The umbilical noose

by Milton on Fri, Feb 12th, 2010

in Doctors, midwives, and doulas,Week 27

Had our 28 week midwife appointment today.  Esther got to drink sugary orange juice plus sugary white bread plus a spoonful of sugary honey and get her blood drawn in order to test for gestational diabetes.  I got to be coached yet again on how to feel for our baby’s head, and butt, and legs, etc.  We all think he’s upside down already (I felt a hard little head way down there, it was cool), and it would be great if he just stayed right there.  Though maybe he needs the exercise and should do a few more warm-up laps around her uterus so he comes out extra strong and ready to go.  That’s up to him I guess.

Today I voiced my somewhat irrational fear of him getting too tangled up in umbilical cords before he comes out.  You know, after reading 3 bazillion birth stories certain fears lodge themselves.  For me it has been the tangling.  Not sure why.  But I guess because I so much enjoy to rock him back and forth in Esther’s belly to try and figure out where he is, what he’s doing, etc and the thought has crossed my mind that I may be making him move more and get tangled more than he otherwise would.

Luckily, Beth reassured me that almost all of those horror stories of hospitalized births “failing to progress” where the doctor later says, “Oh, it was because he was all a tangled up and had his umbilical cord around his head 25 times and that’s why he wasn’t coming down” are really usually confabulated stories where, yeah, there might have been some tangling, but that wasn’t what was causing the labor to halt.  Drugs, anxiety, impatience, etc, much more likely to be the cause.  Yeah, sometimes the cord is in the way, but only once in a blue moon (Beth said once every 10 years even) does the chord actually inhibit the birth from progressing as normal.  Yeah, sometimes it’s around the neck, even twice or three times, but a little looping around and pushing the cord and all is well.  Very rarely they’ll clamp the cord and cut it if the baby is really close to being born, but even that almost never happens.

So, that was all good to hear.  Nature wasn’t silly enough to put a noose in the womb.  It’s stretchy, and easy to move around, and not a problem at all.  After I voiced this fear, Esther also confessed to having the fear, so it was good for us both to talk about it and then move on.

Weird how fear works like that, sometimes.  It’s a full-time job to worry less.

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