I've often wondered how obstetricians feel about all of the knowledge available to pregnant women about childbirth these days. With books and classes and online resources, women know much more about what to expect than ever before.
And I wonder if it can get annoying.
Yesterday at my 38 week appointment, the doctor said I'm almost two centimeters dilated and 75 percent effaced. She also said the baby's head is "engaged," to which I replied, "What station?"
I've learned there are seven stations: negative three, negative two, negative one, zero, positive one, positive two, positive three. It refers to how far the baby's head has descended into the pelvis. Delivery begins at the positive stations. So if I'm at negative one, I can't imagine what zero feels like. I already have to jut out my legs at unnatural angles just to walk.
But later on that night while I was at work, my insane desire to learn everything there is to know about labor and childbirth paid off.
When I took one of many frequent trips to the bathroom, I discovered blood.
But I didn't panic. I assumed it was caused by my pelvic exam earlier. The baby was still moving, so I knew she was fine. Everything just felt a little more tender, especially when she turned her head.
So I just called my practitioner's emergency line and left a message with the answering service for a doctor to call me back.
When the phone rang, I calmly explained what had happened, adding, "I'm sure it's nothing, but I'm more than an hour away from the hospital, so I just want to be sure. Plus, a little peace of mind never hurts."
The doctor said I was exactly right. The blood likely was just from my exam, but he said to call back if it got any worse or I started experiencing unbearable pain.
Fortunately, I was almost done with my last two newspaper pages and was able to wrap up everything and go home. To top it off, I've developed a sore throat and ear infection, but I have the next two days off from work to lay low, relax and sleep.
And maybe read a few more chapters in my pregnancy books.