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Thursday, October 31, 2002
Day 36: first midwife visit

If you've ever seen a birth live, or on ER, or on TLC True Stories, you know that it entails hours and hours of pushing, lots of drama, and even more pain. Sometimes, someone might even yell "Stat!" Keep that in mind.

Elisa is suddenly suffering from a nasty cough. It's been keeping me up all night for days, really disturbing my rest. Yeah, yeah, I realize that this isn't about me. It's just that I'm tired, and I need to get up early for work. That's all. That's all I was saying. I mean, can it be good for the baby if I'm tired and not getting my sleep? I really don't think so.

Anyway, today we had a scheduled appointment with our new midwife, Hsui-li Cheng, whose first name is pronounced "Show-li". Or was it "Su-li"? I swear, everyone at the office pronounced it differently. I asked her how to pronounce her name, and she went into an animated spiel about how no one could pronounce it correctly. It was funny, we all laughed, but I still didn't know how to pronounce it. So for the sake of this blog, we'll just pronounce it "Hsui". That should clear everything up.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. There we are, sitting in the barren waiting room ("I like the decor," Elisa says pointing to two forlorn, faded, cheaply framed, Diego Rivera-ripoff prints), when Elisa suddenly hacks up a lung. I'm not kidding, that lung was trying to claw its way out of Elisa. Literally. I had to beat it back down with a Time Magazine dated March 13, 1997.

Once the coughs subsided, Elisa's eyes opened wide -- "I think I just lost the baby!" She stormed into the bathroom to check for blood, but there was nothing there. She came out for two seconds, decided that she hadn't checked hard enough for blood -- that red, sticky substance that would show up fairly well against white cotton panties -- so she ran back in the bathroom to doublecheck. She sounded the all-clear, except for noting some "discharge". I don't EVER want to know what the definition of "discharge" is. As far as some things are concerned, I want to stay stupid and ignorant.

The midwife had us waiting for over an hour -- not a good first impression. Elisa went to the bathroom three times. Right before we were ushered in to one of the examination rooms, Elisa went to the bathroom a fourth time. As she flushed the toilet (audible in the waiting room), the receptionist slapped her forehead, "I forgot to tell her to capture some of her urine in a cup!" I said, "no problem". Elisa comes out. The receptionist tells her that they need some of her urine, so Elisa turns around, goes back in the bathroom, and IMMEDIATELY pees again filling the cup! It was beyond belief! Five bathroom breaks in one hour, including two back-to-back performances! That HAS to be some kind of record!!! (And believe it or not, I'm not even exaggerating.)

Well, we finally meet the enigmatic Hsui-li, who is a pleasant Asian certified midwife. Midwives have to be registered nurses, and then return to school to get a master's degree in midwifery. Unlike OB/Gyn's who do a million different things (all of them using that horrible looking torture-like contraption to spread the woman's legs), midwives do one thing -- deliver babies. Hsui-Li is well-recommended around these parts, and is really good at mixing Western and Eastern medical techniques to perform mostly natural births -- no drugs unless absolutely necessary. (I almost wrote, "no drugs unless the woman is a real wimp", but then I realized that it might get me lynched so I wisely changed the wording to something more benign. I'm so smart!)

So Hsui-Li asks if we have any questions. Elisa points out that her nasty coughing bout in the waiting room may have signalled the end of her pregnancy. Both Hsui-Li and I had a hearty laugh at Elisa's expense. Just kidding. It was just Hsui-Li doing the laughing, and she wasn't really even laughing, it was more mild amusement: "Do you think I would have my patients push if all they had to do was cough?" She then kicked Elisa in the shin for asking the stupid question. Okay, no she didn't, but given all the paranoid mother questions she must get, it's a wonder she doesn't snap sometimes.

THEN, Hsui-Li pulls out a microphone-like device to see if we can hear the baby. We all gathered around Elisa's belly, at the edge of our seats, waiting to hear something, anything. I wanted someone to toss me a bone, but nothing. A lot of scratchy sounds, a strange hissing, something that could've only been a bowel movement, and some inexplicable chirping. Not only anti-climactic, but downright disappointing.

Finally, Hsui-Li ordered me to give Elisa regular massages. That's when I realized that this mild-mannered midwife was actually my arch-enemy. I couldn't believe I had been so blind! Call me the worst husband in the world, but I just HATE to give massages. And Hsui-Li picked up on my one weakness (really, it's the only one) and turned it against me. She won the battle, but I'll win the war!

Anyway, we're going to do the first ultrasound in three weeks, and we should FINALLY hear a heartbeat. I mean, I expect my kid to be advanced in everything -- school, sports, music, you name it. I want the kid to be years ahead of his or her competition. And the fact I didn't hear a heartbeat seems to indicate that s/he is already falling behind. I hate to say it, but I'm thinking we're going to have to hire a tutor.


Lots going on in baby development time. The cerebellum is starting to form (still "Braniac"), which will eventually allow the baby to move his or her muscles. A primitive palate (circa the Mesolithic Era) is starting to form on the baby's mouth, while the first rudimentary signs of hands are starting to emerge. This is important as my child will be a world-famous concert pianist.

By the age of five.

The spleen ("man's forgotten organ") is starting to form, while the liver is large enough to form a bump on the baby's abdomen (though it's going to have to be lots larger to handle a pint of delicious Guiness!).

by Kos | October 31, 2002 11:43 PM