Monday, January 22, 2007

On Pins and Needles or AJ's Story Part I

It's been a while since I've blogged. A lot has happened in that time. I think the last I told you, Baby hadn't turned yet and we were looking into our options. Well, on Wednesday, January 3rd, we visited the back-up OBs for our midwife practice. I'd been to the chiropractor twice in the days before then (and while the baby didn't turn as a result of her work, I had no idea how much pain I was in until she made it all go away. It was absolutely amazing and something I HIGHLY recommend to all pregnant women out there - just make sure your chiropractor is trained in working on pregnant ladies) and knew that the baby had gone vertical the night before the OB's visit (he'd been at an angle prior to then). I was SURE that he'd turned.

The OB wasn't so sure, so we went down the hallway to her ultrasound machine. That proved that I was wrong. Not only was the baby breech, now he was breech with his butt stuck down in my pelvis. He wasn't really far down in the pelvis, but he was there. And as a result, she gave us only a 60% chance that the manual version would work. She also recommended that we go ahead and schedule it ASAP, preferably for the following weekend since she'd be on call at the hospital both days.

After a few minutes to talk it over and pray about it (and let me have a little time to cry with disappointment), we decided to go ahead with it, knowing that if it didn't work, we'd probably end up with a C-Section. On the way home we called parents and pastors (and bosses since we weren't coming back to work like we'd planned), then visited the pastors for more prayer. We tried to keep it pretty quiet other than that though, just because it was all so sudden for both of us and stressful and the last thing we needed was a lot of well-meant comfort and advice. We both just needed to focus on the task at hand, cleaning off our desks at work, and doing the "last things" before Baby would come, since it was _very_ likely that Baby would be coming that weekend.

It was our hope that the baby would turn on his own prior to our arrival at the hospital on Sunday morning. Next to that, we hoped that the version would work and we could then be induced at the hospital and have the baby as naturally as possible. Barring that, we hoped that the version wouldn't work, but Baby and I would be good enough afterwards that they'd let us go home and have labor start naturally. That would give him more time to turn, and the advantage of _some_ labor (it not only gets my hormones going for things like milk production, but it also helps squeeze out fluid from his lungs and is just healthier for babies in general) even if it ended in a C-Section, but there was only a very small chance of that happening. The alternative was an immediate C-Section.

With those hopes, we did everything we knew of to encourage the baby to turn. I went back to the chiropractor twice more, and I even did what I didn't think I'd ever do - I went to the acupuncturist. He was highly recommended by our childbirth educator lady (who is in to those sorts of thing), and we were willing to do a lot of things at that point. Plus, I'd read about it and it didn't involve needles and it had a pretty high rate of success, so we figured it couldn't hurt and it might help, so why not?

So I went to his office. It was in this dingy little building in downtown Bethesda. Granted, it was a "Medical Arts Building," but it was still a dingy little building. In the waiting room I filled out his interminable form. The only fun part was getting to answer "pregnant" to all of the yesses I had to check by different symptoms (heartburn, swelling of ankles, weight gain, etc.). That even got old after a while. But I finally finished and they called me back.

Then we got to talk about my poop. Nope, not kidding. He asked about color, consistency, and buoyancy. From that, he diagnosed me as "thinking too much," i.e., worrying. I kinda rolled my eyes and said, "well, DUH!" at that diagnosis. I mean, I had a full-term (first) pregnancy with a breech baby - did he think I was so happy and carefree that daisies sprang up where ever I stepped?

So then he had me lie down on the table and take my shoes off. While I was doing that, he asked if I knew about the procedure. I'd checked it out on the internet (they burn sticks right up next to some acupressure points on your little toes), so I said that I did. Everything was going according to what I was expecting for the most part (I thought I'd be sitting in a chair)...until he pulled out some needles and said "This is going to hurt."

Now you know it's going to be bad when a medical person says that.

And he was right. He stuck one pin in each of my big toes, then spun them around until I couldn't take it anymore. Then he stopped, told me to sit there for a few minutes and that he'd be back after that. About 15 minutes later, he came back and did the same thing again. Sometime during this second visit, he said, "you know we don't use the moxi sticks anymore, right?" I told him that I hadn't heard that, and asked him why. His very profound response (and given clearly in surprise at being asked "why") - "second-hand smoke."

So twice more he repeated his toe torture, each time asking if the baby was moving ("not really" was my response each time). After the third time he mentioned that I might not have realized how long this was going to take and would I like a magazine? I said yes and began reading the architectural magazine that happened to be in that room. He also handed me my cell phone. VNB had called twice, wondering where I was.

He also asked about the water I was drinking and said that I should be drinking de-ionized water to keep down the acidity of the amniotic fluid. He said that he would get me info about the water. He never did.

Finally, after about an hour of toe torture, he sent in his minion to remove the pins. I was then allowed to sit back up and put my shoes back on. My toes stung a little bit, but it wasn't too bad.

On the way out, he said, "Sometimes this doesn't work right away. The baby might turn this afternoon or tonight or tomorrow. Sometimes it even takes two times. You can come back on Tuesday and we can do it again." Since I'd written on the little interminable health history sheets that I was having a manual version the following day (a point which he either had forgotten, had never read, or didn't understand), I just sorta smiled and said that I'd call them.

But the real kicker? The $125 price tag. That's right. I paid a man I don't know and don't really trust at all over $100 to stick needles in my big toes and spin them around until I couldn't take it anymore.

Tell me who's the sucker here?

Anyway, after my toes recovered, we went to a dinner with our whole Sunday School class at which we told them about the next day's activities. We went home early so that I could get some rest. I didn't sleep a whole lot until after midnight though because I wasn't supposed to eat after midnight, so I figured I'd eat as much pasta as I could cram down my throat at 11:30. I did, and it was good, but it wasn't nearly enough for the next day's activities....

Which will be described in: To Ev'rything (Turn, Turn, Turn) or AJ's Story Part II.