Babby Questions - Need Answers (relatively) Fast! [warning: long]

I have been pranked by the universe.

On April 1st I had a hunch that a fetus might have sneaked into my uterus without asking me so I bought a pregnancy test on the way home from work. When it came up positive I screamed, “Oh my god, get in here!” and my husband ran into the bathroom to find out why I was yelling like I’d been stabbed by pirates.

He took one look at me holding the test and said, “This isn’t a funny April Fool’s joke, you know.” I told him it wasn’t a joke and made him look at the test to tell me if he could see if it was positive or not. He determined that it looked like it could go either way and we needed a more conclusive test, so off we went to the drugstore where we bought a variety of pregnancy tests, including one that just says Yes or No as the situation warrants. When we got home I used all 4 tests and all 4 came up positive.


This was not on my list of stuff I wanted to do before I die. I have a very intense fear of needles and a slight mistrust of doctors and medicine in general (because they seem to feel like sticking me with a needle is very important much of the time, but I digress) so I did not want to give birth. Ever. Our plan was to adopt a child someday when we were ready. Unsure of what to do exactly we panicked and called my mother-in-law to ask her advice about this whole situation.

To understand why this was not the best thing to do you have to understand two things. First, my in-laws have a history of pulling off some elaborate pranks for April Fools Day. They once spent 7 months sending letters and pamphlets and such to a friend to convince them that they had been gifted an Ocelot and that it was being shipped from South America to his home as a pet. They got another phone line and everything so that he could call this organization that sends out pet Ocelots and have someone verify the legitimacy of the information he had been sent and had someone deliver about 50 lbs of cat food to his home. They don’t do “little” pranks. Secondly, the one thing my MIL wants more than anything in the world is a grandchild. She has made it very clear to both my husband and his sister that this is the most important thing in the world to her and we’ve even found things she has been buying for her future grandchild even though one was not in existence at the time. She is REALLY into the concept of grandchildren.

So, of course, she thought we were playing the world’s meanest prank on her. After about 10 minutes of back and forth, “Are you sure you aren’t joking?” and, “Dear god, why would we joke about this?” she eventually decided we probably weren’t pranking her and was able to walk us through some of the steps we needed to take in the decision making process.

We considered the possibilities and over the weekend we eventually decided we would keep the baby unless the doctor indicated that I shouldn’t for some reason. So yesterday was my doctor’s appointment where they verified that I am, indeed, hosting a parasitic life form that will eventually turn into a human baby and explode out of my body like in the movie Alien (okay, so maybe I am being a tad melodramatic, but still) and they took sonogram pictures. Apparently we are about 7 weeks along, give or take a couple of days. When they were able to point out the heartbeat my husband just about melted into a pile of the world’s happiest goo. Then they did indeed stick me with needles to take blood for all sorts of tests that they have to run. My doctor was awesome and came in with the nurse who was drawing blood to ask questions and keep me distracted and my husband held me while I cried because they were sticking me with a needle.

My doctor was not a big fan of my c-section under general anesthesia plan. She advised that while that would make it so I couldn’t feel anything it also basically paralyses you and you need a machine to work your lungs, which is fine and dandy except that it also paralyses the baby and there is no machine breathing for it, so it puts the baby in a dangerous position. Unfortunately I am not a big fan of her epidural plan as a giant needle in my spine is one of the scariest things I can imagine. So now I am trying to find a third option.

This is my question to you: is there a third option I can consider or am I fucked?

Also, when does this get exciting? My husband is so happy he is going to be a daddy he is about to burst and my MIL is already referring to herself as grandma, but I am not very happy about this. I’m looking forward to the baby that shows up at the end of all of this mess but the part that comes before the baby terrifies me. I’m vaguely nauseous all the time and not looking forward to giving birth at all but that doesn’t stop the couple of people who’ve found out about the situation from looking at me like I kicked a baby panda because I’m not turning cartwheels over the whole baby deal.

Look at all the people you see walking around. There are tons of them, right? Every one of them was the result of some woman going through the whole pregnancy and birth thing.

You can do it. It’s as natural as breathing, pooping and your heart beating. It’s isn’t something you have to be good at. It isn’t something you have to concentrate on. It just happens.

First thing - you’ve got at least 7 months to make a decision, take a huge deep breath.

Start looking into breathing exercises and other ways to manage contractions without drugs or a huge needle in your spine. I had both kids without epidurals and I’m fairly wimpy about pain so it’s definitely possible.

What you need to do now is take care of you, which has the added benefit of taking care of the baby woohoo! Get tons of gentle exercise. Walk a lot, stretch carefully. Later in your pregnancy you’ll need to be much more careful about what you do but right now it’s pretty much free reign. The more you can do to make you feel calm and healthy is great and a moderate amount of exercise will make labour less painful.

Yes, you were, and good. :smiley:

I’m not good with the needles either, so I sympathize there, but I think the answer basically is that if you need to get stuck to get the baby thing accomplished, you’ll get stuck. You’ll deal. I understand that a common choice is to “go natural” until the pain overwhelms other considerations and you say, give me that goddamn needle. So there’s that option.


First of all, congratulations!

Second, with respect to the choices, depending upon your perception and tolerance for pain, you could choose a natural (i.e., without pain relief) route and have a c-section as emergency option. I would be concerned about a c-section because it’s a much longer recovery time, and since this is your first, the emotional havoc having a baby can cause can be challenging without dealing with significant physical recovery. So you want to be as hale as possible afterward. However, I wouldn’t be as concerned about the baby’s lungs. As far as I’m aware, the baby’s lungs work the same during a c-section as they do without. But take that with a grain of salt - I haven’t had a c-section.

Oh, and another thing to consider: even if you do go with the epidural, you really won’t feel the needle going in when you’re in labor. And they turn you away from it, so chances are you’ll never even see it. I know that doesn’t mean much to you now, but it’s true - or was for me, anyway.

Anyway, third, with respect to when you’ll feel excited - with my second, I didn’t feel excited until she started really moving around. The first flutters were fun, but when I could feel her, solid under my fingers…that was the best part. But everyone’s different. I can understand your unease.

If you’re the type of person who feels better when they have control over a situation, you might do well to just start reading. At least that way you’ll know what to expect and when. Also, just know that what you’re feeling is normal. You weren’t expecting it, didn’t really want it - I don’t think you should feel guilty for feeling what you feel. Just try to relax (easy to say, I know, but I went through this a couple of months ago) and try to internalize the fact that you’re having a baby.

Unless there are significant problems with the baby, you probably won’t have much more blood work at all. Try not to get yourself too worked up about the labor - remember, that’s the shortest part of having a baby.

I wish I had time to write more, but as I don’t, some thoughts, in no particular order:

  1. If a giant needle in your spine is one of the scariest things you can imagine, then don’t imagine it. What I mean is, your imaginings will be far worse than the actual experience. It’s not at all like getting blood drawn: you can’t see the needle (because it’s behind you), it doesn’t really feel like a needle going in, and the needle doesn’t stay in, it’s just used to insert a tiny, flexible tube that you can’t feel at all. For me, it just felt like a dull-but-focused pressure, and then blissful relief.

  2. AWESOME! YAY! CONGRATULATIONS! I hope everything continues to go well.

  3. Chillax.

  4. Don’t worry about not being excited about the pregnancy/birth. IMHO, pregnancy itself is, at best, highly interesting and educational, but I wouldn’t call it particularly “fun”*, and the birth was pretty cool for me, but I’m a big fan of all things sciencey-medical. The real fun part is when the baby arrives (and sometimes, not for a few weeks after that). Anyone who thinks you should feel otherwise is cordially invited to suck it.

*ETA: overly reminds me that, duh, feeling (and seeing!) your little creature moving around inside is *totally *fun. That was when I really started feeling pregnant.

Oh actually that’s a good point. Talk to your OB about your needle phobia. If your test results are staying within normal ranges ask them to reduce the frequency of the tests.

If you’re more afraid of needles than pain, you could look into a Lamaze breathing class and dedicate yourself to a natural birth. In the heat of the moment, though, you might prefer a short encounter with a needle to hours of horrid pain.

I am not a fan of Lamaze. I’m a fan of Bradley childbirth, which many people would equate with Lamaze, but is pretty philosophically different.

However, you’ve got to make your own choices. The good news is, you have lots of time to do that.

One thing about c-section and lungs: there *is *an increased rate of respiratory distress with c-sectioned babies, even if Mom isn’t unconscious. The current hypothesis is that babies who are squeezed through the vaginal canal get the amniotic fluid squeezed out of their lungs, and that helps to prevent respiratory problems in the neonatal period. Babies who are c-sectioned don’t get squeezed like that. Suctioning them with a bulb syringe is good for getting gunk out of the mouth and the upper throat, but they may still have fluid in their lungs, which interferes with oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange and may encourage the growth of bacteria in the lungs.

There are doctors and midwives in Great Britain right now experimenting with a “slow” c-section technique which attempts to mimic the slow squeeze of vaginal birth, and they’re noticing fewer episodes of respiratory distress in those babies. Which is pretty cool, but hasn’t made it to this side of the pond, as far as I know.

Shakes fist at spark240 :stuck_out_tongue:

I have several books I bought the other day and I have more coming from my MIL so I am on top of that. I do feel better when I understand things and feel like I am controlling a situation as much as possible, so hopefully this will help.

This makes me feel a little better. I think I can handle having a tube stuck in there for a while, it is just the needle thing that freaks me out.

My OB is very aware of my issue and has advised that I only have 2 more rounds with needles to go, one finger stick in a few weeks and then a test for gestational diabetes a few weeks after that. Otherwise it is pretty much needle-free which I am happy about. I am just hoping that nothing big happens to cause any issues that might need additional needle-related tests.

So, a couple of things:

First, congratulations. One of my friends who vowed she would never have children due to all sorts of (in her case) strange reasons just had a babby and she is literally, over the friggin’ moon. Ever since I’ve known her she’s said she can’t/won’t/she’ll die/she’ll grow a second head/etc. Over. The. Moon.

Next, there are lots of pain control options but I had the huge mo-fo needle in my spine - lemme tell you - you won’t even notice it.

Now, I know you’re saying to yourself ‘That Alice - she’s whack!’

Nuh-uh!! You will be so involved in everything else that’s going on you really won’t even notice it.

Secondly, they poke you with the needle for about 45 seconds (less time than it takes to get blood samples) and then it’s done.

Thirdly, it’s in your BACK - unless you get some big ass mirror, you won’t be able to see anything, and you CERTAINLY won’t be able to feel anything.

Really - as nasty and henous as the big needle in the back sounds, it’s really no big deal. REALLY no big deal.

Next - when the Mr. and I started to try to get pregnant, we assumed it would take a while. We were planning on a year. We had back up plans in place in case we couldn’t conceive. We ASSUMED that due to my age it would take a while to get pregnant so we started right away after the wedding.

BLAMMO - FIRST FRIGGIN’ TRY!!! Great, right? Well yes, in the long run, but I have to tell you I was pretty conflicted for the first while. Our honeymoon? Postponed till who knows when. Traveling together as a couple? Done. Doing all that mooshy-smoosy newly wed crap like having sex 18 times a day? When you’re barfing 24 hours a day (and sadly I sometimes got up in the night to pee and just barfed while I was in there) you don’t feel too sexy, ya?

I was so medium about being pregnant I can’t even describe. I HATED being pregnant. I was sick for 10 months straight. I felt awful. I AGED at least 10 years - seriously - I used to look quite youthful - people had no idea I was 12 years older than my husband. Now? I uh, look…older.

So, I get the ‘I’m not nearly as happy about this as I/he/they think I should be.’ I have to tell you, moments after Junior was born, he was screaming his face off, I was totally bagged from a really, really bad birth experience, they laid him on my chest. He looked up at me and I said ‘Hi.’ He stopped crying. He just looked at me and at that moment I was madly in love. The past 10 months had been worth it. The lost honey moon, the lost 18 times a day sex-a-thon. Everything. Bah - who gives a crap. Now, that particular thing doesn’t happen for every woman - some have to wait a few months before it happens, but I tell you, when it does, you would line up to take 100 needles if it meant you could help this little person you grew and not think about it.

So, to sum up (TLDR, etc): congratulations. As bad as you think needles are, you won’t. You may feel crap for the next 8 months but in the end it will be worth it. It may take a while for you to warm up to the whole preggers thing, but even if it’s not until the babby arrives, who gives a crap? Take care of yourself, eat well, fake it till you make it and then one day you will. :slight_smile:

ETA: The c-section thing? Avoid it if you can - I had to have one and it kind of sucked. Again, still worth it but I’m quite jealous of my friends who got to push their babies out the regular way.

Natural childbirth? How are you with pain? (Actually pain’s not quite the right question. It’s more like, how much willpower and bodily control do you have.) If you’re really committed to avoiding an epidural or any of that other medical stuff, I’d suggest finding:

a) a homebirth midwife or independent birthing center, depending on your comfort level and local availability. Or failing that, a hospital-affiliated birthing center or hospital-affiliated midwives.

b) a Bradley or other extensive natural birthing course in your area (Lamaze is too short).

Resources for both of these can be found with a little googling. I planned a natural birth myself and didn’t get it (always knew my Achilles heel pain-wise would be a very long labor, and guess what I got?), but I learned a lot along the way.

Tell them to shove it up their butts sideways. You’re under no obligation to enjoy pregnancy. As for when it gets exciting, I don’t know. It’s different for everyone.

This is true.

Don’t worry if you’re not into the pregnancy, a lot of people aren’t, once the baby is here you’ll be fine. Most first time mothers are terrified of the labor and delivery but if it was as horrible as you expect it to be no one would have multiple children.

My suggestions are:

Do not watch the birth film at whatever class you might take on childbirth. Who thought it was smart to show that to pregnant women? You don’t need to see it ahead of time to go through it. Just shut your eyes.

If you decide you want painkillers ask right away, demand right away, because they may try to delay giving them to you until it’s too late.

If you take a class that teaches you to try to distract yourself from the pain and that doesn’t work try concentrating on the pain as a sensation. I don’t know why that works but it does.

Focus on getting a baby, not having a baby.

Perhaps you were over-stating your emotional distress over this, in which case, feel free to disregard this.

However, if you’re not absolutely thrilled with the idea of having a baby, I question if it’s the right decision for you to have one. If you’re just nervous, while simultaneously being thrilled, that’s normal. But when you describe this as a “parasitic life form,” and the medical process of pregnancy as “the worst thing you can imagine,” and you apparently won’t even consider giving birth without heavy medical intervention – well, that doesn’t sound like just nerves to me. That sounds like you don’t want to go through with this. Perhaps you agreed just because MIL and hubby were thrilled, and you didn’t want to disappoint them, regardless of how you really feel about the whole thing.

You’re not obligated to have this baby. For the sake of the kid, do you really think it’s a good idea to have a baby you don’t want? If you do want it, great, disregard this as I said. But this is something you ought to take a good hard look at.

This is really excellent advice. I’m pretty happy about the getting part, it is the having that is freaking me out.

Speaking as someone who had everything go wrong that could go wrong:

the having isn’t nearly as bad as you think it will be. Really.

The needle thing – it’s really okay. As others have said, it’s a tiny prick. Make sure your OB/GYN knows about your concerns and make sure the anesthesiologist walks you through the procedure, as mine did (“You’ll feel a prick when we put the tube in,” that sort of thing) and you should be fine. I know I was imagining all sorts of Large Sharp Objects Wedged in my Spine and it was NOT like that at all.

Another thing that reassured me, somewhat oddly, and I just mention it just in case it might reassure you, is that my husband had gotten an epidural several years previously for a knee operation. (This was before we were dating, so I didn’t know about it until I was freaking out about the epidural and he happened to mention it.) Once I thought about it as “Oh, it’s just anesthetics, tons of people get this every day for routine surgeries” and not “OMG Weird Childbirth Thing” it calmed me down a lot.

I would counsel against c-section unless you have to. If you have to, by all means go for it, but it’s, you know, surgery.

Do NOT underestimate how awful the first month or two (or three) after birth is going to be. You will feel like crap AND there will be a crying baby AND breastfeeding will suck to start AND you’ll have to wake up every couple of hours to feed and change. Get any and all support you can. And if you don’t bond with the baby immediately it is Totally Okay. I don’t want to scare you – and it does get better (way, way better) and there are wonderful things in the first couple of months, but I really really wish people had warned me more how much it was going to suck and had leaned less on the “Oh, having a newborn is so wonderful!” (Which it is. But also awful.) I actually found this way worse than childbirth itself, which was pretty easy with the epidural.

And congratulations!! My daughter (14 months) is a complete blast. I seriously think this is the most exciting and awesome thing I have ever done, and I hope (think) you will too.

This is going to sound trite, but you have time to get there. You’re not having that baby tomorrow, or next week. And feeling nervous or freaked out or even a bit upset about the whole thing is perfectly normal. Learn what you need to learn, and don’t let people tell you how to feel. But for right now, being pregnant is what you have to deal with, not giving birth. Yeah, I know they’re pretty much connected, but the one is now, the other is later. Give yourself time to get to it. Just like you don’t have to know how to deal with a toddler the day you give birth, you don’t have to have the whole birthing thing figured out now to get through pregnancy.

Congratulations! Just remember, you’re not the only woman who has been less than thrilled about an unexpected pregnancy. Unplanned pregnancy does not equate to unwanted baby. Take it a day at a time.

A tiny prick is what got her into this situation – hello? Is this thing on? :wink:

Both of my kids were birthed by c-section. The first was unplanned, after being induced the labor did proceed as planned. Both kids are fine, and at the rate they are growing you would be hard press to find any problems arising from the c-section.

There was an exercise they had us do during the birth class we took. Hold out your hands, now on each finger list the things you want out of the birth experience: healthy baby, a girl, no pain, no needles, etc.

Now take away half your options, your choice.

Now take away three more options, your choice.

Of the two options left, which one do you choose?

The point was that so long as a healthy baby was the result, do what you need to do to get through the birth. Drugs or not, you really only have to answer to yourself about it.