It has been a while since I’ve written. Mostly because I’ve been having a hard time relaxing into this pregnancy. I’ve had a few emotional break downs and one trip to the emergency room. Even at ten weeks and a few days, I find it hard to rejoice in this gift I’ve been given, mostly because I’m so afraid that it will be taken away. But at this point the chance is very small. I’ve seen the heartbeat and my baby almost weekly since conception and each time a sense of relief floods my synapsis and for a little bit I relax. But then a few days later I start to worry again and the fear threatens to take over. I fight this pesky emotion with yoga, acupuncture, visualizations, and writing. I even allow myself to plan a little. This week I took on the task of deciding where to have my baby. I really want to have a natural birth at a birth center with a few close people and a doula. So, I toured UCSD Medical Center’s Birth Center and Best Start, a freestanding center close to two major hospitals, including UCSD.
After the tours, I decided on Best Start because it really was like giving birth at grandma’s house, as one recommender yelped. They also practice a method of prenatal care called Centering and this really interests me. The whole place gave off the essence of love and compassion. The birth center at UCSD wasn’t what I was expecting. I knew that it was in a hospital but I expected the birth center to be more of an oasis in the middle of a big city. But I never got that impression. They do have great statistics and the midwives at the tour were really professional and nice. Not to mention all the technology and specialists are seconds away. Still Best Start seemed to be a better fit for me. But then at dinner I started to bleed. It was a medium flow that seemed to come all at once and then start to stop. I immediately went to the emergency room at UCSD because it is literally two blocks from my house. I wasn’t having any cramping, which really helped to ease my fears.
The ER was buzzing with people and eventually, after a blood test, two doctor’s visits, and two nurses asking me the same questions, I was wheeled down to radiology for an ultrasound. The radiologist told me that the doctor would give me the results. I asked him to please let me know if the baby had a heart beat. He said of course. In seconds my little fig was on the screen. I could see the flashing light. The heartbeat. The sense of relief was absolutely keen, almost surreal. The baby even waved. I swear. It looked like a wave. She (I prefer to think of her, as a her, but a boy would be just find too) just kept moving around. It was absolutely beautiful.
After the most thorough ultrasound I have ever had, I was wheeled back to my room to wait to hear from the doctor. The radiologist did tell me that he saw a very small subchorionic rupture but that the doctor wouldn’t mention it because it was so small. At the time I had no idea what that was, but later I educated myself via google (the most dangerous thing in my life) and basically it’s blood that builds up in the layers of the developing placenta. It can become serious and eventually pull the placenta away from the uterus. The doctor told me that there was no known cause for my bleeding. A lot of women have unexplained bleeding during pregnancy and are fine. I was the fourth pregnant women that day to come to the ER. I asked him if there was a subchorionic rupture and he said no. So who knows. I have been having some brown discharge since then but no cramping and no red blood. I’ve had morning sickness and other oh so reassuring pregnancy symptoms in abundance, so I’m just going to have to say . . . it is what it is.
But it has made me revaluate my decision to give birth at Best Start. At UCSD I have immediate access if something goes wrong and a strong chance of giving birth naturally. The problem with birth centers at hospitals is that even though they really do believe in natural birth and want to make sure your birth plan is followed, they are also beholden to hospital regulations. This means if my birth doesn’t go exactly as they hospital sees a low-risk birth, I will be shipped off to labor and delivery where my choices might be made by other people. So I guess I need some advice on this. Where is everyone delivering? Hospital? Birth Center? Natural?