are disappointed. We were looking forward to meeting our baby!
“But why won’t you let us have an ultrasound scan? Most people have ultrasounds around their first visit, don’t they?” Jake has been reading again, I can tell.
“I may just be overly cautious,” explains Miriam, “but I’m reluctant to have the baby scanned before most of the major organs have been established, which is around 12 weeks.”
“Why is that?” asks Jake.
“Well, a lot of people tend to take that precaution. In fact, I recently read an article about intracranial temperature elevation from diagnostic ultrasound – I know, sounds so academic, doesn’t it? – and another that suggested that multiple sonars may result in biological changes in the foetus.”
“But how could that happen?” Now it is my turn to ask questions.
“Remember, I’m not saying that is what will happen. But from what I can understand from many years of doing this, plus medical textbooks and various articles – an embryo’s cells can become any part of the baby. Early in embryonic life, the cells are not yet specialised. A cell migrates and the place where it arrives determines what that cell or, more accurately, cluster of cells will become – a heart, the spine or even a toenail.”
“My word, how does that happen?”
“I’m not entirely sure, to be honest – science is still trying to play catch-up. The articles I’ve read imply that early ultrasound scans may influence the migration of cells and hence biological changes may be possible.”
“But if that’s true, why isn’t this common knowledge?” This is clearly beginning to worry Jake.
Miriam pats him gently on the arm. “Don’t panic. The articles called for more research before conclusive findings could be published. All Zani needs to remember – are you listening, Zani? – is to take a daily folate supplement of 400 mcg, a naturally occurring B vitamin that is vital for the proper growth of cells and that can prevent a condition like spina bifida.”
I give Miriam a thumbs-up. Both Jake and I are impressed. She offers to forward some of the articles to Jake, but emphasises that while findings were not conclusive, she would rather err on the side of caution and hence no early ultrasounds.
Both Jake and I know we’ve made a good choice in Miriam.