I visited one of my midwives (I have five. They work in teams to bring humans into the earth) yesterday to follow up with an ultrasound appointment I had on Monday. I hadn't yet worked with this particular midwife, Mary, who had the eyes of a rare Tahitian bug and the hair of a Vietnamese broom. Mary scanned my charts and sonogram report and casually blurted out something along the lines of "So, looks like you are having twins?" to which I retorted "Not that I'm aware of." She cocked her head, stood up from her stool, gooped up my abdomen with gel and dove in with her heartbeat detector. "You know... it's really weird. I'm hearing two distinct heartbeats on both side of your uterus. Usually you only hear the baby's heartbeat on one side. I haven't ever experienced this unless of course there were twins in the womb. Are you sure you aren't having twins? I mean the sonogram report says that you are and your uterus is measuring higher than normal at this stage in your pregnancy." I gulped and felt a flame brighten my cheeks. I wasn't sure of anything. Being pregnant over the last five months has been a whirl of bodily uncertainty. Still, I did spend an hour observing the movements of my baby girl (yes, it's no longer an it, she's a girl with a healthy vagina) at my sonogram appointment and was more than positive I did not see another baby in there. "Yes, I'm positive. I don't have twins." Still unconvinced, she called the sonogram folks who informed her that I was NOT having twins, that the report of twins was simply a typo. A typo. Yes people, this is our trusty medical system at work.
"Well looks like you don't have twins, but your placenta is lower than it should be, which may or may not cause us problems." As she was saying this, she swiveled her stool ninety degrees to the right and averted her eyes away from me. This simple action led me to believe my low-riding placenta was a HUGE problem. Tears collected in the back of my throat. "What do you mean, may be a problem?" I asked. "Well, your placenta is covering the opening to your cervix. Normally the placenta affixes itself to the top of the uterus and in your case, its affixed itself to the bottom." I still wasn't sure what this was all about. "So can it grow the other way?" I asked. "Maybe. It all depends. When your uterus grows, there is a chance that the placenta will move. That would be the best case scenario, but if it doesn't you'll have to have a c-section and potentially take other action." I envisioned lots of blood and money and the baby refusing my tit for months on end. The only reason I was in that office was so that I could have a natural childbirth. I didn't want to be pumped full of birth inducing drugs and ripped open like a pork chop. I wanted to squeeze this baby out like the wild mammal I'm supposed to be.
"Wow!" Mary said. "I bet you are going to want to have a glass of wine after this appointment aren't you."
I left the midwives feeling defeated. I googled (not a good thing to do if you are already paranoid) placenta previa, which opened up another flurry of fears for myself. Doctors generally advise women with placenta previa to take best rest for the remainder of their pregnancy. You can't have sex. You can't sing loudly. You can't fart. You can't...
Thoughts of enduring sexless, lifeless, best-rest for the next four months propelled me into sobs. My man-chowder called the midwife on duty for clarification of my diagnosis. Fortunately, Mary (the kooky midwife) was not the midwife on call and instead I spoke with a maternal, sweet and nurturing woman named Patti. Patti told me that my placenta was BARELY touching my cervix (the term is called partial placenta previa and it's very common) and that in 95% of the cases, the placenta moves upward as the uterus grows. She assured me there was no need whatsoever to change my lifestyle and to carry on as I had before. Thank you Patti!
So every morning from here until November, when I do my yogic acrobatics and mindful meditations, I'll visualize my placenta moving on up so I can push this baby out - yoni style.