Friday, May 27, 2011

The Trouble With Pregnancy Books...

is, well actually there are many issues with pregnancy books.

Firstly, the books I have were printed in the UK so fully expect that it's readers will be having their pregnancy and births in the UK.  Fair assumption, but somewhat annoying when they devote a whole chapter to birth plans, birthing pools, birthing balls, gas & air and all those all things that constitute choice.

I will give birth in Spain, with an epidural, flat on my back, feet in stirrups attached to a foetal monitor one side, a blood pressure monitor the other and more than likely a oxytocin drip.  I will not be able to eat, drink, walk about, play my favourite music, have scented candles, bounce on a ball, take a bath, get high on gas & air (actually, of all the things I won't be able to do this is the one I am most jealous about) and you know, have some remote say in how things go.

I was however, tickled somewhat by the two page chart that one of the books has about which type of pain relief is best for me.  First colomn in is breathing!  Now, I've been on this earth a few years and for most of them I've been breathing, it's never yet help me overcome any kind of pain, not a headache, toothache, backache, blister, boil or bruise has ever been eased with breathing.  The other colomns I can cross out as well  include:

Aromatherapy - for the most part, until I'm ready to actually give birth I will be in a cubicle no bigger than an average public toilet cublicle.  In this space a midwife or two, an anesthetist, t'husband, various machines and probably a sick bucket will reside. There will be no space for oil burners or candles (health & safety anyone?) or plug in vaporisers.

Not bloody likely....

Hypnotheraphy/Acupunture/Reflexology - Hmm I can just imagine some dude fighting for space in between buxom midwives and men with even bigger needles going: "Look into my eyes, my eyes, look into my eyes - you will feel a little prick.  My God woman, have you seen the size of your feet?"

Massage - Did I mention I'd be strapped down attached to various drips and monitors?

Water Bouyancy - well maybe I could take a dip in the Med en route to the hospital?

Tens Machines - actually this is an option, well it would be if I could get hold of one in Spain.  I rather think I'll be rigged up to enough machines though.

Gas & Air - OK, listen up medical peeps over here.  Why the fuck do you not have gas and air?  You could probably save yourself a fortune on anesthetists and drugs if you provided gas & air, not to mention having a lot less puke to clear up.

Pethidine or Other Opiate Drug - no pethidine available and I reckon jacking up smack might not go down so well.

Epidural/Spinal Anaesthetic - yup that'll be the one.  Just in case anyone was wondering why 95% of women in Spain have epidurals, read the above again.

Secondly, the books are clearly aimed at women in their 20's who were probably no more than a size 8 before they got up the duff.  They will unhelpfully have some super slim model to pose throughout her gestation, where at full term she will look like I did pre-pregnancy after eating a sandwich.  Along with these there will be a blow by blow account of what your body should be doing week by week.  For instance, at 17 weeks I should just about be showing.  Just about?  Good Lord, already my arse takes a full 10 minutes to enter a room after my rapid protruding belly button.

Allegedly, my feet won't start to swell until my 3rd trimester.  Hmm, well the only shoes that fit me now are the flip flops I managed to break yesterday running some errands in the village, leaving me to walk back home with one bare foot (even the trusty Birkenstocks give me blisters along the side of my foot), and my ankles are already rather puffy.  God knows what I will look like come July when it's really hot, but a matriachal elephant springs to mind!  Not to worry, they do give advice on how to avoid fluid retention.  It basically involves not doing much and putting your feet up a lot.  Well Mrs Stoppard et al. I am an expert at sitting on my arse with my feet up and it's still happening. Apparently it gets worse in warm weather—no shit?

My final bug bear with these books is the chapter—usually near the end of the book—that shows graphic images of a woman mid birth.  I don't want to see these.  I want to ignorantly wallow in bliss, like a pig in shit, for 9 months not thinking about the actual birth.  I certainly don't want to see what it looks like; remember I'll be flat on my back, legs akimbo, so I'm not likely to be able to see what going off down the business end myself, well not unless I suddenly take up yoga and that's probably not good for the oedema*.

*Some smart arse will probably tell me that it's an excellent way of controlling oedema.  If they do I will just ignore them and start singing la la la la very loudly.