I seriously believe that Marta’s body is absorbing some sort of cutifying-juice (perhaps fueled baby placenta-farts), because, I swear, she gets cuter by the day. And “cute” is never a word I would have used for Marta before. She was attractive, yes, but her ferocious Spaniard wit always kept her from falling into the cute category.
She still has her wit these days, but her confident strut has given way to a slight waddle. She’s begun to occasionally pout if something doesn’t go her away and, biggest surprise of all, things will actually make her cry. Before the pregnancy, I think I’d seen Marta cry five times tops. Now it’s a daily if not multi-day event. We’ve even developed a warning system where, if Marta is feeling particularly tender, she’ll give me a heads up and at that moment I stop any and all teasing, as lately even the slightest joke can hurt her feelings.
I know much of this is caused by the rush of hormones in her body. And yet all the crying and waddling has suddenly made me quite protective of Marta. Take for instance, yesterday, when we went to see the midwife.
We’re at the point where we have appointments every two weeks (i.e. she’s at 33 weeks). As there are four midwives in the midwife team, we’re assigned to a different one each visit. Yesterday we got the New Yorker, who you might remember from a previous post as the fast-talking midwife obsessed with exercise and eating right. I think she’s also the only lesbian among the midwife team, which normally would make me like her more. If only she hadn’t started picking on Marta.
The woman has an arguably gruff exterior. You can tell she thinks of herself as a straight-talker and a no-nonsense, no-frills midwife. She won’t ask you “how are things going” with a honey voice. Instead she’ll say, “anything else?” She’s probably amazingly efficient and direct during labor, but in these pre-labor weeks I found her terseness unnerving–especially because most of her barbs were directed at Marta.
Marta hasn’t been feeling Nico move all that much, and she told the NYer Midwife as much during our visit. Another midwife had explained that this was probably because she has the placenta in the front of the uterus rather than in the back, which makes it harder to feel the baby move (it’s as if the baby were kicking a pillow). When Marta mentioned this to the NYer Midwife, though, the woman stared back at her hard and said “You’re worrying me, Marta. What do you mean you’re not really feeling your baby?”
Marta tried to explain that she does feel Nico move, but just not that much. I then joined in, explaining how she feels her at least once a day, which is what the other midwife had said was sufficient. I normally let Marta talk during these visits–it’s her body that’s pregnant after all–but it suddenly seemed like the midwife was picking on Marta. And I was going all Mamma Bear on her.
Then it only got worse.
“We’ll I should probably give you a nonstress test,” the NYer Midwife said. “Since you say you’re not feeling your baby.”
This despite the fact that we’d both just said that she was, indeed, feeling the baby. The NYer Midwife then began checking her files for information on the nonstress test, which is a way of measuring that the baby is active and moving. As she was doing so, Marta pointed out that, starting next visit, she’d be getting a regular nonstress test every time.
“What do you mean?” the NYer Midwife snapped. “Oh, wait, I see now. You’re old.”
It was clearly meant to a be a joke, this idea of Marta being old at 37. According to many hospital policies, it’s a good idea to monitor the baby extra closely in pregnant woman over 35. Because, statistically, the babies born to these women have more changes of having problems. But the sharpness of the midwife’s tone immediately put me on edge. I looked over at Marta to make sure she wasn’t tearing up. Then I glared at the midwife. Unfortunately she never makes eye contact so she missed my eye daggers.
We went to the nonstress test room as we were told. There Marta was strapped up to a pink-covered baby heart monitor (pink because we’re having a girl: barf!), which tracked the baby’s heartbeat as well as any of Marta’s contractions. After twenty minutes, they looked it over and declared all was fine. The NYer breezed in to take the sheet, nodded at it briefly and then ignored me when I called out asking if we could keep a copy. Luckily the woman managing the machines heard me and gave me a small piece of the print out.
Here it is:
The top line is the baby’s changing heartbeat. The light middle one is Marta’s heartbeat. And the bottom one measured any contractions. It appears Marta is beginning to have some Braxton Hicks contractions, which prepare the body for labor. Though she hasn’t really felt those either.
When we went to schedule our next appointment, we asked for a Friday appointment in two weeks. The woman at the desk said the NYer Midwife would be the only one on duty that day. I checked my calendar and feigned a surprised look: “Oh,” I said, “I just realized I can’t do it that day.” So we found another day, when we could see another, gentler midwife. Cause I’m not going to settle for anyone picking on Marta. Not when she’s all pumped up with baby-placenta-fart cute-juice.
No way. No how.